Museum Exotica

posted on April 26, 2016
Michael Ives

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

Rare arms abound in the NRA’s National Firearms Museum collection, and proof is easy to provide. 

Our special single-shot is an all-metal masterpiece manufactured by Joalland. This .40-cal. French needle-fire handgun incorporates swirling arrays of mythological beasts and floral patterns, but despite the elaborate embellishment, its awkward twist/pull operating system kept it from becoming a successful design. This rare item was acquired by the renowned collector and publisher Robert E. Petersen.

An even more intriguing repeater is the Perrin revolver, fully engraved and fitted with ebony grip panels. This .44-cal., six-shot handgun demonstrates graceful balance as well as a pivoting trigger assembly that offers a light yet precise let-off for firing. A far cry from the much cruder Perrin and Raphael revolvers purchased during the American Civil War, this elegant specimen was collected by Gen. Julian Hatcher during his tenure with NRA. 

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, phone (703) 267-1600 or email [email protected].


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