Museum Minute: An American Rifle

Apr 25, 2019

One of the most “American” firearms is the American Rifle. However, most people generally refer to it as the Penn Rifle or the Kentucky Rifle. That’s according to Danny Michael, the assistant curator at the Cody Firearms Museum.


Michael said this specific style emerged from gunsmiths adopting German Jager Rifles to a more American style.

“They lengthened the barrel, they reduced the caliber and made them a little light for hunting and targeting shooting,” said Michael.

The American long rifles were often inlayed with brass or silver and usually featured ornate embellishment on both sides of the stock. However, Michael said the museum has one rifle with an unusual embellishment.  

“This one for whatever reason decided to make a figure of a lady on his rifle so it's a very personalized rifle and a very unique rifle,” said Michael.

The more common embellishments were of animals or patriotic images like that of an eagle.