CRISP NEW MODEL 1863 SHARPS RIFLE

$4,250.00 SOLD

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 172-5777

This is a very nice 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 met 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. All metal is smooth, with no pitting. The wood and metal have a tight fight. Markings on both metal and wood are very good. Front and rear sights are present and complete. 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 the inspector stamp M.N.M. 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 breechblock is marked in two horizontal lines: C SHARPS PAT. / SEPT. 12th1848. The rear of the block has Lawrence and Conant patent markings. There are small sub inspector single initials on various parts as well.

The barrel has better than 90 percent original blue. The barrel bands show a mix of blue and caramel brown. Both sling swivels are present and show blue. The case colors of the hammer, receiver and lockplate have faded and show as a muted silver mixed with some dark gray and brown, though with more blue colors on the receiver and hammer. The patchbox shows some traces of thin blue mixing in with the pewter and brown tones. The buttplate matches the receiver. The action is good. The rear of the breechblock is stamped with the correct Lawrence and Conant patent markings. There are several small sub-inspectors stamps as well.

The wood has nice medium brown tones, a tight fit to the metal, very good edges, and good markings. The inspector initials on the rear underside of the forestock are sharp. The inspector cartouches on the wrist are visible and distinct, but show a little rubbing along the upper part of the horizontal cartouche and lower edge of the vertical cartouche. The wood has very good edges overall, with a of the wrist, and the initials are, but are distinct. There are a few minor handling dings. The only noticeable ones being on the right side of the forestock on either side of the middle band along with a small chip, likely from moving the band. Given the strength of the barrel blue, pushing it up to 30 percent or better of original finish, along with the strength of the markings and wood, we’d rate this as Fine or better in condition.

New Model 1863 Sharps rifles fall in the C30000 to C40000 serial number range, and this is numbered on the wrist tang C,37637. Of the 6,150 rifles purchased by the army from December through March, only some 600 numbers are recorded with information on their issue, but those published (by Coates and McAulay) show rifles in the C37000 range only in the 6th US Veteran Volunteers. and the number on this one is closely bracketed by two rifles issued to that regiment’s Co. G (numbers C37626 and C37642.) A miss can be as good as a mile with serial numbers, but there is a strong likelihood it went to that regiment. 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.

This is a very good example of a classic Sharps breechloading military percussion rifle.  [sr]  [ph:m]

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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