Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1092: Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company - 1874-Rifle

Auction Date: December 3, 2016

Documented Sharps Model 1874 "Old Reliable" Single Shot Sporting Heavy Barrel Rifle with Factory Letter

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $3,250 - $4,500

Documented Sharps Model 1874 "Old Reliable" Single Shot Sporting Heavy Barrel Rifle with Factory Letter

Manufacturer: Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company
Model: 1874-Rifle
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 44
Barrel: 30 inch octagon
Finish: blue/casehardened
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 748
Item Interest: Average
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 53
Class: Antique

The factory letter confirms the caliber, double set triggers, oiled stock, open sights and 30 inch sporting octagon barrel. The rifle was shipped on November 17, 1876 to Sharps agent A.J. Plate & Co. of San Francisco, California. The list price was $42.00, and the weight was 12 pounds. The top barrel flat is marked "SHARPS RIFLE CO. BRIDGEPORT, CONN." ahead of the rear sight, script "Old Reliable" in a rectangle with flattened corners, and "CALIBRE 44" at the breech. The barrel and forearm are numbered to the gun. The left side of the receiver is marked "SHARPS RIFLE CO/PAT. APR 6 1869". Dovetailed German silver blade front sight and Lawrence folding ladder rear sight without graduation markings. It has a blue barrel, casehardened remaining parts, and is mounted with a smooth walnut forearm and straight grip stock with a checkered flat steel buttplate. Sharps manufactured approximately 6,400 Model 1874 Sporting rifles between 1871 and 1880. They were popular with market hunters in the West and were well known for their ability to takedown bison at long ranges. They were also popular with long range target shooters and were used in both capacities well after the Sharps Rifle Company closed in 1881 due to increased competition from Winchester's famous lever action and single shot rifles. Many Sharps rifles were manufactured in some of the most powerful black powder cartridges ever made. The use of double set triggers and a set of cross sticks made them incredibly accurate. With a RCBS 44/77 Sharps die set, wad cutter, patch template, Lyman bullet mold and 11 lead rounds.

Rating Definition:

Very good. The barrel retains traces of the faded original blue finish mixed with a smooth gray patina. A heavy amount of blue remains under the forearm. The action retains mostly silvered out case colors, otherwise a smooth gray patina. The wood is very good with a long sliver of wood detached from the forearm near a large missing chip, putty filler around the upper tang, some chipping and some minor pressure dents. Mechanically excellent.

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