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Master Gunsmith

Master Gunsmith

Photo credit: Michael Ives

With one gun, a legacy was born. When this gunsmith crafted a rifle for a special occasion, he had no idea it would become an annual tradition that would go on to last more than half a century.

He was one of America’s most recognized and revered gun makers, and he was largely self-taught. In his early years, he was a blacksmith, taxidermist and sign painter before turning to repairing firearms in the 1920s. He built his first rifle in the 1930s—that gun resides today in the Ohio State Museum in Columbus. 

With the crafting of each gun requiring hundreds of hours to complete, it’s no wonder that American presidents, senators, governors, movie stars, sports celebrities and other national icons all coveted his prized works of art. Even into his 90s, he possessed an exceptional talent in engraving, inletting, carving, barrel making, and metal and wood finishing in the style of his 18th and 19th century predecessors.  

Click here to learn more about this master gunsmith who passed away at the age of 93 in 2006. His gun is just one of the many fascinating treasures on display at the NRA National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Va.

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