Learned I'm new owner of a C. Sharps 1863 carbine

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ewmail15

Retired User
Joined
Sep 14, 2017
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I picked up my very first pre-1890 rifle, an 1863 Sharps carbine. Found it at a garage sale, laying up against the dumpster. It was pretty rusty, especially inside the barrel, and only had the main body and trigger unit rubber banded to the barrel. There's no wood hand guard/grip or band, no wood stock or metal butt, no front/rear sights, no spring for the hammer, some screws are broken off, the thin rod with ring is missing/busted on the metal left face. Also, the hammer looks like it has too much side play and does not seem to be able to travel all the way to the cap, there's a piece missing that seems to bolt to the track below the top of the hammer (and left side is bent outward if looking forward).

Got the lever to move up and down nicely. Someone put the barrel in a vice to try to remove the pieces (?), and there are other areas as well that look like chisel marks, indicating to me that maybe this was being torn down for parts, and nothing else could be stripped from it.

I only spent $2 on it, and would just like to know if there are parts out there to make it operational, or give one the impression it would fire a round. I sent a second email to the guy who owns Lodgewood Mfg Ltd in Whitewater, WI, just an hour away from me. Waiting impatiently for a reply. Anyone else have parts I could purchase to make it complete/mechanically correct?

I'm going to dig further into its history. I can figure out online the last name of the former owner, and maybe trace it thru his lineage to one of the Wisconsin regiments. It's worth a shot, and has been a blast finding this beautiful, rusty piece of US history.

The serial number is 66934, without any letters before it. Has the Sept '48, Oct '52 and Apr '59 patent marks as well. Attached pics are really before I started trying to remove the rust. Someone at a Sharps Arms website instructed me to use Kriol and copper wool to break down the rust. If that doesn't work I'll try electrolysis.

I'll post a few more pics highlighting the repairs needed. There's also a civil war encampment/re-enactment happening at the Wade House in Greenbush, WI. Maybe some of those folks will have connections, I hope, I hope.

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Story

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Location
SE PA
I only spent $2 on it, and 1)would just like to know if there are parts out there to make it operational, or 2) give one the impression it would fire a round.

3) Someone at a Sharps Arms website instructed me to use Kriol and copper wool to break down the rust. If that doesn't work I'll try electrolysis.
In reverse order, 3) electrolysis sounds like an excellent exercise in stabilizing your parts. You'll get a far better idea about what you have before proceeding.

2) Ask yourself, how did it get to that condition? 'Rode hard and put away wet', maybe a toy for children until left wherever to rot away. Chances are that, after doing #3, you'll find the bore unshootable and the general advice might well be to mount the parts for display and find a used replica for the range.

1) Caveats aside, yes parts are available.
S&S - basically one-stop shopping
All Products » Gun Parts » Rifle/Carbine Parts » Civil War Breechloader » Sharps
http://www.ssfirearms.com/products.asp?cat=149

Here's a parts schematic
https://www.gunpartscorp.com/Pub/schematic/Sharps_18631874Replica_schem.jpg
 
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kevikens

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jun 7, 2013
Location
New Jersey
I am certain the original owner of this arm would be delighted to know that an arm that he depended on for his life has been rescued by a person who understands its significance and is going to try to restore it in a way that will commemorate its role in our history. May good fortune accompany your venture.
 

captaindrew

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Forum Host
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Mar 13, 2017
Location
West Palm Beach Florida
Welcome to the forum @ewmail15 , Great find! and for 2 bucks, awesome. Try calling Lodgewood. They just did and Enfield for me I'm very happy with. I first tried contacting them via email with no response then called and got them on the phone and they are great to deal with but definitely better to get them on the phone. Good luck with it!
 
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Jobe Holiday

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 1, 2010
Location
The Perpetually Frozen North
You have, for $2.00, the "Find of a Lifetime!" With patience, and $$$, your Sharps Carbine can be fully restored, although not necessarily with all original parts. S&S Firearms has been mentioned, I know for a fact that they have some original Sharps parts available. They aren't cheap by any means, but original is original! For replacing the wood watch sites like EBay for used original wood, that will look much better than original old stock unissued wood. There is always reproduction wood, too, which you can distress to match the rest of the arm. Speaking of the metal, do not polish it up bright, or even gray if at all possible. Clean it, but leave the brown patina. As for ever shooting it, anything is possible, but the breech block will be very difficult to clear the double right angle passages for the cap flame to hit the charge in the breech. Again, not impossible. Regarding the bore, if you get real serious about fully restoring it for shooting purposes, you can have a rifled liner installed by Mr. Robert Hoyt, who is in the Gettysburg area. He is highly recommended by many people for his talents in restoring otherwise useless bores on rifles, etc. Good Luck with your project!
J.
 
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zburkett

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 21, 2015
Location
Orange County, Virginia
I can't give you a source, but when restoring old revolvers I have used reproduction parts from Dixie. There is also Numrich Gun Parts that sometimes has both original and reproduction parts.
 
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Mild53

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 1, 2011
Location
Maine
I am certain the original owner of this arm would be delighted to know that an arm that he depended on for his life has been rescued by a person who understands its significance and is going to try to restore it in a way that will commemorate its role in our history. May good fortune accompany your venture.
That, for me, is the best part of finding antiques from the CW. They were used by someone...

Its even better when I can trace the item to a person or place.

A great way to connect with history!
 

bghomofaber

Cadet
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
http://www.ktgunsmith.com/rust.htm

see last caveat. electrolysis may embrittle steel above 40 hrc hardness (afaik barrels are just 20 or 25 hrc, but I know this of just modern ones)

baking at 375 will restore hardness, however I wouldn't trust a weapon found in this state for shooting as long as an experienced gunsmith hadn't carefully tested it.
 
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civilken

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 25, 2013
congratulations you just recede a piece of history good luck I hope you enjoy it I know I am a little jealous.
 
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