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Thread: Got me a "REAL" 1859 SHARPS!

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Got me a "REAL" 1859 SHARPS!

    Finally got me a REAL Sharps. Bought it from a fantastic guy on the CAS forum...THANKS DOUG!

    The condition is fantastic. Much better than I expected! The barrel will be relined as the bore is trash. It is currently a 50-70 and will stay in this caliber. Barrel liner, dies, brass and bullet mold are on their way from Track Of The Wolf.







    Now I have a million questions about it. Mostly about the mechanism that lives under the hammer. Anyone know what this all about.





    Also, where can I research the serial number and maybe find a bit of history about this rifle?

    Loads of pictures here:

    http://public.fotki.com/Rbertalotto/...harps-carbine/
    Roy B
    Massachusetts

    www.rvbprecision.com

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Lawrence tape primer mechanism.Think of it as a regular roll of caps for toy cap pistols which basically it is. Pull the hammmer back and was supposed to feed and cap(for better description) to cover the nipple and when you pulled the trigger it detonated igniting the powder in the chamber. When doing the conversions to 50-70 it was cheaper just to leave it there. Frank

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
    aws1963's Avatar
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    Wow. That's a beauty. Should be a shooter after the barrel liner. Congrats on acquiring a classic.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master



    curator's Avatar
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    The Lawrence "DISK" primer was not a roll of caps but rather a stack of disks much like a pez-dispenser." The disks were copper foil with the fulminate of mercury sandwiched between two layers of copper foil. They were loaded into the bottom of the lock where screw and spring are located. The disks are put in, the spring and follower next, them the screw-plug. Pulling back the hammer positioned the next disk (the mechanism is connected to the hammer) which was brought forward over the nipple as the hammer fell. This eliminated the need to place a musket cap on the nipple, greatly increasing the rate of fire. Unfortunately, the disk primer often failed to make the two 90 degree turns to ignite the powder charge leading to misfires. Cavalry troops that relied on the Sharps carbines usually relied on standard musket caps to fire their guns.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master



    curator's Avatar
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    rbertalotto,

    During the "conversion", the pin that connected the Lawrence primer mechanism to the hammer was removed so that the feeding system was disconnected. The rectangular cut in front of the hammer was a viewing window so the shooter could view his supply of caps in the primer "magazine."

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by curator View Post
    rbertalotto,

    During the "conversion", the pin that connected the Lawrence primer mechanism to the hammer was removed so that the feeding system was disconnected. The rectangular cut in front of the hammer was a viewing window so the shooter could view his supply of caps in the primer "magazine."
    Thank you! Great info.
    Roy B
    Massachusetts

    www.rvbprecision.com

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Wow.....what a nice rifle!!!! I don't know if I could bring myself to re-line the barrel but I certainly understand it. Not much more annoying than a nice rifle that you can't make shoot as is. Well, I guess I could re-line it as I've done two. A Jeffrey Rook rifle and a '92 Winchester that had sewer pipes for bores, evidently much the same as you describe. I hope yours comes out as good as the two I had done. Can't see any reason it shouldn't. You're gonna have a lot of fun with that one!!!! Congrats!!!
    "In general, the art of government is to take as much money as possible from one class of citizens and give it to another class of citizens" Voltaire'

    The common virtue of capitalism is the sharing of equal opportunity. The common vice of socialism is the equal sharing of misery

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  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Very nice! The condition looks terrific. I'm sure you will enjoy it. How will it be used? Competition, hunting?

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    I've already done a half dozen relines. You can read all about them on my website. Or in Single Shot Exchange magazine.

    www.rvbprecision.com
    Roy B
    Massachusetts

    www.rvbprecision.com

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Hunting and side matches at Cowboy Action events will be the use
    Roy B
    Massachusetts

    www.rvbprecision.com

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Alrighty then! I had a friend come over to drool over the Sharps. After input from you folks and research in Frank Sellers book on Sharps Rifles, we determined it is an 1863 Sharps with an 1868 conversion.....

    BUT IT IS NOT A RIFLE/CARBINE......It is a SHOTGUN!

