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Author Topic: The Girandoni Air Rifle  (Read 4207 times)


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on: August 14, 2021, 08:24:24 AM

Girandoni’s extraordinary design had two innovations that made it a formidable military weapon, rather than a sporting gun for wealthy nobles. First, it was a breech-loader, with a 20-round tubular magazine fixed alongside the barrel. To load the weapon, the user simply elevated the muzzle and pressed a spring-loaded slider, which picked up a ball and snapped it into place. To reload the magazine, the user opened a plug at the front of the magazine and emptied the contents of a “speed loader” into it. Second, it used very high pressure: 800 psi (54.4 atmospheres, or 5515.8 kPa) held in a riveted sheet-iron pressure flask that formed the weapon’s butt-stock. A fully-charged pressure flask was good for up to 80 shots.

and Lewis & Clark took one on their expedition, too

Somehow, this air rifle survived, and was eventually purchased by a collector. A gunsmith was commissioned to make some high-quality replicas. When the weapon was disassembled, he found that the main spring had been repaired exactly as described in the journals of Lewis and Clark. This historic weapon is now on loan to the museum of the National Rifle Association in Fairfax, Va.


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Reply #1 on: August 14, 2021, 09:56:23 AM
This was a great invention and could have made a decisive effect on battles.  Since the Austrians used it to equip their grenadiers, the situation of an assault formation with, for example, the M1 carbine, sounds great for a black powder battle.
Unfortunately, it was a "Secret".  It ended up like the mitreuiluse in the 1870 Franco-Prussian war.  So secret. That the generals had no idea of how to use it.

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Reply #2 on: August 14, 2021, 12:48:20 PM
IIRC, the Youtube channel 'Forgotten Weapons' had a nice episode showing the Girandoni.

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