Heritage, 2010, Volume 4 Page: 37
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The original design of the Sharps called for the use
of a linen or skin cartridge, but in 1865 the arm was
improved to fire a modern metallic cartridge..50
caliber Sharps carbines were used to equip the U.S.
Cavalry and Texas Rangers from 1865 until the ad-
vent of the U.S. Model 1873 Trapdoor Springfield.
(See photo 4)
The Sharps rifle legend grew in the 1870s with the
introduction of the Model 1874 metallic cartridge
rifle, which was used extensively during the great
buffalo hunts of that era. The rifle had a reputation
for reliability and long-range accuracy that was sur-
passed by no other firearm available. At the Battle of
Adobe Walls in 1874, hunter and guide Billy Dixon
shot a Kiowa warrior from his horse with a .50 cali-
ber Sharps Rifle at a distance of more than 1,000
yards. The Sharps Buffalo Rifle won a place in the
history books alongside the Colt Revolver and the
Winchester Repeating Rifle. (See photo 5)
Early Sharps were manufactured in 1849 and 1850
by A.S. Nippes of Mill Creek, Pennsylvania. They
were made by the Robbins & Lawrence Company of
Windsor, Vermont, from 1851 until 1855. At that
time, manufacturing changed to Hartford, Connect-
icut, and continued under the name of Sharps Rifle
Manufacturing Company until Christian Sharps'
death in 1874. The firm was then reorganized as the
Sharps Rifle Company and continued production in
Hartford and Bridgeport, Connecticut, until finally
ceasing operation in 1881. In 33 years of produc-
tion, the Sharps Rifle gained a reputation that has
endured into the 21st century. Today, Sharps Rifles
are still made in the U.S. by master gun makers us-
ing the same design originated by Christian Sharps
in 1848; as testimony to their endurance, there are
many original Sharp Rifles still in service today.
Tom Power, of Utopia, researches, collects, and sells an-
tique and historical firearms. All photos are courtesy of
HERITAGEN Volume 4 2010
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, 2010, Volume 4, periodical, 2010; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth254219/m1/37/: accessed May 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.