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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  BROW (Moderator: Delmonico)  |  Topic: Original 1874 Sharps Pics? 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Kinda Sudden
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« on: August 23, 2008, 02:15:27 pm »


Can anyone point me to original 1874 sharps pics or specs? Books on order but can't wait. Did the 0riginal 1874 rifles normally not have checkered stocks? Was this an option? What about pistol grip stocks? Octagon barrel lengths offered? Trying to decide on an historically correct pedersoli rifle except for caliber. The Billy Dixon seems correct but don't know about the checkering on the stock. I have not seen enough original rifles yet, but it seems most examples were strait stocked without checkering. Any info here greatly appreciated. Got to get my hands on Frank sellers book.

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« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2008, 08:47:21 pm »

KS,
Iwent to the IAB web site, they are located in Italy, and they claim that there Sharps are identail orginal copies of the orginal Sharps, there is a lot to look at, and learn. There are people that don't like them and say they are Junk, I have talked to several owners of the IAB and they all seem to like them! What would be realy nice is if one of the top dogs in the BlackPowder Long range matches would win with a IAB SHarps. I have read that the Pedersoli Sharps didn't sell real good or get to good of results until one of the Hot Dogs won a Big match with one, and now they are considered allmost as good as a Shilo Sharps.
Now this is what I gather in the last to days of heavy reading, I am only repeating what I read, But go to IAB web site.

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« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2008, 10:40:04 pm »

Kinda Sudden,

Out of curiosity, what book are you getting?  I have the Franks Sellers book entitled "Sharps Firearms."  From what i have been told it is considered the bible on Sharps firearms of all types.  It's been around forever and I seem to have had mine for about that same amount of time. Grin

Anyway, looking at the chapter on the 1874 I will describe in general what it said.  Most 1874 Sharps rifles were Sporting Models and most probably did not have checkered stocks.  Some did, it was an option..  Most did not have pistol grips.  Some did, pistol grips were an option.  Barrels varied from 21 1/2" to 36".  All Sharps calibers were available.  That means from .40-50 to .50-90.  One of the most popular back then that is still popular is .45-70.  The .45-120 and .50-140 which are available were never Sharps production calibers.  They were always done by gunsmiths in the field.  They appear to be the wildcat calibers of their day.  Ocatgon barrels very common.  I know some of the Pedersoli Sharps come with shotgun butts.  Originals were available with them too.  With the sportng rifle you could have almost anything you wanted.  Anything offered by Pedersoli probably has an orginal that it is based on. 

Now whether the rifle that Billy Dixon used at Adobe Wells for his famous shot had checkered wood, who knows.  It was a borrowed rifle.  It could have had checkered wood.  Most of the sporting rifles in Sellers' book that could have been buffalo rifles did not have checkered wood and that was probably true of most true buffalo Sharps.  These were working rifles afterall.  At the same time it was definitely not universal.  Some true buffalo Sharps did have checkered wood.

If you are looking at getting a Sharps I'd say go for it and get what you want.  The Sporting rifle from Sharps was a semi-custom gun for all practical purposes and almost any conceivable combination could have been built back in the day.  Now some of the true target rifles of the day like the Creedmoor there wasn't much variation in them.  To be a true Creedmoor it had to meet a set of strict rules and so most were pretty similar to one another within the different grades that were available.

Sharps firearms are a fascinating subject.

Ransom Gaer
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« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2008, 11:16:43 pm »

Ransom Gaer,

Thank you for your response. This is exactly what I was looking for. I would just like to get a rifle as close to an original configuration as possible. I have found several pics of originals and they point exactly to what you have posted and what is in Frank Sellers book. Only problem I am having now is Pedersoli does not describe their barrels well and their distributors are giving conflicting information. Some say the Billy Dixon has a tapered barrel, some say it does not. Same thing with the Quigley, although I think the almost two pounds difference between the two includes more then just the patch box and two inches of barrel length. Seems the BD is probably tapered while the Quigley  not. The other book I am interested in is  "The Sharps Rifle" by Winston O. Smith
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« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2008, 09:10:37 am »

I think most Sharps barrels are tapered.  The possible exception being the huge bull barrels that weighed 16 pounds and up all by themselves.  From what I have seen on Quigley type rifles is they are typically 34" to 32" on other rifles.  They are also larger in diameter which would account for the extra weight and they are tapered too.  Those barrels are huge.

