A RARE .577 BRITISH CONTRACT MODEL 1855 SHARPS CARBINE MARKED TO THE 6TH DRAGOONS, CIRCA 1856, issue no 707,
with 19in. barrel the breech struck with Ordnance proof and inspection stamps, block and blade front-sight, four leaf rear-sight of a design unique to this pattern of carbine, reputedly the design of James H Burton the American Chief Engineer at Enfield, the carbine is fitted with a back-action lock with Maynard tape primer the cover marked 'EDWARD MAYNARD / PATENTEE 1845', the action tang bearing the legend 'SHARPS / PATENT / 1848', together with an inspection mark from the British inspectorate in America, a side rib and ring is fitted to the left side of the action, two piece walnut stock the brass butt-plate engraved '6.D / 707 6th Dragoons the Inniskillings', half fore-end with one screw retained band
Provenance: Due to an urgent need for carbines the War Department ordered 6000 Sharps carbines from America, 3000 were to have 18in. barrels and 3000 with 21in. barrels. No examples with 21in. barrels are known to exist and it is believed they were all shortened to 19in. The carbines arrived in England between May 1856 and April 1858. Due to the Indian Mutiny they were all issued and saw service in India, the 6th Dragoons the first British regiment to be issued the Sharps (this occured in January 1857 prior to them embarking for India and before the mutiny) For further information on British Sharps carbines see 'The Capping Breech Loader in British & Colonial Military Service' by Brian C. Knapp
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