Late 16th Century Crank Air Rifle

    This beautiful rifle is being auctioned off by RIA

    The analysis of this unique wheelock style air gun can be best described in the book “Smith’s Standard Encyclopedia of Gas, Air and Spring Guns of the World” by W.H.B. Smith. On top of page 17, there is a very similar example photographed with the caption “one of the earliest known authenticated air guns. German crank gun about 1560 A.D.”. Blade front and adjustable notch rear sights, with an indistinct proof on the left side of the barrel near the breech and a metal retainer arm secured to the underside, extending through the bottom of the stock, and held by a swiveling latch, disengaging the latch allows the barrel to slide forward and then tip up, exposing the breech. Action is fitted with double set triggers and a wheelock style crank on the right rear side of the buttstock, which conceals an air tang. Checkered full length stock, with brass tip, ebony tipped ramrod with lion head pipes, silver wire inlay, brass combination handiest and trigger guard, raised carved floral and fruit designs on the front of the raised curved cheekpiece and a brass buttplate with aforementioned action hardware.

    [ Many thanks to Todd for emailing me the link. ]

    Steve Johnson

    I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!