The old rifle sat in the corner of my dad’s shop for as long as I can remember. The barrel reads: “Old Reliable,” Sharps Rifle Co., Bridgeport Conn.
The round barrel had been cut down to a fraction of its once 30-inch length, but it remained on the original Model 1878 hammerless .45-70 Govt. sporter action that rested on a beat-up replacement of the original stock. We’d never fired the rifle because it was extremely old and appeared fragile.
The gun was something that my father and I had taken little interest in—until this year when I made the decision to invest in “Old Reliable” and have the once state-of-the-art sporting rifle restored to her original glory by Doug Turnbull of Turnbull Restoration and Manufacturing Co.