The NRA BLog has a fascinating article about the “Mayflower gun.”

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Almost 400 years ago, a 20-year old cooper by the name of John Alden traversed the Atlantic on the good ship Mayflower. Along with his fellow travelers, Alden carried with him a collection of hopes, dreams, and a modified .66 caliber Italian single-shot wheellock carbine. That rifle, known as the Mayflower gun, now resides under glass here at the National Firearms Museum.

The Mayflower Gun could very well have been “one of the guns responsible for the first Thanksgiving,” says Senior Curator Doug Wicklund of the National Firearms Museum.

The rare Italian wheelock rifle is the first gem in the“Old Guns of the New World” gallery. It made quite a turkey gun, although it’s larger caliber made it a useful gun for deer and other game.

Alden brought the single-shot rifle to the Cape Cod region in 1620. Not one of the original congregation, Alden chose right from the start to stay in Plymouth Colony as one of the founders, rather than journey back across the Atlantic Ocean.