.25-45 Sharps AR-15 Part 3: First Loads

After months of planning, getting my rifles, and setting them up- it’s finally time to start loading .25-45 Sharps! I’m not sure exactly why, but every time I start to load for a new cartridge, I get a feeling of anticipation and excitement. It’s one of the great things about ammunition reloading as a hobby- there’s always something new to try. I also like the fact that loading 25-45 Sharps is *essentially* loading .223/5.56 but with different dies. You can re-use your existing press setup (primer feed, shellplate/shellholder, toolheads, etc) and just swap in a set of .25-45 Sharps dies. For those of you with “dedicated” .223 reloading setups that’s great news if you want to venture into .25-45 Sharps territory.

Setting Up for First Loads

Let’s talk plan of attack! I’m getting ready for deer hunting, and therefore want to focus on loading a cartridge that will be optimal for that application. I chose the Speer 87 grain Hot-Cor load as the starting point for this deer hunting adventure. I’m starting here with 100 pieces of factory 25-45 Sharps brass, a couple boxes of factory 87 grain Hot-Cor .25-45 Sharps ammunition that I want to duplicate, and a bunch of reloading components. Let me walk you through the inventory here!

25-45-sharps-factory-loads-components-2000

Here’s the full load data for the ammunition I’ll start loading (factory style with virgin brass):

This data was taken directly from the Sharps Rifle Company 25-45 Sharps Load Data Sheet (PDF).

Use load data at your own risk. Ultimate Reloader is not responsible for errors in load data on this website. Always cross-reference load data with manufacturer’s published data.

And here’s the high-level overview of the equipment and supplies I used to load this ammunition:

…and here’s an overview of the press setup:

25-45-sharps-1st-loads-stations

Yes, the Pro-Chucker 7 is “overkill” here from a die station stand-point, but I’d rather have too many stations than too few! Here’s the specifics for die station utilization:

  • Station 1: Redding Sizing Die (backed off, expander ball only)
  • Station 2: Empty (die), priming (bottom of stroke)
  • Station 3: Charging
  • Station 4:Empty (powder visual check at top)
  • Station 5: Redding bullet seating die
  • Station 6: Empty
  • Station 7: Empty

Loading .25-45 Sharps Factory-Style Loads

Results

gavin-shooting-chrono-field-master

I’m really glad I have my MagnetoSpeed V3 chronograph, it’s been put to use frequently, and has been an invaluable tool for load development and evaluation!

 

field-master-chrono-87-grain-2000

I’m really happy with the Standard Deviation of 10.5 fps for 5 shots here- for a gas gun that’s very good! With the 20″ barrel used to test my loads, the energy was as follows:

87 grain bullet X 2839 fps AVG = 1557 ft-lb

Compared with the Sharps load data which used a 24″ test barrel:

87 grain bullet X 2900 fps = 1625 fl-lb

So by shortening the barrel 4″, we lose 68 fps *assuming* the load data is the same. As a follow-up, I’ll chronograph the factory ammunition I have to see how it compares with the 20″ field master rifle I have. Additionally, I’ll compare the 20″ Field Master with the 16″ Range Master to see what an additional 4″ barrel length reduction will do to velocities. This is all so much fun I can’t wait to get the chronograph out again!

You’re going to want stay tuned, lots more .25-45 Sharps stories coming including forming .25-45 Sharps brass from .223/5.56 brass- spoiler alert: it’s fast and cost-effective.

I’m off to go chronograph more loads!
-Gavin

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4 thoughts on “.25-45 Sharps AR-15 Part 3: First Loads”

  1. Thanks for doing this series on the .25-45. I bought mine in November 2014 and have been very pleased with it. I’m hoping it gets more popular and bullet companies start designing bullets for it. My dream is a Hornady InterLock at about 95 grains.

    1. Hornady makes a 100 gr Interlock I believe. I have 1000 of something that Hornady says is a great deer bullet. 90 or 95 would leave a little more powder room, on the other hand.

      I have my 25/45 shooting. Just have to get rid of couple feet of snow to do some good shooting.

  2. Thank you, I have a 16″ barrel in 25×45 sharps can you post data between 16′ and 20″ barrel.Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Larry

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