The Sharps Model 1874 was one of the classic rifles of the post-Civil War American West. These rifles were renowned for their accuracy and durability and saw extensive use for hunting, target shooting, and when required, fighting. Numerous western figures carried a Sharps, and many of the West's legendary gunsmiths modified them to suit the tastes and needs of their owners. While the Winchesters were famous because they could be fired rapidly, the Sharps rifles generally offered more power and long range accuracy, and long range accuracy is often what counted on the plains. Sharps rifles were popular among the buffalo hunters that decimated the great bison herds in the 1870s and early 1880s. The factory letter lists this rifle as invoiced on May 6, 1875, to Captain John Nix of the U.S. Army at Fort Laramie in Wyoming and indicates it was a "Model 1874 Sporting Octagon Rifle" in .44 caliber with a 30 inch octagon barrel, double set triggers, open sights, and oiled finish on the wood. The letter notes that Captain Nix purchased several other Sharps at a dealer's discount and appears to have been selling rifles to fellow officers and indicate he was stationed at multiple forts in the American West. This rifle evidently was later rebarreled by Norwegian trained gunsmith and locksmith Peter Bergerson of Cheyenne, Wyoming. He was listed in Cheyenne at least as early as 1884. Bergerson was a member of the Cheyenne Rifle Club in the late 19th century and held a 100 shot offhand record at 200 yards. The rifle has a beaded blade front sight, notch and folding ladder rear sight, "P. BERGERSEN" marked on top of the breech section, double set triggers, taps on the upper tang for peep sight mounting, and a smooth stock and forearm.
Good with traces of original finish, otherwise exhibiting an earned mixed patina and wear from authentic frontier use. The wood is also good and has a thin crack coming off the tail of the lock, minor chips, and general mild wear. Mechanically fine.
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