Famous as the "buffalo rifle", it was popular on the frontier among indian and settler. Since its first use in 1840's Kentucky among farmers, the rifle traveled further west, eventually seeing itself in the Mexican War of 1846-8 down south, and nearly quarter of a century later, in the American Civil War of 1861-5, and was popular among cavalry and infantry alike, being the most common breech-loader.
It was made famous by the sharpshooters in the war - the name "sharp" in sharpshooter meaning "sharps" rifle. Popular well into the twentieth century, but was surpassed in popularity by the more primitive percussion muzzle-loader, the Whitworth.
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