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Friday, January 20, 2017

Fantastic Flops: Smith & Wesson Model 320

Lot 6224: Rare and Desirable Smith & Wesson Model 320 Revolving Rifle with 18" Barrel and Stock

In the 1800s, any idea for how to improve firearms was fair game, and it resulted in some inventions and innovations that are still in use today, virtually unchanged from their birth roughly 200 years ago. We have this golden age of firearm invention to thank for percussion firing systems, the pepperbox and revolver, cased, rimfire, and centerfire ammunition, the lever action, the bolt action, and even the earliest semi-automatic firearms. Obviously, these are the success stories the likes of which have changed firearms and even the fates of nations forever. However, for every success story there are dozens of ideas that didn't make it. Some didn't get the military contracts they needed, others were eclipsed by more popular designs, many were impractical, and then there were those that were just goofy or downright dangerous. Even the vaunted Smith & Wesson was not immune from the pitfalls of 19th Century firearms design. Case in point: the Model 320 revolving rifle.

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