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50 cal. - 3 1/4" Winchester Cartridge
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July 12, 2023 - 3:17 am
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This is a very obscure cartridge and from some records I have, 2 1885 high walls were chambered for this cartridge.  It has also been called the 50-140 Sharps.  No Sharps rifle has ever been recorded as having been made in this caliber and the factory was financially finished by 1880 and it’s doors closed in 1881.  Bert, do you have the dates of when those two rifles were made by Winchester? I’m just trying to get a fix on how this cartridge became known as the 50-140 Sharps when the 1885 didn’t come out until 4 or 5 years later.  Was this an advertising ploy by Winchester to use the Sharps name?

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July 12, 2023 - 3:45 am
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Both rifles were manufactured in the year 1894 (S/Ns 63042 and 66363), and they were both received in the warehouse on March 13th, 1894 on the same Order # 8884.  One person apparently ordered both rifles and had them rifled with different twist rates.  Apparently, he wanted to shoot light bullets in one rifle and heavier bullets in the second rifle (for longer range shooting).

The first rifle is listed as “50 – 3¼” 30-inch No. 3 barrel and “44 in Twist”

The second rifle is listed as “50 – 3¼” 30-inch No. 4 barrel and “30 in Twist”

I have not (yet) personally encountered either rifle, but I most certainly hope to find them someday.

Bert

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July 12, 2023 - 4:41 am
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Old-Win said
 I’m just trying to get a fix on how this cartridge became known as the 50-140 Sharps when the 1885 didn’t come out until 4 or 5 years later.  Was this an advertising ploy by Winchester to use the Sharps name?

  

That’s what Barnes calls it, & believed it was introduced 1880, just as Sharps was going under, hence no rifles made for it, though he speculates some older .50s may have been rechambered for it.  Logan shows a Winchester headstamp marked “50 140 Ex” & a UMC headstamp marked “50 3-1/4.”

Winchester’s earliest ad for their new SS described it as having the same breeching action as the Sharps, so making use of the Sharps name for this cartridge might make advertising sense.  But where was it advertised?  Not in any Winchester catalogs I’ve seen. 

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July 12, 2023 - 11:00 pm
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Thank you for the information, guys!

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July 16, 2023 - 9:05 pm
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Bert, was there ever the mention of the word Sharp’s in the description  of those two rifles?

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July 17, 2023 - 3:10 am
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Old-Win said
Bert, was there ever the mention of the word Sharp’s in the description  of those two rifles?

  

No, there was not.

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July 17, 2023 - 4:42 pm
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Old-Win said
Bert, was there ever the mention of the word Sharp’s in the description  of those two rifles?

  

Fastest & cheapest way to get word of new products out to shooters were ads in weekly sporting periodicals like Forest & Stream & American Field.  If “Sharps” was used anywhere, might have been there.  Wouldn’t appear that or any other advertising was very effective, if only two orders for this chambering were placed.

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July 17, 2023 - 6:38 pm
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The 3-1/4″ cartridges have always intrigued me.  I have a Winchester box of 40-90 Straight Shell 3-1/4″ cartridges.  The box says for Winchester Single Shot and Sharps rifles.  We all know that Sharps never chambered a gun in any caliber that was 3-1/4″ long.

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July 17, 2023 - 8:02 pm
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Chuck said
The 3-1/4″ cartridges have always intrigued me.  I have a Winchester box of 40-90 Straight Shell 3-1/4″ cartridges.  The box says for Winchester Single Shot and Sharps rifles.  We all know that Sharps never chambered a gun in any caliber that was 3-1/4″ long.

  

Seems someone in ad dept. believed there was “magic” in the old Sharps name…though not enough to keep company in business.

Once had a .40-90 Ballard Long Range, but its case was “only” 3-1/16″. 

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