Educational Zone #14 – The Shiloh Sharps .45-70 Long Range Express

I could hardly wait for the opening of “Quigley Down Under”, back in 1990. I had seen the previews and it looked like a great movie. I was not disappointed.

But, while watching the movie, I fell in love with his rifle. I just had to have one.

At the end of the movie, as the other folks were filing out of the theater, I was watching the credits to find what I needed to know. Sure enough, it finally said, “Shiloh Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company, Big Timber, Montana, For the Creation of Quigley’s Rifle”.

I left the theater determined to get one of those rifles.

I discovered that there was a 2+ year waiting period for a rifle. I later found that there had been only one exception to getting in line …… Quigley’s rifle. Oh well, good things come to those that wait. I placed my order.

A little over 2 years later, I got a letter that said mine was coming up for production and did I want to make any changes to my order. I did not.

I wanted an 1874 Long Range Express in .45-70, with extra fancy wood, and an extra long barrel at 34 inches. I wanted a shotgun style butt stock, with vernier long range sights and changeable front aperture sights. It would have a double set trigger. I wanted a spirit level front sight with windage adjustments.

And, I wanted it now. 

I got it a few months later and it was well worth the wait. It was beautiful.

This is it.

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It weighs about 13 pounds, a little heavy for competition, but I wasn’t going to use it in competition.

And the extra weight made it more pleasant to shoot.

The action is simple, but stout. It is a lever action, dropping block.

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When that block comes up behind the base of the cartridge, it shuts like a bank vault.

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Here’s the rear sights.

It is a Long Range Vernier Aperture Sight.

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Here’s the front sight with spirit level.

This helps the shooter make sure that you don’t “cant” the rifle, which will effect impact at long ranges.

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Here are the various inserts for the front sight.

They all seem to work pretty well.

I usually use a target aperture, as it makes sighting on targets easier.

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Quigley’s rifle was in .45-110, but I felt a .45-70 would be more practical.

Friends that had .45-110 rifles said that after a few shots, it wasn’t much fun to shoot.

Even the factory discouraged the .45-110 round for competition, as they said long strings were difficult with the recoil.

This is the ammo.

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I cast my own bullets, either a 510 grain gas checked round nose (Lyman #457406), or a 485 grain flat nose (Lyman #457102). 

Both shoot very well. If a person wanted maximum accuracy, (believe it or not), they would load with black powder. 

Black powder has a very small velocity variation between rounds (Standard Deviation). 

I give up a little by loading smokeless powder, but I also don’t have the mess of black powder to clean up.

My load with the 510 grain RN is 41.0 grains of AA-2495 with Magnum primers.

The double set triggers make shooting really nice.

You pull the rear trigger to “Set” the front trigger.

Then the front trigger is so light that you had better not even touch it until you are ready to fire.

The set screw between the triggers adjusts the weight.

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Here I am shooting off the bench.

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This is a neat picture of the smoke coming out of the action when I remove the empty brass.

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It is capable of better accuracy than I am.

Being a rifle with big, heavy bullets at moderate velocity, the bullet flight path is a big arc.

But, it is easy to adjust the sights to hit a target a long way off.

And, when that 510 grain bullet gets there, it speaks with authority.

Conclusion:
I may never need to thin out a buffalo herd, but if the need arises, I’m ready!