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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.
 
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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.
The few front stuffers I've owned had much longer barrels.
I use a mix that a friend gave me the formula for years ago. We call it "Wind's Wonder Wax after my late friend. It appears to be much like SPG black powder lube, and I use it on BP and smokeless loads. It consists of 50% bee's wax, 40% Crisco, and 10% Vaseline by volume.
I use less Crisco in the mix for summer, as I don't want it to be so soft when I'm out in the sun shooting.
 
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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.
 
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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.
My bullets are not dead soft, but around 1:25 mix.
I read old reports from the 1874 Creedmoor matches where shooters used 1:11 mix, but likely those were paper patched bullets, so mix or lube means nothing on them.
I've always shot around 25-30 hardness bullets just because I'm trying to make my tin go farther. Even with smokeless loads I haven't had leading issues.
I'm planning to try some duplex loads in my Sharps because a friend tells me it reduces fouling a lot, so might not need to wipe as often as I do now. I have tried to see how many shots I can get without wiping, and after about 3 shots the 4th is tougher to chamber. So I use bore pigs after each shot, followed by a dry patch to eliminate any moisture left in chamber or bore.
 
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Nice find there! Tell me, does this rifle have the one piece firing pin in the block? If so, watch for those breaking.
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.
Frank Freund tried for years to get Sharps to incorporate his several improvements to extractors, breech blocks, and firing pins; but Sharps refused to change their rifles. They told Freund that if people broke their rifles it was due to improper use, or not cleaning, and not reason to change the design to avoid poor handling.
 
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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!

Regards,
Bill
 
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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!

Regards,
Bill
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.
 
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Nice find there! Tell me, does this rifle have the one piece firing pin in the block? If so, watch for those breaking.
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.
The blowback shield and other parts are also different than a single extractor system on factory Sharps as the 2nd extractor has to have a matching slot to rest in, so parts need to be modified. And the extractors themselves don't have the long "tail" or extension above the extractor arm that stock Sharps use. It ends where the extractor makes a 90 degree turn to catch the rims.
 

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