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Thinking on a longer range rifle


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Hello everyone, 

 

No immediate decision to be made (at least a year out), but was pondering getting something for long range side matches.  I know those can differ greatly (thus why the topic is titled longer LOL). I am not even certain if where I am moving to (another unknown right now) will have those side matches.

 

But lets just say, I'm considering a single shot large bore. Though I am not reloading now, I have extensively before, so not by any means adverse (just waiting until the move to acquire the tools again). Most likely I will not be loading BP when I do start. I am unsure if I will start casting my own bullets again.

 

First consideration is cartridge. I'm thinking keep it simple and stick with 45-70.  Thoughts and comments?

 

Next consideration is rifle action. I am considering a trapdoor or high wall. I am heavily leaning towards the high wall. Can you think of any reason I shouldn't opt for the high wall?

 

Final consideration, 30" or 32" bbl?  As I will not most likely have the opportunity to handle these rifles before purchase, I cannot make an empirical decision based upon "how it feels"  What says you?

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H&R Buffalo Classic

Pedersoli 1874 Sharps, my favorite.

1885 Winchester

Springfield trapdoor

Just to name a few I have or shot 

 

30" barrel is plenty heavy enough!

The highwall didn't fit me well and rapped my finger pretty good.

The trapdoor is a great shooter and takes light loads well.

 

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I have highwalls in both 38-55 and 45-70. LOVE them.  Faster lock time than any other falling block action. 38-55 is great out to 700yds. and low recoil. 45-70 goes 1000 and is easier for most to load for.

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The 45-70 can have a recoil that some people don't like.

The 40-65 is a Cartridge that can do everything the 45-70 can do .

What time period do you like in the Old West? 

If it is after the Civil War then it would be a Sharps, Remington, Trapdoor Springfield. 

The High Wall is a Great Rifle. For my taste it is a Late Commer.

It shower up after the Buffalo were Gone.

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Well for cartridge, I was looking at 38-55, so let’s say that or 45-70 (no other 45 cals).  I’m at 99% towards 45-70. Recoil is not an issue as I plan to be loading for it.  so why a 38-55 instead? Brass is harder to locate. 
 

bbls plenty heavy enough, so let’s say 30 if both 30 and 32 are available. 
 

now to action. Pros cons on trapdoor vs high wall.  Let’s not worry about period specific aspects. 
 

 

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Highwall, you can always opt for a shorter, round barrel on one. .38-55 and .45-70 are both good choices but be aware .45-70 with smokeless can be a bear. Both brasses are available from Starline.

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9 minutes ago, Cottonmouth Mark said:

Well for cartridge, I was looking at 38-55, so let’s say that or 45-70 (no other 45 cals).  I’m at 99% towards 45-70. Recoil is not an issue as I plan to be loading for it.  so why a 38-55 instead? Brass is harder to locate. 
 

bbls plenty heavy enough, so let’s say 30 if both 30 and 32 are available. 
 

now to action. Pros cons on trapdoor vs high wall.  Let’s not worry about period specific aspects. 
 

 

Highwalls will handle more (warmer) loads than the Trapdoor

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Another reason I lost keenness (is that a word) on the 38-55 are what I have read as inconsistent bore diameters. 

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I have a custom Marlin 32" barrel in .45-70, a C.Sharps Sharp 30" barrel in .45-70,  an 1884 Springfield Trapdoor rifle in .45-70, an H&R Trapdoor Rifle in .45-70, and a rebarred .40-65 Browning High Wall to .38-55.  If you are only shooting in SASS matches the odds are 500 yards will be max so the .38-55 will do just fine.  Hunting the .38-55 will do for just about any animal you will find east of the Mississippi and most west of it.  I like my trapdoor better than any of them.  There is more information on loading the .45-70 and factory ammo is easyer to find in .45-70.  The Trapdoor in .50-70 did more Buffalo than the .45-70 and the big .50 came very late to the party.  The Army gave ammo in .50-70 to hunters when they went to the .45-70 trapdoor.  Buffalo Bill's rifle was the .50-70 trapdoor given to him by the army.

