Most important individual gun in American history

Most important individual gun in American history
Lewis’s airgun . . . could justly be called the “The Key to the American West.” Officials at the National Rifle Association and the U.S. Army War College have indicated that they feel that Lewis’s airgun was the most important individual gun in American history. (Text from; Image courtesy of Army Heritage Museum, U.S. Army)

Several weeks ago a friend offered to give me a book on airguns which I initially began to refuse, but then thought I would add it to my collection of books on firearms. There’s nothing that will turn off a reader of Western history more quickly than misinformation about firearms. I couldn’t foresee that I’d ever use an airgun in my writings, and I may never do so again, but I’m sure glad I accepted the book.1

I knew that Lewis and Clark had an air rifle on their historic expedition, but, as I learned in this book, I was completely ignorant about their air rifle and about airguns in general.

Their rifle, likely a Girandoni-system repeating air gun, was a serious weapon that would fall under the Assault Weapons Ban since its magazine held twenty rounds of .46 caliber balls, had a lethal range of 150 yards, and could fire as rapidly as a modern semi-automatic weapon.

To learn why Dr. Robert D. Beeman calls the Lewis and Clark air rifle the “Most Important Individual Gun in American History” visit his website at


  1. Robert D. Beeman & John B. Allen, S.P. Fjestad, ed.,Blue Book of Airguns: Sixth Edition(Minneapolis, MN: Blue Book Publications, Inc., 2007)
Related posts:
    None found

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Solve the equation to prove you are human. *