There's a surprise around every corner here at NRA Publications. Today I was asked to host and shoot a one-of-a kind-pistol. We're talking about a rare .22 LR Stevens single shot, gold plated, mother-of-pearl grips, engraved to the hilt, piece of fine art and history. A pistol that belonged to the late Annie Oakley-a renown trick shot and industry icon.
Wrapping my hands around the cold steel and gold plating sent tingling chills to the top of my scalp. Instantly, a permanent grin set in as I prepared for my first shots, while the thoughts of Annie standing over my shoulder intensified the chills. I did not want to let Annie down as I began to squeeze the trigger on this fine piece-focus, nervousness and excitement engulfed my body and centered in my hands, creating a slight jitter. As the loud pop emerged from the muzzle I thought to myself, "I just fired Annie Oakley's pistol! How cool is this?"
NRA Museum's staff conducted a careful prior review of the artifact for suitability for shooting, selection of ammunition, careful handling to minimize wear during shooting, and monitoring of shooting including periodic inspection of the gun for wear. Mother of pearl grips were removed for preservation purposes. Padding and wrapping of the frame ensured preservation of the gold plating during handling.