Every now and then even a completely jaded gun shopper such as myself gets a surprise.
After years of ogling over everything with a trigger, it’s nice to know there are still a few items out there that makes one stop and say, “Now that’s a great idea.”
This year, while puttering around the SHOT Show, I swung by the booth of Taylor’s & Company. I’ve always had a soft spot for old cowboy remakes and Taylor’s always has a great selection.
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When I was at the booth, I was struck by a gun that’s not exactly like its 19th Century predecessors. On display was a rifle they import from Chiappa, the Half-Pint Sharps.
I’ve spent some time trying to find the best word to describe this rifle and the one I’ve finally settled on is adorable.
Mechanically, the Half-Pint Sharps is just like the buffalo guns that made the Sharps name famous. Where the Half-Pint differs is in terms of size and available chamberings.
The Half-Pint is scaled down 20% from the original Sharps rifles, which makes it a light, handy rifle that’s well-balanced in the hand but only weighs half as much as a buffalo gun. Seeing as the Half-Pint is smaller in size, the cartridges it’s chambered for are sensibly scaled down to match.
If you’re a rimfire fan, you can get this little number in 22 LR, 17 HMR or 22 WMR. If you’d prefer a caliber to match your favorite old west-style sidearm, you can get the Half-Pint in 45 Colt or 44-40, or if deer hunting is on the agenda then 30-30 and 38-55 are available.
Finally, this little Sharps is offered in two fine varmint calibers: 22 Hornet and 218 Bee. Personally, I find these last two classic gopher cartridges to be the most intriguing options.
Like any rifle crank, the Sharps design holds a certain attraction for me, but I’ve never really been able to talk myself into buying one for big game hunting. Varmint hunting, though — now there’s a thought.
To sweeten the pot the Half-Pint has a number of features to make a varmint hunter drool. The Half-Pint comes equipped with double-set triggers to milk every last bit of accuracy from the 26-inch octagonal barrel.
In keeping with its classic look this Sharps sports a flip-up, tang-mounted peep sight which, coupled with the long sight radius, should be sufficient for any shooting normally attempted with the Hornet or Bee.
If you want to stretch things a bit further, Taylor’s will be happy to sell you a Wm. Malcolm scope that will look right at home on top of this mini buffalo gun.
There are less expensive varmint guns on the market, and there are definitely more modern designs out there, but the Half-Pint has the market cornered when it comes to being unique.
The buffalo are mostly gone, but there are still plenty of prairie dogs around for the taking.