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Lewis and Clark are believed to have carried a
These rifles were reportedly capable of approximately 30-40 similar air rifle on their expedition to explore shots on a single filled tank (one source claims more than 60), although
original instructions to Austrian soldiers advised them to only fire one loaded tube of
      the American West
20 balls before switching to another fully charged air reservoir due to loss of power as the air tank
loses pressure. Their effective lethal range was between 125-150 yards when properly charged, which would have been devastating on the receiving end when combined with its repeating capability. “Wind guns” had several advantages over conventional firearms including that they were quieter, smokeless, quicker to reload, and relatively unaffected by rain. They also required less cleaning since they did not require corrosive black powder.
This Austrian military example is chambered in .46 caliber/11.5 mm and features an octagon barrel with 12-groove rifling, dovetail mounted blade front sight and notch rear sight, 21 shot gravity-fed tubular magazine, screw-off metal buttstock air reservoir, and a walnut stock with incised border carvings. Austrian military eagle stamps are located on top of the breech of the barrel and on the stock reservoir which also has a “2” stamped on it, a “G” Girardoni maker marking is stamped on top of the brass receiver body along with
an unknown tree-like symbol ahead of “35C”, and a fleur-de-lis is stamped on the left of the stock above the sideplate. More information on Girardoni air rifles can be found on pages 598-601 of the book “Blue Book of Airguns, Thirteenth Edition”, as well as in the online articles at htm and where the “Lewis Airgun” is shown in detail. CONDITION: Very good, with most of the restored blue finish on the barrel, magazine tube, sling swivels, breech block, and hammer, some scattered patches of minor pitting, the brass displays golden bright as lightly polished, with clear markings in the metal. The wood is also very good as re-oiled, with some scattered light scratches and handling marks, recut incised carvings, and a defined fleur-de-lis stamp. Mechanically fine. This Austrian military Model 1780 Girardoni repeating air rifle was the most advanced shoulder arm of its time in the late 1700s, famous for its reported use on the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and this is an incredibly rare opportunity to acquire one!
Provenance: The Dr. Robert D. Beeman Collection.
Estimate: 20,000 - 40,000

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