 

Between the Sharps and High Wall I would go with the High Wall.  I like the .38-55 for under 500 yards and like the round as recoil is easy on your shoulder.  The bore on the Japanese Browning/Winchester High Wall is very consistent.  Bores on the lever guns are what is all over the place.  

 

I do want to get to Florida to hunt hogs with the Trapdoor and High Wall.  Will have to be day hunts as nither gun has a night scope on it.  To get the best for you single shot .45-70 you will need to to reload to get the 500+ gr bullet loaded long.  Same for the .38-55 if the twest is 12-14.

Edited by Pee Wee #15785
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The H&R Buffalo Classic in

38-55 or 45-70 Would be a very good start game .

I went with the H&R 45-70 myself.

I ended up going too a Pedersoli Rolling Block 45-70 Creedmore.

Heavy but loved it .

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Go with .45-70. It will be the easiest to find components for and have the shortest learning curve. 

Will you load smokeless or BP?

The 74 Sharps is easy to maintain, and can have double set triggers.

I recommend a pistol grip stock and a 30" hvt bbl.

For sights, MVA Long Range Buffalo Soule and MVA #113 front sight.

Best to cast your own bullets.

OLG 

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I think the Hiwalls are probably a better action than the Sharps. Certainly stronger than the Trapdoor (I have all 3).  For extreme long range I expect the center hammer on the HiWall likely more accurate than the side hammer Sharps. 
I like 38-55 300yds and under. 45-70 for further shots. I’ve shot my Sharps 45-70 600 yds. (And hit the targets :D)

45-70 can be downloaded for a very comfortable load. A 330 grn Bullet with 14.2 Unique works well. For my Sharps, I like 25 grns 5744 with a 535 grn Bullet. 
 

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Let’s say these are categories for different types of rifles and different distances. Period correct iron sights are required for all rifles.  SASS pistol caliber rifles are shot at 100, 150, and 200 yards. Big Bore Lever Action rifles are shot at 200, 300, and 400 yards. Big Bore Single Shot (BBSS) and Buffalo (black powder) rifles are shot at 300.400 and 500 yards.

 

There a two different rifles tha have to be considered for ‘long range’ per the original post ...a lever and a single shot.

Next are the distances ...200 to 500... 

For the lever, a Uberti  1886 Sporting Rifle, 25” barrel in 45-70

For the single shot, Pedersoli 1874 Sharps Buffalo, 45-70,  DST, 30” barrel 

PS: both barrels ar match grade ... Pedersoli makes the barrels for Uberti, the last I heard

Edited by John Boy
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Watching this post. I am want a rolling block in 45-70.Don.t know why just like the rolling block.

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If you're not going to reload... you'll probably be best off going with the 45-70.  If you're ultimately going to reload, it probably doesn't matter, from the 38-55 the 40-65 or the 45-70, it becomes a matter of bullet selection, powder choice and what your goals are.

 

As for barrel length, the only advantage of the 32" is the increased sight radius, whether you use are the barrel sights are install a tang sight.  Which I would recommend.  Some feel that anything over 28" is a waste of steel, as all the powder is already burned by that point in the bullet's travel down the bore.  You'll get some argument with some black powder proponents... but still, do your own research and make your own decision.  If you're going to be shooting in excess of 500 yards, a carbine makes little sense.  (IMO).   Most places that have side matches of those longer ranges either let you use x-sticks or sometimes even a bench.  Unless you're going to be doing any NRA sanctioned matches, you need to be aware of the total weight of your gun.  My Shiloh Sharps with XX-Fancy wood and 30" octagon barrel comes in exactly 1 oz under the allowable weight limit.  I bought their "Long Range Express" and had them cut 4" off the standard barrel length to make the weight, (34" to 30").

 

Actions:  The trap door has a nifty little thingie called an "ejector"... pretty much the cat's meow for clearing the chamber.  However, it is the weakest of the available choices, so appropriate loads will have a far larger arc to thee trajectory.  Like the Sharps it has a side mounted hammer and some feel this is a disadvantage.  My Sharps is as accurate as I am out to 800 or 1,000 yards... I don't see why the trap-door is any less so.  (Although my Sharps is chambered in the much flatter shooting 40-90SBN Express cartridge, shoots a 350 grain bullet @ 1690 fps... Dramatically different trajectory than the 11-1200 fps 45-70 from a trap-door.

