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During the 1775-1776 Siege of Boston, British officers reported the deadly marksmanship of American riflemen. In response, Scottish officer Patrick Ferguson developed a rifled firearm that could be loaded from the breech, or rear of the barrel. This allowed the user to fire up to six rounds a minute, nearly twice the rate of fire of a musket, combined with the accuracy of a rifle. Some British officers purchased these “Ferguson” rifles, like this example, to use on campaign in North America. 

Object Details

  • Ferguson Rifle
    Made by Joseph Hunt
    London, England
    Iron, Steel, Wood, Paktong
    Museum of the American Revolution 


Johann Cristian Oerter rifle from the Museum's Benninghoff collection

Rifle Made by John Christian Oerter

Moravian gunsmith John Christian Oerter made this rifle at his workshop in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, about 60 miles north of Philadelphia.
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Musket Made by Thomas Palmer

Musket Made by Thomas Palmer

This musket, made by Philadelphia gunsmith Thomas Palmer, is believed to have been one of the forty muskets ordered by George Washington in January 1775.
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Image 091120 Ustates Musket Collection American Musket

Musket Marked "U.STATES"

This musket is a typical composite piece of wartime production, incorporating British and American components, and boldly marked “U.STATES” to designate public ownership.
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