IAB Sharps Gardone

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TFoley

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Yeah, Gardone is where them IAB guns are made, just like around 99% of all Italian guns.
 

F.G. Ford

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Hi,
I have had an IAB .54 cal. for many years.
When I fist got it, I knew nothing about them.
I would roll a .54 cal. ball into the chamber then fill it with loose powder. It kicked like a mule. One hundred and fifty grains of 3f :doh: What was I thinking?
Later on I found a bullet mold for it and started casting bullets for it.
I also learned about making combustible paper cartridges for it.
I cut paper towel to the appropriate size, soaked the paper towel pieces in a saturated solution of potassium nitrate, then dried the pieces of paper.
After drying, I wrapped each piece of cut paper towel around a wooden dowel, glued the paper and set to dry. When dry I inserted a lubricated cast bullet into the paper cartridge then poured 55 grains of 2F powder, then twisted the paper cartridge then dipped the base into hot wax to hold the twist tight.
The rifle was an IAB sporting rifle, it was amazingly accurate out to three hundred yards.
The bullet drop was incredible, but it was constant enough to keep all bullets into a 12" black at three hundred yards.
To shoot a match I had to remove the sliding breech block and wash ( quickly ) after each five shots, or the gun would seize up.
The above sounds complicated and troublesome, but it was an act of achievement, especially welcomed after kicking butt at the shooting range with such a weird duck.
That gun shot so well that a fellow shooter hounded me for years to buy/trade for it. Foolishly I weakened and traded. A mistake I made with regret.
This is NOT a gun you take out and fire five or six shots and put away wet and forget about. It will rust , seize up and ruin immediately. Your doing, and your fault if not considered.
Shooting one of these guns is a journey back in time when guns were evolving from muzzle loading to breech loading, then to cartridge loading.
This gun gave the shooter a few quick loading shots, all that was needed to get out of a bad situation.
To shoot one of these guns way back when, you needed to be near a supply of water or second hand beer to keep them from seizing up.
If the price of this gun is good enough and you are a serious student of gun history, get it, but be well forewarned they are complicated.
To shoot the longer distances you will want a longer barrel, a carbine just won't do it.
Question: Which model of Sharpes is it?
NOTE! I have had a few Farmingdale Sharpes rifles in cartridge form, Pedersoli Sharpes as well, they all shot well.
Even the Gemmer Sharpes was outstanding, but the lowly IAB Sharpes was the most fun.
Sorry for the long rant.
Merry Christmas!
Fred
 

Cowboy

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Hi,
I have had an IAB .54 cal. for many years.
When I fist got it, I knew nothing about them.

The rifle was an IAB sporting rifle, it was amazingly accurate out to three hundred yards.
I think this also might be the sporting model? Has the longer barrel but is a half stock. Also has checkering on the stocks wrist as well. Definitely not a carbine!

Respectfully, Cowboy
 

F.G. Ford

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I think this also might be the sporting model? Has the longer barrel but is a half stock. Also has checkering on the stocks wrist as well. Definitely not a carbine!

Respectfully, Cowboy

Hello Cowboy,
Yes, that is the same model that I had.
Be well warned, you really have to be an eager student of rifle evolution to enjoy this gun, but when buying this gun you have to really inspect it to see if it has been well cared for.
I would say that replacement parts are few and far between,
The leaver can be bent or twisted from excessive force trying to open a dirty gun.
Even the sliding breech seal can be loaded with pits or damage from unknowing shooters. I actually had my sliding breech seal tool chromed to resist rust, and pitting. It worked!
Depending where you live and shoot, your paper cartridges should be self consuming or you may have unwanted fires from ordinary paper cartridges slowly burning in grasses or dried leaves.
Don't be shy to negotiate the price in your favour, as this is an unknown and unusual rifle.
Best regards!
Fred
 

Cowboy

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Hello Cowboy,
Yes, that is the same model that I had.
Be well warned, you really have to be an eager student of rifle evolution to enjoy this gun, but when buying this gun you have to really inspect it to see if it has been well cared for.
I would say that replacement parts are few and far between,
The leaver can be bent or twisted from excessive force trying to open a dirty gun.
Even the sliding breech seal can be loaded with pits or damage from unknowing shooters. I actually had my sliding breech seal tool chromed to resist rust, and pitting. It worked!
Depending where you live and shoot, your paper cartridges should be self consuming or you may have unwanted fires from ordinary paper cartridges slowly burning in grasses or dried leaves.
Don't be shy to negotiate the price in your favour, as this is an unknown and unusual rifle.
Best regards!
Fred
I appreciate your input and advice Fred. I’ve pretty much decided to pass on this one. With spare parts far and in between coupled with negative out weighing positive reviews? I’ll look at Pedersoli or maybe Shiloh if I decide to go that route.

