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Ferguson Rifle
Division of Military History and Diplomacy, National Museum of American History

Ferguson Rifle

Date: 1776
Catalog #: 234203    Accession #: 44501
Credit: Division of Military Histiory and Diplomacy, National Museum of American History

Maker

Patrick Ferguson (Inventor)

Patrick Ferguson was a brilliant marksman. His innovative ideas led him to improved Chaumette's breechloading mechanism. Used in sporting guns, Ferguson employed it in a military rifle. In 1776, the Ferguson Rifle was tested, at his own expense. The weapon was a sucess having a range of 250 yards, bettering the musket whose range was about 50 yards. Using the Ferguson Rifle, light infantry troops could continue loading and firing without breaking cover, even when lying prone.

Dimensions / Weight

Dimensions: 7.5" H x 49.5" W x 2.5" D

Physical Description

Ferguson breech loading rifle, .63 caliber.

Specific History

This gun was the property of General J. Watts de Peyster of New York City, a relative of Ferguson.

General History

This was one of the first breech loading rifles used in battle. The rifle employed a vertical rising screw breechlock. The breechlock was lowered by rotating the trigger guard. This exposed the chamber so the ball could be dropped in, the gunpowder poured in after and the breech closed without the use of a ramrod. This improvement allowed the rifle to fire four to six shots per minute.


Keywords

Country: United States
State: New York
Era: Revolution and the New Nation (1754-1820s)
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