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Grouseland gun (courtesy

“The first sheriff in what became the State of Indiana, John Small (1768 – 1821), was not only a militia captain, tavern-keeper and territorial legislator; he was also a master artist and craftsman, particularly as a gunsmith,” reports. “House Bill 1283 in the Indiana General Assembly…designated [Small’s] ‘Grouseland Rifle’ as the official rifle of Indiana. The man behind the legislation, State Senator John Waterman (R-Shelburn) had this to say about that . . .

“What makes this story particularly interesting, and why I believe the Grouseland Rifle is worthy of being named the Indiana State Rifle, is because John Small was also commissioned by William Henry Harrison to design the Seal of the Indiana Territory – which later became the Indiana State Seal.”

Waterman continues, “We do not know if this rifle was carried in a famed frontier battle, but it most certainly provided food and protection to a pioneer family of early Indiana.   This rifle and its maker are both integral parts of Indiana history and as such, the rifle is worthy of its designation as the Indiana State Rifle.”

Poetically enough, Small became known as “the Paul Revere of the frontier.” offers a look at the the man, the myth and the firearm that’ve earned their place in Hoosier history. The historic Grouseland gun’s accolades are a far cry from Tennessee’s decision to designate the ever-so-modern (if entirely useful) Barrett .50-cal their state gun. Just sayin’.

[h/t AM]

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  1. So, my state legislators had time to waste on this, and to designate a state insect, but didn’t have time to get the constitutional carry bill out of committee?

    Screw you, Bosma and Dermody.

    • Exactly. Makes you wonder why they dont pass a resolution that says ‘f**k you’ with a youtube vid of them all laughing at the camera.

    • Chip this wasn’t done this year. It was done in 2012. I don’t think we had a Constitutional Carry bill that year did we?

  2. I hadn’t heard anything about designating a state rifle. Is this the kind of thing they do in 5 minutes after some meaningful bill falls through, to reassure themselves that they aren’t worthless parasites?

    • Have you chosen one in Ma? Would be a hard fought race with all the worthy candidates.

      Here if Iowa we’re a bit light on recent candidates for our title. Hoover, Harkin, Vilsack, Harry Hopkins or perhaps Wyatt Earp.

      Will I’d have to go with John L. Lewis

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