I absolutely love the AR-15 rifle platform. The AR-15 is iconic and historic, it’s modular, it’s affordable, it’s compact and light weight, it’s fun to shoot- and it even looks cool! The AR-15 platform is also quite versatile- a great option for defense, target shooting and competition, and even varmint hunting. But what about big game hunting? In the context of the AR platform, many would default to the AR-10 for big game hunting. But the AR-10 is heavier, bulkier, and has much heavier recoil when compared to the AR-15. Enter the .25-45 Sharps. This new cartridge from the Sharps Rifle Company essentially punches the .223 cartridge from .22 caliber to .25 caliber (which measures close to 6.5mm in diameter). By doing this, the knock-down power is greatly increased (~80-100 grain projectiles compared with ~40-60 grain for .223) while preserving 100% interoperability with the existing AR-15 rifle platform (including magazines). The only real difference between a traditional AR-15 and a .25-45 Sharps AR-15 is the barrel. This makes the .25-45 Sharps AR-15 an attractive semi-auto deer hunting choice.
Here’s a side-by-side view comparing the .25-45 Sharps to the .223 Remington:
If all of this sounds interesting- you’re in the right place! This post and video kicks off a content series that will be the most in-depth and most comprehensive resource for the .25-45 Sharps, period! I’m looking forward to bringing you all stories about .25-45 Sharps rifles, the .25-45 Sharps cartridge and ballistics, forming .25-45 Sharps cases from .223, handloading the .25-45 Sharps, and of course hunting with the .25-45 Sharps. This is going to be fun- a LOT of fun!
In order to make this series as complete as possible, I’ve picked up two AR-15 rifles chambered in .25-45 Sharps- one with a 16″ barrel, and one with a 20″ barrel. This will paint a complete picture of the handling characteristics, velocities, ballistics, and performance data for the range of options you have when you buy or build a rifle or upper chambered in .25-45 Sharps. Let’s get to it!
In the video you literally saw my first 5 rounds through any .25-45 Sharps rifle. These rifles are very well built, and are loaded with great features! Let’s take a more in-depth look at each of the rifles I just introduced you to.
Sharps Range Master
The Sharps Range Master is Sharps’ baseline rifle package, but like all of their rifles is customizable via the product page.
Here’s the complete specs for my Range Master rifle:
*Price as of 09/2016, subject to change
Sharps Field Master
The Sharps Field Master is a step up from the Range Master. The key differences between my Field Master rifle compared with my Range Master rifle are the lack of sights, lack of muzzle accessory, handguard, trigger, and barrel.
Here’s the complete specs for my Field Master rifle (also customizable on the product page):
*Price as of 09/2016, subject to change
As a bonus, the Field Master also comes with 100 rounds of 87 grain .25-45 Sharps ammunition that’s ideal for deer hunting.
What to Expect in this Series
Like I said earlier, this series will be the most comprehensive with regard to the .25-45 Sharps, and here’s the list of topics that I’m planning to cover:
- .25-45 Sharps Cartridge and Ballistics Overview
- Forming .25-45 Sharps from .223/5.56 brass
- .25-45 Sharps Handloading Fundamentals
- Working up .25-45 Sharps Loads
- .25-45 Sharps -vs- .223 Remington (performance and ballistics)
- Advanced .25-45 Sharps Handloading for Precision
- Optics and accessories for the SRC Range Master and SRC Field Master
- Hunting with the .25-45 Sharps (hopefully both Deer and Coyote)
That’s what I’m thinking at this point… I’m certainly open to suggestions as I’d love to cover the topics that *you* are interested in! If you want to follow along, please be sure you’re subscribed to my YouTube channel, my Facebook Page, and this blog:
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4 thoughts on “.25-45 Sharps AR-15 Part 1: Kick-Off and Rifles Overview”
I think it is awesome you are doing a series on this cartridge. Seems like from everything I have read on it, people either love the idea, or dont see a need. I am currently building an AR15 with a 20″ 25-45 barrel and developing handloads myself. There is not a great deal of information out there on hand loads, especially if you are looking for load data on the 90-110 grain bullet range. I am currently experimenting with the 90gr Sierra blitzking bullets because of the high BC. I tend to lean towards H4895 powder, not because its the best, but because it works well with so many calibers up and down the spectrum. My intention is to test the maximum range and accuracy of the 25-45 sharps and see how reliable it is. I have already seen one guy on Youtube take the 25-45 out to 800 yards which really speaks volumes to the versatility of this caliber.
Look forward to seeing more from you, and keep up the good work.
There is a Facebook page dedicated to this round with lots of people posting load data and pics.
Accurate 2460 and H335 work great in my .25-45. Flat base bullets tend to group better than boat tails. The 100 grain Sierra Pro Hunter works great in my rifle.
I have used Ramshot Exterminator as recommended by Sharps (SRC). It shot well. I carried the 25/45 for deer but the deer showed up when I had the 44 Mag, darn it.
I have about 100 rounds loaded and am waiting for the snow to go away, about 8-9 more weeks.