A machine gun? OK, not really, but the Ferguson rifle greatly increased the rate of fire for its users via its screw-thread, breech loading system. Invented in 1774, the Ferguson rifle was decades ahead of its time. In addition to decreasing reloading times, the innovation also aided in reloading while lying down. Today, these rare and significant rifles are a supreme prize for collectors with approximately one dozen known to exist.
A contemporary of the Ferguson rifle is the Collumbell rifle. This breechloader actually pre-dates the Ferguson, but requires longer reload times.
Plus, Austin takes a look at a rare Dickert rifle. It’s one of the earliest sharpshooter rifles and the only American gun on the table. This particular rifle is included because it is attributed to being present at the Battle of King’s Mountain in 1780, where Patrick Ferguson was killed – perhaps by a Dickert rifle, the very rifle his invention was attempting to counter.
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