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Mystery Surrounds 132-Year-Old Rifle Found in Great Basin National Park (Video)

TIMEJanuary 16, 2015

Those who have explored Nevada’s Great Basin National Park have likely been treated to stunning views of nature. Recently, however, archaeologists saw something very unusual that blended right in to the natural surroundings.

A Winchester Rifle that dates back to 1882 was discovered leaning up against a tree. Park employees shared photos of the find on Facebook. There a post explains “The cracked wood stock, weathered to grey, and the brown rusted barrel blended into the colors of the old juniper tree in a remote rocky outcrop, keeping the rifle hidden for many years.”

The rustic Model 1873 has a legible serial number on it and some investigative digging has revealed those digits match documentation at Wyoming’s Cody Firearms Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. The serial number and records indicate the rifle was manufactured and shipped in the year 1882.

However, the paperwork doesn’t list where the gun was sent and to whom it was sold to. More than 25 thousand models were produced in 1882 alone and they sold for between $25 and $50. Park employees continue to research the firearm, which has since been taken to a conservatory for preservation work.

When completed, the rifle will be transported back to the park and put on exhibit during the National Park Service centennial festivities and Great Basin National Park’s 30th birthday.

Epoch Video