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 Bill Hamilton - The last mountain man

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FrontierGander
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PostSubject: Bill Hamilton - The last mountain man   June 27th 2014, 9:07 pm

Ordered a back issue of True West magazine - Dec 2000 and its on the mountain men.

One mountain man from 1842 ran with Bill Williams and this was a very good article! I learned some stuff and was stumped when I read Hamilton's remark about 6 trappers ( he included) trading in their Hawken rifles:

"Six of us traded our old hawkins rifles for sharps rifles brought in by emigrants. The barrels of the hawkins made good substitutes for crowbars. Those were the first sharps we had seen and we found them most effective weapons, our only criticism being that the triggers pulled too hard. We had a gunsmith resight them and fix the triggers, and securing lots of tape caps and ammunition, we practiced for several days. They were equal in accuracy to our old rifles and far superior in effectiveness."


CROWBARS??!?!! WAGH!
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Bear Claw
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PostSubject: Re: Bill Hamilton - The last mountain man   June 27th 2014, 9:10 pm

I've read the metal they used for barrels was so soft you could shave it with a knife.

Obviously they knew how to make hard steel, or the knives wouldn't shave it. They had reasons for making the barrels soft.

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PostSubject: Re: Bill Hamilton - The last mountain man   June 28th 2014, 5:13 am

They were equal in accuracy to our old rifles and far superior in effectiveness."

That's the line that surprises me.

The reference to tapes, along with the time frame, would indicate the Sharps were the paper cartridge variety using Maynard primers.
Once upon a time, I had a Shilo Sharps carbine (made in Farmingdale...wish I still had that one) that shot paper cartridges. It could also be loaded by pointing it muzzle down, dropping the bullet in, and pouring loose powder in the chamber. Any excess powder was swept away by the breech block when the action was closed. There wasn't much, if any, playing around with loads. I think muzzle velocity was around 600 fps. Even if models with longer barrels had slightly longer chambers - and I have no idea if they did or didn't - I can't see 'em having the knockdown, or accuracy, of a front-stuffin Hawken.
Even into the early metallic cartridge era most breech-loaders were woefully underpowered compared to the muzzleloaders still in use.
'Nother thing about the Sharps I had. About every six to ten shots or so I had to take out the breech block and slosh it around in the creek for a few seconds so it would continue to function. Don't know how that problem was handled in combat during the Civil War.
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Spitfire



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PostSubject: Re: Bill Hamilton - The last mountain man   June 28th 2014, 7:22 am

Maybe they just used them as muzzleloaders.
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