NRA 2014: The Relia-bolt & Sharps 25.45

Sharps Rifle Company had a small, but significant booth. They were there primarily to focus on two products: the relia-bolt and their new cartridge, the Sharps .25-45

The Relia-bolt is an upgrade over the standard mil-spec AR-15 bolt system. Using rounded and tapered front lugs, the bolt is better able to break past fouling and debris to chamber rounds in harsh conditions.

In addition to the new lug geometry the bolt is NP3-coated (think like nickel-boron) and uses an even higher quality than mil-spec steel (S7) to make it 75% stronger.

The Relia-Bolt is covered by a lifetime warranty.

Relia-bolt with lugs clearly visible.

Relia-bolt with lugs clearly visible.



Awesome cut-away of the chamber of an AR-15 with the Relia-Bolt installed.


Also now shipping is Sharps .25-.45 ammunition. Developed in response to continued “shortcomings” of the 5.56 round and other substitutes, the .25-.45 Sharps increases the lethality of the AR platform. In short, it necks up a 5.56 brass to accept a .25 caliber round. The current loading pushes a 87-grain bullet 3,000 FPS out of a 20″ barrel.

Like the 300 BLK, the .25-.45 Sharps is designed to be a barrel-only replacement. Barrels are now available from Sharps with other manufacturers coming online soon. Reloading dies are also available.


Nathan S

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


  • bbmg

    So it adds a couple of grains and loses a couple of FPS, what is the significant advantage of this round over current 5.56mm ammunition?

    If it “enhances lethality” by only 2%, hardly worth the effort.

    • Giolli Joker

      I wouldn’t associate percentages and figures to something so vague as “lethality”. 🙂

      • bbmg

        Just throwing the marketing department’s terms back at them 😉

        As others have mentioned there might be a benefit of having a round very similar but different enough not to be 5.56 x 45mm in the eyes of lawmakers, but to suggest it performs significantly better is a bit of a stretch.

    • Gabe

      It all depends on application. I do not think there is one round to rule them all. They all have their place and application. To answer you question though, this could be useful in areas that do not allow .223/5.56 for hunting (usually for deer and larger).

      • JumpIf NotZero

        So does 300blk, 6.8, and 6.5… Although each of those are far more available than a new Sharps round.

        I should add 50beo, 458 socom, as well.

        So… Sharps… What is it your round does that isn’t already better covered by 5 alternative AR rounds?

        • bbmg

          Yep, this would be my question.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            I answered it on my own a little bit…

            IT APPEARS that the Sharps round is a 6.5 bullet in a 556 case. That’s their claim anyhow, that OAL on the Sharps round just looks too large for 5.56 brass but whatever.

            So advantages over Grendel are that it’s lighter, uses a 556 bolt, the idea is that with a 556 taper it would fit better in 556 mags (although, again, back that that OAL in the photo…), and cheaper for these reasons. Ballisitics seem to be roughly on par with the 6.5G (roughly)

            Disadvantages are that it likely doesn’t have the same case capacity/ballistics, probably can’t take the larger 6.5mm bullets.

            This seems like a literal hybrid of 556 case/mags/bolt, 6.5mm bullet, in 6.8mm weights. Interesting… But I’m not sure it’ll catch on any more than the already struggling for attention 6.5/6.8.

    • Steve Truffer

      Lots of places say that .223 is a no-go for hunting. The .25-40 overcomes the “.22 barrier”, and the extra mass means deeper penetration and less wind drift to boot.

      • bbmg

        With you on the legal issue, but in this case the extra mass is coupled with a larger diameter, so I don’t see there being a significant difference in performance.

        • vitor

          The increase in mass over a 62grain is 40%, while the diameter increaae is 12%, so it will have a better BC.

          Let me calculate comparing to 77grain round….13% heavier, so the BC should be roughly equivalent, but it will hit a bit harder for being heavier and having a slightly bigger area of contact. So we can say it is a heavier version of the mk262 that doesnt sacrifice speed, not bad at all. A cartridge that will be quite deadly for about 700 yards.

          • bbmg

            Diameter increase of 12% but area has a square relationship to radius, so frontal area increase of just over 25%, the BC won’t be significatly better.

