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History of Military Rifles

Learn about the history of military rifles, from the Colonial period to Viet Nam, from Bill Crawley, author of the Development of the American Fighting Rifle. Mr. Crawley discusses the 1847 Colt Walker pistol and its significance in Texas history. A replica of the Colt Walker 1847 and rifles will be on display at the program.

The flintlock percussion was an important firearm during America’s colonial period, but firearms manufacturers were continuously striving to improve accuracy and range. This resulted in the later development of breech-loading weapons and repeaters, the trapdoor Springfield, Krag–Jørgensen, 1903 Springfield, M1 Garand, M14 and M16.

A lifelong rifle enthusiast, Bill apprenticed as a gunsmith at Baar’s Gun Shop in Oak Cliff while in high school. There, he learned the mechanics of guns, how to diagnose, repair and tune them. In addition, he learned how to cast bullets. After graduation, Bill joined the Coast Guard where he graduated Gunner’s Mate School, which included explosives, and served as a firearms instructor while he was in charge of the Coast Guard Armory in Mobile, Alabama.

A member of the Dallas Arms Collector Association, this group donated Barrett 50 caliber rifles to the Dallas Police Department. One of these donated rifles took down the gunman who arrived at the Dallas Police Department headquarters in an armored van in 2015, shot at officers, and left behind bags filled with pipe bombs. The Dallas Arms Collector Association has also donated funds and ammunition to the Allen Eagles Competitive Shooting Team.

Bill is also the author of Guns and Gunfights of the Texas Rangers.

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