Christian Sharps was granted a patent for his breech loading rifle in 1848. The original design was not a cartridge rifle, but took a linen cartridge and a percussion cap. However, it worked well and was faster and easier to load than a conventional muzzleloader. The first substantial military order for the new Sharps rifle came from the U.S. Navy in 1859 for 900 rifles to be fitted with saber style bayonets. The Civil War started a few months later and orders flowed in, but it was as a sniper rifle with the U.S. Sharpshooters that the Sharp’s reputation for long-range accuracy began to grow.
After the war the Sharps rifle was quickly and easily re-designed to fire cartridges. Sharps rifles were used by the American Rifle Team to win the first international long-range rifle match at Creedmore, New Jersey, and due to their consistent accuracy, were given the name “Old Reliable.” However, these long-range target rifles really came into their own when they became the favorite rifles of the professional buffalo hunters in the late 1870s and early 1880s. Outfitted with double set-triggers and Vernier tang sights, the heavy barreled Sharps were extremely accurate and could be employed at long range to take selected buffalo without spooking the herd. But, it was the fight at Adobe Walls in 1874 that made the Sharps rifle a legend. More than 700 Indian warriors attacked 30 buffalo hunters at the old Adobe Walls settlement in the Texas panhandle. Sharps rifles had extracted a punishing toll from the Comanche braves by the second day and the only Indians in sight were in a small group on a distant bluff. It was then that Billy Dixon took aim with his Sharps and rolled one of the braves from his saddle at, what legend has it, was a mile away. Chambered for the tried and true buffalo .45/70 cartridge, the Uberti Sharps is true to the original in both looks and long-range accuracy. There are six different models available from the top of the line “Long-Range Model” with a 34″ half octagon barrel, deluxe Creedmore sight, globe front sight and fully adjustable double set-trigger, down to a Sharps hunting rifle with rear ladder sight. The vast buffalo herds may be gone, but when you pick up a Uberti Sharps, you’re holding history in your hands.
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