Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3293: Girandoni System Repeating Air Gun

Auction Date: December 2, 2018

Scarce and Desirable Girandoni System Repeating Sporting Air Rifle, Almost Certainly Austrian

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $5,000 - $8,000

Scarce and Desirable Girandoni System Repeating Sporting Air Rifle, Almost Certainly Austrian

Manufacturer: Unmarked
Model: Air Rifle
Type: Other
Gauge: 12 mm
Barrel: 26 inch octagon
Finish: bright
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 9153
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 128
Class: Other

The Girandoni is easily the most famous early air rifle or windbuchse largely thanks to the fact that for many years it has been associated with Lewis & Clark and their famous Corps of Discovery Expedition. It is widely believed that they either had a Girandoni or a very similar design by Isaiah Lukens of Philadelphia. The Girandoni was designed by Bartholomeo Girandoni around 1779 and is also significant as one of the first widely used repeating martial arms. They were used by Austrian sharpshooters from 1787-1815. Because the air tanks took around 30 minutes of pumping by hand to bring to full pressure, the riflemen had assistants that repressurized the reservoirs initially and later also had more efficient wagon mounted pumps. It has brass blade front and two leaf rear sights, a magazine tube on the right side of the barrel at the breech for the balls, no visible markings, brass furniture and action housing, a leather bound reservoir with a sling swivel on the bottom, and a walnut stock with horn forend cap, incised scrollwork, and the number "17"(likely an inventory number) stamped on the bottom.

Rating Definition:

Fine with traces of niter blue finish on the cock, mottled gray patina and light pitting on the balance of the iron, aged patina on the brass, scattered minor marks and scratches, When the reservoir is on tight, the comb is not properly in line, and the leather has moderate wear. The stock is fine and has a chip at the front of the lock, minor scratches and dings, and an absent sling swivel. Appears mechanically fine, but the seals likely need replaced.

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