October 19, 2011
Video: The M65 'Davy Crockett' Nuclear Rifle
By Phil Bourjaily
The FieldandStream.com “50 State Guns” gallery is coming soon. As you’ll recall, the Utah and Arizona legislatures have named official state guns and we thought it would be fun to come up with suggestions for the other 48. Trying to come up with one distinctive gun to represent each state has been a challenge, even with all the good ideas you sent in.
Nevada, for instance, has been tough to figure out.
My latest, not very serious thought, was the Davy Crockett Nuclear Recoiless Rifle, which was tested at the Nevada Test Site, in the early 60s, with Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy in the audience. The recoilless rifle fired a 51 pound shell containing a very small nuclear warhead to a maximum range of three miles. One of the weapon’s flaws was that unless the wind was blowing the right direction, the crew stood a very good chance of being irradiated by the blast.
Since Davy Crockett was known for marksmanship, and the Davy Crockett Nuclear Rifle was very much an area weapon, it seems the army picked an odd namesake. On the other hand, we can speculate that if Col. Crockett had one of these at the Alamo, history would have been somewhat different.