Model 1870 Springfield Armory Sharps Trial Rifle Type I
Serial Number C37639
.50 / 70 Government
Springfield Armory produced 700 rifles and 300 carbines in 1871 for trial purposes as a possible replacement for the Springfield Allin (trapdoor) that had been in use since 1865. The Remington and Ward Burton were also contenders. These rifles and carbines were made up using all Springfield manufactured parts except for the actions that were from salvaged percussion Sharps New Model 1863's. The Lawrence primer feeds were retained but the internal parts were removed. They are called the type I. The Type II consisted of 300 rifles made with new receivers without the primer feed systems and were serial numbered 001 – 300. When the Type I's were made, Springfield added a C, prefix to the existing serial number on the receiver tang. A corresponding serial number on the left rear of the barrel was left without the C.
The receivers, breech blocks, locks, hammers, trigger plates, levers and lever catches were color case hardened. The barrels, barrel bands, butt plates, sling swivels and ramrods were left National Armory Bright. The rear sights were blued. All metal surfaces on this rifle that were color case hardened are now bright white to gray except for most hidden surfaces.
The Springfield barrels that were used were too small in diameter to fit the Sharps receivers. They were fit and welded into a larger threaded bushing that fit the receiver. The area of the barrel at the bushing was machined to contour and is clearly visible on this rifle. The barrel bushing / receiver alignment or reference marks are in perfect alignment.
The left side of the receiver is marked C. SHARPS' PAT. / SEPT. 12th 1848
The lock plate is marked R.S. LAWRENCE’ PAT. / APRIL 12th 1859 and
C. SHARPS' PAT. / OCT. 5th 1852
The butt stock left wrist is marked with ESA (Erskin S. Allin) in an oval and a firing proof script L in a box rear of the trigger plate. The rear sling swivel is a proper surplus Springfield Spencer and mortised into the butt stock forward of the toe.
The rear sight is a modified 1870 and is marked 2, 3, 5, 7 and 9. Installed a correct support screw on the ladder that was missing.
The butt plate is marked US on the top and a 1 on the back.
Both barrel bands have a small U marked on the right side.
The ramrod stop is marked PAT AUG. 16 1870.
These trial rifles used the Model 1868 ram rods that had the single swell at the rod stop. These swells are said to be .350” in diameter. The swell on this rifles rod is .300” in diameter. It is assumed it was turned down sometime in the past to make the rod easier to remove.
The bore shows a little frost for the first few inches and minor but noticeable ramrod wear to the crown.
The forward tang screw had the first few threads broken off making it to short. The previous owner fabricated and installed a new replacement. Refinished both screws alike along with removing varnish from the stocks. Stained and oiled with Linseed.
There are two small pieces of lead imbedded in the butt stock that may be bullet fragments on the lower left side 6” to 8” forward of the butt plate.
M in script on forward upper left of the receiver
F rear upper left of the receiver
S bottom left of the receiver
P rear tip of the lock plate
P back upper left of the lock plate
S lower leg of the main spring
F back side of the hammer
V right side of the tumbler
C top left of the breach block
L c right side of the breach block
C top right of firing pin
F head of the lever pin
7 lower right of extractor
R rear tip of the trigger plate
P trigger plate forward of the trigger
c underside of the trigger plate forward of the lever latch
c left side of trigger
c right side of the lever latch
D right side of the lever
G lower surface of the lever
w underside of the rear swivel base
A bottom of rear barrel band
A right side of front barrel band at the head of the swivel screw
1 lower back of lock plate
Published specifications This Rifle
Over all length 52" 52”
Barrel length 35 1/16" 35 1/32”
Buttstock length 15 1/2" along bottom edge 15 7/16”
Forend length 31 1/16" including nose cap 31 1/16”
Band shoulders 19 1/8" apart 19 1/8”
Barrel breech diameter 1.092" 1.113” / 1.246”
Muzzle diameter .775" .775”
Ramrod length 32 3/8" 32 5/16”
Rifling 3 groove, RH 1 in 42" twist 3 groove, RH 1 in 42" twist
Weight 10 lbs. 4 ozs.