    The extractor was missing the rim of the case. And the case was a bit sloppy in the chamber. We looked into the chamber and realized that the bullet would be some distance from what we thought would be the lead. I had a 28GA shotgun shell sitting on the bench....The rim is slightly larger than a 50-70 case. And it is exactly the length to the transition of a "lead"
    Viola! It fit right in, the extractor worked, and this must be why there isn't even a hint of rifling in the bore.
    I cast up some .517" bullets and they drop right down the bore. The bore measures at .520"
    I think I got myself a Sharps "Fowler".......

    Now, at a .520" bore, do you think there is still a liner in there?

    My plan is still to reline to 50-70. Last thing I need is a Sharps Shotgun!
    Roy B
    Massachusetts

    www.rvbprecision.com

  12. #12
    Boolit Master



    missionary5155's Avatar
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    Greetings
    But just for the fun of it load up a couple BP shells and go call a couple crows to come near and meet Mr. Sharps !
    Mike in Peru
    "Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
    Home built Matchlock similar to what an early 1600 Colonial soldier might have.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    I just might do that as I wait for my liner to arrive.
    Roy B
    Massachusetts

    www.rvbprecision.com

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Took the butt plate off th3 Sharps to da6 to see if it had a serial number. No serial number but someone, long ago, put a leaf under th3 butt plate. No way it could have gotten in ther3 on its own. The leaf material was just dust, but the veins were still there. Interesting! I wonder what tha5 was all about?
    Roy B
    Massachusetts

    www.rvbprecision.com

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Goodness...I bet that was a completely unexpected turn of events!!!! Is there enough meat left for a liner? Sure hope so. As with yourself I'd have precious little use for a Sharps Fowler. From your posts you'll also have to make a new extractor?

    Seems there's always something perplexing about every old firearm we acquire, as with the leaf under the butt plate. No different than anyone who's ever acquired an old firearm I often look at those I own and wish they could talk.
    "In general, the art of government is to take as much money as possible from one class of citizens and give it to another class of citizens" Voltaire'

    The common virtue of capitalism is the sharing of equal opportunity. The common vice of socialism is the equal sharing of misery

    NRA Benefactor 2008

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    There is enough barrel left for a low pressure, 50-70, black powder cartridge.

    The extractors tip will be TIG welded to make longer and then reshaped. I had to do this on a couple of my reline projects. No big deal.

    Can’t wait to get my special piloted drill bit from PTG to get going on this project. They are telling me 5 - 6 weeks! Ugh...
    Roy B
    Massachusetts

    www.rvbprecision.com

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbertalotto View Post
    Alrighty then! I had a friend come over to drool over the Sharps. After input from you folks and research in Frank Sellers book on Sharps Rifles, we determined it is an 1863 Sharps with an 1868 conversion.....

    BUT IT IS NOT A RIFLE/CARBINE......It is a SHOTGUN!

    The extractor was missing the rim of the case. And the case was a bit sloppy in the chamber. We looked into the chamber and realized that the bullet would be some distance from what we thought would be the lead. I had a 28GA shotgun shell sitting on the bench....The rim is slightly larger than a 50-70 case. And it is exactly the length to the transition of a "lead"
    Viola! It fit right in, the extractor worked, and this must be why there isn't even a hint of rifling in the bore.
    I cast up some .517" bullets and they drop right down the bore. The bore measures at .520"
    I think I got myself a Sharps "Fowler".......

    Now, at a .520" bore, do you think there is still a liner in there?

    My plan is still to reline to 50-70. Last thing I need is a Sharps Shotgun!
    The 1863 percussion Sharps was .52 caliber, with a 6 groove barrel. When converted to .50-70, carbines with bores that exceeded .5220(donít quote me on the exact number) were relined with a 3 groove .50 cal liner with a .515 groove depth. Your carbine apparently has the original bore.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Your carbine apparently has the original bore
    You can very clearly see where my barrel was reclined. Maybe it was reclined and then bored out as a Shotgun?
    Roy B
    Massachusetts

    www.rvbprecision.com

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Most of the conversion Sharps with 3-groove barrels were bored out from their original 6-groove Sharps rifling and had Springfield .50 caliber liners sweated in. Some of the earliest conversions retain their original 6-groove rifling, but these were found to be too far oversize for reasonable accuracy. A few early ones are also found in .50-70 rimfire. Sellers' book tells the story.
    John Wells in PA

    Peabody's and Peabody-Martini's wanted
    Also shoot a 10-PDR Parrott Rifle in competition

  20. #20
    Super nice find!

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check