SOLD FOR: $1711
Make: C. Sharps
Model: 1868 Cartridge Conversion of Model 1859 Carbine
Serial Number: 55767
Year of Manufacture: The rifle was originally manufactured between 1858 and 1863. It was converted to cartridge use in 1868-1869.
Caliber: .50-70 Government
Action Type: Single Shot Lever Operated Falling Block Breach Loading Rifle
Markings: The lockplate is marked “R.S. LAWRENCE PAT / APRIL 12TH 1859” at the top and “C. SHARPS’ PAT / OCT 5TH 1852.” in the center. The upper tang is marked “55767”. The bottom of the barrel is marked “42” and “55767”. The extractor is marked “42”. There are two boxed cartouches on the left of the buttstock, but we can’t make out the letters.
Barrel Length: 22”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a brass blade pinned into a slotted base atop barrel. The rear sight is a folding ladder sight that presents a small “V” notch when the ladder is folded down. There is a “V” notch in the top of the slider, another at the bottom of the ladder, and a ”U” notch at the top edge of the ladder for use when the ladder is raised. The right side of the ladder is marked “2” at the bottom and “3” through “7” for use with the slider, and “8” at the very top. The top tang is drilled and tapped for a tang sight, but none is present.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece walnut with a banded forend, straight grip, smooth steel buttplate and a sling bar on the left of the wrist. The right edge of the buttplate is notched for a patchbox, but the stock does not have a patchbox. The stocks have scattered nicks, dings, scuffs and scratches. There is a more notable ding in the bottom-rear of the forend and there are four very small, but deep marks on the right of the buttstock toward the rear. There are no cracks. The LOP measures 13 3/4” from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The has mostly gone to a patina with scattered light erosion. Overall, the stocks are in about Very Good condition as Antique.
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 gray and its three-groove rifling is sharp where not interrupted by erosion. There are scattered patches of erosion and pitting in the bore.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 7% of its current metal finish. The exposed surfaces have worn to white or gone to a light-moderate patina. There is scattered surface oxidation and erosion. There are scattered light nicks, scuffs and scratches. Remaining finish is on the bottom of the barrel where protected from the forend. The markings range from clear to worn, but legible. The screw heads range from sharp to disfigured with a useable slot. Overall, this rifle is in about Very Good condition as converted and 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. The Sharps carbine was the most significantly utilized carbine of the Civil War: it was a single shot percussion breechloader using paper cartridge and revolutionized hand weaponry at the time. After the war, a little over 31,000 carbines were converted to fire centerfire ammunition. Some used the original .52 caliber barrels, and those that had worn barrels were relined and chambered for .50-70 C.F. This is one of the Model 1859 carbines that was relined and converted to cartridge use as a Model 1869. This carbine is in about Very Good overall condition as Antique with about 7% of its current finish remaining. The action is tight and functions correctly, and the bore is decent for a 150 year old black powder rifle. The sling bar is present, along with its saddle ring. 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 their post-war conversions were among the first rifles to use metallic cartridges. These rifles are highly collected, primarily because there are so few still remaining. This M1869 cartridge conversion will be a nice addition to any collection of Civil War or early cartridge firearms. Please see our photos and good luck!