Want to actually lay my hands on one and spend some face to face time with those who shoot these a lot. I’d imagine Friendship would be a good place to start? I’m only two and a half hours drive from there and try to make their Spring shoot’s each year. Usually spend 3 to 4 days each time I go.

Anyway, like I’ve mentioned earlier, I’m in no hurry to jump right in and buy one. What information I gather here coupled with my own research will go a long way. Especially when I do go to Friendship. I’ll have the opportunity to sit back and watch those who shoot these. Also will have intelligent discussion coupled with hands on time. At least that’s what I’m hoping for? That’s my plan anyway.

Respectfully, Cowboy
 

dave951

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Have a chance to pick one up. It’s .54 cal. and is at a descent price and new. Was sort of thinking about it?

I’d appreciate your input if you shoot these or know anything about what I’ve mentioned above. Would also like to hear the pro’s and con’s about this rifle or its type.

I’m in no hurry to by it! What information you share with me will be a factor in my decision. In the mean time I’ll continue to research.

Lets call this Sharps 101?
I shoot NSSA competition and I shoot IAB Sharps in Carbine competition along with quite a few others.

Ok the real skinny. IAB cartridge guns are very sketchy, you might get a good one, but it's a dicey proposition as they're well known for problems with the chamber boring and fragile internals. If it's a Sharps percussion, then that's different. The barrel steel on them is said by several gunsmiths I trust to be as good or better than Shiloh or Pedersoli. A number of guys in the NSSA shoot IAB and are way, way up in the stats so the guns will shoot (One of those guys took Carbine Aggregate with a fuddy duddy 1863 IAB). There are a couple Sharps experts I know in the NSSA and ALL of them say an IAB is a great starter Sharps that is capable of shooting with any Shiloh or Pedersoli but like most of the repops, you will have to know the idiosyncrasies of the beast.

If you're going to get into the Sharps world, you can shoot either loose ammo or you can be a glutton for tedium and make original style combustible cartridges. OR you can get the breech block mod from either Charlie Hahn or Larry Flees and use Charlie's Tubes. Charlie's Tubes are light gauge cardboard tubes that simply glue on the base of a modified ringtail bullet. The combo of tubes and block mod will allow you to shoot up to 100rds with no issues. Of the ways to shoot the gun most accurately, Charlie's Tubes or loose ammo is hands down the way to go.

So the bad on IAB-
1) Spare parts availability. If something breaks, you MIGHT be able to get a spare. More likely, you'll have to either have the part fixed or modify are part from somebody else. However, in a used IAB, if the part was going to break, since the gun is old, the fragile ones have already broken.
2) Barrels tend to run large. I have two IAB Percussion 1863 Sharps, both shoot .555 bullets.
3) Low resale if you wan to get rid of it. BUT this works in two directions.

The GOOD on IAB-
1) If you can get it cheap, it can be a great shooter. It's a good way to get into the Sharps world.
2) It can be as accurate as any Pedersoli or Shiloh. It really doesn't matter what you get, ammo will dictate how accurate your gun can be.
3) Because of it's reputation because of cartridge gun QC issues, it can be had pretty cheap relative to a Pedersoli or Shiloh, meaning, doing the breechblock mod most in the NSSA do isn't like putting a mustache on the Mona Lisa. You won't regret doing the mod because it greatly helps in sealing the breech and since the gun is cheap, you don't feel bad for doing it. For a "new" condition, price should be about $600. Used in Vgood condition, about $475ish.

For more information on it, do a search on the NSSA boards for Sharps questions and you'll find quite a bit of info regarding Sharps, Hahn, Flees, and breech block mods.
 

