Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Fixing a Flamethrower Carbine

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    175

    Default Fixing a Flamethrower Carbine

    After using it this weekend for the first time this season, I was reminded of just how poorly my Sharps carbine functions, and figured that it's high time to try and fix it.

    I have a Pedersoli '59 Sharps carbine that is at least 15 years old. When I shoot it with blanks a prodigious amount of flame leaks out from both the top and bottom of the block. It is to the point where it is dangerous to hold it in any kind of proper firing position.

    I have heard suggestions in the past, such as putting a rubber gasket behind the face of the block, but I figured I'd try posting here to harness the collective "wisdom." Thanks in advance for advice or suggestions.

    Take care,
    Tom Craig
    1st Maine Cavalry

  2. #2

    Default

    Hallo!

    As always.- first the usual Caveat that it can be hard to diagnose a patient not in the office, and not having gun-in-hand...

    I have lost track,over the years, of the production simplying Italian changes to the "Sharps system" in terms of them having eliminateds the floating gas check/breech block face, and the use of the floating tube style chamber "gas check." Or when, they went back.

    So, i'll start out with three quick ones, and backwards:

    1. Floating Tube Chamber system. Depending on the workmanship or level of QC, the tube can be loose, tight, or frozen in place. I have know guns where it was a bugger to get it out, and I have known lads with the opposite problem of epoxying it into the chamber.

    2. Some lads have had their breech block face with the Italian cast-in place version of a non-functional block gas check milled down so an actual breech blockcheck could be installed.

    3. Wear and tear of the breech, breech block, AND the floating Sharps gas seal can sometimes be reversed by adding shim stock "plate" between the two. That "snugs" down the fit of the plate to the breech and reduces or nearly eliminates (after all it is a Sharps) escaped gas/flash.

    Curt
    In gleichem Schritt und Tritt, Curt Schmidt

    Not a real Civil War reenactor, I only portray one on boards and fora.
    I do not portray a Civil War soldier, I merely interpret one.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    175

    Default

    Curt,
    What you suggest is just about what I've heard before. The floating tube has never floated that I am aware of, and I have no idea if it ever could.

    The face of the block doesn't move, and as far as I can tell never did. The face appears that it could be removed. Any suggestion on who/how I could get a gas check created?

    Take care,
    Tom Craig
    1st Maine Cavalry

  4. #4

    Default

    Hallo!

    I have never been a fan of the Italian "floating sleeve" check that due to QC issues often times does not float or work very well. But I understand the production savings which trickles down to cost savings to the customer.

    I did not check first, but "they" (Taylor's, Dixie) used to sell the tool that extracts the floating sleeve. IF it is not TOO far "off," it can be deburred, polished, and the chamber polished to enable it to function as well as the thing can function under the design and circumstances. But I would hate to recommend buying the thing and it does not solve the problem. Perhaps, some one you know or someone in your group or circles has one and you could get together.
    Anyways, if it does not move or "float" when the pressure in the chamber needs to push it back against the solid breech block face, it will leak. They also leak over time as the sleeve starts to form an impact/wear ring on the breech block face.

    Again, the gun is not here for me to examine and see.. but I will venture a guess that you may have a recent enough repro Sharps that it has a Sharps gas check- BUT I am puzzled as I do not recall the Italians making a Sharps gas cheeck breech when they use the floating sleeve check in the chamber? (Because they simplified production by simply casting what would have been the detachable/removeable check plate to be part of the breech block).

    But Pedersoli has tried three (four?) versions/variations in the past few years trying to get sometmhing that works and holds up (a larger factor with N-SSA skirmishers versus reenactors who NUG fire less rounds AND do not generate breech pressures NUG sufficient to get the sleeve to move backwards and tightly butt against the breech block face!))

    Original Sharps do have a "sleeved chamber" that was adjustable by an armorer to compensate for the floating breech plate wearing. It was discovered with the pre 1859 tailed cartridge that loose power grains debris worked its way between the gas check plate and the breech block face.

    One originals and Shiloh reproductions of originals, the gas seal plate moves forward to seal against the breech by a "pressure differential." At the rear of the gas check plate, an extension fits tightly into a recess made into the block. The extension tapers down towards the rear to somewaht of knife edge. When the round is fired, the gases expand into the recess, applying pressure on the taper. Because the taper is angled slightly , pressure is applied BOTH forward and outward. The breech block moves forward because the recessed area is ever so larger in diameter than the chamber. The pressure from the round is equal in the chamber and breech block area. (The Italian version is straight, it does not taper which reduces its effectiveness.)
    But the larger cavity behind the gas plate creates more surface area for the tons or pounds per square inch to push on. There is greater pressure on the back of the gas plate than on the front. As a result, the gas check/seal moves forward.
    Also, The 'quillotine" or knife edge at the back of the taper also emoves to form a tight seal against the sides of the breech block recess, adding to the seal.

