The NRA celebrates the spirit of the holiday season in our 12 Days of Firearms series! To kick off the month of December, we’ve handpicked 12 legendary firearms found in the galleries of the NRA Museums, showcasing one each day for 12 days.
Many collectors strive to amass a collection of the finest condition, where the pieces are in new condition, and in the original factory box. This gun is still in its original transit crate, but from the bore condition of this Colt-made .45-70, wherever it has been over the decades, it had a chance to do a good bit of shooting.
Its former owner, publishing magnate Robert E. Petersen, favored the Gatling and had acquired a dozen examples which you can see today in the NRA National Firearms Museum galleries.
The Gatling gun is among the best-known early rapid-fire firearms, famous for its hand-cranked operation. Richard Gatling’s invention first saw combat in the employ of Union forces in the Civil War, and later in other conflicts, including the Spanish-American War. The Gatling gun’s innovative mechanism allowed the gun to facilitate cooling as not to overheat, and inspired the future of machine guns.