This is my new Sharps buffalo rifle. The Sharps rifle design dates from 1848, and in various forms, it served as a US service weapon for ages. The breech-loading falling-block action is fast and robust, and this was the "assault weapon" of its day. This is a copy of a Model 1874, which in original form fires a 45/70 Government cartridge, which will go through 8 inches of oak and a foot of wet sand at 3000 yards. The sights on the Sharps typically were high-tech-for-the-time contraptions that allowed for the rainbow-like trajectory required to hit anything at that distance. I shoot a full-sized one in competition, at ranges out to 1000 yards.
The problem is, the 45/70 costs about $1 a shot to fire. And it's really loud. And people don't like it when you destroy the backstops at their range with your antique black-powder assault weapon.
I've been waiting for this scaled-down model in .22LR to arrive for over two years now. It almost arrived last Monday, but the train it was coming on derailed!!!! It took them another day and a half to sort that out and get it out here. It seems to have survived the train wreck just fine.
This one is more suited to shooting smallbore metallic targets at more modest ranges, as well as varmint control. Or for dealing with buffalo that have gotten really damp and shrunk. It will cost only pennies to shoot.
General first impressions: Good overall workmanship. The fit of wood to metal is superb, the case-hardening of the lockwork is very well done. Double-set trigger is super good, lock-time is looong compared to a more modern weapon. Sights are quite useable, I plinked just a little on the way home and with CCI green-tag, accuracy was great, all the rounds went into the same hole at 50 yards, made a dime-size patch at 125 yards. Nice heavy octagonal barrel, perfect balance.
This'll put the fear of Buffalo Bill into all the space-age laser-and telescope-using race-gun guys at the next match.