Not as popular as Springfield Model Rifle, the Sharps Rifle was still one of the finest rifles ever built. Designed in 1848 and entered service in 1850, it held only one shot. It used a falling block action which used a metal breach lock that slides up and down in grooves cut into the breach which is controlled by a lever. This marked the beginning of a new trend in the field of rifles and the men who used them. The old-way of loading and firing a rifle was to load it from the muzzle; this weapon however could be loaded at the breach.This made for much faster loading and firing times. This also allowed a soldier to lie down or take cover while reloading. Typically a Sharps Rifle could fire between 8 and 10 shots per minute depending on soldier skill. Nearly 100,000 of them were built between 1850 and 1881 when it was finally retired from service. The carbine version was very popular with the cavalry of both the Union and Confederate armies and was issued in much larger numbers than the full-length rifle.
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