28. Sharps Model 1874 Sporting Rifle With A Desirable “J.P. Lower” Retailer marked Barrel – Serial number “157084”, 40 Sharps Caliber (40 Caliber was the most accurate and was used by a majority of competitive shooters of that era.), 28 inch octagon barrel, blue/casehardened finish, walnut stock. The chamber appears to be cut for a bottleneck cartridge, and the factory records letter states the case length is 2 5/8″. I removed the front hand-guard and the only thing stamped on the bottom of the barrel is the serial number and another number that has been marked out and appears to have been 150113, but I am not 100% sure. The forearm wood has the number 7084 stamped into it. This Bridgeport manufactured Model 1874 was made and shipped in 1876 (the model 1874 was not applied to the gun for a few years after production began). The top of the barrel is marked “SHARPS RIFLE CO. BRIDGEPORT, CONN.” ahead of the rear sight, with “J.P. LOWER” in authentic letters and “CALIBRE 40” behind the rear sight. There are two additional filler block dove tails, one about 3 1/2″ ahead of the present rear sight and one immediately behind the “40” marking. Other than the serial number on the upper tang there are no other markings. J. P. Lower was one of Sharps largest western states distributors in Denver, Colorado. The serial number is correctly marked with 6 numbers because the “C” prefix was dropped after serial number C54800. Sights are a low profile dovetail blade front sight and Lawrence patent marked folding leaf rear sight graduated to 800 yards. The barrel was blue with casehardened remaining parts. The rifle is equipped with adjustable double set triggers which are true to the letter and mounted with a smooth high gloss oil finished walnut forearm -true to the letter with a poured pewter forend which is also true to the letter and straight grip stock and steel style buttplate. This beautiful sporting Sharps rifle comes compete with 5 3/8″ X 3 1/2″ J. P. Lower advertisement.
CONDITION: Fine as partially restored. The barrel has a smooth attractive brown patina with strong traces of the original blue finish in the protected areas and most of the original thinning blue remains under the forearm. The serial number on the barrel struck and renumbered to match. The left side of the receiver shows much of the faded original case colors, with some of the casehardening pattern remaining on the right side. The lock shows strong crisp and clear markings. The bore is in 95% condition with very light pitting, but the rifling is sharp and well defined for the entire length. The forearm has a 4″ longitudinal crack which will be easy to repair. This fine Sharps rifle has survived 136 years and the rigors of time in excellent mechanical condition and carries a top value of $6,500.00. $4,800.00.
The factory letter created from Richard J. Labowskie’s Sharps order book number 3 discribes this fine rifle just as it left the factory August 17, 1876 and was shipped to John P. Lower in Denver, Colorado.
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