Cowboy

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I shoot NSSA competition and I shoot IAB Sharps in Carbine competition along with quite a few others.

Ok the real skinny. IAB cartridge guns are very sketchy, you might get a good one, but it's a dicey proposition as they're well known for problems with the chamber boring and fragile internals. If it's a Sharps percussion, then that's different. The barrel steel on them is said by several gunsmiths I trust to be as good or better than Shiloh or Pedersoli. A number of guys in the NSSA shoot IAB and are way, way up in the stats so the guns will shoot (One of those guys took Carbine Aggregate with a fuddy duddy 1863 IAB). There are a couple Sharps experts I know in the NSSA and ALL of them say an IAB is a great starter Sharps that is capable of shooting with any Shiloh or Pedersoli but like most of the repops, you will have to know the idiosyncrasies of the beast.

If you're going to get into the Sharps world, you can shoot either loose ammo or you can be a glutton for tedium and make original style combustible cartridges. OR you can get the breech block mod from either Charlie Hahn or Larry Flees and use Charlie's Tubes. Charlie's Tubes are light gauge cardboard tubes that simply glue on the base of a modified ringtail bullet. The combo of tubes and block mod will allow you to shoot up to 100rds with no issues. Of the ways to shoot the gun most accurately, Charlie's Tubes or loose ammo is hands down the way to go.

So the bad on IAB-
1) Spare parts availability. If something breaks, you MIGHT be able to get a spare. More likely, you'll have to either have the part fixed or modify are part from somebody else. However, in a used IAB, if the part was going to break, since the gun is old, the fragile ones have already broken.
2) Barrels tend to run large. I have two IAB Percussion 1863 Sharps, both shoot .555 bullets.
3) Low resale if you wan to get rid of it. BUT this works in two directions.

The GOOD on IAB-
1) If you can get it cheap, it can be a great shooter. It's a good way to get into the Sharps world.
2) It can be as accurate as any Pedersoli or Shiloh. It really doesn't matter what you get, ammo will dictate how accurate your gun can be.
3) Because of it's reputation because of cartridge gun QC issues, it can be had pretty cheap relative to a Pedersoli or Shiloh, meaning, doing the breechblock mod most in the NSSA do isn't like putting a mustache on the Mona Lisa. You won't regret doing the mod because it greatly helps in sealing the breech and since the gun is cheap, you don't feel bad for doing it. For a "new" condition, price should be about $600. Used in Vgood condition, about $475ish.

For more information on it, do a search on the NSSA boards for Sharps questions and you'll find quite a bit of info regarding Sharps, Hahn, Flees, and breech block mods.
WOW! Gave me a lot to think about? Appreciate the information Dave. Think I need to get onto the NSSA boards for Sharps. Just want to learn what I can prior to this coming Spring when I make my trip.

Anyway, you definitely gave me a lot to ponder over?

Thank you!

Respectfully, Cowboy
 

dave951

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WOW! Gave me a lot to think about? Appreciate the information Dave. Think I need to get onto the NSSA boards for Sharps. Just want to learn what I can prior to this coming Spring when I make my trip.

Anyway, you definitely gave me a lot to ponder over?

Thank you!

Respectfully, Cowboy
You really should come to our Nationals in Winchester VA. We shoot Civil War arms in live fire competition, no reenactment stuff, just live fire with real bullets. We also compete with artillery in live fire, yup, I'm on a rifled howitzer crew. Nowhere in the US will you see as much Civil War stuff shot live in one weekend as our Nationals. Many guns are originals as are quite a few of the cannon and mortars.
 

Jaegermeister

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Love my Pedersoli Infantry .54! After the O ring modification I can shoot all day without the action freezing up.
 

Stantheman86

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Pedersoli claims, with their CSA Sharps , that you can use loose round balls and powder?

Or just put a bullet into the chamber with loose powder.

I had thought that if people are going to have paper cartridge Sharps rifles worked over to take brass tubes , why not just get a 45-70 unless people in areas where cartridge guns are restricted, are looking for a workaround.
 

