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This exhibit examines the technological changes of small armaments between 1780 and 1875, using rifles, swords, daggers and bullets from the museum collection.

As an example the bullet changes four times from 1810 to 1870. Muzzle loading rifles used small round lead balls which by 1846 changed to the Minnie ball (bullet) named after the French inventor Claude-Etienne Minie. As bullets changed so did the delivery method. Rifles evolved from the flintlock muzzle-load musket to the Trapdoor Rifle developed in 1870s which deployed the conical lead bullet housed in a brass casing. This was the rifle carried by Custer’s troops at Little Big Horn; much controversy lingers over the tendency of cartridges to jam under repeated firing (heat) and being possible contributor to the massacre.