The Sharps rifle was originally a 30 inch barreled percussion gun of the American Civil War era, but in 1870 the Springfield Armory converted about 1,300 to take metallic cartridges using leftover and custom parts. An easy feature to identify these guns, besides their 35 inch barrel, is the long forend that has only two barrel bands and a ramrod.
This one-of-a-kind prototype by Redfield is a slim semi-automatic chambered for the classic .38-55 cartridge. But due to competition from already-existing rifles by Remington and Winchester and Redfield's relatively unknown name in the industry, the gun never went into production.
The NRA National Firearms Museum has similar examples of Redfield single-shot rifle and semi-auto pistol designs that also never made it to market.
Designed by the superintendent of Remington’s mechanical department, the single-shot Remington-Hepburn design has a great “target gun” look to it. No surprise, as Lewis L. Hepburn was also a member of the Creedmoor International Shooting Team.
The No. 3 Remington-Hepburn rifle was introduced in 1880 and was offered in calibers from .22 to .50. The above example, mounted with a Stevens telescopic sight, is chambered in .32-40. While around 12,000 rifles were made, the unique falling block that opened with the rifle's side lever earned an excellent reputation with American hunters and target shooters.
Made by the London Armory Company, nearly all of the 11,000 Kerr revolvers produced were sold to the Confederacy during the American Civil War. The five-shot revolver was offered in both .36 and .44 caliber and, though it looked like a double-action, it was actually a single-action that required thumb-cocking to fire.
The American Civil War marked an era of great change in firearms technology as percussion arms were gradually replaced by those using metallic cartridges. One such gun was the .32 caliber Moore's Belt Revolver, many of which bore the markings “MF’D FOR SMITH & WESSON BY MOORE’S PATENT FIREARMS CO.” as the result of a patent infringement lawsuit decided in S&W’s favor. Rimfire revolvers like this one were popular choices for personal protection during the Civil War and were purchased by officers and soldiers alike.
Towards the end of the Second World War the venerable M1 Carbine underwent some significant improvements, emerging as the M2 Carbine in 1944 with a selectable full-auto mode, a magazine capacity doubled to 30 rounds, and an improved the rear sight.
Although it was too late to see combat during World War II, 600,000 M2 Carbines were produced and saw action during the Korean War and the early days of the Vietnam War.
Though it resembles the classic Mauser M1896 Broomhandle, the aptly named Model 712 “Schnellfeuer” (“Fast-fire”) pistol is a selective-fire machine pistol. It was capable of firing at a 900 round-per-minute cyclic rate— meaning the operator could blow through the 20 round magazine in just over one second.
The Model 712 was made to compete in the 1930s to compete in the Chinese market against full-auto Spanish copies of the M1896, but the German military began acquiring the Schnellfeuer en masse once the Second World War began. Ultimately, the Mauser was replaced with MP38 and MP40 submachine guns soon after the war began.
In case you missed the incredible guns NRA Museums shares each day on their Facebook page, we've compiled the last week's right here for you. And if you've already seen them, here's another chance to admire some beautiful and historic arms.
If you want to see NRA Museums' world class firearms collection in person, you'll want to visit any of their three locations: 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.