Florida Concealed Carry banner
21 - 40 of 40 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,139 Posts
Wow! What an amazing restoration. Thanks for posting the detailed explanations and pics. Very enjoyable read.
 
  • Like
Reactions: AFJuvat

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,835 Posts
Discussion Starter · #23 · (Edited)
As requested, some abbreviated history and details.

Sharps History:

In 1848, Sharps received his first patent for a breech-loading carbine. The first Sharps patent firearms were produced by A.S. Nippes of Mill Creek, PA in 1849 and 1850. By 1851, Sharps formed the Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company in Hartford, CT. As the company was not yet ready to produce arms, Sharps entered into an agreement with Robbins & Lawrence of Windsor, VT to manufacture his arms. By 1852, R.S. Lawrence (formerly of Robbins & Lawrence) moved to Hartford and became the master armorer of the Sharps Rifle Company. Over the next seven years, Sharps produced a variety of carbines and rifles of various patterns, with each new pattern an attempt to improve upon his earlier designs. However, all the future success of the business was without the namesake of the company at its helm. Rather, Christian Sharps established a new business under the name C. Sharps & Company in Philadelphia in 1854, after various issues with Lawrence and others at the original company.

During the 1850s, several thousand arms were produced by the Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company both for various small US government contracts and for sale to the general public. The Sharps Rifle Company really struck gold with the introduction of their “New Model” 1859 series of breechloading percussion carbines and rifles, which were subsequently improved upon as the “New Model” 1863. During the Civil War, the Sharps Rifle Company produced thousands of carbines and rifles for the US government with more than 77,000 of their carbines being purchased for use by the US military. While the Spencer might have shot quicker with its repeating action and seven-round magazine, no breechloading carbine or rifle was more beloved for its sturdy reliability in the field and proven accuracy than the Sharps.

The primary Sharps models to see Civil War use were the New Model 1859 and New Model 1863 rifles and carbines. Approximately 6,150 New Model 1863 Rifles were produced and delivered to the US government for use by the US military. The New Model 1863 was the pinnacle of the Sharps Rifle Company’s beech-loading, percussion-ignition military designs. Like the New Model 1859 version before them the New Model 1863s had blued barrels and color case hardened receivers and furniture. Sharps rifles and carbines (both NM1859 and NM1863) were issued to a number of US regiments, other than the 1st & 2nd US Sharpshooters. The infantry regiments included the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 6th-8th, 11th, 13th & 14th Connecticut, 66th & 113th Illinois, 20th Indiana, 11th, 12th Kentucky, 3rd, 5th & 16th Michigan, 15th Massachusetts, 1st & 8th Minnesota, 26th & 27th Missouri, 2nd & 3rd New Hampshire, 30th New Jersey, 2nd, 5th,146th, 151st & 1st Independent New York Sharpshooters, 38th, 42nd, 149th, 150th & 190th Pennsylvania, 4th Wisconsin & the 37th US Colored Troops. Additionally, many Sharps New Model 1863 Rifles were issued to members of the Veteran Volunteer regiments.

By the end of the American Civil War it had become clear that the percussion era was also reaching its end and that self-contained metallic cartridges were the future of firearms designs. Few percussion rifle designs were as readily adaptable to the metallic cartridge as was the Sharps. After the war, the Sharps designs were easily modified for use with metallic cartridges, with many being modified to fire 50-90 centerfire cartridges by swapping a few components.

Ammunition

The original Sharps rifles and carbines used a paper cartridge. The paper tube contained the black powder, and the open end was capped with the 52 - 53 calliber bullet. The manual of arms was to move the hammer to half-cock, operate the lever, which dropped the breechblock and exposed the chamber. The round was placed in the chamber, and the breech was closed using the lever. The shearing action of closing the breechblock opened the back end of the paper tube, exposing the powder. A precussion cap was placed on the nipple either manually or using the Lawrence Pellet Primer System. The hammer was brought to full cock, and the trigger pulled. The paper used in the cartridges was combustable, so the breech did not need to be cleared prior to loading the next round.

An Early Sharps Cartridge box and a cartridge
Wood Font Artifact Metal Rectangle


A bit clearer photo
Tints and shades Font Wood Rectangle Electric blue



Military Issue cartridge box for the Sharps carbine and rifle.
Brown Luggage and bags Bag Material property Wood


Lawrence Pellet Primer System

Richard Lawrence, the master armorer and superintendent of the Sharps Rifle Mfg. Co. was responsible many innovations to the Model 1852 through 1874 Sharps. The original pellet system (invented by Sharps in 1852), was improved by Lawrence, by adding a sliding ‘cut off’ arm that kept the primers inside the magazine until needed. By sliding back the cut off, the primers would automatically feed every time the hammer was pulled back. Lawrence also improved the rear sight; and replaced the Conant platinum ring with his own gas check ring/plate (patented on Dec. 20, 1859) that fit into the breechblock face, effectively solving the problem of gas escaping from the gap between the breechblock and chamber.

