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July Smith

Sharps rifle light strikes.

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I tried joining a Sharps specific forum, but thought I would try here first. 

 

I recently acquired a beautiful Shiloh Sharps rifle in 45-70.  On the first range trip I experienced many light primer strikes.  Out of 20 rounds only 5 went off the first time.  I got another 3 to go off on the second try, but all the others simply would not fire.  The firing pin was making only the very slightest of dimples on the primers.  I was using CCI primers (only ones I had at the time) but my Browning 1886s set them off every time, so I do not think my ammo was at fault. 

 

Did some research online and removed the breech block.  The firing pin looked fine and did not appear to be damaged or worn by an inexperienced shooter opening the action without first cocking the hammer.  I noticed when I tried to push the firing pin by hand it was stiff and gritty.  I disassembled the breech block and removed both the small spring around the firing pin and the larger spring that rebounds the assembly that transfers the hammer blow to the pin (forgive my lack of knowledge on specific names). I reassembled the block without the two springs and by hand pushed on the firing pin and still noticed it was stiff and gritty.  I disassembled the block again and removed some burs from around the firing pin and then everything felt nice and smooth.  For good measure I removed a single coil from both firing pin springs, cleaned everything up and reassembled. 

 

The rifle now fires about 75% of the time and the primers have more of a dent then before but I still get frequent light strikes especially if I am using the set trigger.  A quick determined trigger pull on just the front trigger will fire the rifle most of the time, but still not 100%. 

 

When I fiddle with the action and hammer I notice a very pronounced "click" when I slowly lower the hammer right about the area of the safety notch.  As the hammer drops this "click" really  seams to dampen/slow down the hammer strike.  Is there something I should look for on the lock itself?  Was I wrong to remove a coil or two from the firing pin springs?  Just call up Shiloh and send it back?  Any help or advice from those experienced with Sharps rifles would be most appreciated. 

Edited by July Smith

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My .50-140 is a C. Sharps. I have NEVER had a problem with it!!!  :wub:

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Double- and Single-Set Triggers - Adjustment and Safety - by Dick Trenk


When improperly adjusted, a strong enough shock can cause the cocked hammer to be released and fire the gun. When properly adjusted, Pedersoli set triggers will not release when subjected to a strong shock. Read the instructions below in order to make adjustment correctly.

WARNING: Before making any adjustment make certain the gun is unloaded.

Double set trigger adjustments
(Sharps type rifles only)

REAR TRIGGER

1. Turn screw located behind the rear trigger, inwards until hammer will stay cocked without having the rear trigger “set” (clicked.)
2. If this screw is adjusted inwards too much, the hammer will not fall when the front trigger is pulled strongly.
3. If the screw is not set inwards enough, the hammer will fail to remain in full cock position.
4. The screw must be turned inwards until the hammer will remain in full cock without first setting the rear trigger.
5. When adjusting the screw, move screw in 1/4 to 1/2 turn increments and recheck results before making another adjustment.

FRONT TRIGGER

1. The front trigger will release the hammer even if the rear trigger has not been “set.”
2. With the rear trigger “not set” the front trigger pressure required to release the hammer will be much stronger than when the rear trigger has been “set.”
3. The front trigger adjustment screw located between the two triggers changes the amount of movement or travel which the front trigger must make before the hammer is released.
4. Turning this screw inwards will reduce the trigger travel and turning the screw outwards will increase the trigger travel required to release the cocked hammer.
5. If adjusted inward too much, it will not “hold” the setting against the rear trigger notch inside the action.
6. Proper adjustment should produce a very small front trigger movement with only a light pressure required to release the hammer.

Double set trigger adjustments
(Rolling Block type rifles only)

1. The single adjustment screw is turned inwards until the REAR trigger will not “set” when pressed firmly backwards.
2.  Turn the screw outwards until the REAR trigger will “just stay set”. In this position the front trigger will release the hammer with very little pressure applied on the front trigger and this is considered to be too light and dangerous.
3. Unscrew the screw “at least” one half more turn. This will make the front trigger have a little more resistance and be a safe setting.
4. If you prefer even more front trigger resistance then unscrew the screw an additional amount until you arrive at a satisfactory setting.
5. Perform the 5 safety tests listed below, to assure a safe adjustment has been made.

