Lot 109

Sharps Model 1878 Borchardt Hammerless 45-70 Rifle

Estimate: $4,000 - $5,000

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$0 $5
$50 $10
$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$2,500 $250
$5,000 $500
$7,000 $1,000
Historic, documented western shipped Sharps Model 1878 Borchardt Hammerless rifle in .45-70 caliber. The Model 1878 was invented by Hugo Borchardt and manufactured by the Sharps Rifle Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut. This was the final variation of the famed single shot rifles made by that firm which was noted for percussion military carbines and rifles of the pre and post-Civil War eras as well as the big cartridge firing “Buffalo Rifles” of the plains and eastern target ranges. Hugo Borchardt was a talented arms inventor who went on to create one of the very first semi-automatic or self-loading pistols. The Sharps Borchardt rifle was used in the last portion of the buffalo era which ended in approximately 1883 and it is also an interesting fact that Theodore Roosevelt owned and used Sharps Borchardt rifles in Maine as well as in the West. When the Sharps Company went out of business in approximately 1880-1881, J. P. Lower of Denver, Colorado purchased their remaining stock of rifles and parts. In this large purchase were the final 1878 Borchardt Rifles to leave the Sharps factory. J. P. Lower had a large gun shop and sporting goods outlet in Denver. He was a major dealer of Sharps Rifles and supplied a good portion of the rifles used in the great buffalo hunts of the 1870s-1883 period. Until recently, Sharps Borchardt rifles occasionally observed with a circle “LB” cartouche in the stock were a mystery to historians and collectors. However, documents have recently come to light that prove this stock stamping was done by J. P. Lower and indicated that these were the last Sharps rifles made and retailed from his Denver, Colorado store. The “LB” simply stood for “Lower Borchardt.” An article just published by the Sharps Collectors Association titled, “The Mystery of the LB Stamped Borchardt Rifle” by Darrin L. Lowery, Ph. D. explains the details of these interesting western Sharps rifles and a copy of the article is included with this rifle. The Sharps Rifle shipping records are still in existence and although incomplete, often can be used to identify where a rifle was originally shipped from the factory. The records do not exist for most of the Borchardt line, but having the LB cartouche in the stock identifies any such rifles as being shipped to Denver, Colorado in 1880. Among Sharps collectors, those rifles identified as shipped to western locations are the most desirable and valuable. This example with serial number 8294 is in fine original condition and retains the original military style ladder rear sight with all parts intact. The barrel retains the iconic “OLD RELIABLE” Sharps stamping as well as the usual Sharps address. The receiver and barrel show fine lightly aged original blue with excellent Sharps markings on the left side of the receiver flat. The butt stock and forend are excellent with tight wood to metal fit and a sharp “LB” cartouche as described above. The stock also displays the original checkered steel butt plate. Sling swivels, barrel bands, sights, mechanism and action are all original and functioning correctly. The bore is mirror bright with sharp rifling throughout. Only the standard Springfield style cleaning rod is absent and easily replaced. Overall, a documented Colorado shipped Sharps Borchardt .45-70 rifle in fine and unaltered condition. Serial Number: 8294. This firearm qualifies as an Antique, and does not require FFL Transfer or NICS Background Check.