By Kyle Jillson | June 17 2012 11:10

Viewing historical guns at the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association's Spring Shoot

Friendship, Indiana - As National Firearms Museum Senior Curator Phil Schreier told us last week, there was a spectacular exhibit on the Lewis & Clark Expedition at this year's National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association's Spring Shoot. In the video below, Phil talks about some of the interesting history behind the exhibit's centerpiece, of which there were TWO of these rifles side-by-side. Accomplishing this was a feat so rare you're not likely to see it again.

In addition to oogling rare and historic firearms, the NMLRA's Spring Shoot offers a whole list of classes throughout the week for some hands-on learning.

Master craftsmen volunteer to help teach blockprinting, how to use natural dyes, building a miniature log cabin, how to make baskets, soap and lace, blacksmithing, and a whole lot more.

These classes have all wrapped up, of course, as today is the Spring Shoot's final day, but they'll be back next year. It's much too early to book spots for next year's casses, but you can read more about them on the NMLRA's website and see how fun they are in the slideshow below (see if you can spot Phil Schreier).

Also, a little more information about what the NMLRA has on exhibit from their website:

Grouseland Foundation, stewards of the Indiana Territorial Governor’s Mansion of William Henry Harrison and future US President in Vincennes, Indiana, is proud to own one of only six known remaining guns made by John Small, the first sheriff of Knox County, Indiana, at a time when Knox County extended across the current states of Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan.

The “Grouseland Rifle” was made sometime between 1803 and 1812 during the “Golden Age” of the long barreled rifles. Small’s Grouseland Long Rifle is unusually long (61 ½”), slender and graceful. It has elaborate pierced silver and brass inlays. The octagonal barrel has a silver plate on the top marked “Jn. Small Vincennes.”

John Small was considered a master woodworker, iron smith, and his brass and silver work show he was the equal of any artisan of the period. As a silversmith he has been called the Paul Revere of the frontier.

Special features on the rifle include the round silver medallion engraved with the emblem of the United States and the angel Gabriel on the brass patch box (opposite the medallion). The delicate silver inlay strung atop the gun butt is representative of only the finest craftsmanship.

William Henry Harrison’s “Grouseland” is open for tours daily from 10:00 – 5:00. The Mansion was the first brick home built in Indiana (1804), and is a National Historic Landmark. Our thanks to Grouseland for graciously allowing us to exhibit this wonderful piece of muzzleloading history!


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