SOLD FOR: $4,525
Make: Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company
Model: New Model 1863 Military Rifle, 1868 Cartridge Conversion
Serial Number: C39449
Year of Manufacture: 1865, Converted 1869
Caliber: .50-70 Government
Action Type: Single Shot Lever Operated Falling Block Breach Loading Rifle
Markings: The upper tang is marked “C. 39449”. The bottom of the barrel, under the forend, is marked “C. 39449”, with inspection mark “ET” further forward, the right flat at the rear is marked “M”, the left of the barrel is marked “PM” under the rear barrel band. The left of the barrel is marked “R.S.L” on the shank behind the flat at the rear (Robert S. Lamotte Capt., USA Sharps Rifles 1861-1869). The top of the barrel at the rear is marked “NEW MODEL 1863”. The top of the barrel in front of the rear sight is marked “SHARP’S RIFLE / MANUFG. CO. / HARTFORD CONN.”. The top of the rear sight base is marked “R.S. LAWRENCE / PATENTED / FEB. 15th 1859”. The inlet on the right of the breech-block is marked “Y”. The left of the lever is marked “1” and “C”. The inside of the extractor arm is marked “Y” by the hole for the hinge-pin. The right of the lockplate, behind the hammer is marked “R.S. LAWRENCE PAT. / APRIL 12th 1859”, above the trigger with “????HARPS??? / OCT 5th 1852” and at the very rear with “H”. The left of the receiver is marked “C. SHARPS’ PAT. / SEPT. 12th 1848”. The left of the buttstock is marked “22” at the rear.
Barrel Length: 30”, Bayonet lug on the bottom.
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a German silver blade in a slotted base at the front of the barrel. The rear sight is a folding ladder sight screwed to the barrel. There is a “V” notch at the bottom/rear of the ladder’s base for use when the ladder is folded down. When the ladder is folded up, there is a “V” notch at the bottom of the ladder, another at the top edge of the slider and another on the very top edge of the ladder. The right side of the ladder is marked “2” through “7” with an “8” at the top.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two piece smooth walnut with three barrel bands and screw-secured forend with nosecap, straight grip, straight comb, patchbox, case color metal buttplate, sling swivel in the belly and another on the middle barrel band. The stocks show light-moderate wear with discoloration from age and oil, scattered nicks, dings, scratches and scrapes. There is a spot of more notable marring at the front of the wrist to the right of the top tang and a chip-loss at the toe. There is a very short crack at the buttplate above the patchbox. The LOP measures 13 3/4″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The face of the buttplate has mostly worn to white with some nicks and scattered solid erosion, the tang of the plate has similar erosion, but still shows some case color. The patchbox has generally strong remaining case color with some scattered minor erosion.
Type of Finish: Blue & Case Color
Finish Originality: We know that the rifle was refinished when it underwent cartridge conversion, but believe it has not been refinished, since.
Bore Condition: The bore is mostly bright with sharp 6-groove rifling. There is some scattered light erosion in the bore and a patch of pitting just in front of the chamber.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains approximately 65% of its current metal finish. The finish is thinning at all edes. The barrel has generally strong finish wih some scattered light scuffing, infrequent minor surface oxidation, a more notable nick on the top behind the middle band and some nicks behind the rear sight. The receiver retains some areas of strong case color, some areas muted or worn to white, scattered light nicks, scuffs and scraping, infrequent minor surface oxidation, and operational wear on the lockplate. There is a crack across the top tang at the front screw. The screw heads range from sharp to disfigured with useable slots. The markings range from clear to worn and incomplete. Overall, this rifle is in about Fine condition as refinished Antique.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The hammer has a half-cock safety position. There is a push-button lever lock on the lower tang. The action is tight, and the lever locks up well. We have not fired this rifle. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None.
Our Assessment: The Sharps New Model rifles and carbines were made in three models: 1859, 1863 and 1865. From Flayderman’s, over 100,000 of the 1859 and 1863 models were purchased by the U.S. Army and Navy during the Civil War. New Model 1863 Military Rifles were produced in 1865 at the tail-end of the war. Serial numbers for this model run from C30,000 to C40,000, with some overlap with other models. After the war, many of the Sharps Carbines were converted from percussion to cartridge-firing for the Army, but comparatively few Rifles were converted, just over 1,000. This rifle is in about Fine overall condition as refinished Antique. It retains a surprisingly strong bore, great mechanics, matching serial number on the barrel and receiver, and quite a bit of its finish remains. The stock even retains its patchbox. The Sharps rifles and carbines represent a great period in the history of American firearms – they participated in the last great war in which percussion rifles were used, and many were converted to metallic cartridges soon after the war. These rifles are highly collected, and this rifle should be no exception. Please see our photos and good luck!