View Full Version : IAB Sharps model 1874

10-23-2007, 03:44 PM
I've found a IAB Sharps 1874 in 45-70 that I am thinking about purchasing. Does anyone have any experience with or knowledge of these guns. This is the 1st one I have seen, but the price seems more than fair. Looking and longing.

10-23-2007, 03:55 PM
Problems with the chambering, problems with the firing pins and overall a B/P action only! They are too soft for continued use with any but B/P pressures. Limit to 18,000 psi If you buy one expect to have it worked on to work.

10-23-2007, 05:48 PM
As KCSO said. A local shop in Lebanon KY was selling a bunch of the returns and myself and 2 buddies bought several of them. There were a number of problems with them: oversize chambers, soft springs, set triggers that didn't work properly, half cock notches that would drop if the trigger was pulled, and other things that I have forgotten. I sold the one I had but one of the guys got his shooting really nice, but he is a pretty good smith and he said that it wouldn't hold up to a lot of shooting. He uses it as a hunting gun.
Not sure what you are paying but I wouldn't give much more than $250 for it, unless you are sure it will work perfectly. And make sure you can return it if there is a problem.


10-24-2007, 01:22 AM
.................I'll be the odd man out here :-). I bought an IAB Sharps many years ago and it has one issue. Of course you don't want to buy a gun and have ANY issues. Mine has set triggers and I never had a problem with them. My buddy had one a couple years back and they had to replace the triggers.

The problem I had with mine (in 45-70) was that the throat was too long. I had my gunsmith run a 45-90 reamer into it and that took care of it. It's a shooting sunuvagun, and no doubt about it. The hammer looks a bit odd but it's actually a copy of the earlier paper cartridge version of the Sharps (which IAB also sells).

IAB had some years back changed the hammer on the cartridge versions to mimic the '74 Sharps. I must have gotten lucky on mine. It has a nicely marbled walnut buttstock, is very well finished and has brilliant color casehardening. In fact it's some of the nicest color case I've ever seen. Just looking at the fit and finish, and the color casehardening it has my Perdersoli Sharps Business rifle beat by a distance.

The deal is, is that IAB is a consortium. They have several contactors making various parts. IAB puts them together (maybe doing some finish work) and handles the marketing and shipping. Possibly 5-6 years ago IAB had a representative here in the states and all the dissatisfaction with various and sundry issues was related to him. Word was that the management was going to address the recurring problems.

I don't know what action was taken, or how the current rifles are. Once mine was re-chambered (and I bought mine back in the early '90's) it's been a shootin' esso-b, and I've fired some pretty intrepid loads from it. Dave Gullo of Buffalo Arms uses an IAB to hunt with. He said his had some problems but accuracy was never one. He said people think it's an original as it's so beat up now :-).

Like anything else new, (like cars) you might buy a Pedersoli and have a minor problem............. or not. I don't know IAB's current history at all. I do know that they did have a history of being problematic. I don't know who owns the one you're looking at, but if it's a shop maybe they'd let you try it? It'd be worth a box of factory Remingtons to see. After the re-chambering I'm perfectly happy with mine.


10-24-2007, 08:50 AM
I think that they look great and as I said my huntin buddies gun shoots great. There was a large distributor in Southern IN that was handling them and they dropped their distributorship because of so many returns. Now this has been about 2 years ago. And again the ones we bought were some of these returns that this dealer picked up and he was very up front abbout the problems. He was selling them for $265 AS IS. The problems that I discribed was what was wrong with the guns we purchased. From what I understand, the biggest problem was that the chambers were way oversize and the cases would be badly bulged on one side. This can be worked around if you never FL resize them. The up side is that you get increased case capacity with out going to a 45-90[smilie=1:
The one gun had a beatifully browned barrel with a cased receiver and the wood was pretty nice as well. The cases came out of the gun looking like a pregnant Guppy after firing.
If the price is right and they will let you bring it back if it is real bad, go for it. As Buckshot said I think that they have been built by several different companies in the past and this might be a good one. But even their website says not to use anything but BP loads in them.


10-24-2007, 09:14 AM
Schutzen, from a guy who bought one a few years ago, DON'T EVEN TOUCH ONE!!!!
They are the biggest piece of JUNK ever built! Service, trying to get anything done or parts are a major problem.
The locks are soft. After about 10 shots they will not stay cocked. The chambers are rough, and leave lines all down your brass. The triggers do not respond to smoothing or tuning.
I even emailed the company trying to get anything done. What a waste of time.
I am not hard on my guns, I treasure them, and if they don't work exactly right, I go to a good gunsmith and get them fixed. With these it's impossible!
In fact, I'm trying to unload mine right now!
Save your money and buy a Pedroseli, or Uberti, or a Shiloh, or C. Sharps Arms.
You will be MUCH better off.

