The few front stuffers I've owned had much longer barrels.I no longer have that rifle, but I was using the 1881, 500 grain army bullet, so as I recall, three grooves and fairly deep. The lube was a vasoline / bees wax mix that I've used in my muzzleloaders for years. Granted, the front stuffers didn't have a 34" barrel.
My bullets are not dead soft, but around 1:25 mix.All my muzzleloaders were 'mountain rifles', the slightly shorter model of the Hawken, with only a single wedge pin; and I never had any lube issues with those. But the Sharps didn't seem to carry the lube as well. I think I was also using too hard a bullet too. I was told afterthe fact that I should be using dead soft, when I was using something slightly softer than wheel weight lead.
This Sharps has the Freund improved firing pin system, which raises the hammer on opening the lever to avoid breaking firing pins. I still bring it to half cock before opening the lever, but have occasionally forgotten, and the Freund improvement saves me from harming a firing pin.Nice find there! Tell me, does this rifle have the one piece firing pin in the block? If so, watch for those breaking.
Ballantine's book on Freund & Bro. documents the Freund firing pin improvement (and other improvements) which he sent to Sharps for their consideration. His book has copies of letters the Freund family heirs kept from correspondence with the factory concerning implementing all the Freund modifications, and those are included in Ballantine's book also.Myself and my late best friend had been involved in Sharps rifles for a good many years, having had a number of originals (mainly 1874's with a few Borchardts thrown in). My friend had a 1869 Conversion, and it had been rebarreled by the factory to 45- 2 7/8", a heavy 16# 30" barrel. We all know the importance of placing the hammer to half cock, even with modern Sharps. The breakage of the firing pin I speak of doesn't occur with the pointed end, but in the casting itself from the hammer blow. They tend to break somewhere inside the block. I think Buffalo Arms carried replacement firing pins at one time, but those had to be hand fitted and very time consuming. They were also quite expensive, about $125.00. Those would break as well. I know Freund did a number of improvements, but I can't find any indication that the firing pin itself was changed from the original. Hope you enjoy your piece of history!
This rifle has a two piece firing pin system. Finally took the action down today to look at how the firing pin, and dual extractors all worked and fit together. Came apart fine, but almost needed a third hand to get both extractors in place, and hold them partway in as I slid the breech block in, and then eased the dual extractors into their recesses. Finally got it all with the help of a brass punch to keep things aligned as I inserted the takedown pin/lever. But I ended up removing the lever spring also as it was fighting me while trying to align it all.Nice find there! Tell me, does this rifle have the one piece firing pin in the block? If so, watch for those breaking.