According to "Sharps Firearms" by Frank Sellers, Sharps only manufactured approximately 6,400 of these Sporting Rifles between 1871 to 1880. This example is fitted with a 33 inch, heavy, octagon barrel chambered for .45-90 ammunition and equipped with original German silver blade front and Lawrence patent folding ladder rear sights. The top barrel flat behind the rear sight is marked "JAMES BOWN & SON/PITTSBURGH PA." The left side of the receiver is marked with the two-line Sharps 1869 patent date, and the serial number is marked on the upper tang. It also features double set triggers and casehardened parts aside from the blued barrel, and is mounted with a smooth walnut forearm numbered to the gun and straight grip stock with a steel buttplate. The Enterprise Gun Works was founded by James Bown and Tetley in 1848. By 1863, Brown was the sole owner. The name changed to James Brown & Son by the mid-1870s and then James Brown & Sons around 1883 and then changed to Brown & Hirth that same year placing the barrel marking date in the mid-1870s to early 1880s. The firm was well-known for hand built Kentucky rifles that were relatively inexpensive and popular with those headed to the West, and they also retailed arms by Colt and other manufacturers.
Very good. The barrel has a smooth brown patina. The remaining metal surfaces have a smooth mottled gray and silver gray patina with some traces of the faded original case colors in the protected areas. The wood is good with an old repaired break in the wrist, a large piece absent from the upper front right of the forearm and overall some scattered minor dents and dings. The stock remains solid. The markings are clear. The action is excellent.