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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I live in Europe, and my local retailer will soon get his hands on a modern Sharps .45-120 rifle, no specifics available yet. I don't know how common it is in the States but it's a very, _very_ rare thing over here. So if I want one I need make up my mind pretty darn quick.

My problem is this: I'm looking for a rifle to compete in open 300m (+-330 yds) target matches. I know the .45-120 is an old blackpowder cartridge, but my retailer claims I can handload them with modern nitro powder. Is this correct? Is this rifle a novelty, a collector's item, or can this venerable historic caliber compete with modern .308 and .223 rifles over such extensive ranges? Maybe I've been looking in all the wrong places but I can't find any data on powder charges, velocity, bullet drop etc. on the net. What pitfalls would I encounter if I were to bring such a rifle to an open match? Brass is expensive, but obtainable, and I like the big straight necked cartridge from a reloader's point of view.

I'm a bit at a loss, you see. Should I go for this wonderful American exotic, or should I buy a FAL and shoot 7.62Nato surplus ammo like everybody else? I can't go for both because tight gunlaws restrict the number of firearms on my licence.

Thank you for your time, any advice welcome,
Daniel, The Netherlands, Europe.
 

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The 45-120 is not real common in the US at shooting matchs, unless they happen to be black powder or the cowboy matches.
I'm not sure how competitive you'd be against 7.62 Nato, using the 45-120. The recoil will be a bit on the heavy side, relatively. Factory ammo will be expensive, if available. Brass for reloading will scarce. Bullets should not be a problem if you can set up for bullet casting.
I shoot two different 45-70s, one is a bolt gun and the other is a Winchester lever action. Since they are both manufactured from modern steels, I can load the bolt gun up to nearly 458 Win Mag specs and the lever up to the black powder 45-120 specs.
An afternoon's worth of shooting these, 50 to 80 rounds, is an afternoons worth of shooting. Launching 350 grain to 500 grain bullets at 1400 to 2000 fps lets me know that I've shot something. One advantage is there's little difficulty seeing the bullet holes at 100 meters.
Jim
 

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Daniel,

As much as I truly love old firearms, for your purposes a more modern firearm will serve you much better. As arkypete mentioned, the blackpowder Sharps and big bores in general are best reserved to specialized forms of target shooting. Such a firearm and , moreso, its ammo will cost you a great deal of money compared to a 7.62 or something similar. Bullets and brass may also be difficult to obtain. And from a purely competitive standpoint the smaller rounds will be more accurate over 300m than a 45-120.
 

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I did quite a bit of research a while back on loading this round as I thought I wanted one.  In black powder loading you pretty much have to load a case full of powder.  Using reduced load with BP generally gave poor accuracy and fillers must be used, which lead to the problems.  In it's smokeless powder guise it is basically the .450 Nitro Expess and loading data is available in Cartridges of the World.  While it is a dandy short to medium range gun, it is not and most likely would be way out classed by the other calibers you mentioned.  Even though you have that big case, top speeds won't be all that great, about 2200 fps or less with a 465 gr. bullet.  The lower BC of the .458 slug is not going to hold up well to wind and trajectory will be quite steep.  It will cost more to load in both bullets and powder as well as brass.  Recoil will be obviously considerably more also.  The .45-120 is a great round, but it has it's limitations, and long range target shooting up against modern cartridges with better BCs and higher vels is a lot to ask for.

(Edited by Big Bore at 5:33 am on Mar. 24, 2001)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you all for your replies. I will let common sense prevail this time and leave this .45-120 for someone else.

Daniel.
 

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Daniel,

Even though a BP Sharps is great good fun, I think you're making the wise choice. In a situation like yours, where the law limits the number of firearms one may own, versatility is the key with any acquisition. On that note, may I suggest one of the 6.5X55mm Swedish Mausers? They are wonderfully accurate for target use,
are easy and relatively inexpensive to handload, and are simple to download for training new shooters and/or use on indoor ranges. And the cartridge is excellent for hunting any European game animals as well, if that interests you and the opportunity arises.

For my own knowledge, what are the limits on gun owners in The Netherlands?
 

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The 45-120 has a very weak following in the US. That case is just to big to be an efficient target cartridge. There are far more Americans lookng for good loads for it then you can imagine. Trust me, you will have no regrets for not buying it. The 45-90 is about the max case size necessary for black powder or smokeless. In all smokeless, the 45-70 is all you need.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Bill,

Here, private ownership is limited to five firearms. It gets worse: By law, shooting sessions are registered and you must make a minimum number each year or hand one or more guns over to your local police.

1 firearm = 12+ sessions / year
2 firearms = 18+ sessions / year
3 firearms = 25+ sessions / year
4 firearms = 30+ sessions / year
5 firearms = 35+ sessions / year

Before being able to get a license for your first firearm, you must be at least a one year member of a registered shooting club. Before that time, you practice using the club's firearms. Then, the chairman and secretary of the club will sign the necessary paperwork to testify you are capable of handling a firearm and, if you have been an exemplary citizen all your life, you may request your gun license with these papers. Essentially a 1 year waiting period.

So you see why I must choose carefully. Five firearms means you're on the range almost every week. I cannot combine that with work, so I'm effectively limited to 4 firearms. I currently have 3.

I will look into the availability of rifles and reloading components for the 6.5x55Mauser. Shouldn't be a problem, but you never know.
 

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<b>UCH!!!</b>

That hurts!  I think we all should take notice here where we all still enjoy the freedom of firearms ownership basically unhindered by government regulation!

Those kind of oppressive laws can and do happen!   My heart goes out to those of our brothers who must live under the kind of restrictions described here!

Never should we take our firearms ownership for granted, but guard it with not only our votes, but our money as well.

Support the NRA and GOA... they are making a difference!

God Bless!

Marshall
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Yes, they do make all the difference. Holland and the UK are beyond salvation, but the US is not out of the woods yet.

All it takes is one politician who says "We must honour the 2nd amendment, but we have to ensure that firearms are handled safely and responsibly."

The politician would sound reasonable, and he would not come up with one or two draconian measures, but a number of small alterations and additional requirements to existing laws, one after the other. That's how it happened here, where there is no NRA to protect us: a slow death.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
-double post snipped-

Didn't notice the thread went to a second page, sorry. <!--emo&;)--><img src="http://beartoothbullets.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif" border="0" valign="absmiddle" alt=';)'><!--endemo-->

(Edited by deebee at 3:49 pm on Mar. 26, 2001)
 
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