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Rare Sharps & Hankins Combination Gun Tool

Rare Sharps & Hankins Combination Gun Tool

  • Product Code: FPTA-B162C-SOLD
  • Availability: Out Of Stock
  • $750.00

This is an extremely rare example of the Combination Tool for the Sharps & Hankins Breechloading Carbines and Rifles produced during the Civil War period. During the course of the war Sharps & Hankins produced about 8,000 of the Model 1862 Naval Carbines, with 6,686 being acquired by the US Navy. They also produced about 700 Naval Rifles, with 600 of those being delivered to the Navy. The firm also produced two variations of the gun as a cavalry carbine, one with a 19” and one with a 24” barrel. It is believed that about 1,000 of the 19” guns were produced with another 500 of the 24” guns were manufactured. That puts the overall production of the Sharps & Hankins pattern arms at slightly over 10,000 units made


These tools are pictured and described on page 188 of Gun Tools: Their History and Identification, Volume I by Shaffer, Rutledge, and Dorsey. Here they picture and describe two variants of the tool, which they designate as “First Pattern” and “Second Pattern”. Although the photos appear swapped in the book, according to the text the “First Pattern” tool has a semi-circular cut in one of the four screwdriver blades to serve as a spanner to remove the firing pin bushing from the gun and the “Second Pattern” tool has a square cut spanner blade for the same purpose. The tools were blued and measure nominally 3 ¾” along their longest dimension. Like so many of the combination tools produced during the mid-19thcentury for US military use, it is made from two pieces of steel that are secured by a large domed rivet in the center. The two pieces are each double-ended screwdrivers. The larger double ended arm of this example measures nominally 3.75” as noted in the book with a .55” wide blade on the wider end and a .27” blade on the narrower end. The blade tapers evenly from the wider end to the narrower end. The shorter blade measures nominally 3.25” in length with the wider end .5” wide with the circular cut to make it a spanner for the removal of the firing pin bushing. The narrower end measures nominally .28” wide. In the book, the description for both tools starts with the words “A very scarce Civil War-era tool.”In Gun Tools: Their History and Identification, Volume II by Dorsey and Shaffer, the authors correct their descriptions to match the images in the book, any additionally modify their identification of the tools to “Unknown Combination Tool”, but most collectors feel that their initial identification of the tool as for the Sharps & Hankins family of breechloading military cartridge carbines and rifles was correct. In either case, I have never had the opportunity to offer one of these rare tools for sale.


The tool remains in about VERY GOOD condition. The metal retains some strong traces of the original high polished blue finish with substantial fading and loss. Most of the exposed metal has taken on a mostly smooth, but heavily oxidized brown patina with some areas with trace blue blending to plum with the surface oxidation. The tool is in crisp condition with sharp edges. The rivet is tight and secure, and a little bit of effort is required to move the pivoting shorter arm. Some oil would likely allow it to move much more freely.


Overall, this is a scarce tool that would be great to display with your Sharps & Hankins carbine or rifle. It would be a good addition to a naval display or an advanced tool collection.


Please note that the images are much larger than the actual tool is! This allows you to see condition and details easily.


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Tags: Rare, Sharps, Hankins, Combination, Gun, Tool