Gun Quotes: Praise for the Sharps Rifle

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Sharpshooting: A buffalo market hunter of yore attests to the prowess of the Sharps rifle and cartridges.

Sharpshooting buffalo hunters of the Old West. The Sharps rifles and cartridges were instrumental in bringing the population of the wild American buffalo to its knees“The time I made my biggest kill, I lay on a slight ridge, behind a tuft of weeds 100 yards from a bunch of a thousand buffaloes that had come a long distance to a creek, had drunk their fill and then strolled out upon the prairie to rest, some to lie down. … After I had killed about twenty-five my gun barrel became hot and began to expand. A bullet from an overheated gun does not go straight, it wobbles, so I put that gun aside and too the other. By the time that became hot, the other had cooled, bu thten the powder smoke in front of me was so thick I could not see through it … I had to crawl backward, dragging my two guns, and work around to another position on the ridge, from which I killed fifty-four more. In one and one-half hours I had fired ninety-one shots, as a count of the empty shells showed afterwards, and had killed seventy-nine buffaloes.”

—Buffalo market hunter George Reighard, praising the Sharps rifle and cartridges, in a story that ran in a 1930 edition of the Kansas City Star. From the book America’s Great Gunmakers, by Wayne van Zwoll.


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2 COMMENTS

    • Only the skins. The rest was left to rot in the sun. This was civilization’s primary method of insuring pacification of the plains. Once the Buffalo was gone, the Plains Indian had to accept the reservation and live off of the White Man’s charity, until they learned other methods of obtaining food. Not a pleasant prospect, for sure. Some of those in Oklahoma did fairly well – Quanah Parker, for example – but most did not. The Sharps was and is an excellent design. Until very recently, the longest recorded kill shot was by Buffalo Hunter and Army Scout Billy Dixon, at Adobe Walls, 1874. One shot. Knocked an Apache off his horse at about 1500 yards, with a borrowed Sharps 50. Iron sights.

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