By Lars Dalseide | August 9 2012 18:26

Civil War General's Breechloading Carbine appearing tonight

Burnside Carbine short rifle at NRA National Firearms Museum

Fairfax, Virginia - Burnside. Carbine. The National Rifle Association. Is there a connection? There surely is.

General Ambrose Burnside had quite the storied career. A veteran of the Mexican-American War, the Western Frontier and the American Civil War, he spent the years between the Frontier and the Civil to work on a project … the Burnside Breechloading Percussion Carbine.

"It was very innovative for the time period," said NRA National Firearms Museum's Senior Curator Phil Schreier. "Even though it's percussion, it is a breech loading carbine that takes a self contained metallic cartridge. Only one other rifle did that at the time."

Action of Ambrose Burnside's carbine at the NRA National Firearms Museum

Weighing at around seven pounds, the Burnside fired a .54 caliber bullet. Producing almost 50,000 versions between 1857 and 1865, this particular rifle was a favorite of Union forces in almost every Civil War theatre. And they come with an interesting bit of factoids.

"It's one of the only guns you'll ever find that was made in the state of Rhode Island," said Schreier. "In one of today's popular reality shows, a supposed Civil War expert failed to tell (the customer and) the audience is that there are five different models of this gun. The one they were showing was worth considerably more then his estimate."

General Burnside's carbine, from the sights down, at the NRA National Firearms Museum

And what's the connection to the NRA? Back in 1871, when the NRA was founded, Burnside was elected to serve as our very first President.

To learn more about Burnside, as well as the Carbine that bears his name, tune in tonight to NRANews.com and SiriusXM's Patriot Channel.

See the Burnside Carbine short rifle at the NRA Museum in Fairfax, VA or right here!

Not enough? Then how about another bootleg clip from tonight's episode where Phil explains the cartridge Burnside invented for his short barreled rifle.

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