Who wouldn’t want a double set of fine blackpowder pistols like these? Bear in mind that their construction took a total of five years! William Diefenderfer used the best walnut and whenever possible, stainless steel, to craft these two sets of .51 caliber flintlock and percussion pistols.
The broad-belled muzzle of this flintlock pistol by Alexander Wilson served as a funnel to easily load an assortment of buckshot and ball suitable for any highwayman seeking to make off with the coach’s strongbox. We venture that the recoil of a stout charge in this handgun would have been an event not soon forgotten. And rust wouldn’t have been an issue with that brass barrel.
The NRA National Firearms Museum's America’s Rifle exhibit, which opened less than a month ago, features significant designs that trace evolution from the M1 Garand of WWII and up to today’s state of the art M4/AR-15 platform.
One special stop on that timeline is at Armalite’s AR-10 rifle. In 7.62mm, this Eugene Stoner design marked a point between the M14 service rifle and later 5.56mm shoulder arms. Our example features the early “waffle” magazine and integral flash suppressor/compensator.
Manufactured in Massachusetts, the Semmerling LM-4 pistol was a manually operated repeater, requiring the user to cycle the slide forward and back to eject the spent casing and reload the chamber. In .45 ACP, this was one of the smallest handguns made. The rare Model 3 Semmerling, a larger, semi-automatic pistol version bears serial number 001.
Back on August 19, 1909 the first race was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – now home to the world’s most famous motor racing competition, the Indianapolis 500. The Rigby Engraved Side by Side Shotgun- 12 ga., is most appropriate for the occasion. The firearm features intricate engravings of auto racing scene by Rosh. Even the safety is shaped like a car!
The NRA Museums curatorial staff sometimes refers to this collection item as a “hard luck” LeMat, as at some point during its use in the American Civil War, one of its cylinder chambers ruptured and its loading lever was also lost. First Model LeMats were made in Belgium and less than 500 were produced.
Despite these flaws, this historic “grapeshot” revolver with its buckshot barrel underneath another for more conventional pistol loads, is part of the Robert E. Petersen collection and has been displayed at both our Fairfax, VA and Springfield, MO museum galleries.
This Smith & Wesson pistol was presented to General William Tecumseh Sherman in 1869, a postwar year in which Sherman was promoted to General of the Army rank. The Smith & Wesson No.2 Army or Old Model revolver was a .32 rimfire piece popular with officers as its metallic cartridges were waterproof and far quicker to load than loose blackpowder, percussion caps and lead projectiles about 77,000 of these revolvers were made from 1861 to 1874.
In case you've been living under a rock, NRA Museums has a lot of guns between the NRA National Firearms Museum, NRA National Sporting Arms Museum at Bass Pro Shops, and the Frank Brownell Museum of the Southwest. And not just any guns, but some of the oldest, beautiful, and most historic firearms ever made.
Each day they share one of their amazing firearms on the NRA Museums Facebook page, but in case you've missed them or just want to gawk again, here's a recap of this past week's guns.