May 22nd, 2016

Free eBook Covers 200 Years of Remington History

Remington 200 year history book

If you are at the NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits today, you might want to visit the Remington booth. 2016 marks Remington’s 200-year Anniversary, and Remington’s booth features displays showcasing the company’s rich history over the past two centuries. Layne Simpson notes: “When Eliphalet Remington II hammered out his first rifle barrel in his father’s commercial iron forge in 1816, little did he realize that 200 years later we would be celebrating such an exceptional milestone.”

NRA Publications has created a free 68-page eBook that traces the history of Remington, America’s oldest gunmaker. The book includes many well-researched historical articles, a company time-line, and the 2016 Remington Gun Guide. Get the FREE Remington 200th Anniversary Commemorative Book HERE: Remington History Book and 2016 Gun Guide.

Remington 200 year history book

Remington 200 year history bookThe book contains many interesting feature stories. A fascinating article by Garry James, Remington Goes to War, covers the history of Remington firearms used by the American military. Interestingly, the first complete rifles built at the Remington factory were Model 1841 muskets contracted by the U.S. Army Ordnance Department in 1845.

In another in-depth article (featuring a fascinating, illustrated Remington timeline), NRA Museum Senior Curator Philip Schreier recounts the remarkable history of Remington firearms and ammunition. The From the Forge article by Layne Simpson highlights the key rifle models developed by Remington, from muskets to the legendary Model 700. Finally, John Zent writes about Remington’s manufacturing plants in Ilion, NY, and Huntsville, AL. Zent explains the processes (both traditional and ultra-modern) Remington uses to make all types of firearms.

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November 15th, 2015

Blast from the Past: Sam (L.E.) Wilson, Benchrest Pioneer

lewilson15001
Sam (L.E.) Wilson actively competed in benchrest matches until he passed. He’s shown here with an Unlimited benchrest rifle of his own design.

If you’ve used hand dies with an arbor press, chances are you’ve seen the L.E. Wilson company name. You may not know that the founder of L.E. Wilson Inc. was an avid benchrest competitor who pioneered many of the precision reloading methods we used today. Known as “Sam” to his friends, L.E. Wilson was one of the great accuracy pioneers who collected many trophies for match victories during his long shooting career.

lewilson1503

The photo above shows Sam (foreground) with all of his children at a shoot. Behind Sam are Jim, Jack and Mary, shooting in the Unlimited Class. What do they say — “the family that plays together stays together”? Note the long, externally-adjusted scopes being used. Learn more about Sam (L.E.) Wilson and his company on the L.E. Wilson Inc. Facebook Page.

lewilson1504

Unlimited Class was Sam’s favorite discipline, because in the “good old days” top competitors normally would craft both the rifle and the front/rear rests. This rewarded Sam’s ingenuity and machining/fabrication skills. In the “build-it-yourself” era, one couldn’t just order up an unlimited rail gun on the internet. How times have changed…

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February 2nd, 2015

Illustrated History of the Second Amendment (Part One)

History Second Amendment Arizona McWhiter LawA well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a Free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a firearm owner (most of our Daily Bulletin readers are). But how much do you really know about the history of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution? The Second Amendment itself contains only 27 words (printed above), but those words have a rich history behind them.

To illuminate the origins of the Second Amendment, and to explain how its interpretations have evolved over the years, Arizona Attorney, the journal for the State Bar of Arizona, has published a detailed two-part “Illustrated History” of the Second Amendment by attorney Robert J. McWhirter, an expert on the Bill of Rights.* Part One was just released, and Part Two will be published next month.

CLICK HERE to launch eZine with Second Amendment Story.

History Second Amendment Arizona McWhiter Law

We think all gun owners should read McWhirter’s article, which is both entertaining and insightful. Don’t worry — this is not a dull “law school” treatise. McWhirter’s article features dozens of illustrated footnotes (some fascinating, some merely amusing). Here are some sample footnotes — you can see this is a treasure trove of Second Amendment trivia.

History Second Amendment Arizona McWhiter Law

History Second Amendment Arizona McWhiter Law

*The American Bar Association has just published Mr. McWhirter’s book Bills, Quills, and Stills: An Annotated, Illustrated and Illuminated History of the Bill of Rights.

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August 11th, 2014

The Revolver That Won Five Olympic Gold Medals

A.P. Lane Pistol Wizard Colt Revolver Olympics

A.P. Lane Pistol Wizard Colt Revolver OlympicsA.P. Lane’s Gold Medal-Winning Colt Revolver
This Colt Officer’s Model revolver, factory-fitted with a skeletonized hammer, belonged to legendary Olympic shooter A. P. Lane, who was known as the “Pistol Wizard”. Lane used this Colt Revolver to win FIVE Olympic Gold Medals — three in 1912 and two in 1920.

A.P. Lane was one of the greatest pistol shooters of his generation. He shot scores that were typically 25-50 points higher than those of his competitors. And he exhibited true Corinthian spirit. At the 1912 Olympics, Lane shared his match ammunition with another competitor who used that ammo to capture the Silver Medal (Lane won the Gold).

This revolver, factory-fitted with a skeletonized hammer, was used by American A.P. Lane in winning five Olympic Gold Medals in the 1912 and 1920 Olympic Games. It’s a .38 caliber, Officer’s Model centerfire revolver from the early 20th century. Olympian A.P. Lane’s Gun can be found in Gallery 13, Firearm Traditions for Today, at the NRA National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Virginia. The Museum exhibit includes a panoply of Lane pieces – his revolver, his five Gold Medals, and the five Olympic certificates that went along with them.

Click Photo to See Full-Size Image
A.P. Lane Pistol Wizard Colt Revolver Olympics

Watch Video History of the A.P. Lane Revolver

A.P. Lane Pistol Wizard Colt Revolver Olympics

A.P. Lane Pistol Wizard Colt Revolver Olympics

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June 27th, 2014

Kevin Thomas Rides with Custer’s Ghost

1873 Springfield trapdoor carbing musketKevin Thomas of Lapua USA recently acquired a bit of living history — a reproduction Model 1873 Trapdoor Springfield. Here is Kevin’s story of his new rifle and the legacy it carries.

This week marked the 138th Anniversary of Lt.Col. George Armstrong Custer’s historic ride into the valley of the Little Big Horn, along with 200+ men of the U.S. Seventh Cavalry. June 25, 1876 did not go well, as Custer and his men became a well-known, sad footnote in U.S. history. [Editor: Well it was sad for Custer fans. Native Americans have a different perspective.]

For years now, I’ve wanted one of the rifles Custer and his men carried that day, a Model 1873 Trapdoor Springfield, chambered for the 45/70 cartridge. I finally acquired one, when I walked into a gunstore a while back and saw a handsome repro Trapdoor sitting peacefully on the shelf. It called to me.

1873 Springfield trapdoor carbing musket

Somewhere in the distance, I could hear the bugle calls, the Sioux and Cheyenne war cries and the thundering of cavalry across the plain. It simply had to go home with me, and so it did. It seemed an especially insistent demand with this being the 138th anniversary and all, so I took it along to our regular Wednesday night practice session. All I can say is, I’m glad we don’t have to do rapid-fire with one of these in our matches today, because they do have a mule-like kick to them!

1873 Springfield trapdoor carbing musket

The Trapdoors were a cost saving measure that the Armory came up with at the end of the Civil War, to convert muzzle-loading Springfield muskets into breech-loading cartridge arms. A quick look will give several dead giveaways that many of the parts on the “new” rifle were actually interchangeable with the old 1861 and 1863 Springfield muskets. The parts that were altered or newly fabricated were relatively minor changes.

1873 Springfield trapdoor carbing musket

Above, you can see where these rifles got their name. Loading was done by flipping a lever which opened up a trap door that provided access to the chamber. Flipping that same lever and opening the trap door then ejected the case after firing.

1873 Springfield trapdoor carbing musket

Here is the opposite side, trapdoor open. The ring and slide on the side of the stock was to facilitate an attachment point for a lanyard that the troopers wore over their shoulders. Remember, they often used these while at a full gallop, not an easy feat!

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June 6th, 2013

Remembering D-Day: June 6, 1944

Sixty-nine years ago today, on June 6, 1944, Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy as part of Operation Overlord, the largest amphibious invasion in history. The ultimate goal was the liberation of Europe. The Normandy invasion began with overnight parachute and glider landings, massive air attacks, and naval bombardments. In the early morning, amphibious landings on five beaches, code-named Juno, Gold, Omaha, Utah, and Sword commenced. During the evening the remaining parachute divisions landed. The D-Day Normandy landings were the first successful opposed landings across the English Channel in over eight centuries.

Thousands of soldiers, sailors, and aviators gave their lives on June 6, 1944, so that Europe could be liberated. We should remember those brave men, and never forget that freedom is not free — it requires continuing vigilance and sacrifice.

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September 11th, 2011

New Illustrated History of Firearms from NRA Museum

The folks at the NRA Museum have created a new 304-page, photo-illustrated history of firearms. With over 1500 photographs, this new book covers all types of firearms, from small handguns to large rifles. Illustrated are deringers, flintlocks, revolvers, semi-autos, machine guns, muzzle loaders, long rifles — and much more. Researched by the NRA’s historians, The Illustrated History of Firearms is a worthy addition to any gun aficionado’s library. You can pre-order the book now from Amazon.com for just $19.79 (list price is $29.99.) The NRA Museum will be releasing two companion volumes, also available through Amazon: Guns of the Wild West, and Guns of World War II.

Illustrated History Firearms book

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December 13th, 2010

100 Years of National Matches — New Book on Sale Now

Camp Perry history bookMuch anticipated, the NRA’s new 575-page history of the National Matches, is now in stock at the NRA Program Materials Center. The $69.99 book, entitled The National Matches: 1903-2003 The First 100 Years, covers all the National Match venues, starting with New Jersey’s Sea Girt, followed by Creedmoor in New York, and finally the present-day home at Camp Perry, Ohio.

