RARE M1851 SHARPS Rifle w MAYNARD TAPE PRIMER
Early Sharps Rifle with Fewer than 400 Made!
Here we present an antique Sharps Model 1851 Box Lock Percussion Sporting Rifle with the Maynard Tape Primer, made between 1852 and 1855 in Hartford, Connecticut. This is a solid example of a very rare Sharps Model 1851 Sporting Rifle. This model was initially designed by Christian Sharps as well as by Richard S. Lawrence and William Jones in Windsor, Vermont. Changes made by the former pair without consultation with Sharps is part of what led to him leaving the company that bore his name.
Estimates vary for how many Model 1851 sporting rifles were manufactured but, noted Sharps researcher Frank Sellers estimated 193 were manufactured within the 1-2050 range. Sellers also notes that nearly half of the sporting rifles had double set triggers and half had single triggers like this one, further decreasing the number in this configuration.
This rifle is fitted with a heavy 28″ octagon barrel. The Maynard tape primer automatically primed the rifle for firing with every cock of the hammer. The rifle is marked “SHARPS RIFLE MFG CO./HARTFORD, CONN” on the top barrel flat between the rear sight and breech, “EDWARD MAYNARD / PATENTEE / 1845” on the primer cover and the top of the receiver/upper tang is marked “C. SHARPS / PATENT / 1848” followed by the serial number. The barrel was finished blue. The hammer, action and lever are casehardened. The patch box and buttplate are brass. This was the last model before the Sharps rifles and carbines began taking their classic shape and is an important early variation. This model was also the first Sharps used by the U.S. military.
This rifle is well-used. About 80% of the blue finish remains, having turned plum with age. The markings are clear. The walnut stock has a chip at the toe, a small repair behind the lock, and a repair along the bottom of the forearm. The bore is dark and dirty. The hammer was also repaired at some point. The action remains strong. Here is a very rare Sharps rifle from before the Civil War that might have gone anywhere!
Own the original! This is a legitimate antique and not a reproduction.
Barrel is 28 inches.
Overall condition as seen in photos.
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