.50-140 Sharps

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 Black Powder Express.[3]

.50-140 Sharps
50-140 sharps.jpg
.50-140 Sharps cartridges
TypeBlack-powder rifle
Place of originUSA
Service history
Used byUSA
Production history
Parent case.50 Basic
Case typeRimmed, straight-taper
Bullet diameter.512 in (13.0 mm)
Neck diameter.529 in (13.4 mm)
Shoulder diameter.529 in (13.4 mm)
Base diameter.551 in (14.0 mm)
Rim diameter.652 in (16.6 mm)
Case length3.25 in (83 mm)
Overall length3.95 in (100 mm)
Primer typeLarge rifle
Ballistic performance
Bullet mass/type Velocity Energy
638 gr (41 g) FN 1,413 ft/s (431 m/s) 2,829 ft⋅lbf (3,836 J)
Test barrel length: 30"
Source(s): The Complete Blackpowder Handbook [1]

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 is typically .512 in (13.0 mm), with weights of 600 to 700 grains (39 to 45 g).

The powder charge is typically 140 grains (9.1 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 (32 g) .458 Winchester Magnum velocity while using a heavier 550-grain (36 g) bullet.[5]



The .50-140 was created for big game hunting, and was the most powerful of the Sharps Bison cartridges.[5] However, it was introduced about the time of the end of the great Bison herds.[6] An obsolete round, ammunition is not produced by any major manufacturer although reloading components and brass can be acquired or home-built.

Rifles are infrequently produced by a few companies. They are typically used for bison hunting and reenactments. Occasionally, the .50-140 is used in vintage competitions, although some shooters claim it produces heavier recoil than other old-time cartridges such as the .45-70.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b The Complete Blackpowder Handbook (3rd Edition), Book by Sam Fadala, Krause Publishing, 1996 p.248
  2. ^ Walter, John (2006). The Guns that Won the West: Firearms on the American Frontier, 1848-1898. Greenhill Books. p. 264. ISBN 978-1-85367-692-5.
  3. ^ Wieland, Terry (2006). Dangerous-Game Rifles. Countrysport Press. p. 283. ISBN 978-0-89272-691-2.
  4. ^ Fadala, Sam (2006). The Complete Blackpowder Handbook (5th ed.). Gun Digest Books. p. 203. ISBN 978-0-89689-390-0. Second, Pyrodex provides more shorts per pound than blackpowder because it is less dense.
  5. ^ a b ".50-140 Sharps" (PDF). Accurate Powder. Western Powders Inc. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2004-02-05. Retrieved 23 September 2010.
  6. ^ Hawks, Chuck. "Bison Cartridges of the American Frontier". ChuckHawks.com. Archived from the original on 10 October 2010. Retrieved 23 September 2010.
  • Accurate Smokeless Powders Loading Guide Number Two (Revised), Book by Accurate Arms Co, Wolfe Publishing, 2000 p. 371

External linksEdit