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CSA .40-70 Straight success finally...kind of
06-07-2016, 10:26 PM
Post: #1
CSA .40-70 Straight success finally...kind of
I've been having trouble getting a C. Sharps 1874 in .40-70 Straight to shoot like I think it should. I've been shooting BPCR for years but just hadn't quite got this rifle to shoot well. I have been shooting 20-1 375 grain GG bullets from a Steve Brooks mold, seated just into the rifling. This seems to work in my other CSA in .45 2 1/10th, which will shoot 7/8" groups at 100 yds. also with a Brooks bullet. I finally found that 62 grains of 2f OE with a .030 veg fiber wad gets pretty good results, but there was room to work still. Today, I loaded up 50 rounds with the 62 gr OE load, but with the bullet set back to jump a little into the rifling. Also, I loaded half of them with .060 wads.

I was not getting the results I had hoped for when shooting the loads with the .030 wads. I cleaned the rifle, and then started shooting the loads with the .060 wads. I have never seen such an immediate dramatic change in rifle performance than this rifle with the thicker wads. Even my fouling shots were all grouped in a tight group and I have never had that happen. My rifles typically take about four shots to settle in to shooting groups. I then shot ten round strings on clean targets. My next seven shots went into a 3/4" group and I couldn't have been happier. Then, ...I shot a flyer about an inch out. No big deal, I thought. My 61 year old eyes do that on a regular basis. The potential of this load still had me excited as this has been a long process, and I had been running out of tricks to tweak this load. I fired the next two rounds of the string and each one flew a little further out. Sh!t.

I then shot the final ten round string and it was a disaster. I was at a total loss as to what was going on. I did notice, though, that on two of the rounds, the breach acted like it wanted to stick in place. The rifle had never done that before, but I though maybe I had pierced the primers. I was shooting BR-2s, and have had that happen with a Savage Model 12 in 6.5 Creedmoor with a pretty hot load, spo wrote it off to that batch of primers. Finally, while cleaning the rifle at home, the breach totally locked up in the closed position. I then remembered people in the forums talking about firing pins breaking on Sharps '74s. I took my cleaning rod, ran it down the barrel and pushed the firing pin back into the breach block, and it freed right up. I took the breach block apart, and sure enough, a broken firing pin. It was my first and was sure as hell frustrating after having such a success finally, and then having it fall apart. Kind of like jamming on the gas pedal and then standing on the brakes. Oh well, I'm a little wiser. (I hope.)

When I get the new firing pin (plus a spare!) installed, I'll get back to work with the .060 wads, and then some 400 grain bullets as well.
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06-07-2016, 11:54 PM
Post: #2
RE: CSA .40-70 Straight success finally...kind of
I've been getting good results in the CSA Hepburn 40-70 with 69 gr. of OE 1 1/2, with most bullets. So far the bullet that it shoots consistently the best is a .400 diameter 360 gr patched bullet.

A wise man can always be found alone. A weak man can always be found in a crowd.
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06-08-2016, 08:26 AM
Post: #3
RE: CSA .40-70 Straight success finally...kind of
Thanks, Don. I had read your thread on your Hepburn and was impressed with your results with the .40-70. I was also surprised you were getting that much powder in your cases. I started out using .405 Winchester cases that were trimmed to length. I definitely couldn't get that much powder in those. I am now using the Captech cases, which I really like, and probably could get more powder than what I am using in them. That is nice brass. Now that the rifle looks like it will perform with the thicker wads, I'll be giving the heavier bullets a try as well. I haven't experimented with paper patching yet, but am sure I will.

The broken firing pin was quite a surprise to me. I had read how greatly the accuracy could fall off when this happens. When it actually happened, I was surprised at how dramatically it occurred. I guess I don't quite understand the dynamics of how that broken firing pin (that still fires the round) can affect accuracy. Everything seemed to ignite as usual. The target illustrated otherwise, though.

I like that CSA Hepburn. I've got an original in .40-50 Straight. It's a pleasure to shoot and very accurate.
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06-08-2016, 09:23 AM
Post: #4
RE: CSA .40-70 Straight success finally...kind of
Those broken firing pins can really bugger a fella up. Had it happen to me at the nationals, shooting some excellent scores and then every thing went to pot. No good explanation until I went to clean the rifle up the second day and the breech wouldn't open...
I haven't shot it much in this rifle but the rcbs 400 csa bullet showed some promise as did the boring old lyman snover.

A wise man can always be found alone. A weak man can always be found in a crowd.
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06-08-2016, 11:03 AM
Post: #5
RE: CSA .40-70 Straight success finally...kind of
I've got a 410 grain mold from Accurate waiting to try. In fact, I'm casting today since I'm waiting on a firing pin.
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06-08-2016, 03:30 PM
Post: #6
RE: CSA .40-70 Straight success finally...kind of
Tom makes good moulds. Looking forward to seeing your results when you get a chance.

A wise man can always be found alone. A weak man can always be found in a crowd.
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07-21-2016, 10:20 AM
Post: #7
RE: CSA .40-70 Straight success finally...kind of
(06-08-2016 03:30 PM)Don McDowell Wrote:  Tom makes good moulds. Looking forward to seeing your results when you get a chance.

I had success doing something when using the 060 thick wads.
Use two wads of newspaper over the 060, under the bullet.
This prevents the wad from sticking to the bullet.
Even a few feet of a heavy wad stuck to the bullet will throw it off target.
two paper wads allow the 060 to fall free and if one of the paper wads stay on the bullet, unlikely as it would be, it would not throw off the round.
it works.....Ken
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07-21-2016, 12:31 PM
Post: #8
RE: CSA .40-70 Straight success finally...kind of
Try 1 coffee filter paper.
Gary

Hav'n you along, is like losing two good men.....
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09-20-2016, 11:14 AM
Post: #9
RE: CSA .40-70 Straight success finally...kind of
I shoot an original 40 70 SS, Sporting rifle 1874,

load...57 1/2 Swiss 1+1/2, 060 wad, 389 Brooks nose pour,
55W PP, a 330 Hotch base pour is good too.

now. where and how are you having your firing pin fixed?
I see full firing pin blocks are for sale, wonder if that would work?

mine is fine,,,BUT who know.....

Thanks...Ken
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12-09-2016, 08:51 PM
Post: #10
RE: CSA .40-70 Straight success finally...kind of
throck3

Now let me ask, was it the .060" wad that made the difference? or was it the extra .030" you compressed the powder using that wad? Smile

The reason a dog has so many friends is because he wags his tail instead of his tongue.
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