Sharps Firearms: The Percussion Era, 1848–1865, by Roy Marcot, Ron Paxton and Edward W. Marron Jr., Northwood Heritage Press, Tucson, Ariz., 2019, $100
Roy Marcot, longtime editor of the journal of the Remington Society of America, has written three histories about that gunmaker. In 2012 the Sharps Collector Association approached Marcot and coauthor Ron Paxton about compiling a history of gunsmith Christian Sharps (1810–74). Building on a half-century of research spearheaded by John Hintlian, Frank Sellers and scores of other Sharps collectors and experts, Marcot, Paxton and team put in five-plus years of research. The first fruit of their labor was Sharps Firearms: Early Metallic Cartridge Firearms and Model 1874 Sporting Rifles, published in 2017. Their latest offering—co-written by Edward W. Marron Jr., with contributions from David Carter, Frank Graves, Paul D. Johnson, Richard Labowskie, John McAulay, Matt Sears and Dean Thomas—is the second of four planned authoritative volumes about the iconic firearms manufacturer.
A big (12-by-10-inch landscape format) beautiful book with 440 full-color pages, this volume covers Sharps’ percussion-era history, from the gunmaker’s initial 1848 patent through the Civil War. Chapters track the evolution of the enterprise, including the early contributions of Pennsylvania gunsmith Albert S. Nippes and family, the company’s military contracts and the various models of sporting rifles and carbines, as well as Sharps’ lesser-known shotguns, pistols and pistol rifles. Period letters, photos, illustrations and schematics provide historical context, while the authors and their collaborative team examined, researched and photographed more than 1,300 rifles and carbines, resulting in an archival-quality resource. To order, send a check for $100 plus $10 postage to Northwood Heritage Press, c/o Roy Marcot, 12655 E. Horsehead Road, Tucson, AZ 85749. If you purchase Volumes I and II, the authors will throw in shipping.