Exhibit "A" Buffalo Cartridges :
".50-90, .50-100, .50-110 Sharps
In 1872 Sharps introduced their 2 1/2 inch case for .50 caliber bullets. This was in the form of the .50-90 Sharps, soon known as the "Big .50". The same cartridge was also called the .50-100 and .50-110 when loaded with lighter bullets and more powder.
The .50-90 Sharps came about when buffalo hunters clamored for more powerful loads with increased killing power. The .50-90 became one of the mainstay cartridges of the buffalo runners. Its case is a rimmed, straight taper type with a base diameter of .565" and a neck diameter of .528". Case length was 2.5" and COL was 3.2" It used .509" diameter bullets.
Factory loads gave a 335 grain lead bullet a MV of 1475 fps and ME of 1630 ft. lbs., or a 473 grain bullet a MV of 1350 fps and ME of 1920 ft. lbs. A 550 grain bullet could be driven to a MV of about 1275 fps and ME of 1985 ft. lbs.
Cases for reloading and bullet molds are still available as of this writing for the .50-90 Sharps. Some of the Sharps Big .50 rifles remain in use today, and Shilo Sharps Rifles of Big Timber, Montana is once again offering new Sharps rifles in .50-90 caliber.
Sharps put both their .40 and .50 caliber cartridges on a "special order only" basis when they went to the .45-90 cartridge series for their regular production rifles. However, the Sharps Big .50 remains one of the most famous of all the American buffalo cartridges."
The .50-110 was also used by Winchester in it's famous model 1886. :
"This is an example of a truly exceptional one-of-a-kind Winchester Model 1886, Take-Down, Fancy Sporting Rifle that was manufactured in 1894-5. What is truly unique about this rifle is that it is factory documented as being chambered for 50/100 caliber. In a Buffalo Bill Historical Center letter dated January 20th, 1987 Winchester Arms Museum Researcher, William L. Porter, states the following (about this rifle): In researching the Model 1886 records, I found that serial number 97359 was a 50/100 caliber arm when it left the factory. This was the only 50/100 caliber arm recorded. The aforementioned documentation is contrary to the rifle as having the "450" added to "Ex 50-100-450". It is the noted authority R. L. Wilson's opinion (letter included), that the factory remarked the rifle upon it's documented return to the factory on either July 1, 1908 and May 28, 1915. The rifle has a blued barrel and receiver with color casehardened lever, hammer and crescent buttplate. Blued receivers are typically found on special order take-down Model 1886 rifles in this serial number range. The rifle has many rare special order features which include: fancy grade, checkered walnut forearm and pistol grip stock, very rare half-round/half-octagon barrel with full length magazine, matted sighting plane on both the round and octagon portions of the barrel, rare 'Winchester Express' rear sight with two folding leaves, ebony pistol grip inlay and eyelets for detachable sling swivels on the forearm cap and butt. 1895 was the first year that the M1886 Winchester was chambered for this cartridge. The hammer has the early style knurling with double border on the spur. The upper receiver tang is roll stamped: "-MODEL 1886-" and the lower tang is marked: "-PAT.OCT.14.1884./JAN.20.1885-" in two lines behind the trigger. The serial number, "97359" is located behind the lower tang screws. The left barrel flat is roll-stamped with the two-line legend: "MANUFACTURED BY THE/WINCHESTER REPEATING ARMS CO. NEW HAVEN .CONN.U.S.A.", followed by "NICKEL STEEL" below the rear sight and "EX 50-100-450". The oval Winchester proof mark is stamped on the left barrel flat between the caliber designation and the receiver. Besides R. L. Wilson's letter and the factory letter, there is also noted Winchester authority and book author George Madis's letter dated August 1, 1994 about this rare Model 1886 50/100 included in the lot."
A Link to a discussion about the Winchester is HERE. There are many great photos of both the take down and the solid frame rifle.
The .50-110 Sharps is based upon the .50-90 Sharps round. The .50-100 and the .50-110 use a lighter weight bullet with more powder, 100 grains and 110 grains respectively. So technically a .50-90 Sharps can be used as a .50-100 and a .50-110.
There are many reloading supplies for the .50-110 WCF, but very few for the .50-90/.50-100/.50-110 Sharps round. And I feel this is sad as when I fired those .50-110 Sharps many years ago I hit the steel gong first time. I loved the could of smoke, the shove of the rifle, not a kick a shove. And while it was a stout shove it was nowhere near as bad as when I fired a .358 Rem Mag.
So if you see a .50-90 Sharps around for a halfway decent price you might want to consider just how much fun you can have with it.