Great Basin National Park: Rifle Over 100 Years Old Found (+Photos)

January 14, 2015 Updated: July 18, 2015

Great Basin National Park employees are trying to figure out the mystery attached to a 132-year-old rifle discovered in the park recently.

The rifle was found by archaeologists resting against a tree inside the park in Nevada in November.

“This rifle may provide its own bit of lore. Mysteries of the rifle’s journey through time spur creative and lively discussion. Who left the rifle? When and why it was leaned against the tree? And, why was it never retrieved?” the park staff said via its Facebook stage.

“The Great Basin cultural resource staff is continuing research in old newspapers and family histories hoping to resolve some of the mystery and fill in details about the story of this rifle.”

The nearby community will be able to view the rifle at the park center before it’s send to conservators for treatment.

The plan is for the rifle to be sent back to the park, and displayed as part of the Park’s 30th Birthday and the National Park Service Centennial celebration.

One clue to the identity–it’s a Winchester Model 1873 repeating rifle.

(National Park Service)
(National Park Service)

(National Park Service)
(National Park Service)


And the serial number revealed that the rifle was shipped in 1882, although there’s no indication of who purchased the rifle or where it was shipped.

The rifles were popular between 1873 and 1916, with over 720,000 manufactured. They were sold for $50 before dropping to $25, labeled “everyman’s” rifle. 

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