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John Hall designed the first breechloading rifle to be used by the United States military, and the first breechloader issued in substantial numbers by any military worldwide. His carbines would later be the first percussion arms adopted by any military force. Hall developed a breechloading flintlock rifle in 1811, had it tested by the military in 1818, and formally adopted as a specialty arm in 1819.
Hall’s contribution actually goes well beyond having a novel and advanced rifle design. He would be the first person to devise a system of machine tools capable of producing interchangeable parts without hand fitting, and this advance would be the foundation of the American system of manufacturing that would revolutionize industry worldwide. Hall did this work at the Harpers Ferry Arsenal, where he worked from 1819 until his death in 1841.
I plan to expand on the details of a variety of Hall rifle models in future videos, and today is meant to be an introduction to the system. Because it was never a primary arm in time of major war, Hall is much less well recognized than he should be among those interested in small arms history.
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At Forgotten Weapons I think the most interesting guns out there are the most obscure ones. I try to search out experimental and prototype weapons and show you how they work, in addition to more conventional guns that you may not have heard of before. You’re much more likely to find a video on the Cei Rigotti or Webley-Fosbery here than an AR or Glock. So, do you want to learn about something new today? Then stick around!