I have a replica Pedersoli .45-70 that I don’t use as often as I should, however in 2015 that may change. You may ask, "Why did it take you so long, Jim?" Well, I think we as hunters/outdoorsmen get stuck in a rut and we tend to go with what works and we don’t usually deviate from it. The .45-70 is capable of taking any animal on the planet including elephant and cape buffalo, American bison as well as bear of any size. I love my Ruger 300 WinMag and if I need a backup shot all I do is rack another in the chamber and go to work. With this single shot rifle and open sights it gets a little dicey for me. While I am comfortable shooting my .45-70 I always worry about that second shot.
Here in Kansas, typical shots tend to be 300 yards plus so I usually leave my Sharps in the gun safe. Actually, the only animal I’ve taken with it was a rather large buffalo (bison) in Northeastern Colorado. It was a one shot kill right through the boiler room and the Garrett Hammerhead performed beautifully. In that moment, I felt like I had stepped back a hundred years in time and was hunting with Buffalo Bill Cody. Did you know he got his name "Buffalo Bill" in Oakley Kansas, just 20 miles from my home? My buffalo is life size mounted at the museum in Oakley where they have a bronze replica of Buffalo Bill, his horse Brigadier and his single shot rifle named Lucretia Borgia, a Springfield Model 1863. To earn the title, "Buffalo Bill", he had to beat Army Scout Bill Comstock. Comstock shot 48 and Cody shot 69, buffaloes, all in one day.
As repeating rifles gained popularity and buffalo declined in numbers the Sharps went the way of the horse and buggy. Though it will never come back as the weapon of choice, it saw a resurgence when the movie "Quigley Down Under", starring Tom Selleck hit the big screen in 1990. There are even a number of long rifle shoots around the country where enthusiasts gather.
For me though, it’s going to Manitoba this spring for a black bear hunt with Remington and I hope to do it proud. If you would like to see my buffalo mount or the bronze sculpture of Buffalo Bill Cody, you can stop anytime between 9 and 5 in Oakley, Kansas on Highway 83 or go to www.buffalobilloakley.org.