Sharps & Hankins

Continuing the discussion from .52 Sharps & Hankins/.54 Ballard:

Hey, thanks for your help. It seems that the key measurement is the case length. My “b” specimen comes up 3-4 mm short.
What does the bullet look like? How is it distinguished from the Spencer? Is yours the type II bullet with the wad post in the base?
I wasn’t able to respond in the previous thread because new members are only allowed two responses.
But thanks again for the helpful response

Greetings Hankins,

The Sharps & Hankins typically had a rounded or flat tipped bullet with one or no exposed grease groove. They also had longer cases. The military contract 56-56 Spencers had long pointed bullets with two exposed grease grooves and a shorter case.

The Sharps & Hankins rifle cartridges weighted in the 570 to 590 grain range while the military contract 56-56 typically weigh slightly less, 530 to 560 grains. These weights are can vary.

Commercial 56-56 varied in both bullet types and weights but all had the shorter cases.

Military contract 56-50 Spencers had longer cases with excessive bullet crimp and no visible bullet grooves. typically they weighted in around 460 grains.

Thanks for this info. It’s the second type of Sharps & Hankins bullet (with the felt wad) that has visible grease groves (cannelures). I still have trouble distinguishing these from some Spencer rounds. Is case length the key to easy identification?

Case length is a good way to tell the difference.
In John Barbers book " The Rimfire Cartridge in the United States and

Canada" he list the case length on the Sharps and Hankins rifle cartridge as 1.133 to 1.211 inches and the 56-56 Spencer as 0.897 to 0.925 inches. The 56-52 Spencer is listed as 0.910 to 1.170 but can be easily distinguished by the smaller bullet diameter (0.52").

On Page 171 of Barbers book he shows X-rays of 9 Sharps and Hankins rifle and Carbine cartridges using the Elliot Patent bullets.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge and insights.
What was the thinking behind the Elliot Patent bullet design? Why the wad and the post that centered it? It seems unnecessarily complicated and contributed to excessive bullet weight.
Does anyone know what they lubricated these cartridges with? How did they keep the lubricant from the powder? Might that have been the reason for the wad?

The Elliot Patent No 35,872 just covered the tubular linen patch applied to the bullet. This seamless patch was reported to increase the accuracy.
The pin on the base was intended to center and secure this patch. The patent and bullet are briefly discussed in Dean Thomas “Round Ball to Rimfire” Vol II. as well as John Barbers book
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Wow. You really come up with some good stuff!
I notice that it doesn’t show a centering post and the patch extends well beyond the case mouth, covering most of the bullet. Have you ever seen a Sharps & Hankins configured like this Elliot Patent?
I’ll check Thomas’ book for details.
Thanks again.