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Sharps Rifle.....1500 yard kill?

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Old 05-03-2004, 10:50 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 7
Sharps Rifle.....1500 yard kill?

I've found myself in an argument over whether there is any truth to the legend that Billy Dixon killed an indian at 1538 yards with a Sharps .50-90 rifle. I know the trajectory is absurd, and I know the chances of hitting remote at best, but can anyone run this over ballistically and give me the nuts and bolts? AKA: DUBUNK THIS BS. Here is the article:
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Old 05-03-2004, 11:00 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Fredericksburg VA
Posts: 4,134
Re: Sharps Rifle.....1500 yard kill?

Hope you have some salt and pepper handy for that crow.

Go to "Precision Shooting at 1000 Yards by Dave Brennan" and sold by Sinclair International www.sinclairintl.com. One of the last stories is about them "replicating the famous Billie Dixon shot".

Do not have the article in front of me, but if I remember right they put 3-5 shots on plywood siloutte of horse and rider at the distances quoted in the story.

Also the Confederates used a muzzleloading Whitworth rifle to get 1000-2000 yard hits.

Not common but skilled marksman have pulled it off.

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Old 12-01-2010, 02:23 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Cabot, AR USA
Posts: 85
Re: Sharps Rifle.....1500 yard kill?

Topic re-birth!!!

This is just to good. Was looking for this information the other day....just wandered around the internet and never found any evidence one way or the other....
I look around on the link provide above, but found nothing....wierd?

Be a great show for the MythBusters!!!

I make some of the finest writing instruments available. My favorite is the Cartridge Pen and closely followed by Fountain/Rollerballs.....
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Old 12-01-2010, 04:01 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 2,615
Re: Sharps Rifle.....1500 yard kill?

I saw a good documentary program concerning that. The indians stopped at a spot he had been practicing with his rifle so he knew where to hold. Best they could determine from historical info from both indians and settlers, he made the shot and hit I think the arm and then the leg of a cheif. I think the first shot broke his arm.
Predictions are difficult, especially when they involve the future
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Old 12-01-2010, 05:07 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 13
Re: Sharps Rifle.....1500 yard kill?

Mythbusters would shoot the ground 100 feet in front of them and say its not possible. Needless to say I take any mythbusters info with a pound of salt. Reason is the one show I saw and they couldnt shoot a 9mm into a 38 special cylinder from the front. They concluded it is simply not possible because they said the 9mm is bigger than a .38 anyways :P. Which it is not.

Anyways I read an article in Shooting times I believe it was that concluded it was most likely a lucky hit although in a 3 day siege where 2000 plus rounds were fired anything could happen. The researchers also figured 300 fps was needed to be lethal for the big bullets in that fight and at 1500 yards the big bullets still had more than enough power to kill. I believe they wrote the max bullet travel for those big guns was something like 3500 yards.
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Old 12-01-2010, 05:55 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Sedalia, MO
Posts: 1,253
Re: Sharps Rifle.....1500 yard kill?

Several years back I did some work for LASD consulting on a homicide case in which a woman was killed at about 950 yards. The gun in question was a short barreled (2" or 4", can't recall for sure) .38 Special. They'd arrested a guy for discharging a firearm, and shortly thereafter had another (separate) call involving a victim of a shooting about a half mile away. The gun was loaded with military 38 Special 130 grain FMJs, a fairly unusual ammo we didn't run across too often. Guess what it was that they popped out of the victim? The initial question (where I got pulled in) was, "is this possible?" Working the trajectory and the exterior ballistics of the round, yeah, it was possible. They got a ballistic match when they examined the bullet and the guy went to prison for it. In that case it wasn't an intentional shot on his part, but she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Billy Dixon made an intentional shot, but I do recall an interview with him years later where he readily acknowledged that there was a fair bit of luck involved in the shot. Still, pretty impressive.

Hey, weird things happen!

Kevin Thomas
Lapua USA
Kevin Thomas
Lapua USA
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Old 12-01-2010, 06:09 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Great Falls, MT
Posts: 4,601
Re: Sharps Rifle.....1500 yard kill?

Check this out 1760 yard open sight with Sharps (IIRC .45-100) ...


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