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« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2008, 08:40:55 pm »

Here's a picture for ya, pard.



This picture was taken of an entire rifle & accessories that sold on auction for $76,000 in 2006.  (Julia Auctions, I think - their new pics have their logo)  The set was from a family collection.  A  Father and Son team from Indiana used all this stuff in 1877-1878 for an 18 month excursion out west.


As you can see, this particular rifle had a straight, non-checkered stock with a heavy (but not extended length) barrel.  It's mighty hard to tell, but from what I've seen, it appears to have been a 50-70 chambering.


Kinda makes ya wish these old guns could talk.  Smiley
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« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2008, 09:26:04 pm »

Steel Horse Bailey,

That is a cool picture.  I wouldn't mind having a rifle like that at all.  To me it looks like one you would expect to see out on the prairie during the buffalo hunt.

Yea I do wish guns like that could talk.

Ransom Gaer
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« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2008, 08:25:04 am »

Steel Horse Bailey,

That is a cool picture.  I wouldn't mind having a rifle like that at all.  To me it looks like one you would expect to see out on the prairie during the buffalo hunt.

Yea I do wish guns like that could talk.

Ransom Gaer


Yep!

I seem to recall browsing the Julia website and seeing this offering with all the history listed.  I'm sorry that I don't remember much of the history, but the 2 gents stayed for a year and a half, so they must've been at least relatively successful!

I think the $76,000 price is (by the standards of today) is pretty good - 'tho I'd  have to win the lottery to get one like that!  Grin

Those mittens have Buff fur.  As I recall, there is still powder in the can!  You can't read the label, but that small tan box near the picture front is an unopened box of Sharps-brand pre-loaded ammo.  You could probably still fire the ammo and it would probably still meet factory specs! Heck, even the wood crate looks like a quality piece of furniture!  The ring-hook affair is a combination scale/deer hanger.   The long dark-colored box is for the rear sight, if I recall.

It sure looks like a "serious" outfit that got a fair amount of use, but was well taken care of and preserved by the family.

Really cool!
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« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2008, 09:37:23 am »

I've seen a few real Sharps in person and of course lots more in various books.

From what I've seen most of the "working rifles" didn't have checkered wood and their wood looked rather plain and straight grained.

I think you'll find most checkered wood on Target  models and the occasional presentation gun.

Here's a pic of a Sharps Buffalo Rifle I viewed in a museum in Montana the day before I picked up the rifle in the second picture below.



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« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2008, 08:06:16 pm »

Grogan,

Is that rifle you got a Shiloh with the 14 or 16 llb barrel.  I know they offer reallly heavy barrels and that looks heavy.  Nice looking rifle.  I have been tempted to get a Shiloh #3 Sporting Rifle with a 14 lb or more barrel.  Mot really concerned with using it for NRA BPCR so weight is not a concern.

I hate the Julia Auction website.  They have way to many toys I want that I can't afford. Roll Eyes Grin  DRAT!!!!  They generally do have histories on the items they auction.  As I'm sure you know the history of the piece in question always adds to its value and sometimes a lot.  Also lets face it they kept that rifle in tip top shape.

Ransom Gaer
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« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2008, 10:48:27 pm »



  Grogan, Beautiful Rifle Pard, it looks heavy enough to stay put, is the barrel Parkerised,it looks like it, what caliber is it in those shells look pretty stout,  are you going to use this rifle for target only, or some long distance sit and wait type hunting? Really great looking rifle  Roll Eyes Shocked Cool


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« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2008, 10:20:03 am »

O.k. the "story" on that rifle in the pic is that it's a C. Sharps Arms '74 Sharps in "Big 50" (I'd call it ".50-90", what the Brass says, but mine are currently loaded as .50-105-640s).

Last year I was headed from here in Orygun to N. Dakota to do some Pheasant hunting (always wanted to do that in the Dakotas).

Proceding along the route, I knew I was going to go right by Big Timber, MT, and of course I knew WHAT was there. Grin

So naturally I had to stop, and visit, and see Shiloh and I'd always heard that C. Sharps was just "down the road".

As it turns out they're both on each end of a street that's ~3/8ths of a mile long and you can see one shop from the other.