          • The sectional density of a 62gr .224″ projectile is .177, while the SD of an 87gr .257″ projectile is .188, only 6% better. Further, the .257″ bullet is squatter and should thus have a higher form factor, reducing its ballistic coefficient. I would not expect any ballistic advantage from the .25-45.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      According to Sharps’s own Data, the ballistics of 87gr @ 3000 fps and 1700 ft-lbs is from the 24″ bbl, not the 20″ bbl. Compare that to 6.8spc 90 gr from a 20″ bbl @ 2984 fps and more than 1700 ft-lbs. So, what’s the point?

  • mudmann

    5.56/223 is a varmit round…period…any improvement over that is still saying very little.

    • iksnilol

      Gotta admit I agree with you, better to just use 6.5 Grendel or 7.62×39.

      • The consensus seems to be that the extra weight and cost of those rounds isn’t balanced out by a somewhat nebulous notion that they’ll be more effective. I know of no special forces, for instance, using anything besides 5.45/5.56/5.8 on a regular basis, with the sole exception of the Jordanian Royal Guard who reportedly bought some LWRC 6.8mm PDWs.

    • 5.56mm is a great varmint round, it’s killed loads of the two-legged variety!

  • Raven

    They really should consider a different name for that round. The Sharps name conjures up images of big straight-walled black powder cartridges and falling block single-shot rifles. That, and .25-40 (or .25-45, whichever it is) is both doing that annoying thing where they mix inches and millimetres, and sounds like a black powder round again (see: .25-35 Winchester).

  • ColaBox

    Hey admins im not sure who runs the sites technological aspects but I cant get an updated page on my phone or computer. Since the server shut down its been giving the “Restarting, well be back soon” message when I enter the site and refreshing brings the home screen to posts a few days ago before it went down. Just thought id mention it incase you have a fix.

    • Jeff Smith

      Same here. From my phone or iPad, occasionally I get the newest posts, occasionally I get stuff from 3 days ago.

      • We have the techs working on it now. Shoulf be fixed here shortly.

        • Jeff Smith

          Thanks, Nathan!

        • Cymond

          I’m glad it wasn’t just me. I thought there were just no new posts over the weekend, and then this morning I noticed that it said the Mechanix wear mini-review was “posted 1 hour ago”. For some reason, I’ve been looking at a cached version of the blog for the last few days.

  • .25-45, besides completely being a butchery of already screwed up cartridge nomenclature systems, seems like a decent factory offering for hunting-dedicated AR-15s, though I’m not exactly sure what was wrong with the 6mm-223. I don’t really buy their marketing hype that it has such great penetration, though. an 87gr .257″ bullet has about the same sectional density as the common 62gr weight bullet in .224″ caliber, with .223 Remington being no slower at that weight, and with the bullet selection at .224″ being much better.

    The Relia-Bolt looks like pure marketing to me. Their blurb about it reads:

    “Is it out of time? Relia-Bolt compensates by providing a patented camming action that allows the bolt to continue into battery. The rounded and tapered lugs of the Relia-Bolt push past carbon buildup, sand and dirt, unlike the square edges of traditional MSR bolts that would typically jam.”

    AR-15s are not revolvers; they don’t typically “lost time”. What does it take for the bolt to be out of time on an AR-15? Presumably for the cam pin or the receiver to be so worn away that the bolt doesn’t line up right. In which case, you should get a new cam pin or receiver, not a funky new bolt. The bit about “MSR” bolts typically jamming (what bizarre wording) is just priceless; I don’t know that I’ve ever even heard of an AR-15 having that malfunction (though anything is possible, I suppose).

    • G

      “.25-45, besides completely being a butchery of already screwed up cartridge nomenclature systems”

      The following cartridges use .224″ (5.69 mm) bullets:
      22 Hornet, 221 Remington Fireball, 222 Remington, 223 Remington, 224 Weatherby Magnum, 5,7×28 FN and 5.56×45 NATO

      The following cartridges use .257″ (6.53 mm) bullets:
      250-3000 Savage, 256 Winchester Magnum, 257 Roberts

      The following cartridges use .264″ (6.70 mm) bullets:
      256 Newton, 26 Nosler, 260 Remington, 264 Winchester Magnum, 6,5×55 SE, 6,5-284 Norma and 6.5-06 A-square

      The following cartridge uses .268″ (6.81mm) bullets:
      6.5 Carcano

      The following cartridges use .284″ (7,21 mm) bullets:
      7mm-08 Remington and 284 Winchester
      As far as I know old European 7mm cartridges such as 7×57 use .285″ bullets

      The following cartridges use .308″ (7,82 mm) bullets:
      300 Winchester, 307 Winchester, 308 Winchester, 30-06 Springfield and 7,62×51 NATO
      But 7.62×39 and 7.62x54R (usually) don’t..

