Sharps Carbine marking question


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mountainclmbr
October 25, 2003, 06:54 PM
I have a Civil War era Sharps Carbine in 50-70. It has S.C.O. stamped in several places in the wood and metal. Does anyone know what it means?

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Jagermeister
October 26, 2003, 06:03 AM
I found this in "Guns of the Civil War, and thought it may offer partial ans. to your question.

JM

Jagermeister
October 26, 2003, 06:25 AM
The Confederate Sharps

JM

Jim K
October 27, 2003, 12:37 AM
Well, if it is in .50-70, it sure isn't Civil War era and certainly is not Confederate. All CW Sharps rifles and carbines were percussion and used linen or paper cartridges (the CS never had the tooling to produce any metallic cartridges).

Some war period carbines were converted to .52-70 (RF) and .50-70 (CF) in the 1867-1868 timeframe, and the New Model 1869 carbine was made in .50-70 as well. These latter are distinguished from the converted guns by the lock plate not having the pellet primer mechanism.

Unfortunately, I have no idea what "S.C.O." means, but after the war, many companies bought Sharps and Spencer carbines to arm their guards and company police. Some states and local governments did likewise.

The type of marking and locations may be significant, as well as the area in which it was found. (I found a Spencer carbine in Western PA marked "P.C.C.Co.", which probably means "Pennsylvania Coal and Coke Co.", a well known name in that area.)

Jim

4v50 Gary
October 27, 2003, 11:04 PM
Sorry I can't find my copy of McAulay's "Civil War Breech Loading Rifles" and that's what happens when you store books in boxes. Metallic cartridge Sharps rifles were not available until after the Civil War. The Civil War vintage guns were either .52 or .54 caliber (methinks) and used percussion caps (or "Sharps Primes" pellets) and linen cartridges.

Jim K
October 28, 2003, 12:44 AM
Hi, Gary and folks,

A shade OT, but just from curiosity, I wonder if you have ever seen the Sharps pellet primer work. Not many have, with a tube of primers now selling for over $100, but once upon a time they were less expensive, and I fired a Sharps using them and linen cartridges. The primer pellet is priming compound enclosed in thin copper, sort of like a miniature cap box. The little tongue is operated by a cam cut into the inside of the hammer. When the hammer falls, the tongue kicks out the pellet just in time for the hammer to flatten it on the nipple. Some writers have said that it is like a percussion cap or that it is "laid on" the nipple. Neither is true. The pellet is flying through the air when the hammer comes down on it. It is a neat bit of timing and seems to sort of work "on a prayer", but actually it is pretty reliable.

Of course, the gun can use standard musket caps as well, a good idea in case a soldier ran out of Sharps primers.

Also very few old Sharps rifles or carbines will slice off the end of the cartridge like they should, the breech block insert having been worn down or rusted. But with the breech and breech block in good shape, the end of a linen cartridge comes right off, exposing the powder.

Jim

4v50 Gary
October 29, 2003, 12:15 AM
Jim, never saw one work but I have read about it in William Edward's "Civil War Guns." He reprints the instructions. About the best account I've read of it being used is from 2nd U.S.S.S. Wyman White who lays down a suppressive fire on what he thought was two rebs in a riflepit. His heavy fire convinces them to surrender and to his surprise, it turns out there's not two but five. :eek: He marches them back to his line.

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