 

The Handi-rifle, is a break open action, direct kin to the single barrel shotgun.  Which I believe it was introduced as.  Much lighter in both carbine and rifle form, it's also much quicker shot-to-shot... although for SASS side matches, it's recommended that # of hits with time as a tie breaker is recommended.  Tho' I have seen many instances where it came down to the tie breaker to determine a "winner".

 

The Sharps in it's 1874, 1875 & 1877 form has a side-hammer as mentioned, some feel that the action is affected by the offset swing of the hammer, imparting a bit of torque to the rifle as it falls.  In addition, after a shot, it is recommended to cock the hammer before lowering the breech block, as firing pins have been known to hang up on the chamber and break.  Not good in the middle of a match.  I think it's just a little idiosyncrasy of the action that with practice becomes second nature.

 

The Rolling Block, another fine rifle introduced by a storied manufacturer and has proven itself in the hunting field, and target field time and time again.  It has many adherents, the fact that I think they're visual challenged by aesthetics is immaterial.

 

Then we have the JMB designed and proven Highwall, (in this case)... also known as the Winchester 1885.  With the hammer in line with the bore, the claimed hammer torque is missing, the hammer is cocked as the block is lowered, turned two actions into a single one.  IMO, it and the Sharps are the strongest of the 19th century American single shots, and with modern steels capable of much more powerful cartridges than those they were originally produced with.  While IMO, the Sharps is probably the more graceful looking of the above selection, the Highwall is no slouch with its simple lines.

 

If I were contemplating a new single shot, I believe that I'd be connecting with C. Sharps Arms in Big Timber, MT for one of their custom Highwalls.  While it will be significantly more than either the Uberti version or the Pedersoli copy of the 1874 Sharps, I believe that like the Shiloh Sharps you will never lose money on the investment.  My Shiloh is 34 years young, not abused, but used, and I've been offered what a new one sells for to part with mine.   (In fact, I am debating whether to order a C. Sharps Highwall in .32-40 for deer & pronghorn hunting..).  And maybe, just maybe, a little target shooting as well!   But, before someone asks, my Sharps is not for sale!

Edited by Griff
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Of the actions your looking at the hi wall is the strongest. The trapdoor is the coolest and the Sharps is the best (my opinion!) if you’re loading for the action, the trapdoors are ok but if you need some long range, past 400 yds, go Sharps, if yet gonna go past 1000 go hiwall. Take a look at the 45-70 sections on reloading, the trapdoor gets its own loads due to the action. 45-70 is the only cal to really consider if your reloading tons of data and components, the number of bullets and weights are earth shattering! 

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i wont claim a lot of experience here , im relatively new -5 years or so , i went with the pederasoli sharps , quigly in 4570 , for a few good reasons - to me , 

 

i like the fact that the 4570 is traditional govment cartridge , i like its fairly common [i got a whole lot of once fired brass real quickly] and i like the loading of this one , all components are easily [normally] found , i like the way the rifle functions - i had a trapdoor , not so much - and since its long range and rested i do not worry of the weight and length , i have the long version , its heavy but im not carrying it thru 10 stages or dragging the cart to more than one location , 

 

ya gotta shoot what you like , load what you like , its all about enjoying what your doing with it , shop-consider-then buy , 

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OK  I have decided on a high wall in 45-70 (I think).

As I have been so pleased with offerings from Taylor & Co., They have both Pedersoli and Uberti.

They seem with basic research to share a lot of the same manufacturing.  

Talk to me,,,, Why one over the other for the price difference?

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Posted (edited)

Mark, they are the same configuration and quality  rifles except  for the butt plates.  Pedersoli has a shotgun butt plate requiring a tighter grip to keep it on the shoulder.  The Uberti has the hooked butt plate that provides easier control of the rifle at the shoulder, especially shooting off hand

Both barrels are match grade and overall quality is equal

So, my recommendation is the Uberti with a MVA Soule vernier and a MVA Beach Combination foresight

Sporting Rifle Straight Stock  .45-70 30″

Have had a Uberti Deluxe 38-55 with DST for a long time and  with black powder reloads shoots MOA at 100 to 300 yds, plus knocks down steel sillouttes from 200 to 500 meters.   My  Pedersoli’s are 74 Sharps in 45-70 & 45-90 Competition that  I shoot out to 1000 yds accurately with hits in a 10” center
 

Edited by John Boy
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Take a good long look at the Browning BPCR hghwall.  They came in 45-70 and with a good set of Soule sights.  Best bang for the buck too.  If you are shooting real long range where the wind blows go with the 45-70.  The smaller calibers don't buck the wind as good as the 45s.