      -70 in 45-70 stands for 70 grains of black powder
      -3000 in 250-3000 Savage stands for 3000 fps
      -06 in 30-06 stands for year (1906) which the cartridge was adapted by the US army

      -08 in 7mm-08 means that the parent case is 308 Winchester
      And so on..
      In my opinion one shouldn’t try to make sense out of the numbers in cartridge names. The numbers should be considered as model numbers and nothing else.

      • .25-45 breaks new ground by combining metric and imperial nomenclature together for the first time, and it even misleads you into thinking “45” refers to the powder charge.

        It’s a game-changer in small arms ammunition nomenclature!

        • 1911a145acp

          Agreed. The mixing of the standard and metric nomenclature is probably confusing to most and the Sharps reference totally lost on most in the under 30 year old crowd.
          Interestingly, I have a few boxes of IMI/SAMSON .41 AE ( 41 Action Express ) ammo from the mid 1980s. It is marked .41x22mm
          .41 for the American standard inch diameter of the bullet and 22mm metric for the case length. I thought it was odd then as well. 10.4x22mm just didn’t roll off the tongue I guess. I have an UZI carbine conversion and a Browning Hi Power conversion. It pre- dated 40 S&W by a couple of years. It would shoot a 170 grn bullet at about 1000 fps and a 180 at about 900 out of the long barreled “JERICO” pistol as I recall.

        • G

          I didn’t even mention the Sharps cartridge in my post (unless you count the quote from your post). But I did mention 45-70 Government and “70” in 45-70 most definitely stood for the charge weight.

          6.5-284 Norma mixes metric and “imperial nomenclature”. So does wildcat 30×47 Lapua.

          BTW, how can it be imperial nomenclature when no cartridge that has been standardized, by either CIP or SAAMI, has a name which begins with a decimal sign?

  • JumpIf NotZero

    Is it an optical illusion… Or are they somehow saying their new round that can be made from 556 brass is increasing the oal by that much?

    • The OAL is the same as .223 Remington/5.56×45, it just uses a very squat .257″ bullet.

      • JumpIf NotZero

        Strange optical illusion then, you see that in the photo right?

        • Steve Truffer

          One is lower in the pic than the other, and is tilted upwards. Confused me for a bit, too.

        • Yeah, it does look that way.

  • JumpIf NotZero

    The advantages over 6.5Grendle seem to be bolt head and mag compatibility, but I’m not really sure on that last on looking at the OAL. Seems interesting, but it would have to completely stomp all over 6.5G in order to even get it’s foot in the door now.

    • It’s not like the 6.5 Grendel is selling very well right now, either.

      I agree that I think it’s a strange time for anyone to be introducing new cartridges, when most people still struggle to find ammo in normal calibers.

      • J.T.

        6.5 won’t sell well until Wolf manages to deliver their long-promised steel cased ammo.

  • Nathanael S.

    You know, I actually kinda hope this round makes it. It’s about time we had some solid-name cartridges like the olden days. I just hope that the big day doesn’t come, only for the ammo to hit the shelves at 2-3x the price of the round it’s supposed to replace. Never seen that happen before… if it is even as cheap as 7.62AK, then I might swap over.

  • Mark N.

    I think the ReliaBolt is a brilliant piece made out of the best materials available right now, and worth its $150 price tag. The downside is that you have to find a bolt carrier and associated pieces somewhere else, since Sharps doesn’t make them.

  • Hyok Kim

    @Nathan S.

    “In addition to the new lug geometry the bolt is NP3-coated (think like nickel-boron) and uses an even higher quality than mil-spec steel (S7) to make it 75% stronger.”

    Does this mean relia bot uses S7 steel?

  • Blake

    What was so wrong with the existing 6x45mm wildcat that’s been around forever?

    Other than not having the marketing buzz of “oh lookey, a new cartridge”?

  • Andrew Mistretta

    The .25-.45 has already been done, 27 years ago as the .25 TCU.