Sharps New Model 1863 .50-70 Gov’t 1869 Conversion Rifle, 1863-1865 Antique

SOLD FOR: $1925

LSB#: 220316CA011

Make: C. Sharps

Model: 1868 Cartridge Conversion of New Model 1863 Carbine

Serial Number: 83506

Year of Manufacture: The rifle was originally manufactured between 1863 and 1865. It was converted to cartridge use in 1868-1869.

Caliber: .50-70 Government

Action Type: Single Shot Lever Operated Falling Block Breech Loading Rifle

Markings: The lockplate has traces of a previous marking at the top and “C. SHARPS’ PAT / OCT 5TH 1852.” in the center. The left side of the receiver has a faded marking from which “OCT. 5TH 1859” can be made. The upper tang is marked “83506”. The top of the barrel at the receiver is marked “NEW MODEL 1863″. There is a faded cartouche on the left of the buttstock, but we can’t make out the letters. The top of the block is marked “c”. The rear sight is marked “R.S. LAWRENCE / PATENTED / FEB 15TH / 1859”. The top of the barrel has a faded marking ahead of the rear sight. The saddle ring inlet is marked “T.W.R”.

Barrel Length: 22”

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a silver-colored 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.

Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece walnut with a banded forearm, straight grip, and steel crescent shaped buttplate. There is a sling bar inlet into the left side of the wrist with a saddle ring attached. The wood appears to have been refinished at some point. The wood is shy of the upper tang and the buttplate. The stocks have several scattered nicks, dings, bruises, scuffs, scratches and scrapes. There is some minor material loss on the forearm around the barrel band. There are no visible cracks. The LOP measures 14” from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The buttplate shows scattered erosion. Overall, the stocks are in about Very Good condition as Antique.

Type of Finish: Blue & Case Color

Finish Originality: Original

Bore Condition: The bore is mostly bright and its three-groove rifling is worn yet defined. There is some infrequently scattered light erosion in the bore.

Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 30% of its current metal finish. The barrel shows a general shift to patina with some trace amounts of blue remaining. There is general scattered erosion throughout the metal. There is some case-color still showing on the lower tang and on the sides of the receiver. There are some scattered light nicks, scuffs and scratches. The markings are mostly worn and incomplete. The screw heads generally range from tool-marked with strong slots and slightly disfigured and serviceable. Overall, this rifle is in about Very Good condition as 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 New Model 1863 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 30% 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!