CRISP NEW MODEL 1863 SHARPS RIFLE

$3,295.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 1052-214

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This is a very good example of the New Model 1863 Sharps Rifle, put in production in January 1865 as the result of renewed army orders for rifles for Hancock’s Veteran Corps, which was to consist of 20,000 veterans of at least two-years service who were promised, among other inducements, “the best arms in the possession of the Government” and the ability, “to retain their arms at the expiration of service.” An initial order of 150 rifles in December was met using newly assembled M1859s (some with 1863 marked barrels.) Orders placed from January through March, and delivered from March through June, amounting to 6,000 rifles, were filled with these New Model 1863 rifles, which incorporated a few minor changes from the old m1859s.

This follows the standard configuration in .52 caliber using a 30-inch barrel set up for a socket bayonet (one thousand had a short stud for a saber bayonet also) and iron furniture including a patch box. The rifle is complete and all original. The barrel preserves about 90% of its muted blue, with equally good color on the patchbox and stronger color on the bands. The receiver shows some mottled grayish blues and grays that are remnants of case color, along with some caramel brown and some lighter brown stains. The left side of receiver, at the breech block, shows some pitting, likely from resting on its side against a damp surface. Otherwise the metal is smooth, with just some crustiness on the buttplate tang and rear edge of the rear sight base. The markings are very good and the standard form: the top of the barrel is marked NEW MODEL 1863 between breechblock and rear sight, and SHARPS RIFLE / MANUFG. CO. / HARTFORD, CONN forward of the rear sight, which is marked on the base, R.S. LAWRENCE / PATENTED / FEB. 15th1859. The left breech of the barrel has Moses N. Marshall’s “M.N.M.” inspector stamp on the side flat and we another small “M” inspection on the left receiver. The lock plate is crisply marked behind the hammer, C SHARPS’ PAT. / OCT. 5th1852 and near the top of edge of the lock plate: R.S. LAWRENCE PAT. / APRIL 12th1859. The left side of the receiver is marked in two horizontal lines: C SHARPS PAT. / SEPT. 12th1848.

The wood has nice color and a tight fit to the metal, but does show some handling marks and light dings around the wrist, near the buttplate tang, upper left butt flat, lower edge of the lockplate, rear of the forestock and just forward of the lower band on the left. That said, the wood has a very nice warm brown color and surface, no losses, and preserves the outlines of two inspection cartouches on the left wrist. All indicating the rifle was issued and saw some service, but was cared for- the action is crisp and the bore is bright.

New Model 1863 Sharps rifles fall in the C30000 to C40000 serial number range, (the C standing in for a “1”) and this is numbered on the wrist tang C,34182. Of the 6,150 rifles purchased by the army from December through March, only some 600 numbers are recorded with information on their issue and those published (by Coates and McAulay) show rifles in the C34XXX range in different US Veteran Volunteer regiments. We note that this one is closely bracketed by C,34177 and C,34199, both carried by men in Co. E of the 5th USVV, but also see C,34174 and C,34218 in the hands of men in the 4th USVV. Many of these rifles went home with the veterans, but the army had enough on hand to issue them in 1866 and 1867 to the 4th and the 37th U.S. Infantry for duty in the west, making them also a valid Indian War weapon for the collector as well.

This is a very good example of a classic Sharps breechloading military percussion rifle. We show a couple of Hancock’s veteran volunteers from the rear with shouldered arms. The Sharps receiver is clearly visible on the right.  [sr] [ph:L]

DISCLAIMER: All firearms are sold as collector's items only - we do not accept responsibility as to the shooting safety or reliability of any antique firearm. All firearms are described as accurately as possible, given the restraints of a catalog listing length. We want satisfied customers & often "under" describe the weapons. Any city or state regulations regarding owning antique firearms are the responsibility of the purchaser. All firearms are "mechanically perfect" unless noted, but again, are NOT warranted as safe to fire.

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