.50-140 Sharps
.50-140 Sharps cartridges
Type Black-powder rifle
Place of origin USA
Service history
Used by USA
Production history
Designed 1884
Produced 1884
Parent case .50 Basic
Case type Rimmed, straight-taper
Bullet diameter .512 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Neck diameter .529 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Shoulder diameter .529 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Base diameter .551 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Rim diameter .652 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Case length 3.25 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Overall length 3.95 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Primer type Large rifle
Ballistic performance
Bullet weight/type Velocity Energy
638 gr (Bad rounding hereScript error g) FN1,413 ft/s (Bad rounding hereScript error m/s)2,829 ft·lbf (Bad rounding hereScript error J)
Test barrel length: 30"
Source(s): The Complete Blackpowder Handbook [1]

The .50-140 Sharps rifle cartridge is a black-powder cartridge that was introduced in 1884 as a big game hunting round.[1] It is believed to have been introduced for the Sharps-Borchardt Model 1878 rifle.[2] The cartridge is very similar to the .500 Nitro Express.[3]

This round was introduced by Winchester 3 years after the Sharps Rifle Company closed its doors in 1881. It is similar to, though larger than, the .50-90 Sharps.


Bullet diameter was typically .512 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm), with weights ranging from 600 to 700 grains (Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character "[". to Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character "[". g) were used.

The powder charge was typically 140 grains (Bad rounding hereScript error g) of black powder. Modern substitutes such as Pyrodex are sometimes used, although using smaller charges since pyrodex is less dense than black powder.[4] In a strong action with modern smokeless powder it can exceed a 500-grain (Bad rounding hereScript error g) .458 Winchester Magnum velocity while using a heavier 550-grain (Bad rounding hereScript error g) bullet.[5]

History Edit

The .50-140 was created specifically with big game hunting in mind, and was the most powerful of the Sharps Buffalo cartridges.[5] However, this cartridge was introduced about the time that the last of the great buffalo herds had been destroyed.[6] An obsolete round, ammunition is not produced by any major manufacturer although reloading components and brass can be bought.

Rifles are produced on an infrequent basis by a few companies. The rifles are typically used for buffalo hunting and reenactments. Occasionally the .50-140 is used in vintage competitions, but it produces more recoil than other old-time cartridges such as the .45-70, and so is used less frequently.

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Complete Blackpowder Handbook (3rd Edition), Book by Sam Fadala, Krause Publishing, 1996 p.248
  2. Script error
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  • Accurate Smokeless Powders Loading Guide Number Two (Revised), Book by Accurate Arms Co, Wolfe Publishing, 2000 p. 371

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