One of the most early successful rifles, the long rifle, was developed in the Kentuckyterritory over the course of the 18th century
|Long rifles By Antique Military Rifles – originally posted to Flickr as Kentucky’s,|
The English military conducted research on various rifles from 1800, especially emphasizing long-range shooting. The first book in English on target rifle shooting was published eight year later.
Long-range shooting became so popular that at the first prize meeting in 1860 of the National Rifle Association, Queen Victoria fired the first shot.
The Massachusetts Rifle Association, “America’s Oldest Active Gun Club”, was founded in 1875.
The Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Mk III was officially introduced into British Military Service on January 26, 1907. It remains the second oldest military rifle still in official use.
If you were to fire a bullet from a Lee Enfield .303 rifle — the standard rifle of British military up to the mid-Fifties — directly up into the air, it would take about 55 seconds for it to land.
|Short Magazine Lee–Enfield No. 1 Mk. III|
Scottish biologist Alexander Fleming took top scores in the qualifying examinations for medical school, and he had the choice of three to choose between. Knowing little about them, he chose St. Mary’s because he had played water polo against them. He decided to pursue bacteriology rather than becoming a surgeon for another sporting reason. If he took a position as a surgeon, he would have to leave St. Mary’s. The captain of St. Mary’s rifle club knew that and was desperate to improve his team. Knowing that Fleming was a great shot he did all he could to keep him at St. Mary’s. The captain worked in the inoculation service and he convinced Fleming to join his department in order to work with its brilliant director — and to join the rifle club. Fleming would stay at St. Mary’s for the rest of his career.
The United States Army adopted the M1 semiautomatic rifle in 1936.
The AK-47 assault rifle, one of the first proper assault rifles, was developed by Russian national Mikhail Kalashnikov in 1947. (AK-47 stands for Automatic.) Kalashnikov was a soldier in World War II who fought against the Nazis. He was inspired to make a better gun when lying wounded in hospital and hearing soldiers complain about Soviet weapons compared with superior German ones.
|AK-47 By Allatur, Wikipedia|
The AK-47, or Kalashnikov rifle, doesn’t jam in sandy or wet conditions, and has killed more people than any other gun. “I sleep well. Politicians are to blame for resorting to violence,’ Kalashnikov would say when asked to justify his creation.”
The AK-47 is the world’s most widely used assault rifle. Of the estimated 500 million firearms that exist, approximately 100 million belong to the Kalashnikov family, three-quarters of which are AK-47s. This means there is one for every 60 people on the planet.
In Russia, the Kalashnikov is a tremendous source of national pride. Kalashnikov Vodka has been marketed with souvenir bottles in the shape of the AK-47 Kalashnikov. There are also Kalashnikov watches and umbrellas.
The actor Charlton Heston (1923-2008) was an outspoken advocate for gun ownership in the U.S. and served as president of the National Rifle Association.
American citizens own more assault rifles than the British Army.