1852 Slant-Breech Sharps

Reader Kymm was kind enough to load me this rifle to video, with a particular interest in seeing the amount of gas leakage (or lack thereof) on high-speed footage. This early model of Sharps featured a sliding sleeve inside the chamber, which was intended to push backwards into the breechblock under pressure when firing, and thereby seal the breech. In practice, however, powder fouling would very quickly seize the sleeve in place. Later iteration of the Sharps would use a more effective platinum ring on the breechblock to seal the action, before finally giving way to use of brass cartridge cases (which eliminated the gas seal problem once and for all).

I was unable to ascertain the true history of this particular Sharps, unfortunately. It is an 1852 pattern rifle, which is rather rare, and does not have a patchbox in the stock. The top of the barrel is marked “D.C. HODGKINS & SONS MACON GA 1862” which would seems to suggest Confederate provenance, but I can’t find a reference to Hodgkins working on this type of rifle. Also, I am automatically skeptical of any potential Confederate weapon, simply because of their scarcity and the number of fakes made. Authenticating Civil War era firearms is not my forte, and if anyone can shed some light on the history of this one I would be very interested. It did feel authentic, as far as that gut feeling goes…