This unusual British smoothbore air gun made by an unknown manufacturer, but its .52 caliber bore meant it was likely intended for hunting purposes. The air reservoir was held in the removable buttstock, which has two conical/cylindrical chambers.
Once charged to capacity by a pump fixture, this air gun utilized the hammer to release pressurized air through the chamber, forcing the projectile down the barrel. In the 1800 to 1850 time period when this air gun might have been used, poachers employed similar arms to avoid detection by gameskeepers.
Peter and William Ashton made hundreds of pistols, like this .28 caliber, in Middletown, CT during the 1840s and 1850s. But when the American Civil War came on the horizon, William Ashton elected to work at Springfield Armory for four years instead.
Their small caliber underhammer pistols presented a smooth profile and excellent sights, but when cocked, gravity might cause percussion caps to fall off the downward pointing percussion cone.
This heavy-barreled Andrew Wurfflein rifle was made in Philadelphia, but with its .50 caliber bore, this half-stock rifle may have been used in the West. Andrew Wurfflein is known to have made rifles from 1835 to 1871 and even received a patent in December of 1849 for a lock design. Andrew’s son William kept up the gunmaking tradition in the Wurfflein family until 1915.
If you were a hunter on safari in the Victorian or Edwardian eras, this Westley Richards 12 ga. Super Magnum Paradox gun might have been an excellent choice. It's kind of a shotgun, but also kind of a rifle.
Paradox guns are smoothbore with a short rifled section near the muzzle that allows them to be used with either a single large projectile or multiple shot. Our engraved example bears the name “The Fauna King” as well on the barrels. Express sights for shooting out to 300 yards are mounted atop the barrels.
Occasionally, NRA Museums selects a gun just because it has a certain “feel” – perhaps it has to do with the engraving or maybe just the perfect size.
This Winchester Model 42 .410 shotgun was produced at the New Haven factory in 1960 and has some great gold inlaid game/hunting scenes. About 165,000 Models 42s were manufactured from 1935 to 1963, with only 231 also bearing a TRAP marking on the receiver.
Prior to the Great War, DWM produced a limited run of Model 1902 carbines.
This gun is one of the 2500 carbines manufactured and still retains its matching shoulder stock. These 7.65mm carbines were fitted with 11.75 inch barrels and a finely checkered wood shoulder stock. Compared to later military “artillery” variants with flat board stocks, these early carbines were much more finely finished.
This 28 gauge Rizzini side-by-side two-barrel set shotgun is certainly stunning. It features magnificent Bulino engraving by world-renowned Italian engraver Firmo Fracassi. Bulino engraving involves grouping lines and/or dots together to create 3D photo-realism on the canvas of choice. This style of engraving can include 2 million or more dots and take more than 500 hours to complete - per side. This particular example features unusual masks and gargoyles on the gun’s receiver.
The end of another week means there's a new slew of amazing NRA Museums guns to gaze at! There's no shortage of beautiful, historic, or beautiful and historic firearms in the NRA Museums' world-class collection. Click on through the gallery above to see this week's featured pieces.
Want to see the collection in person? Visit one of NRA Museums' three 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.