SAFETY TESTING THE ADJUSTMENT

If the front trigger has been set with a very short and light engagement it is possible that a strong shock or vibration might cause it to let the cocked hammer fall unexpectedly resulting in a discharge of the gun.

To prevent such an accidental discharge perform the following safety test.

1. Insert a fired cartridge case so the firing pin will have the dead primer to fall against and avoid damage to the firing pin.
2. Set the rear trigger properly, and then full cock the hammer.
3.On a Sharps rifle lower the breech lever and slam it shut least 10 times. On a rolling block type rifle, slam the breech block closed in a similar strong manner at least 10 times.
4.Hold the gun vertically by the barrel and tap the butt stock fairly strongly on a suitable rubber or carpet pad to create a shock inside the gun.
5.The hammer should not be released by this strong shocking action. If the hammer remains fully cocked, your adjustments are normal and safe.

UNSETTING THE TRIGGER
(Sharps or Rolling Block types)

Sometimes it is necessary to “uncock” and unload the rifle after it has been prepared to shoot and the rear trigger has been “set.” This is done safely as follows.

1. Keep gun barrel pointed in a safe direction.
2. Firmly press and hold back the REAR trigger using as much pressure as it required to “set” it.
3. While holding the REAR trigger firmly back, press FRONT trigger backwards lightly.
4. This “unsets” the trigger system so the front trigger will not release the cocked hammer with it’s normal “light” pressure.
5. Remember, the hammer can still be released by the FRONT trigger if a strong pressure is applied to the FRONT trigger.
6. With the trigger system “unset” the breech can now be opened and the live cartridge removed.
7.  With an unloaded rifle, practice this “unsetting” procedure until you can do it safely.

SINGLE SET TRIGGER
(RIFLES AND PISTOLS)

1. A small adjustment screw is located behind the trigger blade .
2. Turning this screw inward will reduce the pressure required to release the cocked hammer.
3. Turning the screw outward will increase the pressure required to release the hammer.
4. The actual “setting” of the trigger is done by pressing the trigger blade forward until a  click” sound is heard or felt.
5. The screw has a slot head for a screwdriver and it also has a small drilled hole which allows a small pin to be used to rotate the screw.
6. You can adjust the trigger to any reasonable release pressure between light and heavy but regardless of your final setting, the gun must be tested as described previously to make certain shocks or bumps will not cause an unexpected firing of the gun.

UNSETTING THE SINGLE SET TRIGGER

Once the trigger has been “set” and the hammer cocked, the only way to unset the trigger is to carefully hold the hammer while at the same time pulling the trigger as though to fire the gun.

Once the hammer has been released it can be slowly lowered to the uncocked position.

This is a very dangerous procedure because if the hammer slips from your fingers a loaded gun could fire!

Never attempt to uncock a flintlock action without first removing all the powder from the pan or removing the percussion cap from that type of gun.

Additionally, with a flintlock, place the frizzen in the “open” position so the flint cannot strike the frizzen and make sparks.

Keep the gun pointed in a safe direction in case the hammer does slip and make some sparks.

Remember there is a powder charge inside the chamber and it could be ignited by even a few small sparks hitting the empty pan.

Note that guns with a single set trigger can be fired without first setting the trigger. With a cocked hammer simply pull the trigger more firmly and the hammer will be released.

TO PREVENT ACCIDENTS

If you allow others to shoot your pistol or rifle, we suggest letting them try the set trigger operation before allowing them to actually load the gun. The very light trigger pressure is a big surprise to many shooters who have not had previous experience with the single or double set trigger system. The hammer does not have to be cocked to allow this trigger practice. Just set the trigger and allow the new shooter to experience the light pressure required on the front trigger of the DST type or the single trigger of the SST type.

 © 2004 R.Trenk Sr.

 

 

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Don't shorten or lighten the firing pin springs. 

 

Is this a new rifle or new to you? 

 

If it is a Shilo pr C. Sharps rifle I would call them before you do anything else.

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1 hour ago, Sedalia Dave said:

If it is a Shilo pr C. Sharps rifle I would call them before you do anything else.

This  ↑ ↑ ↑

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Pull the lock and check the main spring.

Was this factory ammo or reloads??

If it looks-Call Shiloh and ask for Kirk or 

Lucinda. 

PLZ, let us know what you learn. 