To load the pellet primers into a Sharps rifle or carbine the following steps were necessary; first draw the hammer back to full cock. Next the pellet cover is slid back, exposing the magazine well. The brass tube is centered over the magazine opening and the wooden ‘tab’ is pushed downward; causing the primers to be loaded into magazine (the plunger and spring contracting). After all 25 primers were loaded, the cut off arm was slid forward to keep the primers inside the magazine. The cover was slid forward, keeping the pellet primers in reserve until needed. When the pellet primers were needed, the cut off arm nub was slid back and the system was activated. The original instructions to load the primers are described below:

TO CHARGE THE LOCK WITH “SHARPS’ PRIME (R)S” Cock the Arm, shove back the magazine cover on the top of the surface of the lockplate, by pressing the left thumb against the screw head beneath the cup of the hammer . Withdraw the tack nail from the charging tube, insert the primer’s end of the tube in the magazine with the left hand, the slot in the tube in line with the slot in the face of the lockplate, and press it down as far as the spiral spring will admit, then with the right hand thrust the tack nail through the slots in the tube and lockplate above the primers, withdraw the tube, bring the lock to half cock and withdraw the tack nail. The priming magazine charged, the cover must not be moved back, lest the primers escape. Nor should the hammer be worked, between half cock and full cock, for the same reason. “
What is interesting is that there are no accounts of a soldier actually using the primers in combat. Most stuck with the standard issue "top hat" caps


View of all the components of the primer feed system
Hand tool Wood Tool Metalworking hand tool Household hardware



An original tube of primers, as well as the 'top hat" primers that were generally used.
Household hardware Wood Metal Circle Fashion accessory
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
32,243 Posts
Museum quality work, AFJuvat! You never disappoint and that was an amazing writeup and photo documentation of the extraordinary work bringing this piece of history back to display status! Well done, sir! (y)(y)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,835 Posts
Discussion Starter · #29 ·
^^^^ 40 something years ago; I saw a Sharps with a primer tape feed system in a LGS.
That was an older version with the Maynard Primer Tape System. The Lawrence system replaced it.


That primer feeder is pretty cool ,I wonder how well it worked , I think in battle the older cap style would be a safer bet .
There isn't too much data out there, but what I was able to find indicated that while the feed system worked fairly well, the copper disk primers were somewhat hit-or-miss when it came to reliability.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,817 Posts
I want to thank AFJuvat for all his hard work to restore this family rifle.....No....not mine..It be longs to my wife. It is a rifle passed from one generation to next......she came from Kentucky and it was passed down to her. She trusted me to get it restored.....I made the choice and she agreed...AFJuvat always wants to keep his restorations real to the era....we had a lot of communication of how to finish the rifle.....what is current or what would match the era.....To find parts and remain in true to the rifle was a lot of work on his part. It will be a wall hanger....with a special place in our home. Thank You Sir...I am humbly admiring your expertise and knowledge....EBL
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,817 Posts
It is truly remarkable the work that he did.....from frozen shut action and dry rot and cracks in the wood to a fully operating rifle that looks great. My wife was awed in the finished product. He is truly an artist.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,835 Posts
Discussion Starter · #38 ·
I want to thank AFJuvat for all his hard work to restore this family rifle.....No....not mine..It be longs to my wife. It is a rifle passed from one generation to next......she came from Kentucky and it was passed down to her. She trusted me to get it restored.....I made the choice and she agreed...AFJuvat always wants to keep his restorations real to the era....we had a lot of communication of how to finish the rifle.....what is current or what would match the era.....To find parts and remain in true to the rifle was a lot of work on his part. It will be a wall hanger....with a special place in our home. Thank You Sir...I am humbly admiring your expertise and knowledge....EBL
It is truly remarkable the work that he did.....from frozen shut action and dry rot and cracks in the wood to a fully operating rifle that looks great. My wife was awed in the finished product. He is truly an artist.
Thank you for the kind words, and I am thrilled that it met up with you and your wife's expectations.

For me this is the true reward for the restoration, preservation and appreciation for the history that these guns represent.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,817 Posts
Only one more thing that is off topic.....when I went to see AFJuvat to pick up the rifle, I saw some of his other handiwork and I was astounded.....he is truly an artist at restoring firearms..... He keeps them as original as possible and makes them look like they are newly issued. I won't go into particulars without his permission.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,835 Posts
Discussion Starter · #40 ·
Only one more thing that is off topic.....when I went to see AFJuvat to pick up the rifle, I saw some of his other handiwork and I was astounded.....he is truly an artist at restoring firearms..... He keeps them as original as possible and makes them look like they are newly issued. I won't go into particulars without his permission.

Go ahead. 😊
 
21 - 40 of 40 Posts
Top