Sunday, June 27, 2010

Civil War rifles

Last week Ron and I visited a local (60 miles away) business that manufactures reproductions of Sharp's rifles.

I had met the owner in a cooking class recently and she graciously invited us to visit the foundry. She showed us their various models many of which have been in various movies: Lonesome Dove, Dances with Wolves and Quigley Down Under.

The one that caught my eye was the '1863'. She went on to mention this style rifle was a major turning point in the war. My memory of that lecture in History 301 was the superior manufacturing capacity and the rail lines/rolling stock were the big advantages for the North. Now I need to add Sharps Rifles to the list.

There were examples of the paper cartridges used in these rifles and we had the opportunity to handle the rifle and load in a cartridge. Although neither Ron nor I no longer hunt, we both enjoyed seeing these rifles.

While Shiloh Sharps is supplying rifles to movies, I am selling them reproduction fabrics!

A sample from my 1863 book.

Here is some general information on this style of rifle.

The Sharps Rifle was produced by the Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company in Hartford, Connecticut. It was used in the Civil War by the United States Army sharpshooters, known popularly as Berdan's Sharpshooters in honor of their leader Hiram Berdan. The Sharps made a superior sniper weapon of greater accuracy than the more commonly issued Muzzle loaders. This was due mainly to the higher rate of fire of the Breech-loading mechanism and the superior quality of manufacture of the guns.

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