M1859 and M1863 Sharps Carbine

80,512 of these single-shot breech-loading single-action carbines were issued. The two models were essentially the same, -52 and -50 calibre respectively. Both had a rate of fire of eight rounds per minute with self-consuming linen cartridges; weight 7J lb; length 21 ¿-inch barrel, 374 inches overall. The breech block was dropped to open the chamber by levering the trigger guard down. Percussion was from disc primer or percussion caps. Early models were brass trimmed, later ones iron, with the barrel and sometimes the butt-plate blued, but frame, lock and barrel band case hardened in mottle colours; the stock was two-piece walnut, with a patch box on most M1859's but not on M1863's as a wartime economy measure. Sighted for 800 yards; effective range 500 yards; battle range 300 yards; 5-inch group at 100 yards.

One further variation was the special M1859 'Coffee Mill' Sharps, which had a coffee grinder with detachable crank in place of the big brass patch box, but not many were issued. For details see the illustration on page 46.

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