Shiloh was interesting, they had a few of their "for sale" rifles up on the wall behind a counter.  Those were beautiful rifles, but the selection wasn't very large.  They also had a nice collection of original Sharps rifles and a few others, such as a '66 Winchester over in the corner.

 



So then it was off to visit C. Sharps. 


In their rather spacious showroom they had a wall of 1875 Sharps on one side

, a wall of 1885 Winchester replicas on the opposite side and on the end wall a large selection of 1874 Sharps in all different configurations and calibers. 

 

Their display of "available" guns was VERY impressive  Smiley

Amongst their 1874s sat this one, "plain" Heavy barrelled rifle.  It immediately caught my eye.  I looked at the tag on the rifle and it gave the details and read, cal. ".50-90". 

To this I thought, "Oh...nice", but that was it.  Had that rifle been in .45-2 7/8" I wouldn't have left without it.  But this one wasn't.

While gone on my Pheasant hunt I got thinking more and more about that rifle.  From what I know about those rifles they often take YEARS to obtain on special order.  I know over at Shiloh if you order one, you wait until they get ready to make up a batch of Heavy Rifles (or at least barrels), and that doesn't happen all that often.

But there at C. Sharps was one, sitting there, begging to head back to Orygun Territory!

The price wasn't bad, pretty much just what they ask for those when you custom order one.  It's doubtful that the price would ever get cheaper.   I mulled this one over, and over, and over.

I was balking on the idea of the .50 caliber change.  I didn't have anything "set up" for .50 caliber.  IT IS A CHANGE!

On the way home I stopped again at C. Sharps.  Yep, the rifle was still there. 

1/2 hr. later it WASN'T! 

The good folks at C. Sharps loaded me up with a bunch of goodies to go along with it to help me get started.  I paid for a few of them, but most were gratis along with the rifle.

So, a little more on this rifle.  Parkerized?  Nope, just the standard "flat" blued finish that you find on most of the C. Sharps and Shiloh rifle barrels. 

It now sports one of the early versions of the "Sharps Sporting Tang Peep Sights" that's similar to this one.



Barrel?  Heavy & 30"  It's a Badger Barrel 1:26"  The entire rifle itself weighs in at just a tad over 16#



The .50 caliber "experience" takes a little adjusting to get used to.

"Things" that work for you in BPCR and other shooting/loading disciplines are all "fine", up to and through .45 cal.

They all CHANGE when it gets to .50 cal! Shocked

The Shell Holder is different, but that's o.k. my regular single stage press works just fine.  BUT, my priming tool no longer "fit", and my Lubrisizer no longer "fit".  Other than those, and loading blocks and cartridge boxes, and new moulds things were great.

I did do it all.  But it took awhile.

In some ways I wish the rifle was a .45, it would have been easier, just going a little longer than my other .45s (.45-70 & .45-2.6")

But it's a Big 50 and I'm fine with that too. Grin

More ???s
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« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2008, 12:32:50 pm »

Hello Grogan

        What a great story, and Presentation, this is truely a beautiful rifle, and should be " LOADs " of fun down the road, I'm happy for you, you sound like me, thats where you made your mistake, you should never go to a Sharps shop, before you go hunting, it will only haunt you the whole time, and draw you back like a huge Magnet, (LOL )

                                  Enjoy that new Rifle Pard, and let us know how she shoots

                                                   And thanks for sharing with us

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« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2008, 07:48:06 pm »

Grogan,

Thanks for the story on your rifle.  Very interesting.  Now I know if I ever drive through Big Timber Montana to just keep going.  If I stop I will be in big trouble.  Too many interesting Sharps rifles and not enough money to get them.

Actually I may have to see about getting in touch with C Sharps and finding out what it would cost to build a similar rifle.  Where my I ask did you get that Sharps Tang Sight?  I am thinking maybe going .45-70 or .45-90 which would be a bit heavier or maybe .50-70.

Ransom Gaer
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« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2008, 01:06:42 pm »

Grogan,

Thanks for the story on your rifle.  Very interesting.  Now I know if I ever drive through Big Timber Montana to just keep going.  If I stop I will be in big trouble.  Too many interesting Sharps rifles and not enough money to get them.

Actually I may have to see about getting in touch with C Sharps and finding out what it would cost to build a similar rifle.  Where my I ask did you get that Sharps Tang Sight?  I am thinking maybe going .45-70 or .45-90 which would be a bit heavier or maybe .50-70.

