SHARPS New Model 1863 Carbine

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by usmctanker, Dec 13, 2011.

  1. usmctanker

    usmctanker New Member

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    Hey gentlemen I need some more of your infinite wisdom. I was wondering if any of you could possibly inform me a little about this weapon. I suspect it was a military issue war era type but obviously I can't verify that. My "research" online raised my hopes when I found the serial # could be identified by Springfield Research Service and could possibly be traced to the original soldier it had been issued. Apparently there was a free service some years ago but now it seems to be much more difficult. Anyway, I know in the later metal cartridge firing conversions the stock was replaced among other things and lacked the patch box. Mine also lacks the patch box and there is no notch out in the metal buttplate where it would have been. Its not in spectacular shape by any means and appears to have been painted at some point but I'd love to know more about it. So if anyone could enlighten me with a little info, that would be great. Thanks.

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  2. usmctanker

    usmctanker New Member

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    More views

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  3. usmctanker

    usmctanker New Member

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    And the rest. Thanks for looking fellas!

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  4. ofitg

    ofitg New Member

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    usmctanker, I'm not an expert on Sharps carbines, so I'll just relay some info from Flayderman's Guide - The New Model 1863 carbines started "around" serial number 75000. Up to approximately ser.no. 115,000 the carbines had the patch box, but from 115000 to 140000 there was no patchbox.
    The "c" in your serial number represented serial numbers over 100,000, so it can be interpreted as 127014. According to Flayderman's, it should not have a patchbox.

    In your third photo down from the top, it looks like a regular percussion nipple under the hammer, so I'm guessing that your carbine is still in the original percussion configuration, never converted to metallic cartridge. Except for the black paint (?), it appears to be an example of what the Union cavalry used during the War Between the States.

    Hope this helped, at least until a real Sharps expert comes along.
  5. usmctanker

    usmctanker New Member

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    Thanks man, I appreciate it.
  6. Buffalochip

    Buffalochip Active Member

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  7. StoneChimney

    StoneChimney New Member

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    I don't believe there is really much more to it. You have a Sharps New Model 1863 Carbine, unaltered from percussion. It used a .52 caliber paper-wrapped cartridge ignited by a tape-priming system, although most soldiers simply used standard percussion caps.

    Condition would be in the 'Good' range. I would not do much to it except possibly get that black paint off if it can be done without removing any original patina.
  8. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    It is a shame that someone painted the stock, but that might have actually preserved it. Otherwise, it is a standard Model 1863 Sharps carbine, not converted to metallic cartridge use.

    I would carefully remove the paint from the stock, using a combination of paint remover and as little sanding as possible. Be very careful with stock markings should there be any. With the paint removed and some linseed oil on the stock, I would WAG at $5000 or more.

    The primer magazine, BTW, does not use tape. It uses primer pellets, which were comprised of fulminate in a tiny copper "can" (think small snuff can); these came in paper tubes and were then loaded into brass tubes ("chargers") of 25 pellets. The tubes had a little tab that the user pushed down to load the pellets into the primer magazine. As the hammer fell, a cam in its inner surface (you can see part of it in one of the pictures) activated an arm that pushed out one primer. The priming pellet flew out and the hammer hit it in mid-air, just as it passed over the nipple, crushing it and sending flame into the nipple. As you can imagine, timing was critical and when the magazines were new and clean, they worked pretty well, but they got dirty easily and as noted above, most users left the magazines empty and used plain old musket caps.

    Jim
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2011
  9. usmctanker

    usmctanker New Member

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    Thanks guys for all the info. So should I definitely remove the paint? I always thought to leave it in it's current state. Not that the paint was original or anything but that's just how it was when it came into my family. Obviously you folks are the experts, just wondering if it does make a large difference in price. And to that end would you brush on something like jasco stripper or just use acetone? I'm thinking of selling it because not only is getting married a horrible idea, it's also expensive and this rifle has no sentimental value in our family. Thanks again for the input, it is much appreciated.
  10. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    I have used Stripeze with good results and no damage to wood. If it were a matter of requiring sanding or scraping, I would have some qualms as the usual result of that is that the stock ends up looking better than the rest of the gun, and that is not desireable in a collectors' piece. Others will have different ideas, but I would remove the paint. But it can be a delicate job if the paint is into the wood grain or cracks, so take it easy. You might have to put on the paint remover with an artist's brush. Let the paint remover do most of the work, but you don't want to damage the wood.

    Jim
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2011
  11. usmctanker

    usmctanker New Member

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    Will not the newly exposed wood appear different after it has been stripped or could it be somewhat uniform?
  12. TRAP55

    TRAP55 Active Member

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    Richard Labowski, Phone (215) 748 1376, is the current owner of the Sharps factory records. A phone call will tell you if he has the one for your rifle, and I think $50 will get you a copy.
    I wouldn't use paint stripper, unless it's a last resort. Leave the wood on the rifle so it has the metal for support. Use a nylon brillo pad and linseed oil to scrub the paint off. Wipe it dry between applications. It's going to take more time and elbow grease, but the results will be much better.
    When you're done, carefully remove the wood, clean and coat the "wood to metal" surfaces as well.
    Get the rust stopped while the wood is off. You may find the original blue and/or color case still intact under the wood. Use fine bronze wool, not steel, and Kroil if you have it, ATF if you don't. The rule here is, patina good, active rust bad, you only want to clean and remove the rust, not the finish. Hose it off with brake cleaner, and active rust will light up bright orange. repeat as needed. The edge of a copper penny works for the tough spots. A 28ga shotgun bronze bore brush works good on the Sharps bore.
    The self priming systems worked reasonably well....when they were new. With all the "improvements" in the system, the only one that was the most reliable, was the first one used on the rare (1600 made) 1851 Model. This is number 400, before I cleaned and preserved it. Surprisingly, after I got the mud wasp nest out of the bore and cleaned it, the bore was in mint condition!
    Here's a shot of the Maynard tape feed with the cover open:

    [​IMG]

    This is my 1874 "Business rifle" that Teddy Roosevelt handed down to his hunting guide Bill Grinell. I got it in a coffee can, it took me 8yrs to restore it!

    [​IMG]
  13. ofitg

    ofitg New Member

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    TRAP55, cool photos, thanks for sharing! That 1851 Sharps is a rare jewel.

    I don't have an antique Sharps, but I can post photos of the antique primers :rolleyes:

    The Maynard tape primers on the left, and a tube of Lawrence/Sharps disc primers on the right -

    [​IMG]
  14. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    A very nice (and rare) 1851 model; could we seen an "after" picture? That model did have a tape primer, not the Lawrence pellet primer.

    Jim
  15. TRAP55

    TRAP55 Active Member

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    Jim, that one belongs to a friend that owns a local pheasant club, and my camera died before I was done with it. I have an old screw barrel boot pistol I cleaned up for him, when I take it up there, I'll get some "after" pics and post them here.
    The rifle had belonged to his great grandfather, and as the story goes, "was used as a club on some marauding injuns":rolleyes: breaking the buttstock. You can see a piece missing in that pic, that was the only piece I couldn't find to put it back together.
    He had no clue what a valuable piece it was, so it had been stored in an old out building. The brass buttplate and barrel band were growing a green garden and the barrel was home to the mud wasps.
    It's missing the rear carbine sight, and the full cock sear is broken off. The bore and moving parts are like new. "If" I ever get caught up around here, he wants me to put it back to shooting condition.
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