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Indiana Adopts Official State Gun: The 200-Year-Old Grouseland Rifle

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March 09, 2012

Indiana Adopts Official State Gun: The 200-Year-Old Grouseland Rifle

By Chad Love

A while back Phil Bourjaily asked readers for suggestions on official guns for each state you know, kind of like the state flower, state song, state bird, state gun. Brilliant idea. Now, it seems Indiana is jumping on the bandwagon.

From this story on sheboyganpress.com:

Lawmakers backed a measure that would make Indiana the third state with an official gun: a 200-year-old rifle crafted by the man who also designed the state seal and served as Indiana's first sheriff. The House voted 78-2 Tuesday in favor of the bill that includes the rifle provision and that already got the backing of the Senate, sending it to Gov. Mitch Daniels for consideration. If Daniels signs the bill, the rifle known as the Grouseland Rifle would join the list of official state emblems such as the state flower, tree, river and seal.

It's named after Grouseland, which was the Vincennes home of President William Henry Harrison. The weapon, which has pierced silver and brass inlays, is on display at that historic southwestern Indiana residence. Sen. John Waterman, R-Shelburn, submitted the rifle amendment after visiting Grouseland and seeing the weapon. "This rifle and its maker are both integral parts of Indiana history, and as such, the rifle is worthy of its designation as the Indiana State Rifle," Waterman told The Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne. The Indianapolis Star reports that if Daniels signs the bill into law it would make Indiana only the third state with an official gun.

Thoughts? What do you think, Hoosier hunters?

Comments (11)

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from Hondarider3278 wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

I am a fellow Hoosier and this is wonderful step for the state to take, i just hope that more states join in on adopting there own state guns.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

Having read the article, I doubt anyone could find another gun that better personifies Indiana given the maker's affiliation with that state. I'm sure the folks in Missouri will be dismayed that Indiana beat them to the punch. William Clark's rifle also made by Small is held in that state.

I can understand Utah's decision to declare the Colt 1911 pistol as its state weapon given that John Browning was a Mormon and resident of the state. But I'd like to know why Arizona chose a Colt Army pistol as its state gun.

Let's see if I can second guess the choices of some other states/provinces: Yukon Territory = Enfield Mark II revolver (sidearm of Mounties during gold rush); Ontario = William Marston percussion rifle (world renown maker of Toronto); Montana = 1873 Trapdoor Springfield (issued to Custer's troops at Battle of Little Bighorn near Hardin, MT); Idaho = Chief Joseph's Model 1866 Winchester 44-40; South Dakota = 1851 Navy revolver nickle with ivory grips (Wild Bill Hickock's choice weapon); Wyoming = 1863 Trapdoor Springfield 50-70 "Lucretia Borgia" (Buffalo Bill's buffalo killer); Quebec = Brown Bess musket "Short Land" pattern (standard issue armament of Wolf's victorious British troops at Battle of Quebec 1775); Oregon = HBC trade musket (used by Indians at Whitman Mission Massacre November 1847).

Any other suggestions?

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from Jeff Clark wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

Speaking as a fellow Hoosier, I believe that the Gatling Gun (Also invented in Indiana) would have been the better choice as it is a more easily recognized firearm.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

I agree.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

I think I understand Arizona's choice. Geronimo had a Colt Single Action Army revolver on him when he surrendered. Perhaps it is in Arizona. He also had a 1876 Winchester with him but it is on display at West Point Academy in New York.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

Best choice for New Mexico's state gun would be Kit Carson's Hawken Rifle. He willed it to the Montezuma Masonic Lodge in Santa Fe where it still resides.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Pray- hunt-work wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

Ontario, how about a U.S. Firearm? The model '94 maybe, as every rural house in North America had one almost as if a peice of furniture? Or the 1911? Given the service it's done for it's country? I'm sure you'll have more descript choices, but I'd love to hear them.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ITHACASXS wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

In my own home state of New York, so very many fine firearms have been made here (sadly, most factories have long been closed), that it would be difficult for me to chose. However, The Big Green is still cranking them out in Ilion N.Y. so a Remington should be New York's State Gun. An interesting fact: Remington made Browning's A-5 at Ilion for Browning after Belgium was over run by the Germans in WW2 and before the U.S. was involved. Not to be confused with the Rem model 11, the A-5 was made a bit differently and was more upscale. An American made Browning, that's a rare gun.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

For a US national firearm I would go with a cannabized cobbled-together Revolutionary War musket. There was no organized effort to produce firearms for the Colonist troops. It was kind of an ad hoc effort with many different local gunsmiths working with what they could get their hands on to produce what guns they could. I found a great article on line from American Rifleman on history of Revolutionary weapons but until the webmasters here get their poop in a groop and fix the gliches, I can't cut and past the url. Anyway, those home-made back room guns certainly epitomize the spirit of the founding and growth of America.