Ransom Gaer

Ransom,

Ha ha, yes Big Timber can be a "Dangerous Place" for a Sharps enthusiast! Grin

That sight is from Axtel-Riflesmith.

They also have the same sight, but the later model (which uses a locking sliding sight disk on an unmarked staff, which I also have -ordered both staffs to fit the one base-)

This sight IS "period correct", for the time when a rifle like this offered in "Big 50" would have been available.

Also, I like this sight as it has the sliding Windage Bar, and thus the two rear sights can be "registered" in line, something not so easily accomplished to achieve a true windage zero with a non-windage adjustable tang mounted sight.

When using the barrel mounted rear sight, this short staffed tang sight can be swung forward and out of the way. 

I haven't tried to see what the maximum range on this sight is yet, but my guess is that it should be good for 500-600 yd.s easily. Wink

I've always thought that a '74 Military Carbine in .50-70 would be really fun to have/shoot! Smiley
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« Reply #15 on: September 18, 2008, 02:13:42 pm »

Grogan,

Thanks for the info on that sight.  I may look into getting one for my Armisport 1874 Sharps, for now.

A .50-70 Carbine would be cool especially if it were to look like one of the 1859 and 1863 conversions.  I think Shiloh's carbine looks like that.  I have a Pedersoli 1859 Sharps Carbine in .54 caliber.  Fun gun to shoot and the recoil is amazingly mild.  The thought has crossed my mind to have it converted to .50-70 just like Sharps did in the late 1860's.  That is with a 475 grain bullet and a 70 grain charge of Goex 2 FFg.

I am also thinking about just ordering a 1874 Sharps Carbine in .50-70.  That would be easier.

Ransom Gaer
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« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2008, 04:16:59 pm »

A good friend of mine has an original Sharps carbine in 50-70.  It has about a 12 pound trigger.  One of the neat things about it is that it has the staple along with the boot for carrying horse back.  The stock is worn from where it rubbed against the hanger.  He is going to replace the wood to preserve the original wood and then use it to take a buffalo this Fall.

Will Ketchum
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« Reply #17 on: October 25, 2008, 11:28:56 pm »

Here are a few pictures of an Original Sharps that I found here in Montana. This picture is
of it on the left, a Shiloh next to it, then an original Winchester 1886, and a first generation
Colt, all in front of a sandstone rock with names engraved on it dating back to the 1890's.



This picture shows the name of Walter Cooper who customized the Original back in the late 1870's
for buffalo hunting in the northern plains.



This picture is of Walter cooper's shop on Main Streeet in Bozeman, Montana Territory in about 1875.



Here is a picture of a buffalo that was killed with that Sharps just a couple years ag. Still
able to kill buffalo...



Here is a deer shot with the same Sharps, still working 100+ years of service.




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« Reply #18 on: October 26, 2008, 06:57:01 am »

Great pics Shrapnel! Thanks!
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« Reply #19 on: December 03, 2008, 08:21:13 am »

Here's a nice 20 pounder in 40-65.
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« Reply #20 on: December 03, 2008, 09:47:18 am »

 :)Great Post Fellows,
Anyone that has read this post knows the Billy Dixon Story, and we know it to be True! I have allways wonder, and maybe because I didn't ever watch the Intro, I don't my self know if the Quiely Down Under was a True Story or not? But it was a Great movie, and I have watched it many times! Since I am not Super educated on Sharps like you all are, I don't know what year that rifle was! I would have to have several of them up close for me to tell the diff., It could of been a 1849, 1851,1859, I thought they made a 1863  Huh??, or 1874, and I guess I have never seen a 1875 Huh? But buy watching the movie, we know it was a wild cat center fire, so the butt stock had to came of a pre 1874 I think?? Huh And as I mentioned before, was this a true story?
 This will sound crazy (everyone that knows me, knows I am crazy) Roll Eyes Roll Eyes But wouldn't it be AWESOME to go back and see the shot Billy Dixon made!!!
 Someday I would like to buy a better Brand Name Sharps Rifle, but I want them all!!!! But you see that crazy people do a lot of dreaming. I go over and spend some time at the Home Gun Smithing Forums, some of those guys can build and do build what ever they want!!
 I just wanted to jump in here, and talk, and tell everyone THanks for the Pic's of those AWESOME Rifles.

