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Safe to Shoot CB's in BP era Pocket Pistol?


Round Dial too

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I have a friend who inherited this pocket pistol and is interested in shooting it, if it is safe. It is marked C. Sharps with a patent date of 1859. Considering it's age it is in fairly good condition. I can see no cracks or areas that appear to be in unsafe condition. The bore is a bit rusted and pitted but is not obstructed. It chambers 22 shorts. Being that the gun was made in the black powder era, I don't know if shorts would be safe to fire in it. I feel CB's would add some safety margin. What do you guys think? Do you think it would be safe to shoot?

 

 

I can't seem to include an image of the exact gun, but it is identical to this one.

 

http://papke.med.ufl.edu/curios/Sharps1.JPG

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The only round I would consider absolutely safe is the only one virtually unchanged since the 1850s, the BB cap (not CB). A BB cap is a 17 grain soft lead round ball and a rimfire primer, no powder. It was the fisrt self contained mettalic cartridge, and is still loaded today (I believe RWS is one brand) Out of my 1900ish Stevens smoothbore .22, they run 770 fps. Out of a pistol, likely 550 or so.

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http://i611.photobucket.com/albums/tt196/ivoryjack/pepperbox.jpg


I have a friend who inherited this pocket pistol and is interested in shooting it, if it is safe. It is marked C. Sharps with a patent date of 1859. Considering it's age it is in fairly good condition. I can see no cracks or areas that appear to be in unsafe condition. The bore is a bit rusted and pitted but is not obstructed. It chambers 22 shorts. Being that the gun was made in the black powder era, I don't know if shorts would be safe to fire in it. I feel CB's would add some safety margin. What do you guys think? Do you think it would be safe to shoot?


I can't seem to include an image of the exact gun, but it is identical to this one.

http://papke.med.ufl...ios/Sharps1.JPG


I have a Sharps Model 1A. I've been shooting CBs through it for over 10 years with no signs of wear on the barrels.
My Pepperbox
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I have also shot CB caps in my little Sharps with no issues. I would NOT under any circumstances use regular shorts, however. Some of the most potent ammo I have shot in it was some old BP 22 shorts. Yikes! :o

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There is a company called Aguila Ammunition out of Mexico that makes about 6 kinds of .22 ammo.

The Colibri and Super Colibri ammo has no gunpowder and is primer only. Like the .22 CB or BB cap and would be safe to shoot

in your Sharps Derringer. Look for it at gun-shows.

 

I have a 4 barreled Sharps Derringer made by Miroku in Japan. It looks just like your picture. It's made of modern steel

and can shoot .22 shorts-longs-long rifle. You can really hear and feel the difference between them. I also use the Colibri

.22's and they are fine. BB caps are tiny and hard to handle, but the Colibri are like a .22 shorts, easy to load. Just sayin'

 

Big Jake

 

P.S. Miroku is pre 1968 Gun Control Act import.

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I have heard it said many times, it is not about how lite smokeless can be loaded down to, but rather the burning curve that makes it unsafe in the old guns. I really think that low end firearms of the bp era are not even safe with bp after the metal (and its hidden defects) has aged for well in excess of a hundred years. How about the primer materials/chemicals, have they changed since the mid 1800s? Im sure everyone who lost a thumb, hand or eyes, just couldnt understand why it happened on the thousandth time they done it. There are things that I do at my reloading bench that are frowned on by the manufacturers and most of the pundits but we each must decide whether to roll the dice or not, BUT if the practice comes back to take a bite out of our, well, just dawnt blame the messengers you chose to listen to. Some fokes drive 55 and others drive 85, which are you?

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Only 22S CB rounds I've been able to find are CCI 29gr. @ http://www.natchezss.com/product.cfm?contentID=productDetail&prodID=CC0026&src=sim According to the CCI website it has a mv of 710 fps. I assume that's being fired out of a rifle because they give the trajectory as 0.0 @ 50 yards & +1.6 @ 25 yds. I don't think they'd be trying to sight in a pistol with CB shorts @ 50 yds.

