The Kentucky rifle, whose role in world history helped secure American independence and settle the United States, is now featured in a new exhibit at the NRA National Firearms Museum. The Kentucky Rifle, A Complete Narrative 1750-1850 spans from the classic American longarm's pre-Revolutionary War origins to the onset of the American Civil War.
"Kentucky rifle" is the common name for the American longrifle produced during the 18th and 19th centuries. Originating in the 1740s from German "Jaeger" rifles, deemed unsuitable for the backcountry, the Kentucky rifle was an essential tool for frontiersmen. By the 1760s, the rifle had evolved into a uniquely American firearm, possessing improved accuracy over contemporary rifles thanks to modified rifling and a long barrel. Although its nickname appears in advertisements as of the early 1800s, it was not popularized until the 1822 ballad "The Hunters of Kentucky," commemorating the Battle of New Orleans.
"Our new exhibit features twenty exceptional American longrifles thanks to a generous loan from the Kentucky Rifle Foundation," said NRA Museums Director Jim Supica. "The longrifle is an important part of our heritage, being both the first American firearm and an art form in its own right. This is truly a significant and welcome addition to the National Firearms Museum."
The Kentucky Rifle, A Complete Narrative 1750-1850 will be on exhibit in the National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Virginia, until May 15, 2015.