10-24-2007, 11:08 AM
I A B = It's Always Broke. Bought a 74 several years ago. I think it lasted less than 100 shots before the lock disintigrated It did show potential as a shooter, but I would never buy another. I traded mine at half value of what I paid for it and was glad to see it go.


10-24-2007, 12:30 PM
I agree ..DON"T buy one. They are junk. I have a 54cal. paper cartridge carbine 74 IAB that I really like, but it is not the norm.

Buy a Pedersoli, costs a little more but WELL worth it! I had a Shiloh 74 that had a better wood-to-metal fit but after getting the Pedersoli I sold the Shiloh, put a couple thousand $ in my pocket. I feel that I have a much better gun,and I'm not afraid to take it hunting. With it I have taken coyote,deer,elk bear, and one buffalo....my old (shot-up) dish washer at 800 yards can't tell it's not a Shiloh:Fire:

10-24-2007, 02:42 PM
This is a case where everyone is right. Buckshot, they can be made to shoot and have excellent barrels, but I have had to rechamber or set back 6 out od 10 of them. If I were going to spend $700 on a rifle i would be some upset if I had to pay for this...

Repair list of last IAB Sharps in our shop...

Hone and polish mainspring to proper tension
Re harden set triggers
Re build firing pin, broke on shot 3
Re chamber to 45-90 from nominal 45-70 excess chamber length
Re Harden sear and tumbler

Total bill $145.00

After all that the owner was finally satisfied with the gun.

Now for $50 more than he spent in the end he could have had a Pedersoli and no problems.

10-24-2007, 08:55 PM
From Looking and Longing to GUNSHY! Thanks for the info guys. I like the 45-70 cartridge, it is easy to cast & reload. I can see myself shooting 25-100 rounds per month. From what I'm hearing, an IAB would not stand up to this. Looks like I'm still saving for a Pedersoli.

Gentlemen, I sincerely appreciate the information. I do not want a wall hanger, I'm a shooter.
Thanks, Schutzen

10-25-2007, 08:54 AM
Probably a wise decision. I haven't looked lately but some of the nofrills Pedersoli's used to be available for less than $800. Big problem now is the dollar is weak against just about everything but you might find a used one somewhere.


10-25-2007, 09:51 AM
I have what is probably a pre IAB rifle. Doesn't say IAB but some import place in New York. Figure it was imported mid '70s. A local gunsmith knew how to fix it and I used it as a big bore at the local cowboy action shoots. I left it as a 45-70 and just seat the bullet out a lube groove or so. Can't say how many hollow base Lee bullets went down range. Hurt my shoulder one day shooting off hand at a 18 in square plate @ 400 yards, hit it 80% of the time over 70 rounds. Shot mostly a duplex load FFG with a small amount of SR4759. Shoots real good (when you get them working), don't need another one so I can't say if I'd do it again. Safety disappeared real quick.


10-25-2007, 10:13 AM
Well - My .02 worth.

I have an IAB - Rerpo 1866 Sharps Business Rifle - with the Hammer Block Saftey.

Long Chamber = Reamed to 45/90
Set Triggers = Rehardened and reshapped
Solie Rear sight, Lyman 17 Globe Front.
Bore = .459+ (no jacketd down this barrel)

Load - 41.5 grains of IMR 3031 with dacron wading compressed slightly behind a MM 430gr GC FP (75% FP). Veliocty = 1475-1500. Shoots MOA consitantly.

Well over 3,000 rounds of that load.

I LIKE the hammer block safety for Hunting - It is my Hunting Sharps.

Would I sell it - Not on your life!

Would I do it again - Not only NO but H@!! No.


09-29-2009, 12:00 AM
schutzen How is that Quigley Sharps I sent you working out? :)

09-29-2009, 06:10 AM
I have had two IAB sharps rifles one was an old one with a firing pin safety the other is a percussion carbine. The first one I owned back about 18-20 years ago and the only problem I had with it was the chamber. The recess for the rim was not cut deep enough to allow cambering a cartridge. A friend who had a 45-70 chambering reamer ran it in a couple of thousandths by hand and the rifle was fine after that. The percussion carbine I still own and never have had an issue with. A friend of mine has an 1874 that he uses for silhouette matches. It shoots every bit as good as my Shiloh but I am not selling my Shiloh to buy one any time in this life time.