OLG 

Edited by The Original Lumpy Gritz

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This was my rifle, folks, and I feel really bad about this. I acquired it from the original owner who won it in a raffle 40+ years ago. He claimed he never fired it, and during the time I owned it, I never fired it, then after July Smith bought it and took it to the range, he found out it doesn't work. :(

If it has to go back to Shiloh for repair, and they don't send a pre-paid call tag for it, I'll work with you on the shipping & repairs. 

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22 hours ago, Three Foot Johnson said:

This was my rifle, folks, and I feel really bad about this. I acquired it from the original owner who won it in a raffle 40+ years ago. He claimed he never fired it, and during the time I owned it, I never fired it, then after July Smith bought it and took it to the range, he found out it doesn't work. :(

If it has to go back to Shiloh for repair, and they don't send a pre-paid call tag for it, I'll work with you on the shipping & repairs. 

Three Foot Johnson, I in no way blame you for this.  You advertised the rifle accurately and sold it to me for a fair price.  I appreciate the offer to cover shipping, but that will not be necessary.  Shiloh must have been closed yesterday do to the holiday, but I did send them an email.  Will keep you all posted. 

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You may well just need to remove the lock(2 screws on left side of rec'r)and send it and the breech block to Shiloh.

Call and check with Kirk or Lucinda.......

Again I ask-was this factory ammo or reloads, that you had the FTF issues with? 

OLG 

Edited by The Original Lumpy Gritz

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In the original post, i think he “said” they are reloads, because he referenced using CCI primers because that’s what he had on hand.  That’s what I got out of it, OLG.

 

Cat Brules

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You have to pull the Hammer back to half cock, before you open the breach.

If you don't you can break the firing pin.

A broken firing pin will cause lite primer strikes,

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3 hours ago, Cat Brules said:

In the original post, i think he “said” they are reloads, because he referenced using CCI primers because that’s what he had on hand.  That’s what I got out of it, OLG.

 

Cat Brules

TY, I dId miss that major detail. :blush:

I would get a box of factory ammo, and try it before doing anything else.

Those reloads could have been using pistol primers that weren't seated 'rite'.

OLG 

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I had a similar issue with CCI primers in my Shiloh Sharps, they have a hard cup. Switched to Federals and they worked perfect.

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On 1/20/2020 at 12:39 PM, July Smith said:

I tried joining a Sharps specific forum, but thought I would try here first. 

 

I recently acquired a beautiful Shiloh Sharps rifle in 45-70.  On the first range trip I experienced many light primer strikes.  Out of 20 rounds only 5 went off the first time.  I got another 3 to go off on the second try, but all the others simply would not fire.  The firing pin was making only the very slightest of dimples on the primers.  I was using CCI primers (only ones I had at the time) but my Browning 1886s set them off every time, so I do not think my ammo was at fault. 

 

Did some research online and removed the breech block.  The firing pin looked fine and did not appear to be damaged or worn by an inexperienced shooter opening the action without first cocking the hammer.  I noticed when I tried to push the firing pin by hand it was stiff and gritty.  I disassembled the breech block and removed both the small spring around the firing pin and the larger spring that rebounds the assembly that transfers the hammer blow to the pin (forgive my lack of knowledge on specific names). I reassembled the block without the two springs and by hand pushed on the firing pin and still noticed it was stiff and gritty.  I disassembled the block again and removed some burs from around the firing pin and then everything felt nice and smooth.  For good measure I removed a single coil from both firing pin springs, cleaned everything up and reassembled. 

 

The rifle now fires about 75% of the time and the primers have more of a dent then before but I still get frequent light strikes especially if I am using the set trigger.  A quick determined trigger pull on just the front trigger will fire the rifle most of the time, but still not 100%. 

 

When I fiddle with the action and hammer I notice a very pronounced "click" when I slowly lower the hammer right about the area of the safety notch.  As the hammer drops this "click" really  seams to dampen/slow down the hammer strike.  Is there something I should look for on the lock itself?  Was I wrong to remove a coil or two from the firing pin springs?  Just call up Shiloh and send it back?  Any help or advice from those experienced with Sharps rifles would be most appreciated. 

I think your situation is entirely hopeless.  You just need to give the gun to me.  

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14 hours ago, Mean Gene said:

I had a similar issue with CCI primers in my Shiloh Sharps, they have a hard cup. Switched to Federals and they worked perfect.