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1 hour ago, John Boy said:

Mark, they are the same configuration and quality  rifles except  for the butt plates.  Pedersoli has a shotgun butt plate requiring a tighter grip to keep it on the shoulder.  The Uberti has the hooked butt plate that provides easier control of the rifle at the shoulder, especially shooting off hand

Both barrels are match grade and overall quality is equal

So, my recommendation is the Uberti with a MVA Soule vernier and a MVA Beach Combination foresight

Sporting Rifle Straight Stock  .45-70 30″

Have had a Uberti Deluxe 38-55 with DST for a long time and  with black powder reloads shoots MOA at 100 to 300 yds, plus knocks down steel sillouttes from 200 to 500 meters.   My  Pedersoli’s are 74 Sharps in 45-70 & 45-90 Competition that  I shoot out to 1000 yds accurately with hits in a 10” center
 

John Boy has good advice - although I would change the MVA (excellent though) to a Lee Shaver https://www.buffaloarms.com/target-44-iron-sights-optics/lee-shaver.html  as it has the Hadley Eye Cup.  Additionally The Browning BPCR is superb if you can find one.  BTW  Rarely - very rarely - are you going to be shooting any of these off hand.  Here is a BPCR in 40-65 https://www.gunbroker.com/item/899455714

 

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I have two C. Sharps high walls in 45-90 and 40-65.  On a calm day both will reliably reach out to 1200 yards.  When the wind gets frisky the 45-90 with a 540 grain bullet and 75 grains (by weight - sorry purists) of Swiss 2F is my go to round.  

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The 45-70 is a very good round. It can be loaded up or down and will reach out as far as you need to go. Components are the easiest to find. I've had a number of guns and calibers but found that I liked the High Wall the best. Some of the Italian guns are OK, some fall short of what I would call acceptable for any real shooting. IMO none of them equal the Shilo,  C-Sharps or Brownings.  Most of the Long Range events at Cowboy matches are really only Mid Range at most and most of the Guns available are adequate if you learn to build a good round.  

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Posted (edited)

Short answer/Reader's Digest Version not the War and Peace version....An Uberti highwall, in .45=70.

 

Reasons? Here are five. 

1. The Uberti, or Cimarron, doesn't cost as much as say a trapdoor, or a Sharps. Pedersoli makes a highwall, but it is more expensive than the Uberti. 

    Chiappa may make one, but I would not go there.

2. The highwall is heavy enough, that the recoil from a .45-70 is low, and not bad at all. Don't fall for the malarkey that the .45-70's recoil is bad. My seven year old grandson shoots my highwall, and he loves it. With the heavier rifles, the recoil is nothing to worry about. 

3. You can shoot heavy loads, or light loads, in a highwall. It has a stronger action than either the trapdoor, or the Sharps. It was designed by John Browning, so 'nuff said. I would not shoot some of the heavier loads, I have made up for my highwall, in my trapdoor. 

4. The .45-70 is normally (when we are not saddled with a chi-nee virus pandemic) very readily available, either at the stores, or on-line. The 38-55 is not as available, and sometime it takes some looking to find a box/brass. If you can locate the brass, you can reload it. It is a great cartridge, I have a .35-55 in a Marlin lever action, so I do really like that cartridge. But for long range shooting, I would prefer the .45-70. 

5. The .45-70 has a longer range, than the .38-55, simply because it has a heavier bullet, and the case holds more powder.

 

My Two Bits.

W.K. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Waxahachie Kid #17017 L
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On 4/26/2021 at 7:21 PM, Cottonmouth Mark said:

Another reason I lost keenness (is that a word) on the 38-55 are what I have read as inconsistent bore diameters. 

There's only one diameter -yours. Load accordingly.

