RARE Antique SHARPS-BORCHARDT Model 1878 .45-70 GOVT Caliber MILITARY Rifle
Falling Block Single Shot “Military” Model
Here we present an antique Sharps Model 1878 Borchardt Single Shot “Military” Model Rifle manufactured between 1878 and 1881 in Hartford, Connecticut. The Sharps-Borchardt Model 1878 is a single shot hammerless falling block action rifle designed by Hugo Borchardt and made by the Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company. It closely resembles older Sharps Rifles but has a firing mechanism that uses a hammerless striker rather than a hammer and firing pin like the old Sharps Rifles. This hammerless dropping-block breech-loader was based on a patent granted to Hugo Borchardt in 1877. It was the last of the Sharps single-shot rifles. According to company records 22,500 rifles were made in all models that included the Carbine, Military, Short Range, Mid-Range, Long Range, Hunter, Business, Sporting, and Express from 1877 until the Sharps Rifle Co. closed down in 1881, with approximately 10,000 of the “Military” models being produced. Even with its lack of commercial success, the Sharps-Borchardt is admired for its strength and accuracy and is considered one of the strongest, if not the strongest, rifle action ever built before the end of the 19th century. The Military Model was purchased by the militias of the states of Michigan, North Carolina, and Massachusetts. The Sharps trademark “Old Reliable” was added to barrel markings in 1876 and is typically found only on rifles manufactured in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Sharps rifles originated just after the Mexican-American War and were popular through the buffalo-hunting heyday of the 1870s and 1880s. Buffalo runners in the waning days of the great hunts, Rocky Mountain outdoorsmen and a son of Brigham Young were among the Westerners who took to the last and most advanced of the famous Sharps rifles, the Sharps-Borchardt Model 1878.
Hugo Borchardt was a prolific inventor. Originally from Germany, he spent decades in the US (1860-1892) working for the likes of Singer (sewing machines & later known for their M1911 pistol), Colt, Winchester, Sharps & Remington. This rifle bears his name, but he is better known for his C-93 semi-automatic pistol that was the launching point for the C-96 and the Luger pistol.
The overall condition is good. Original patina. The action is excellent. The bore is bright with sharp rifling. The walnut stock shows much use and wear. There is some chipping at the top of the wrist around the back of the receiver, one chip repaired. This one has the signature “LB” mark on the left side of the butt stock for Lower Borchardt, which were Borchardts that were assembled from parts that J.P. Lower had in stock.
Own the original! This is a legitimate antique and not a reproduction.
Barrel is 32-1/8 inches.
Caliber: .45-70 GOVT
Overall condition as seen in photos.
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