Later ACE
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« Reply #21 on: December 03, 2008, 08:24:25 pm »

Ace,

The rifle used in Quigley is an 1874 pattern rifle.  It was made by Shiloh for the movie.  I think part of the reason it looks a little "different" is that it has features of a number of various models.  It looks to me like a Sporting Rifle with a military buttstock and  a patchbox.

The .45-110 was available as a Sharps cartridge from the factory in about 1876.  So strictly speaking it wasn't a wildcat cartridge.  It also wasn't that commonly used I suspect.  I found this information in Frank Sellers book on the Sharps Firearms.

I got the 2009 Shiloh Sharps catalog in the mail last week.  This noon I priced out what it would cost to get one equipped the way I want one(dream gun).  I'm gonna have to save my pennies.  I'm looking at close to $3600.00 when all is said and done.  And I want a pretty plain sporting rifle with MVA sights and a bull barrel.

Shrapnel,  I like your original 1874 Sharps rifle.  It is also nice you can still use it after all this time.

Ransom Gaer

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« Reply #22 on: December 03, 2008, 10:16:24 pm »



Someone was speaking of conversion carbines - they are the last great value for original Sharps rifles, most can be had for less than a big timber rifle. I ponied up $1100 for the one above and it has given me a fair amount of fun. It has no blueing or case colors and the forestock is a little rough but the bore is mint. The inspectors stamp can still be seen on the stock. It shoots about pie plate groups at 100 yards but that might be the sights, at their lowest setting it does shoot 9 inches high and don't know how to figure that out. No wonder the troops couldn't hit any hostiles. If you see one at a show with a reasonably tight action and a decent bore - don't pass her up. They are fun to shoot and a decent woods deer gun.

By the way, about the .45 2 7/8 cartridge not being much used, Sellers comments that was true on the eastern target range, but for a few years in the mid-to late seventies it was THE cartridge on the buffalo range. I have a 32 inch heavy barrel Shiloh in that cartridge and it is great to shoot but not so fun to carry. By the way the .45 2 7/8 is a tough cartridge to load for, you have to get all things right. My 28 inch heavy barrel .50-70 Shiloh is much better to carry and a joy to load and shoot. The .50-70 is much like the .45-70 in that no particular care need be made when loading. I pretty much dump the powder after a moment on the scales, don't even bother with a wad, compress about .3 of an inch and shove the bullet in. No excessive fouling, can keep on target with no blow tube use for a full  twenty rds. Can't do that with a .45 2 7/8.
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« Reply #23 on: December 07, 2008, 09:05:25 pm »

Joss: It is great to hear from you, with several inches of snow on the ground and the temp in the 20's here today I think of you in southern CA and become bitter (why did I ever move back to Michigan!!!!)  Grin

There are no unit marks, or other military marks on the carbine other than a faint inspectors stamp on the stock. The bore is bright and shiny believe it or not.

The belt plate is original, however the belt is repro, the cap box (which has been converted to pistol rds.) is marked and is original, the Hagner cartridge box is original and made for .50 gvt. The holster is repro from David Carrico.

The sword is an original 1872 officer's saber with original scabbard, what is cool about it is that it has the officers initials and the year 1876 inscribed on the scabbard.

The cartridge on the bottom is original to the period.

Best Regards, and I hope it is raining where your at!!!!!  Wink
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« Reply #24 on: December 08, 2008, 11:48:05 pm »

James,

I have had 2 original Sharps conversion carbines and both of them had great bores. It should be a 3 groove barrel, or you might have a 52 caliber barrel, which would explain such big groups. Both of mine shot real well, around 2 inches at 100 yards.

If it is an original carbine, the front sight will have a pin holding in the front blade. You can replace that front sight quite easily with a couple of nickels soldered together and then filed thinner until they fit the slot tightly. The pin in the sight is usually near the very top of the slot, so care is needed when removing it so you don't ruin the ability to pin the replacement sight once you have made it.

If you file the sight to fit the entire slot from front to rear, and leave plenty of sight sticking upward from the barrel about 1/4 of an inch out of the slot, you should have enough front sight to bring the gun back down on target at about 100 yards. You just have to remember to start with enough height on the front sight so you can file it down to the desired level to make the gun shoot-able.

These guns very often had good bores, as they were sleeved during the conversion from percussion to centerfire, then many of them never saw much service afterwards.
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