    Sharps found out that the grit and debris from the powder spilled when the tail of the pre 1859 cartridges got between the block and the gas check/seal plate causing it to become loose. So, just before the War, they redesigned the cartridge to not have a tail and that did not require the breech block top to cut through the cartridge any more.

    IF you have a true Sharps type removable plate, there are two recess in its side for a small screw driver to pop it out from its snug fit. If it is the molded solid version there is no plate to pop off/out.

    "O" ring modification...

    Hmmmm. With the full caveat that I am describing the modifcation perhaps best done by a gunsmith, a machinist, or a lad with machinist skills and tools... and NOT necssarily as a "How To Ruin Your Sharps."

    In increasing order of complexity...

    1. .875 diameter "O" ring about .125 thick. Square sided are better, round will work. You take out the pressure plate and insert the "O" ring at the bottom of the recess, then put the plate back in. The breech will operate TIGHTLY, but will eventually get loose as the "O" ring gets worn out, and succumbs to the heat and dries out. So, some lads replace them before and after every event.

    2. Since the "O" ring takes up space.... some lads mill the back of the recess down a tad- the bottom of the recess needs to be .015 less than the diameter of the "O" Ring and the space between the pressure plate and the breech face. A "feeler gauge' is needed).)
    This prevents the really tight working of the loading lever when it closes and compresses down the
    new(er) "O" ring.

    3. Coin method. I got decent improvement with one of my Sile Sharps by smoothing off a Quarter, drilling a hole in its center for the "flash director" cone in the breechblock, and just friction fit tapping it down to the rear of the recess. That put added space for the floating plate to push back against and eliminated gassing. But it required a machinist making several spare plates as the knife edge had to taken down a few thousands of an inch due to the width of the dime.

    4. I won't get into this as it is much more radical. Some lads fit a shaped steel plate over the breech block. Then modify the rear of the chamber to hold two removable, floating ring-like gas checks separated by an "O" ring. When a charge is fired, the gas pressure moving in all directions, pushes back towards the rear. It then pushes the double ring/"O" ring sandwich gas seal backwards against the now solid breech block face, making the gas seal. (AS the "O" rign wears out and dries out from use and heat, it too needs replaced.

    http://good-times.webshots.com/photo...67858381HQCIfe

    And as with the Italian floating sleeve check, it does require cosntant cleaning and maintenance.

    Sorry, I had a bunch of Sharps images but they are trapped in a dead hard drive, so these will have to do:










    Last but not least....

    IMHO, Sharps were not designed to fire blanks. By and large, and for the most part, both the originals and the Italian repro's gas checks systems work less-than-best when a bullet is "sealing" the chamber and exerts significant rearwards pressure. Unforuntately not so much with a blank charge's reduced pressures.

    Curt
    Last edited by Curt-Heinrich Schmidt; 05-01-2012 at 02:27 PM.
    In gleichem Schritt und Tritt, Curt Schmidt

    Not a real Civil War reenactor, I only portray one on boards and fora.
    I do not portray a Civil War soldier, I merely interpret one.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Monessen PA
    Posts
    143

    Default Regarding the chamber sleeve removal tool...

    'afternoon,

    Regarding the chamber sleeve removal tool, I found it to be less than effective. The version I had is sold by Dixie Gun Works, and is two slightly offest brass pieces that when tightened by a central allen bolt grip the inside of the sleeve without damage.

    Where I had an issue is if the sleeve is well and truly frozen in place, the bolt has to be cranked down fairly tightly to get a grip and then hammered from the muzzle end with a brass or wooden range rod to extract the sleeve.

    However, once the sleeve is free, there is no effective way to loosen the allen bolt. In a carbine, I'm told that the sleeve will come all the way out, however, mine are '59 rifles and the sleeve will not come all the way out - the barrel is slightly offset from the loading slot and the sleeve will not clear the offset. (This was the case with both Armi Sport and Pedersolis - I'm not sure about other makes.) We had to wedge the sleeve with a piece of wood between it and the side of the receiver to get the allen bolt loose, and that barely worked - it took several tries.