 

Then you have an issue with the rifle.

Many folks (including me) use CCI br2 primers exclusively in their Shiloh's.

I strongly recommend that you to call Shiloh about this issue.

OLG 

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Update:  I spoke with Kirk Bryan at Shiloh and shipped the breech block and and lock in on 01-30-2020.  I got a call from Kirk yesterday explaining the rifle was an 1980s era rifle and that at some point in its life somebody had ground on the mainspring and significantly weakened it.  He also said the spring behind the transfer bar was an older style and not really necessary.  In short it sounds like a new main spring and the removal of one spring from the breech block and I should be good to go.  No charge and they are even covering return shipping!  I'll update once I get the parts back and have a chance to test them out in the rifle. 

Edited by July Smith
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Most obvious issue is the  firing pin is broken in half in the block caused by not cocking the hammer in the safe position 

To verify, point the barrel to the sky, shake it and slowly bring back to firing position - pull the trigger= Boom

Happened to me. The hammer is now painted white and marked.... Safe

Edited by John Boy

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Reading the OP is a good thing. As in he took out the firing pin, inspected it to see if the end was worn because the shooter didn't go to half cock and it wasn't broken.

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3 hours ago, July Smith said:

Update:  I spoke with Kirk Bryan at Shiloh and shipped the breech block and and lock in on 01-30-2020.  I got a call from Kirk yesterday explaining the rifle was an 1980s era rifle and that at some point in its life somebody had ground on the mainspring and significantly weakened it.  He also said the spring behind the transfer bar was an older style and not really necessary.  In short it sounds like a new main spring and the removal of one spring from the breech block and I should be good to go.  No charge and they are even covering return shipping!  I'll update once I get the parts back and have a chance to test them out in the rifle. 

I am so sorry about this. :( I never put a round through it, nor had it apart, and the previous owner wasn't a shooter and never put a round through it - he won it in a Democrat fund-raising raffle back then.

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28 minutes ago, Three Foot Johnson said:

I am so sorry about this. :( I never put a round through it, nor had it apart, and the previous owner wasn't a shooter and never put a round through it - he won it in a Democrat fund-raising raffle back then.

 

It came from a Deocrat raffle and it DOESN'T work. :lol:

The irony is strong here. :D

OLG 

 

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18 minutes ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

 

It came from a Deocrat raffle and it DOESN'T work. :lol:

The irony is strong here. :D

OLG 

 

It was worth reading the whole thread to get to that knee-slapper!!!!!:lol::lol:

Rex :D

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2 hours ago, Three Foot Johnson said:

I am so sorry about this. :( I never put a round through it, nor had it apart, and the previous owner wasn't a shooter and never put a round through it - he won it in a Democrat fund-raising raffle back then.

 

Well, THAT explains it.......dang Democrats giving away defective guns at a raffle in an effort to disarm us all!!!  ;)

 

TFJ - no one is blaming you; you have done the right and proper thing, and stepped up with an honest offer to help offset the costs; sounds like the OP bears no ill will, and is likely to have a solution in short order.  All's well that ends well.

 

Now, about your attendance at a Democrat fund raiser........

 

LL

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:lol: The Democrat was the guy I bought it from. MAGA 2020!

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3 hours ago, Three Foot Johnson said:

 - he won it in a Democrat fund-raising raffle back then.

Well had I known that I would not have bought the rifle! 

 

Just joking! 

 

Again Three Foot Johnson, I in no way blame you for this.  You advertised the rifle accurately (except for the part about the ties to the democrat party) and sold it to me for a fair price.  Don't beat yourself up any further over this.  The lock and breech block both fit into a USPS flat rate box and shipped for only $7-8.  I am only out a few dollars and a little time. 

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I'm a bit surprised/confused about the internal having been worked on... it was represented to me as an unfired, NIB rifle. I mean, who would raffle off a used gun? Well, unless it had some historical significance maybe.

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4 minutes ago, Three Foot Johnson said:

I'm a bit surprised/confused about the internal having been worked on... it was represented to me as an unfired, NIB rifle. I mean, who would raffle off a used gun? Well, unless it had some historical significance maybe.

I believe you, I am simply repeating what I was told by Shiloh.  I didn't mess with it, you didn't mess with it, the guy before you likely didn't, so that leaves only the Democrats to blame. 

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