Guns West! New Exhibit Opens at NRA National Firearms Museum


The firearms from the men and women of the Wild West are now on display at the National Rifle Association’s National Firearms Museum.

One of the main attractions is a firearm that may have belonged to Jesse James. The old, large-frame Smith & Wesson revolver arrived at the National Firearms Museum accompanied by a small, yellowed receipt that read, “Received $39.00 from Mr. C.B. Parsons of Lexington, Kentucky for my son Jesse’s [Jesse James] pistol, Smith & West [sic] # 1984 size .44.” The receipt also bore at its top the name and address, “Mrs. Zerelda Samuel, JAMES FARM, KEARNEY, MISSOURI.”

The second part of the exhibit highlights the history of modern-day Cowboy Action Shooting. The exhibit includes the Western firearms, equipment, and outfit of native Texan Harper Creigh, the co-founder of the Single Action Shooting Society (SASS), aka “Judge Roy Bean.”

Also, the movie stars and the guns they used are highlighted. John Wayne’s Winchester from his breakthrough role as “The Ringo Kid” in the John Ford classic Stagecoach, as well as guns used by Marlon Brando, Charlton Heston, Tom Selleck, Chuck Connors, Clint Eastwood, and Jerry Lewis are displayed alongside still photos from their Western films.

For more information about the National Firearms Museum, visit its Web site at or call (703) 267-1600. Guns West! will be on exhibit in the William B. Ruger Gallery of the National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Virginia, until January 1, 2009.


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