By Kyle Jillson | June 9 2012 08:41

The Nation's Gun Show

The Nation's Gun Show is back and brings 1.5 miles of guns, knives and accessories to the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, Virginia, today and tomorrow, just down the road from NRA Headquarters.

Renew your NRA membership outside and receive free admission, a savings of $12.00! As usual, our National Firearms Museum has a booth right next to the cafe and brought some very interesting pieces from their collection - miniature firearms.

From the Nation's Gun Show website:

NRA’s National Firearms Museum recently won part of the international arms race (in small scale) by assembling a group of sixteen amazing wheellock miniatures. Fit to equip a down-sized platoon, these intriguing small arms range from a fine combination rifle built into a crossbow, a wheellock revolver capable of discharging seven shots, a medieval axe/gun, a breechloading pistol, and several ball-butted pistols. There’s even one princely pistol built completely out of 14 karat gold!

Just as with the originals, the embellishment of these diminutive arms includes ivory and bone, while gold, silver and bronze highlights are everywhere. In olden days, fine wheellock guns like these were expensive enough that they could only be owned by royalty and nobles. The master gunsmiths that built these pint-sized miniatures did so to show they could provide the same craftsmanship in a smaller package. Journeyman gunsmiths often honed their skills by making miniatures for their final projects as they left their master’s shop, reasoning also that the smaller size piece was far easier to transport as they made their way to new employment.

Now on display in the NRA’s National Firearms Museum galleries, thanks to lender Kennith Whichard, the wonders of the wheellock mechanism, an early ignition system that worked much like today’s Bic lighters, are well represented. During the 1600s, the wheellock design was really the “cutting-edge” of arms technology and looking over unusual pieces in this small collection that include a supplemental cleaver, axe, or halberd, combined with a firearm - one could quickly see that having an additional combat feature available considering the single shot capability that most guns of the day had - really wasn’t a bad idea.

The Nation's Gun Show runs from 3 to 8 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. If you're not joining the NRA or renewing your membership, admission will cost you $12.00. A three-day pass is $18.00. Teens pay $6.00 and children under 12 are free when accompanied by a paying adult.

Did you like what you saw at the National Firearms Museum's exhibit or wish you had been able to? The museum itself is just down the road at NRA Headquarters and is open daily 9:30am to 5pm with no admission charge (donations greatly appreciated). Over six hundred years of historical arms are represented within its extensive galleries and the museum store also offers an incredible selection of souvenirs and reference books, as well as fraternal items.

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