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GUNS Magazine January 2011 - Page 38

Due to the volume of mail received, GUNS cannot offer a personal reply. Please e-mail your question to or snail mail to: GUNS Q&A, 12345 World Trade Dr., San Diego, CA 92128 and the Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Co. eventually contracted the manufacturing to Robbins & Lawrence, who were pioneers in tool making and had a factory employing 125 men in the 1850s. Christian Sharps left after a dispute with Lawrence in the early 1850s. The Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Co. plant was built in Hartford, Conn., under the direction of Robbins & Lawrence and operated until well after the Civil War. More than 100,000 percussion Sharps rifles were issued to Union troops, including Col. Berdan’s Sharpshooters. The firm reorganized in 1874 as the Sharps Rifle Co. and operated until its demise in the 1880s. That’s it in a nutshell and, as you can imagine, much has been left out. The Sharps story is involved and intricate. SharpS FirearMS BY FRANk SELLERS, ©1978, HARDCOVER, 358 PAGES, ISBN-10: 0960812202, OUT OF PRINT, BUT GENERALLY AVAILABLE FROM ARMS BOOkS SELLERS. I enjoy Mr. Venturino’s writing, q: but I question the dates of the Sharps Co.’s time in business. From Sharps Company history what Wiley Sword states in his book Sharpshooter, Col. Berdan wanted the Sharps rifles for his troops in the Civil war, but was given the Colt revolving rifle muskets, which didn’t go over too well. In Nov. 1862 they received the Sharps rifles and turned in the Colts. My copy of Sharps Firearms by Frank Sellers “walked” away from my house, and I would like to know how long Sharps was in business. Scott Schindehette via e-mail but there are other options available. I believe MCA Sports has cartridge conversion kits for just about any caliber imaginable. I don’t have a reloading manual old enough to show the specs on the two rounds, but could he possibly shoot .32 S&W in that gun? Secondly, you can reload rimfire ammo. The article I read on the Internet dealt with .22 rimfire in an emergency situation but .32 rimfire would be infinitely easier. If he doesn’t really care about the collector value and still wants a shooter, there’s always rechambering. Ken Juhasz Sagamore Hills, Ohio Most gunsmiths won’t convert A: a Stevens Favorite to centerfire because of liability concerns. The The Sharps Co. evolved and A: reorganized several times over its life. Mike’s column was about the cartridge era, which began in the post Civil War years. The original patent was issued to Christian Sharps on Sept. 12, 1848 and the Model 1849 was made by Albert Nippes in Penn. Sharps sold 9/16 of the rights to build his rifle This is in reference to the q: letter by Mr. Edward Byrne concerning his Stevens Favorite in More On favorites the July 2010 issue. I think you sold him short, probably not intentionally, breechblock doesn’t actually lock closed, although it is perfectly adequate for rimfire pressures. Once converted to a centerfire, the chances of a dangerous handload being employed is just too great. (The .32 S&W wouldn’t be the parent case, .32 Colt would be.) As for reloading rimfire cartridges, anyone who values their fingers and eyes should stay away. The danger, time and effort involved isn’t worth the risk. But you’re right, there is an alternative I neglected to mention and one not too expensive or difficult. Dixie Gunworks has brass cases (part No. KA1202) designed to take a .22 Short Blank, a pinch of black powder and .310" roundball for $5 each, six for $25.50. The firm offers such cases for a wide range of otherwise difficultto-find rimfire rounds. PS: MCA doesn’t offer cartridge conversions from rimfire to centerfire, but they do have a lot to offer. Thanks for the tip. DIXIE GUN WORkS P.O. BOX 130 1412 W. REELFOOT AVE. UNION CITY, TN 38282 (731) 885-0561 WWW.DIXIEGUNWORkS.COM MCA SPORTS/ACE BULLET 2800 W. 33RD RD. ANCHORAGE, Ak 99517 (907) 248-4913, WWW.MCACE.COM The book Sharps Firearms, by Frank Sellers, chronicles the history of the storied company from its beginning in 1849 to its close in 1880. The Model 1878, designed by hugo Borchardt, was the last of the great Sharps single shots. Photo: Jeff John 38 WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • JANUARY 2011

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