A Family Treasure

posted on October 25, 2016
Michael Ives

This feature appears in the November ‘16 issue of NRA America’s 1st Freedom, one of the official journals of the National Rifle Association.  

The original layout as it appeared in print. Photo by Michael Ives.

America’s history may be traced through its firearms, but sometimes determining the past of a historic gun is made easier when it remains within the same family for nearly 180 years. 

Pennsylvanian Michael Ruble ordered a fine .41-caliber percussion rifle prior to his death in 1838. Ruble’s pride in his ownership was well-documented, with an inlaid silver plate bearing his name fitted neatly into the forearm of his rifle. It is believed the rifle was completed for Ruble, who then lived in Mifflin County, by Lewis Lepper of Lancaster County. A German silver inlay on the offside of the stock features an eagle grasping arrows, possibly an acknowledgement of the Ruble family’s involvement in the state militia. 

This rifle traveled down through the generations, preserved by Ruble sons and daughters, until 2016, when it was donated to the collection of the NRA National Firearms Museum. Resting now inside a re-creation of a period gunsmith’s workshop, this American treasure can be seen daily in the National Firearms Museum galleries. 

The NRA National Firearms Museum at NRA Headquarters in Fairfax, Va.; the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum at Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, Mo.; and the Frank Brownell Museum of the Southwest at the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, N.M.; each have fine selections of historic arms on display. Admission to each is free, and donations are gratefully accepted. For more information, visit nramuseum.com, phone (703) 267-1600 or email [email protected].



California Gun Owners Win Again in Court

In a major victory for California gun owners, a district court judge has struck down—for the second time—the state’s law banning firearm magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

Gun Skills - Concealment, Part 2

A concealed-carry setup can potentially be a bad one if you don’t know what to look for. So what should you be looking for when you carry?

Gun Review: Ruger Security-380

The reliability and ease of accuracy of this hammer-fired, semi-automatic pistol make it a no-brainer to recommend.

Supreme Court Case Reinvigorates The Second Amendment

Last year’s Bruen decision was not the end of the gun-control debate in America. Rather, it merely opened up new fronts in an ongoing struggle.

The Armed Citizen® September 29, 2023

True stories of the right to keep and bear arms.

The Private Thoughts of a Gun-Control-Promoting Mayor

This mayor of a prominent city privately showed she has different views than her public gun-control agenda.


Get the best of America's 1st Freedom delivered to your inbox.