    Also, because the rifle sleeve will not fully remove, you cannot fully clean it or the chamber.

    Good luck!
    Calum
    Calum Munro

    5th Virginia Infantry, Co H
    http://5thvacompanyh.webs.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    2,425

    Default

    Curt, I think I made a mistake in posting the following in reply to you on the AC Forum, but I'll try again here.

    Tom,
    I've found that the DGW chamber sleeve tool works if the sleeve hasn't been frozen long -- a few days perhaps. For those that have been frozen in place for some time, there's another approach that's not too expensive and doesn't involve any engineering. Here's how a member of my home unit explained it in an e-mail to the group:

    "I found the perfect tool to break the sleeve loose. It's an automotive
    valve lifter puller (Lisle 13750). Unlike the brass tool you can buy
    from your local sutler, it doesn't use friction to grab onto the
    sleeve. Instead it grabs onto the innermost edge of the sleeve.
    There's actually a gap in there between it and where the rifling begins.

    "Once the tool is properly in position, it has a sliding chunk of brass
    (a slide hammer, actually) that you run up the tool away from the
    chamber until it smacks into the handle. After a half dozen hits, the
    chamber reluctantly starts moving, at which point you can pull it out as
    far as it will go and clean all the carbon fouling out.

    "It moves nice and easy now!

    "The tool is about $30 retail - but I happened to have one from when I
    rebuilt my old Buick.

    "Here's one on Amazon:

    "http://www.amazon.com/Lisle-13750-Hydraulic-Lifter-Puller/dp/B000P0VT8C"

    For hard cases some application of heat may be necessary, but the author of the note managed to free up the sleeves on two of our Sharps that had been locked up for years.
    M. A. Schaffner
    Midstream Regressive Complainer

  7. #7

    Default

    Hallo!

    I have read material that says that the Italian Sharps Rifles have floating sleeves that can be removed. But the "Berdan Contract" version does not.
    And, that the Italian Sharps Carbine sleeve cannot be fully removed.

    In doing some archival searches, I found a reply from Pedersoli in 1999 that says that their owner's manual was mistranslated to say "remove" the sleeve when it should have said "move" the sleeve.
    And that it cannot be fully removed as it butts agains the receiver.

    I wish I could be of greater help, but none of the Italian companies send me a sample when they make changes and fiddle with production- so with several companies each with several changes.. I cannot keep up.

    I read this morning that Pedersoli did away with the floating sleeve, and went to a more "Sharps" design, but by not using a tapered gas check/seal plate, they use three "O" rings in the recess to compensate. I have not had the chance to handle or view any with this change that is suposed to be a couple or three years old now.

    In any event, if one has a floating gas check sleeve that does not "float" it will leak gas.

    If it is frozen to the rear, it will work until it wears on the breech block face and gas escapes.

    Curt
    In gleichem Schritt und Tritt, Curt Schmidt

    Not a real Civil War reenactor, I only portray one on boards and fora.
    I do not portray a Civil War soldier, I merely interpret one.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    175

    Default

    Curt and all,
    Thank you to you all for the advice and suggestions, particularly Curt. Being fairly unhandy and not having a wealth of machinist friends, I may just follow David Fox's lead from his post on the AC forum and send the gun off to be worked on by someone who knows how.
    That said, to add to the puzzle for diagnosis...I have been told in the past that Pedersoli bought out Garrett parts etc at some point when Garrett stopped making guns (not sure if that is true or not). My Sharps has a functional Maynard pellet system on it, and the overall accuracy of shape and manufacture suggests that it is a step above the usual Italian import FWIW.
    Thanks so much!
    Take care,
    Tom Craig
    1st Maine Cavalry

  9. #9

    Default

    Hallo!

    You're welcome....

    As shared, I have not kept up with all of the Italian changes by whom and when over the "decades." So, I do not know.

    I would think, guess, it more likely you may have a modified one. For example, my late pard and I put mint original Sharps locks on our Garrett rifles and a carbine. And sold off the Garrett locks with the historically correct functional primer mechanism. (Some lads tease it is not a "functional "primer system/feature as no one makes Sharps pellet primers. But it is only "half-funny" as the majority were used with musket caps.).

    So, some lads have "upgraded" their rifles or carbines by replacing the locks with Garrett locks- and created a "hybrid."

    Curt
    In gleichem Schritt und Tritt, Curt Schmidt

    Not a real Civil War reenactor, I only portray one on boards and fora.
    I do not portray a Civil War soldier, I merely interpret one.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •