What Lewis and Clark didn’t tell you…..

Yes, I’ve been posting strange oddities of late…..mainly due to the fact I’m waiting for the weather to break so I can do some flying. Till then however, there’s no reason not to add interesting items to the Miscellaneous category. This one’s regarding technology….old and new. Or should I say….rediscovered.

There’s been a revival in the sporting use of big bore air rifles over the past decade, (probably longer really, I’m just not that observant), and, aside from being a really neat way to punch clean little round holes in things at a distance (an activity I’m rather fond of), the technology involved is remarkable. But, as the title indicates…isn’t at all new. Check out the video first, and then we’ll get back to this…. : )

Remarkable power for an air gun isn’t it? But a similar design was used over a century before by none other than historical familiars Lewis and Clark on their voyage of discovery. To them this weapon was a bit of Buck Rogers technology in an age that still was using single shot, muzzleloading black powder smoke poles as its main form of weaponry.


Pictured above is most likely the peice that was carried by Lewis and Clark (or a variant of it), the product of the genius of a Tyrolean clockmaker named Bartolemeo Girandoni. A work of wizardry at the time, the piece could fire 22 shots from one compressed air load stored in the buttstock reservoir, and in almost rapid fire succesion. Intended to shock and awe the potentially hostile inhabitants of the lands through which they would pass, it’s amazing to know that these explorers had in their hands, a technology that is only still today, just becoming well regarded for its lethal effectiveness.

Lewis and Clark “impressing” the Natives with the Air Rifle.


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