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If you are getting long on tooth, recoil can and will take it's toll.  While the 45/70 and larger can and have done the job for 100+ years, do look at the 38/55.   It will take them FA hogs and at one time it was a target round.  Given the fact that 3-400 yards is now usually called long range,  this round will exceed your needs for the long haul.   

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Cusz M. Dutch SASS Life 55326 said:

If you are getting long on tooth, recoil can and will take it's toll.  While the 45/70 and larger can and have done the job for 100+ years, do look at the 38/55.   It will take them FA hogs and at one time it was a target round.  Given the fact that 3-400 yards is now usually called long range,  this round will exceed your needs for the long haul.   

By FA hogs do you mean FL hogs?  I’m a cracker and have done hogs for decades. Much has been made of them likening to dangerous game even. I laugh. Yes, you get stupid they can hurt you. 
When I had to eradicate numbers of them daily after work, my preferred method was by bow (it didn’t spook them). 
My friend has one mounted that he took by knife from a tree branch. 
I would view 38-55 or 45-70 as serious overkill. 

Edited by Cottonmouth Mark
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And by this, I don't want to discount anyone. I lost the urge to hunt for hunting’s sake decades ago. 
you would think being paid to hunt whitetail as a PT job would be great. It’s not. The purpose was to decrease the herd on the ranch due to disease. You get off your day job then head to the ranch that hired you.  You come in later with 5 or 6. They’re upset because they are expecting 10. 
Culling is a necessary evil at times, and can impact a man for his life when he’s had to fulfill that role. 

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17 hours ago, Cottonmouth Mark said:

By FA hogs do you mean FL hogs?  I’m a cracker and have done hogs for decades. Much has been made of them likening to dangerous game even. I laugh. Yes, you get stupid they can hurt you. 
When I had to eradicate numbers of them daily after work, my preferred method was by bow (it didn’t spook them). 
My friend has one mounted that he took by knife from a tree branch. 
I would view 38-55 or 45-70 as serious overkill. 

Always better at math vs. spelling 

 

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He's not wanting to hunt.

He said nothing about BPCR

He wants to shoot SASS side matches.

He's shooting smokeless

94.297% of SASS long range is loosely used here as most are 100 to 300 yards. Thats not long range.

Most are most hits in the fastest time is the norm. No sighters, most any shooting position you want.

Most don't split between BP and smokeless so BP is at a disadvantage.

You don't need a $3,000 Shilo or C Sharps and wait 18 months to get one.

45-70 will get you all the bullet sizes and distances you need.

Buy an H&R Handi rifle and or the Uberti High wall and start shooting.

 

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Posted (edited)

Saw this Trapdoor on GB; anyone know the mfg?

https://www.gunbroker.com/Item/899589233#carousel-modal-view-item

 

At some point I'm going to "need" a "proper" rifle for side matches myself.

 

Ps. I contacted the seller and he replied that there are no maker stamps that he knows of on it

Edited by Joeronimo Caffiend
Forgot something...
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1 hour ago, irish ike, SASS #43615 said:

 

He said nothing about BPCR

 

 

We're referring to the rifle name not the competition from which it is derived.  The Browning BPCR is a great rifle at an excellent price typically.

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Lots of folks have recommended MVA sights and they are excellent.  Lee Shaver also makes an excellent sight and might be a bit more budget friendly for you non Rockefellers, Kennedys and now Bidens out there.   http://stores.leeshavergunsmithing.com/.  He is also a wizard and getting an amazing trigger pull from a rolling block.

 

 

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Well I talked to Taylor today. 

A significant difference (possibly) between Pedersolsi and Uberti:

Pedersoli uses machined grooves in their bbls

Uberit uses the "button" process

 

The guy at Taylor asked, "Will you be shooting over 300 yds?"

I had to reply honestly, I have no idea, I'm just thinking here. I plan to move within a year and have no idea of the range at side matches where I'll be moving to.

His reply was if coming up on 300 yds consider Pedersoli, if at 500+, make that your choice.

He also shared with how the triggers operated differently. (Which was good to know. It is easy to read through data and miss the difference between a single trigger and a single set trigger).

 

D**N, I mentioned, you got me spending 700 more, then again isn't that his job? LOL.

 

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