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!
Here’s the full load data for the ammunition I’ll start loading (factory style with virgin brass):
- .25-45 Sharps new brass
- Speer 87 Grain Hot-Cor 25 caliber bullets (#1241)
- Federal Small Rifle Primers (No. 205)
- Hodgdon H335 spherical powder – 28.0 grains
- 2.240″ COL
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:
- RCBS Pro Chucker 7 progressive reloading press
- RCBS Pro Chucker 7 Shellplate #10 (Same as for .223/5.56)
- Redding .25-45 Sharps custom-series 2-die set (#80174)
- L.E. Wilson custom .25-45 Sharps Case Gage
…and here’s an overview of the press setup:
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
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!
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!