Girardoni Air Rifle at NRA Annual Meetings

Made famous by the Lewis and Clark Expedition and often credited with their very survival, the Girardoni Air Rifle offered a high rate of a fire and a 20-ball capacity. Sending .46 caliber lead balls to an effective range of 125 yards, it was quite the formidable weapon. And there’s one on display at the 2017 NRA Annual Meetings. Click any photo here to enlarge it . . .


  1. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

    So much for the “Second Amendment is an anachronism in the 21st century because the Framers had only single shot muskets in mind and had no concept of technological progress to come” myth.

    1. avatar Binder says:

      Second amendment was written before this rifle was manufactured.

      1. From what is known, this rifle was available for 10 years before the Bill of Rights was ratified.

        I would find it quite likely that the authors of those amendments were aware if it’s development and existence; that’s always been my understanding.

  2. avatar Geoff PR says:

    Sweet! A 1700s assault rifle.

    What Jonathan – Houston above said…

  3. avatar Brian says:

    If replica makers can produce LeMats, why not a Giardoni? I’d save my spare bills!

  4. avatar former water walker says:

    Anyone ever wonder why an inventor didn’t expand on this 18th century marvel? Or why airguns aren’t carried commonly as offensive weapons? Or why we don’t drive modern Stanley Steamers today? I believe they held speed records long ago. Anywho this is a cool relic…

    1. avatar Ed says:

      Because air and water are basically free. No money in selling us fuel.

      1. avatar former water walker says:

        Ah yes that was my “subtle” point. And they had electric cars more than 100years ago. Ford and the oil barons would have been paupers…

      2. avatar Bob h says:

        Steam powered cars still burned gasoline and kerosine.

    2. avatar JSF001 says:

      They were extremely expensive and time consuming to make, as well as being quite fragile. Also I believe he died a couple of years after he invented it if I remember correctly.

  5. avatar adverse4 says:

    I shoot my nitro gas piston .22 cal. break barrel rifle (with scope) more than my firearms. Also a vari pump .177 pistol w/stock and ghost ring sight, measured 25 yd backyard range. Safety considerations are the same, principles of zeroing the sights, aiming and firing the same. The differences between rifle and pistol energy/cal. are apparent. All in all would not be a bad training system of the basics for new and younger first timers. Killing cans is fun, relaxing, quieter, and less expensive. I shoot my two firearms enough to check sights and function, off site at another location more suited for pistol/shotgun.

  6. avatar Alex Waits says:

    If your ever out in Oregon I highly recommend the Lewis and Clark museum, it really hits home how badass those guys were.

  7. avatar J says:

    “They got all the way to the headwaters of the cascades, to the mouth of the potomac”


  8. avatar LHW says:

    Eww, it’s an evil assault rifle. Oh, wait.

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