Not many firearm companies can get away with marketing both a rifle and revolver under the same model name, but Colt can.
Although offered in several frame sizes, Colt's pump-action Lightning rifle was most popular in .22 rimfire, with almost 90,000 produced from 1887-1904. But competition from other companies (especially Winchester’s Model 1890) likely caused Colt to return their efforts to handgun production.
Visitors to the NRA National Firearms Museum often have favorite guns they specifically seek out. A classic .22 lever-action rifle like this Marlin Model 1897 can really make someone’s day when they see it in an exhibit case.
Made on a handy take-down action, buyers had the option of ordering this rimfire with a short 16 inch "Bicycle Rifle" barrel. Only about 125,000 were made in a production run from 1897 to 1922 before being replaced with the Model 39.
Veterans of the Second World War can attest that battlefields were often littered with damaged or inoperable weapons like this relic M1 Garand rifle.
Assigned to an American infantry unit in the Ardennes near the Belgium border, this rifle was discovered in an area where German forces had overrun American positions during the Battle of the Bulge. Despite spending decades buried in stony soil, the serial number can still be read on the receiver and the stainless steel gas cylinder has hardly any corrosion - pretty impressive.
The .31 caliber Walch percussion revolver isn't your typical six-shooter. Not only did it carry ten loads, but it was fired by two hammers and had only a single spur trigger.
Created by John Walch, J.P. Lindsay, and the New Haven Arms company, the revolver was patented in 1859 and around 3,000 were made. The gun's potential firepower didn’t go unnoticed by Civil War soldiers, many of whom chose the double-charged Walch over the five-shot Colt Model 1849 for their personal protection. One Michigan infantry company even elected to completely outfit themselves with Walch revolvers.
Receiving its name from Henry Hammond’s 1864 patent, about 8,000 Hammond Bulldog derringers were manufactured between the mid 1860s and 1880s by the Connecticut Arms & Manufacturing Company in Naubuc, CT.
Chambered for .44 rimfire cartridges, this single shot pocket pistol could also serve as a line-throwing pistol or even a long-barreled target arm with a wire-type shoulder stock.
The .36 caliber percussion Colt, called the “Navy” by experienced pistoleros like W.F. Cody, was a popular single-action sidearm on the frontier.
This example in the NRA Museums collection bears serial number 1 and was produced at Colt’s London factory. Similar Colts were carried by Wild Bill Hickok, who reportedly shot, fired, and cleaned his cap-and-ball sixguns daily. Prior to the widespread use of metallic cartridges, percussion revolvers offered multi-shot capability, but only if well-maintained!
In our museum collection are many one-of-a-kind guns that never made it into production... A single-shot pistol designed by arms expert W.H.B. Smith, this toggle-actuated .22 rimfire was intended to be marketed by an American gun company, but despite being reviewed by Colt, Ithaca, Winchester and others, this one never gained acceptance. Smith tried to generate interest in powdered metal technology for firearm production in the post-WWII period.
The NRA Museums firearm collection is widely known to be one of the finest throughout the world. Each day they highlight one of their historic and eye-popping pieces on their Facebook page. But not everybody has Facebook (yet) and many of us just like looking at photos of amazing guns - even one's we've seen before. This is why we collect each week's photos from NRA Museums and share them here.
Want to see more from the collection? You can wait until next week, or you can visit one of the NRA Museums locations at the NRA National Firearms Museum, NRA National Sporting Arms Museum at BassPro, or the Frank Brownell Museum of the Southwest. You can even browse some of the collection's more notable pieces online at www.nramuseums.com.
Note: The navigation buttons for this gallery may be hard to see. White arrows allowing you to view the next or previous firearm are located on the left center and right center of each image.