Sharps Firearms-Volume 1. The Percussion Era 1848-1865
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Author:  Bill Skillman [ Fri Nov 06, 2020 9:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Sharps Firearms-Volume 1. The Percussion Era 1848-1865

Fellow Sharpshooters,

This latest book, the second in a four volume series, is from Roy Marcot, Ron Paxton and Edward Marron (Dec 2019). Readers may be familiar with Marcot's book Hiram Berdan, Chief of Sharpshooters. The Percussion Era is a 435 page visual and historical banquet for those of us Sharps lovers. The book starts with Christian Sharps revolutionary Patent of 1848 breechloading system (mated to a Model 1841 Mississippi rifle musket). Close up photos clearly show a myriad of details of Sharps' mechanical genius. The book then introduces the association Sharps and Albert Nippes, who produced the 1849 'Sharps Sporting Rifle' that appeared in the Scientific American.

Also featured are the three primary primer systems; Sharps 1849 rotary 'wheel' design, the his pellet primer and lastly the Maynard tape system (was added to the Sharps/Nippes Model 1850, and the US Dragoon/Navy Model 1855 installed at the insistence of the War Dept, who had bought the patent rights of the Maynard system). The British 1855 Military Carbine Contract also featured the Maynard system. The sudden contract change in priming systems came as a complete surprise to Sharps, resulting in multiple delays (nearly a year) additional engineering and retooling before the new lock plate was finally ready.

The next important section is the introduction of Robbins and Lawrence of Windsor, Vermont. It was the precision tooling and inventive genius of Richard Lawrence and his many talented machinists who really are the unsung heroes of the Sharps story. R&L designed and manufactured all the parts for the Model 1851 through 1857 Sharps military and sporting arms (except boring/rifling barrels and final assembly). R&L also entered into a contract with Britain to manufacture and export machinery for them to start their own arsenal on the 'American Plan' of interchangeable parts. They also contracted to manufacture 25,000 Enfield P1853 rifles and 5,000 Sharps carbines. Unfortunately, this contractual arrangement doomed R&L, who declared bankrupcy in 1856. The historical and photographic legacy of the weapons and the progressive innovations to them is immediately apparent.

The Sharpshooters interest will pique on Chapter 13 with the Sharps Model/New Model 1859 carbines, with images of Lawrence's patents for his ladder sight, pellet primer cut-off, and modified Conant gas seal. Contributors like Paul Johnson provided his expertise with cartridge boxes (the two models of USSS boxes), and Dean S. Thomas excellent treatise on bullet molds and Hartford Cartridge Works/Sharps ammunition packs. The Berdan Contract Sharps covers nearly four pages. There is a excellent section on bayonets used with the Sharps rifles--from the Ames Manufacturing Co., and Collins Manufacturing Co. sword bayonets. One surprise was the first issue of Berdan angular bayonets were manufactured by the Bay State Tooling Co., not the Collins and Co.--though both are featured and the details are excellent.

Unfortunately, the first edition of this book has sold out. But I am certain that demand will eventually produce a second edition.

Bill Skillman
Hudson Squad Mess

Author:  Bill Skillman [ Thu Nov 12, 2020 5:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sharps Firearms-Volume 1. The Percussion Era 1848-1865

Fellow Sharpshooters

Yesterday I received a 61 page listing of historical firearms books for sale from Mr. Bert Garber of BSG books (begbook@bellsouth.net). On page 52, he has listed Sharps Firearms-The Percussion Era 1848-1865, Vol. 1. It is in new condition and rated ‘Excellent’. The cost is $100. A first edition, signed by Marcot; Volume 2-Early Metallic Cartridge Firearms and Model 1874 that is out of print is also for sale. This collectors book is $295.

Both books are expensive-the later prohibitively so for my wallet. But for those readers who want the most comprehensive and current information about the Sharps weapons, these books are it.

Bill Skillman
Hudson Squad Mess

Author:  Bill Skillman [ Tue Aug 01, 2023 8:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sharps Firearms-Volume 1. The Percussion Era 1848-1865

Fellow Sharpshooters

The Buffalo Arms Co. of Idaho has discounted copies of Marcot’s Percussion Era book available. Listed price is $63!! If I didn’t already have a copy I’d snap it up. Good hunting!!

Here is the link:https://www.buffaloarms.com/sharps-firearms-vol-1-boksfvol1.html

Bill Skillman
Michigan Companies
Berdan Sharpshooters Survivors Association

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