BPCR 45 x 3 1/4" Sharps Rifle

Discussion in 'General Firearms Discussion' started by greg_r, Mar 3, 2016.

  1. greg_r

    greg_r Lifetime Supporter

    A recent poll Kirk started got me to reminiscing. Back to the late 1980'early 1990's. My friend and mentor "Pete" got me into Black Powder Cartridge Rifle silhouette shooting. Chicken's offhand at 200 meters, pigs at 300 meters, turkeys at 385 meters and rams at 500 meters (547 yards). The pigs, turkeys and rams were shot off of crossed shooting sticks.

    I used Pete's Rolling Block Remington replica. Lots of fun! I wanted my own rifle, but couldn't afford one. Kept looking at the used gun racks hoping to find a used H&R Shikari. Never did find one, but I did find a used H&R Handi Rifle. (This is what got me into collecting Handi Rifles, but that's another story) Finally, my own BPCR legal rifle! I never did feel quite right with it, just didn't have the classic look, but it was my own, didn't have to borrow Pete's anymore! I had a RCBS Pardner Press and bought a set of Lee 45/70 dies along with a 500 grain 45 caliber bullet mold. I used the factory supplied sights, FFG black powder, and lubed the bullets with Crisco. The chickens were hard, I did well with the pigs and turkeys, not so well with the rams, but better than with the chickens! Did I say chickens offhand at 200 yards were hard!

    Then one day around 1995 or'96, H&R reintroduced the Wesson and Harrington. They called it the Buffalo Classic. It came with a 32" inch barrel, a full 10 inches longer than my Handi Rifle and was chambered in 45-70. Best of all, it was not $1000, but just under $300! I immediately bought one. I remember it came without sights. I mounted Williams target aperture sights that were recommended for it. Finally I had it chambered to 45 x 3 1/4" Sharps Straight (45-120) and bought the RCBS 3 die set. Now I could load another 40 grains of powder behind the big 500 grain bullet. I had the barrel length to burn the extra powder and boosted the velocity of my Crisco lubed bullets to near 1500 fps, nearly 500 fps faster than what I was getting with the same bullet in my 45-70. Hits on the ram became easier and the big bullet almost always toppled the 50 pound ram.

    All good things must come to a end, and my BPCR silhouette shooting did the summer of 1999. We went to enjoy a week at the beach and we came home to a burned out hull of a house. Talking to the dectective, we discussed the safe, my wife's jewlrey, our important papers and my firearms. The safe was gone. It had been pried from the wall and floor mounts and using my push mower as a dolly, pushed through the woods to the railroad tracks in my bottom where it was loaded on a pickup truck. The lawnmower was there along with some other stuff. The tracking dogs were brought in and they went straight to the door of our neighbor, the very same boy, my daughter's friend, who she had asked to watch over our place while we were gone.

    I kept saying I was going good to buy another Buffalo Classic and have it reamed to 45 x 3 1/4" Sharps Straight. I kept putting it off. Then one day they quit making them. I did get sort of lucky though. Was at Academy a few hours away from home when I spied a Handi Rifle in the rack. While it was not a Buffalo Classic, it was a 45-70. It came home with me.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2016