I guess I'd have to go with the Remington 870 for New York state gun. Probably more of those circulating than even the military M-16. I'm sure Remington will still be making the 870 long after I'm stuffed in a box.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ITHACASXS wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

Well don't be in any hurry there OH, I like your posts even when you're cranky. :)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from George Szaszvari wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Looks like Indiana got it right. The case for Arizona's (where I live) choice of the Colt SAA is, in many ways, understandable, with the powerful Old West historic ties and media depictions of the great revolver in Westerns, etc, but I would have preferred a Ruger gun to have been chosen since Ruger is based here. Should older historic significance be required, any number of black powder guns from the pre-1873 pioneering days could have qualified, especially those carried by the 1853-4 Whipple Expedition. Then there was the year of statehood, 1912, when the famous Winchester 1912 shotgun came out... decisions, decisions ;0)

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Post a Comment

from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

For a US national firearm I would go with a cannabized cobbled-together Revolutionary War musket. There was no organized effort to produce firearms for the Colonist troops. It was kind of an ad hoc effort with many different local gunsmiths working with what they could get their hands on to produce what guns they could. I found a great article on line from American Rifleman on history of Revolutionary weapons but until the webmasters here get their poop in a groop and fix the gliches, I can't cut and past the url. Anyway, those home-made back room guns certainly epitomize the spirit of the founding and growth of America.

I guess I'd have to go with the Remington 870 for New York state gun. Probably more of those circulating than even the military M-16. I'm sure Remington will still be making the 870 long after I'm stuffed in a box.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hondarider3278 wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

I am a fellow Hoosier and this is wonderful step for the state to take, i just hope that more states join in on adopting there own state guns.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

Having read the article, I doubt anyone could find another gun that better personifies Indiana given the maker's affiliation with that state. I'm sure the folks in Missouri will be dismayed that Indiana beat them to the punch. William Clark's rifle also made by Small is held in that state.

I can understand Utah's decision to declare the Colt 1911 pistol as its state weapon given that John Browning was a Mormon and resident of the state. But I'd like to know why Arizona chose a Colt Army pistol as its state gun.

Let's see if I can second guess the choices of some other states/provinces: Yukon Territory = Enfield Mark II revolver (sidearm of Mounties during gold rush); Ontario = William Marston percussion rifle (world renown maker of Toronto); Montana = 1873 Trapdoor Springfield (issued to Custer's troops at Battle of Little Bighorn near Hardin, MT); Idaho = Chief Joseph's Model 1866 Winchester 44-40; South Dakota = 1851 Navy revolver nickle with ivory grips (Wild Bill Hickock's choice weapon); Wyoming = 1863 Trapdoor Springfield 50-70 "Lucretia Borgia" (Buffalo Bill's buffalo killer); Quebec = Brown Bess musket "Short Land" pattern (standard issue armament of Wolf's victorious British troops at Battle of Quebec 1775); Oregon = HBC trade musket (used by Indians at Whitman Mission Massacre November 1847).

Any other suggestions?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jeff Clark wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

Speaking as a fellow Hoosier, I believe that the Gatling Gun (Also invented in Indiana) would have been the better choice as it is a more easily recognized firearm.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

I agree.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

I think I understand Arizona's choice. Geronimo had a Colt Single Action Army revolver on him when he surrendered. Perhaps it is in Arizona. He also had a 1876 Winchester with him but it is on display at West Point Academy in New York.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

Best choice for New Mexico's state gun would be Kit Carson's Hawken Rifle. He willed it to the Montezuma Masonic Lodge in Santa Fe where it still resides.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Pray- hunt-work wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

Ontario, how about a U.S. Firearm? The model '94 maybe, as every rural house in North America had one almost as if a peice of furniture? Or the 1911? Given the service it's done for it's country? I'm sure you'll have more descript choices, but I'd love to hear them.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ITHACASXS wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

In my own home state of New York, so very many fine firearms have been made here (sadly, most factories have long been closed), that it would be difficult for me to chose. However, The Big Green is still cranking them out in Ilion N.Y. so a Remington should be New York's State Gun. An interesting fact: Remington made Browning's A-5 at Ilion for Browning after Belgium was over run by the Germans in WW2 and before the U.S. was involved. Not to be confused with the Rem model 11, the A-5 was made a bit differently and was more upscale. An American made Browning, that's a rare gun.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ITHACASXS wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

Well don't be in any hurry there OH, I like your posts even when you're cranky. :)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from George Szaszvari wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Looks like Indiana got it right. The case for Arizona's (where I live) choice of the Colt SAA is, in many ways, understandable, with the powerful Old West historic ties and media depictions of the great revolver in Westerns, etc, but I would have preferred a Ruger gun to have been chosen since Ruger is based here. Should older historic significance be required, any number of black powder guns from the pre-1873 pioneering days could have qualified, especially those carried by the 1853-4 Whipple Expedition. Then there was the year of statehood, 1912, when the famous Winchester 1912 shotgun came out... decisions, decisions ;0)

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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