View Full Version : Lewis and Clark Used an Air Rifle

Andrew Joiner
11-12-2018, 2:16 PM
I was doing a little research on air rifles and ran across this. I was surprised to learn it was also the first repeating rifle and very deadly.


The machining and design is clever yet simple.

Jim Koepke
11-12-2018, 2:35 PM
This came up a few years ago and is always an interesting bit of history that many do not know.


Tom M King
11-12-2018, 3:07 PM
Here's a little more in depth one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgNc1gfdVUA

It took 1,500 strokes to pump up the chamber, and 30% failure rate, including deaths. That's not even taking into consideration a wrought iron barrel. Some tradeoffs for not having to keep powder dry.

Mike Cutler
11-12-2018, 4:16 PM
850psi reservoir right next to your face. That's a lot of energy.

julian abram
11-13-2018, 5:24 PM
Wow in 1790, very interesting technology, thanks for sharing.

Perry Hilbert Jr
11-13-2018, 8:39 PM
According to Greener's "the Gun and it's Development, there were air rifles almost as long as there were shoulder arms. At least one Italian city state armed some of their guards with air rifles. I watched an in person demonstration of a replica of the Lewis and Clark air rifle. And three years ago, I was at a local range when I guy showed up with what looked like a triple barrel over under rifle. It was a 50 caliber air rifle made in Korea and the lower two tubes were the "air tanks" It put a 50 caliber pellet through an inch of particle boad at 100 yrds. and cracked like a 22 rf.

William Adams
11-13-2018, 9:46 PM
The contemporary term is PCP (pre compressed pneumatic) --- the pumps are quite a bit better, or one can use a scuba tank.

I've been considering getting a Benjamin Maurauder: https://www.crosman.com/marauder-rifle-wood-stock

Rich Engelhardt
11-14-2018, 6:35 AM

Another oddity from that era is - The Puckle Gun.. a repeating flintlock from 1718.

Dave Anderson NH
11-14-2018, 10:08 AM
Air rifles are a great way to teach kids firearm safety and marksmanship. Every Thursday night 2 other instructors and I teach 11-17 year old kids using Olympic style air rifles on a 10 meter range. Ours are the less expensive rifles using a single pump. Max allowed velocity for our American Legion program is 550 feet per second. Next year we will also have PCP rifles and the associated accessories. Interestingly the girls often do better than the boys. They tend to listen better and have better concentration. We all have a great time.

Brady Watson
11-14-2018, 10:48 AM
I was always impressed with the L&C rifle when I first heard of it years ago. The Benjamin looks like a nice piece - and really cheap compared to other 'tools'. The sound thing is the most appealing. I'd reach for that to dispatch critters that the dogs don't kill over the 870. They toy with and mame things but rarely kill...which drives me nuts.

Guess I have to revise my letter to Santa now...:D

Brady Watson
11-15-2018, 7:34 AM
For those looking into air powered stuff, I found this video to be informative when it comes to generating those high pressures: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekWPpY9spCA

Perry Hilbert Jr
11-15-2018, 8:38 PM
Germans made 8 shot revolver match lock muskets 150 years before the Puckle gun.

Terry Hatfield
11-15-2018, 11:01 PM
The L&C rifle is an amazing piece of engineering. Modern day PCP rifles, compressors, tanks etc... are one of my hobbies. Pretty impressive what can be done with air power.

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4300/36116648715_f14843dc5a_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/X2vgnV)

SCBA tanks...

https://farm1.staticflickr.com/437/31826852983_3833cde8eb_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/QuqWyx)

Altaros booster compressor producing 4500 psi form the 130 psi input of my shop compressor to refill the SCBA tanks...

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2849/32598902294_3c617676c5_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/REDTVy)