The most feared soldier of the Civil War was the Sharpshooter. Today, we simply call them snipers. Thanks to advances in rifle...bullet...and optical sight technology during the 1840's and 1850's, the dreaded Sharpshooter's rifle could reach out and precisely hit targets much farther than ever before possible. While the breech-loaded New Model 1859 percussion Sharps rifle has been overly credited as the rifle of choice, many of the top shooters chosen for such duty tended to prefer a wide range of deadly accurate heavy barreled muzzle-loaded target rifles - many of which were topped with an original circa 1850's Wm. Malcolm telescopic sight.
Current interest in shooting such rifles has led to the North/South Skirmish Association even conducting "Civil War Sniper" competition. Thanks to the Hi-Lux Optics recreation of the first Wm. Malcolm long-tubed rifle scope, and a growing selection of mounts, it has never been easier for the historically minded shooter to build a very authentic copy of the deadly accurate long-range rifles which made both Union and Confederate soldiers afraid to peer up over the top of their trenches.
Making such a project easier still is the availability of suitable reproduction percussion ignition rifles, rifled to give best accuracy with heavy elongated bullets. These modern copies include the favored Confederate sniper rifle, the hexagonal bore .451 caliber Whitworth rifle that shot a 580-grain hexagonal sided bullet...fast-twist English built "Volunteer" target rifles...and reproductions of several American rifles built to tap the accuracy and knockdown power of another American shooting innovation - the conical bullet. There's even a modern remake of the famed percussion Sharps rifle, with double set triggers, used by the renowned Northern sniper unit known as the Berdan Sharpshooters.
Modern reproduction Civil War era bullet-shooting rifles shown left to right - Pedersoli fast-twist bore Missouri River Hawken...Dixie Gun Works hexagonal bore Whitworth... Chiappa Firearms New Model 1859 percussion Berdan Sharps.
Hi-Lux Optics offers several different mounts that allow the 30 1/2" long 6x 3/4-inch diameter steel tubed Wm. Malcolm scope (and appropriate front extension) to be slightly off-set to allow clearance for the percussion hammer of these rifles. The modern copy of this mid 1850's scope features exceptionally bright, clear and sharp multi-coated lenses, making them far superior to the originals. The scope, with standard mounts, a 5" extension tube, and a heavy recoil base plate retails for $ 439, and comes with a Limited Lifetime Warranty. Specialty mounts for installing this long scope on a compatible Civil War sniper rifle vary in price.
For more information on the long 1850's style Hi-Lux Optics Wm. Malcolm scope and mounts, call 310 257-8142, drop the company an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or check out the Malcolm vintage scope collection here.