Richly illustrated with hundreds of photos, this book includes complete National Match results, and notable shooter histories. The book also covers the evolution of match rifles and pistols over the past century. Any shooter who has competed at the National Matches, or who has an interest in National Match history, should consider adding this book to his personal collection. The National Matches: 1903-2003 The First 100 Years can be purchased online through the NRA Program Materials Center, item number CC19740, or you can call 1-800-336-7402 and asking for Item# CC19740.

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December 7th, 2010

Remember Pearl Harbor Today, December 7th

“[On] December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” — F.D.R.

Today, sixty-nine years later, it remains important to remember what took place at Pearl Harbor, and to honor those soldiers, sailors, marines (and civilians) who lost their lives in the surprise attack. The tragic memory of Pearl Harbor reminds us that our nation should never be lulled into complacency. The Berlin Wall may be down, but the world remains a dangerous place. The nation must remain alert to all dangers, and be prepared to respond to all threats, both known and unknown. As Wendell Phillips said famously: “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”

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March 16th, 2010

Utah Legislature Approves J.M. Browning Holiday

John Moses BrowningThe governor’s signature is the only hurdle remaining for a holiday memorializing firearms inventor John Moses Browning. The Utah House voted 64-0 to commemorate the Utah-born inventor on Jan. 24, 2011, the opening day of next year’s legislative session. It will come 100 years after Browning invented the Model 1911 pistol, which became the official sidearm for the U.S. military. Even today, variants of the 1911 pistol are among the most popular handguns sold worldwide, and the 1911 is THE platform of choice for custom raceguns and self-defense pistols.

You have to love Utah’s legislators for voting to recognize J. M. Browning. At a time where states such as California are curtailing the rights of guns owners and demonizing the shooting sports, Utah is doing just the opposite. With this proposed holiday, Utah recognizes the important role Browning and his inventions have played in the history of this nation and the defense of democracy worldwide. We tip our hat to Utah and hope that Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signs the legislation creating John M. Browning Day.

J.M. Browning model 1911 Pistol

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February 16th, 2009

Presidents' Day — And a History Lesson

Today we celebrate Presidents’ Day. It is worth remembering that many of America’s greatest Presidents were avid rifle shooters, including all four whose faces are enshrined in stone at Mt. Rushmore. Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt were all shooters, and in today’s world they would probably be called “gun nuts” by the mainstream press.

Mt. Rushmore

George WashingtonWashington, of course, was a great military leader. He was also a staunch supporter of gun rights. In a 1790 speech to Congress, Washington declared: “Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself! They are the American people’s Liberty Teeth and keystone under Independence. From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to insure peace, security, and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable. The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere, restrains evil interference — they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good!”

Thomas Jefferson often went hunting as a form of recreation and as an escape from the pressures of high office. In 1785 he wrote to his nephew: “[For exercise]… I advise the gun. While this gives a moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body, and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun, therefore, be the constant companion of your walks.”

Abraham Lincoln learned to shoot as a boy and used a rifle to put food on the family table as he grew up on backcountry farms in Kentucky and Indiana (Lincoln was 21 when his family moved to Illinois.) Even as President, Abe Lincoln remained very interested in firearms and he was a good marksman. When, during the Civil War, he was approached by Christopher Spencer, inventor of the Spencer Rifle, Lincoln tested the gun himself on the grounds of the White House. According to Mr. Spencer’s journal: “On the 18 of August, 1863, I arrived at the White House with rifle in hand, and was immediately ushered into the executive room. I found the President alone. With brief introduction I took the rifle from its case and presented it to him. Looking it over carefully and handling it as one familiar with firearms, he requested me to take it apart to show the ‘inwardness of the thing’. After a careful examination and his emphatic approval, I was asked if I had any engagement for the following day. When I replied that I was at his command, he requested that I ‘Come over tomorrow at 2 o’clock, and we will go out and see the thing shoot’.” The next day Lincoln and Spencer tested the rifle on the White House lawn. Lincoln shot the rifle very well and recommended that it be adopted by the military.

Theodore RooseveltTheodore Roosevelt was an avid hunter and conservationist. As a young man, he had his own ranch in the Dakota Territories where he enjoyed hunting buffalo, elk and other big game. Roosevelt earned fame an a “Rough-Rider” in the Spanish-American War. When he left the White House in 1908, he embarked on a lengthy African safari with his son Kermit. Roosevelt recounted his safari experiences in his book, African Game Trails, considered one of the “classics” of outdoor adventure literature.

So there you have it… four of America’s finest Presidents were avid gun enthusiasts. They lived in times when shooting a rifle was considered both a manly pursuit and an essential survival skill. Today, in the 21st century, the mass media often depicts gun owners as extremists. Today’s journalists would be wise to re-learn their American history and acknowledge that many of our nation’s greatest leaders were riflemen.

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