Sharps 45/70


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RKellogg
March 17, 2008, 06:04 AM
A friend of a friend has a Sharps 45/70 for sale . He said it is from the Civil War eara . My question is , how do you tell , and if it is , what is it worth . Did they even have # on them back then .

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Nhsport
March 17, 2008, 08:43 AM
Generally many of the rifles from that era had no serial numbers on them but I don't know about the sharps.
There have been quite a few companys makeing reproductions in the last 25 or so years, the value of these reproductions is less (of course) than the originals and the reproductions themselves have quite a range of quality and therefore value.
Some of the reproductions are real works of art with value close to (or above?) that of the originals and some of the reproductions are so poor they are barely suitable to hang on the wall in your den

MGD 45
March 17, 2008, 09:58 AM
I've got a friend who is a big black powder shooter and collects BP rifles & pistols. He has three reproductions of the famous Sharps 45-70 rifles, & they ran him between $1500-2000 a piece. If your friend is willing to sell you that rifle around that kind of price.....I'd say take it.....

Seafarer12
March 17, 2008, 10:20 AM
If your serious I would get a book on sharps that has what all the markings mean on them so you can get an idea of its value.

DPris
March 17, 2008, 12:54 PM
Quite simply, if it's a .45-70, it's not Civil War.
The Sharps rifles & carbines used in the War were not cartridge-firing rifles. The .45-70 Sharps came along later.
If it's truly CW, it'll be percussion. The .45-70 wasn't even in existence yet.
The Model 1869 was the first Sharps to use that caliber, so technically if your friend wants to consider that "Civil War Era", it's up to you how accurate you'd accept that statement to be.
From there, have you looked at any maker's stamps on the barrel or lock plate? Does it have markings that clearly identify it as a Sharps, or does it have markings that indicate it's Italian origin or from Shiloh Sharps?
Denis

BobbyQuickdraw
March 17, 2008, 05:45 PM
It could be a Converted Sharps. So technically it could have been an 1850s era Sharps that survived to 1873, at which year they were converted to catridge en masse.

I would say look for any markings you can. While it may not have a serial number (if it does, its probably more recent, and a search for Sharps + the first 3 or so digits may give you the company) it should have a factory stamp somewhere on it. With that, you can find out who made it and when.

However, if it is a converted unit, it may have new stamps if the barrel was changed out, or if the stamp was previously on the receiver.

Whats he asking for it?

DPris
March 17, 2008, 06:57 PM
Good point, had not considered the conversions. :)
Looking a little further in the book, looks like the greatest majority of the military conversions (done on military rifles & carbines for military uses) were in .50-70. Appears the .45-70 percussion conversions were largely done on surplus & otherwise privately owned guns beginning in the 1870s, at least at the factory.
Conversions done by private gunsmiths are anybody's guess.
The famous Model 1874 was actually designed in 1871 & it took by far the biggest share of the .45-70 market for Sharps rifles.

RK,
Any & all markings on the gun, including literally lock, stock & barrel, as well barrel length and buttplate type, would be helpful.
Denis

RKellogg
March 20, 2008, 11:27 AM
Thanks guys , I think I will just stay away from it because I don't know enough about them .

ArmedBear
March 20, 2008, 02:38 PM
Looking a little further in the book, looks like the greatest majority of the military conversions (done on military rifles & carbines for military uses) were in .50-70.

I don't think they work too well, since their bores are a bit too big for .50 -- unless they were rebarreled. If you actually intend to shoot the thing for any practical purpose (and they still work great -- I've hunted with a guy who had an original .50-70 in his hand), I'd consider getting an original cartridge gun instead. But for a wallhanger and occasional mess-around rifle with history, this could be an interesting gun for the right price.

Float Pilot
March 20, 2008, 02:53 PM
See if you can find the book Shooting Buffalo Rifles of the Old West by Mike Ventureno.

It has a pretty good section on the Sharps rifles and is generally a fun and informative book to have around.

There are LOTS of fake Sharps rifles out there made up from Italian repro parts. You can tell by the position of certain screws. But not unless you have seen a few of them.

DPris
March 20, 2008, 06:54 PM
The "Sharps Firearms" by Sellers is also a classic reference.
Denis

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