Nobody builds rifles like Shiloh Sharps. Established in 1976, the family-run company manufactures everything from scratch at their machine shop in Big Timber, and they are the only firearms manufacturer in the world with interchangeable parts for the original Sharps rifles.
“If you’re going to copy something, copy it to the nail,” says Kirk Bryan, who runs the business with his sister, Lucinda, and their parents. “We pour our own black steel for our barrels. We cut our own wood for the stock. We manufacture our own screws to assemble the rifles. There’s no outsourcing. It’s 100 percent local.”
Prior to Shiloh Sharps, the Bryans worked in Broadus, as machinists for the oil field there. When oil dried up in the ‘80s, the family bought the rifle manufacturing company and moved it to Big Timber.
“The job is basically the same,” says Kirk. “We make parts and put them together, except these parts don’t weigh twenty pounds.”
Shiloh Sharps’ expertise allows them to produce exact, usable replicas of the nineteenth century rifles—as close to the original as one can possibly get. The series of large-bore, single-shot, falling-block, breech-loading rifles began with a design by Christian Sharps in 1848 and gradually became icons of the American West. Both Union and Confederate soldiers carried Sharps rifles during the Civil War. Hunting models were used for ridding the Northern Plains of buffalo (meant to drive away the indigenous people there). As target shooting grew increasingly popular in the 1870s, Sharps produced sporting rifles in large numbers.
Even after production ceased in 1881, Sharps continued to have a cultural impact, appearing in Western literature, film, and television.
A century later, the Bryan family has effectively brought Sharps rifles back from the dead.
“The people who buy these used to play cowboys as kids,” says Kirk. “There’s such history behind them. People love them.”
Some customers use Sharps rifles for hunting, others for target shooting, and others still as conversation pieces to hang on the wall. Shiloh Sharps can customize each rifle to meet each customer’s needs.
“We’re proud of the work we do,” says Kirk.
Arrange a tour or place your order today.
Shiloh Sharps is located at 201 Centennial Drive in Big Timber. For more information, visit shilohrifle.com or call (406) 932-4266.