 

The Aguila 22S Colibri (Spanish for hummingbird) was a 20gr Eley primed with no powder. I'm guessing that the MV out of my Ruger Bearcat was about 350 fps, if that much. The importer quit importing it some years back. I imagine the reasoning was that the box had a warning on it not to shoot it in rifles. Some people did it anyway & damaged their guns or got hurt cause they had several bullets lodged in the barrel & tried to shoot HV ammo in & damaged the gun or injured them or both. Of course I'm just speculating. Aguila still makes the Colibri in LR with a hotter primer & the Super Colibri with a hotter primer & a touch of powder.

 

I still have a few boxes of the Aguila 22S Colibri. I have a little 22S, 7 shot revolver that as near as I can find out was made in Belgium sometime between 1880 & 1920. It is nickle plated, engraved, with pearl grips. It is striker fired DAO with a cross bolt safety & drop down trigger. The barrel is 1.25". It was made by a company named Ancion Marx. I don't shoot it very much. I've never seen another one like it. The gun was brought back from Belgium by a soldier at the end of WWII. I bought it from his widow a few years ago.

 

I also have a replica Sharps made by HJS of Brownsville, Tx. They're out of business now. It's SS. & chambered for 22 S, L, & LR. I shoot the CCI CB Longs in it (not LR) because it has better accuracy with those.

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I have a friend who inherited this pocket pistol and is interested in shooting it, if it is safe. It is marked C. Sharps with a patent date of 1859. Considering it's age it is in fairly good condition. I can see no cracks or areas that appear to be in unsafe condition. The bore is a bit rusted and pitted but is not obstructed. It chambers 22 shorts. Being that the gun was made in the black powder era, I don't know if shorts would be safe to fire in it. I feel CB's would add some safety margin. What do you guys think? Do you think it would be safe to shoot?

I can't seem to include an image of the exact gun, but it is identical to this one.

http://papke.med.ufl...ios/Sharps1.JPG

As to safety, that's for your friend to decide. In accordance with the rules, it's not an allowed Pocket Pistol. Regardless of it's other attributes, Pocket Pistols must be at least .31 caliber. In Derringer side matches it would be acceptable. See below:

POCKET PISTOLS AND DERRINGERS

Pocket pistols and Derringers are popular for use in side

matches and are occasionally introduced as an additional

firearm in main match stages.

• A pocket pistol is a small frame, fixed sight, pre-1900 design

revolver having a barrel length of four inches or less. Pocket

pistols must be .31 caliber or larger. Model "P" Colts and

clones and revolvers with swing out cylinders are specifically

not allowed regardless ofcaliber, frame size, or barrel length.

Pocket pistols may not be used as or converted to main

match revolvers.

• A Derringer is defined as an external hammer, fixed sight,

breech loading or percussion ignition, small frame pre-1900

design firearm having one to four barrels up to three and onehalf

inches long. Derringers must be .22 caliber or larger. The

Remington style over/under barrel configuration and the Sharps

four-barreled Pepperbox are typical SASS–legal

Derringers.

 

(Emphasis added.)

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Let's see, so far it's probably OK to fire a BB cap or maybe a CB short or maybe a CB long. Maybe we can use some Mexican made ammo that isn't imported anymore. The question was a generic question about black powder era .22 pocket pistols. This covers a long time. Many of these guns were made in the 1850s and early 1860s and are made from material that wouldn't come close to passing for mild steel these days. The old S&W No. 1s with tip up barrels and the Colt Open Top .22s are very weak and simply unsuitable for shooting with any modern ammo. Some of the later production Sharps four barrels and some of the guns made in the late 1800s might be shootable. The question is "might." Will they explode if shot with modern ammo and a real short or an unknown brand X round from Mexico or Brazil gets mixed in there? Probably not as the ammo simply does not have that much power. What does happen is the cylinders crack or bulge, the frames stretch, the hinges crack, the arbors pull out and the barrels get loose, etc. The shooter probably wouldn't be injured, but you run the very real risk of trashing an antique firearm.

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