Stantheman86

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8d1709d453699784ffff833dffffe904.jpg

Also the Romano Rifle "Keene & Walker" Carbine , using .54 Paper Cartridges.
N-SSA Approved
 

rickystl

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Hello ALL. And Merry Christmas. Glad I noticed this Thread. Appears to be some knowledgeable people, experienced with the percussion Sharps. My opportunity to pick your brains. LOL
Earlier this year I picked up at auction a Pedersoli Berdan Sharps Infantry .54 Rifle, in unfired condition for $425.00 (plus buyers premium and shipping). After some research I sent the gun to Charlie Hahn for his modifications. And while there, a taller front sight installed. From the above reading it sounds like that was the right thing to do. Anyway, a couple of questions.
1) Where is the best place to purchase ready cast bullets ? I use to cast my own but prefer not to as I own too many black powder guns. Guess I should mic the barrel first. LOL
2) The gun was returned to me with a bag of 500 of Charlie's tubes. But for "occasional" shooting it sounds like loose powder and slug will work just as well (?) The tubes look like they will only hold a smaller powder charge (?) What is the volume of powder the breech will hold ? I'm thinking a good starting charge might be 55-60 grains of FFG. Thoughts ?
3) For loose powder and slug I assume we should NOT load powder into the breech directly from a flask for the same reason we don't on a muzzle loader. I seem to recall seeing red colored, soft rubber/plastic type tubes used to simply carry a pre-measured powder charge a a bullet. When you squeeze/twist the tube the bullet and powder would simply drop into the breech. Then just close the breech block and set the tube aside. Has anyone seen these tubes ?

Thanks for any help. Rick
 

dave951

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For bullets- go to the Lodgewood page and look up bullets. Pat is an NSSA member and makes quality stuff. You can never assume the bore size, check it.

Starting charge- try 35-40g 3f Swiss.

Caps- RWS or Schutzen. Current production CCI are garbage for accuracy. A Sharps needs a strong, hot cap and CCI ain't it.

Plastic tubes-
Yoresupply.com. I have no association or personal experience with these.
 

hawkeye2

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Shooting an unsized copy of a Rapine ring-tail bullet and using Charlie's tubes worked well and the length of tube held 42 grains of 2f. +1 on the need for a hot cap "and CCI ain't it"

Some Sharps shooters use the hunting length soft tubes found below. The premeasured charge is placed in the tube which then fits on the ringtail of the bullet. Using the tube the bullet is forced in far enough to be gripped by the rifling. A twist and the tube is withdrawn leaving the loose powder behind. This has to be done with the muzzle pointing down enough so that loose powder doesn't get in behind the forearm as it can build up there and blow the forearm off (extreme case). It isn't necessary or desirable from the point of recoil to completely fill the chamber as the Sharps was designed to be shot that way.

https://www.northeasttradeco.com/online-store
 

Gun Tramp

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Sounds like a lot of muzzleloading enthusiasts are making the switch to breechloaders.
 

Cowboy

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Sounds like a lot of muzzleloading enthusiasts are making the switch to breechloaders.
Most definitely not in my case! I love all aspects of black powder shooting. I would never give up one for the other. I’m just wanting to broaden my education and explore different types?

Compete with flintlock, and love Plains type percussion rifles. Definitely have a love affair for Hawken rifles!

Lastly, I dibble in a little of everything but will never give up muzzleloading for breech loading my friend.

Respectfully, Cowboy
 

Erwan

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Sounds like a lot of muzzleloading enthusiasts are making the switch to breechloaders.
Never for me! I'm ML & BP shooting since more than fifty five years and I'm not going to change anything now...

Sharps is another thing and not a real breech loader and I like it, making good cartridges, searching what goes well at 100 or 200, fighting with the difficulty for 100 or 200 meters is a good experience and a good lesson.
That's true I like this kind of paper and linen cartridges breech loader, did you try it before ?

I have also a lot of pistols and revolvers too since a longer time and you know what : I don't have a Glock or any other gizmo like that, nothing after 1860.

I'm not "modern"..... :D
 

Frank Ambruso

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I had a ped percussion
45 sharps, tuned up breech block and flash plate the installed wave washer to keep seal/flash plate against bbl.

Worked like a dream

Remachined a brass chamber insert and made my own cases out of brass tubing and i think 40 s&w casings soldered in tube.

Again worked like a dream.

Sold it as no one shooting paper or cartridge BP At local shoots.
 

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