Thomas Jefferson's "Assault Rifle"

High-capacity magazine? Check.

Capable of firing 22 aimed shots in a minute? Check.

A military weapon? Check.

Manufactured during the American Revolutionary War? Check.


The Girandoni was 22-shot, magazine-fed, nearly silent .46 caliber repeating rifle issued to elite Austrian troops from 1780-1815. Thomas Jefferson purchased two of these rifles, which he sent west with Lewis and Clark.

Remember it the next time some know-it-all—perhaps someone who used to have a cable show before he was fired for low ratings—says that the Founding Fathers only knew of muskets.

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