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Archaeologists Find 1882 Rifle Leaning Against Nevada Desert Tree

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  1. #1

    Default Archaeologists Find 1882 Rifle Leaning Against Nevada Desert Tree

    This just popped up on yahoo news. Thought it was interesting. If it has been posted before, feel free to delete. Cheers.

    Archaeologists find 1882 rifle leaning against Nevada desert tree

    By Dan Whitcomb
    (Reuters) - Archaeologists conducting a survey in Great Basin National Park in eastern Nevada have stumbled upon a 132-year-old Winchester rifle propped against a tree, possibly having been left there more than a century ago.
    The rifle, which records show was manufactured and shipped by the gun maker in 1882, had been leaning against the Juniper tree for so long that the wood of its stock was cracked and deteriorated from the desert sun, its barrel rusted.
    "It really is a mystery," said Nichole Andler, a public information officer for Great Basin National Park. "We know it has been out there awhile because the stock was buried in dirt. But we do not know for how exactly how long."
    Andler said more than 700,000 Winchester Model 1783 rifles were manufactured by the company between 1873 and 1916, becoming known as the "gun that won the West" because of its popularity.
    The remote, rugged area now encompassed by the park, in the high desert of eastern Nevada near the Utah border, was used primarily for mining and ranching at the time the rifle was sold.
    Great Basin National Park was established there in 1986, known for its 5,000-year-old pine trees and other desert flora and fauna.
    So far experts have not been able to establish who purchased the gun or where it has been in the 132 years since.
    It was first spotted in November by a member of a park archaeology team surveying the area and Andler said it might have been overlooked in the past because the gray stock of the wood blended in with the tree.
    Andler said the rifle would be conserved by experts to keep it from deteriorating any further but not be restored to newer-looking condition before it is put on display at the park.
    (Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Will Dunham)

  2. #2


    Link does not work Sir
    Collect ROA, Cossack, Schuma and other WW2 Volunteer militaria.

    "Be Humble and kind, for you may find that it was Odin you entertained"

  3. #3


    A great post, what a find! A couple of different pic's of it here:

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	790106Click image for larger version. 

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    I used a similar 1894 model 30-30 for coyotes and rock chucks whilst over in the North West states, it's a really pointable, shootable, tactile little rifle.

    Another link, this one on FB:

    Regards, Ned.
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

  4. #4
    MAP is online now


    I read this article yesterday as well. Quite amazing.

    But LoL, it proves that journalists usually know nothing about rifles (or at least the proofreaders) because they had a major typo that a collector would spot immediatly. In the same sentence they got the model number wrong but they got the date of manufacture correct. How can a rifle made in 1873 be called a model 1783 LoL
    My greatest fear is that one day I will die and my wife will sell my guns for what I told her I paid for them

    "Don't tell me these are investments if you never intend to sell anything" (Quote: Wife)

  5. #5


    Typo-much more common these days as folks like sub editors are an endangered species as costs are cut in news rooms. Would be interesting to know if the mechanism was serviceable when the rifle was abandoned-if it stopped working, the original owner may not have thought it worthwhile getting it repaired or been able to send it to an armourer to do so.

    PS Read a number of the comments at the original article and people there have vivid imaginations as to how it got there but in the absence of any other evidence, I say alien abduction!
    Last edited by lithgow; 01-16-2015 at 04:00 PM.

  6. #6


    Interesting .... good post !!

    Stories like this are quite fascinating ......

  7. #7


    Great thread, you can imagine some cowboy thinking to himself "what the hell did i do with my rifle"!...
    It's a wasted trip baby. Nobody said nothing about locking horns with no Tigers.

    I'm Spartacus, not really i'm Paul!...

  8. #8


    I wonder if it still had the original ammo inside? maybe a hunter lost it and somebody found it and put it against the tree hoping the owner would come back and get it but he never found it

    could of been a hunter that lost it back in the 1950's - 1960's people still used old hunting rilfes
    Last edited by battle gear; 01-16-2015 at 06:00 PM.

  9. #9


    we will never know.

  10. #10


    That's an amazing find!

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