TFB Field Trip: The NRA’s National Firearms Museum Part 2

    Welcome back to TFB’s two-part tour of the NRA National Firearms Museum. Last weekend, we looked at some Gatlings, a Gardner, finely engraved doubles, and even an 8″ autocannon round case!

    Moving on through the museum, you are met with several exhibits embedded in the walls and in opaque displays with glass windows, including this .66 caliber wheellock, which has provenance tracing it to the ship that landed at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts in 1620, and which was used in the first colony of what would become New England:


    These displays also showcased firearms of many different patterns from all throughout history, including these three magnificently decorated guns, a German “Tschinke” .34 caliber wheellock, an Indian .63 caliber matchlock, a .60 caliber Japanese matchlock “temple gun”, and an Italian .50 caliber fowling piece:



    This German double-lock matchlock rifle represents an early attempt at repeat fire. Like today’s MetalStorm concept, the gun fires multiple projectiles for each lock:


    Also on display was an air rifle of the pattern used on the Lewis & Clark expedition:



    The museum had an impressive collection of lever-action repeaters and single-shots, displayed together. In this image, you can see a transitional model Evans Repeater:




    A significant section of the museum was devoted to President Teddy Roosevelt, including this display of guns owned by the Roosevelt family children:




    The 1903 Springfield in the middle was used by Colonel Archibald Roosevelt, and is carved with his initials and the date of use:


    There was a display of collected Roosevelt artifacts, set up as an office and featuring two of the guns used in the Battle of San Juan Hill:

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    Unfortunately, it was at this point, about a third of the way through the museum, that my camera ran out of battery and died, so our tour must conclude here. It’s a shame, because the museum had so much to offer beyond this, including a .276 Garand prototype, Hall breechloaders (including a carbine model), and even a General Liu rifle!

    Nathaniel F

    Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. He can be reached via email at [email protected]