WV State Symbols

Hall Flintlock Model 1819 – The Official West Virginia State Firearm

“The HALL FLINTLOCK MODEL 1819 was designated the official state firearm by Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 7, adopted by the Legislature on April 4, 2013. It was originally manufactured in Harpers Ferry by John H. Hall, and was adopted into the United States Army in 1819, the first breech-loading rifle to be adopted by any nation’s military. Characterized by a block breech that has the ability to be lifted out so the operator can insert the powder and bullet, it created a faster and simpler way to handle a gun. It was also the first entirely machine-made weapon ever manufactured with interchangeable parts. The Flintlock Model continued to be used during the U.S. Civil War. This alone makes it significant to West Virginia because the state was created out of that armed conflict.”  — (WV Blue Book)


“Original Model 1819 Halls flintlock breechloading rifle, .54 caliber. First machine of any kind made with TOTALLY INTERCHANGEABLE PARTS, this was part of the beginning of what was called the “American Method of Manufacture”, where less skilled workers could operate machinery to build gun parts, then assemble the whole gun. People from all over the world came to Harpers Ferry to see this wonder of modern manufacture.”

Explore Information from “Harpers Ferry Armory Guns” Website — multiple pictures and descriptions of firearms and Harpers Ferry (pdf)


By Chris Lawrence in News, Outdoors | March 15, 2013

“The state Senate adopted a resolution on Friday which would create an official West Virginia State Firearm.   The choice is the Hall Model 1819 Flintlock Rifle.

Senator John Unger proposed the resolution and had one of the rare rifles on hand in the Senate Chamber Friday, loaned by the National Park Service in Harper’s Ferry.  “The Hall Flintlock Model of 1819 was the first breechloaded rifle to be adopted by any nation’s military,”  said Unger. “Hall’s rifle had a block at the breech that could be lifted out and allow the operator to insert the powder and bullet.  It was faster and easier to load.”

The firearm was produced at the National Armory in Harper’s Ferry by John H. Hall.  It was adopted for use by the US Army in 1819 and was one of the standard firearms for US Army infantry all the way through the Civil War.

“John Hall’s rifle was the first entirely machine made weapon ever devised,” Unger told lawmakers in touting the resolution. “This is a very historic rifle and my understanding is there are only three known to be in existence.”  The rifle from the Harper’s Ferry National Historic Park is still fired at least once a year.   Unger said the rifle pictured on the state seal is believed to be a Hall Model 1819 Flintlock.”


West Virginia Gazette

June 15, 2013

State firearm: Not just any flintlock, but the 1819 Hall Model – The newest official state symbol is the firearm — specifically the Hall Model 1819 flintlock rifle. Senate Majority Leader John Unger sponsored the measure, which the Senate passed in mid-March. The Berkeley County Democrat has said it was the first such rifle adopted by the U.S. Army. John Hall developed the rifle and had it manufactured at the National Armory in Harpers Ferry. The early 1800s weapon was one of the first breach-loading military rifles.

“The flintlock was the first entirely machine-made weapon ever devised,” West Virginia Public Broadcasting reported in March. “The weapon was first to be able to be loaded by removing a block from the barrel near the operator instead of pouring powder and ramming the bullet into the muzzle.” The WVPB report said the Army first commissioned Hall to make 100 rifles, then 1,000 more in 1819. It is thought to be one of the guns laying at the feet of the miner and farmer on the Great Seal of West Virginia. The resolution cleared the House of Delegates on April 4.


“The U.S. Model 1819 Hall Breechloading Flintlock Rifle”

“A member of the Company of Military Historians shows and describes a Hall M1819 flintlock breechloading rifle from his collection. He then talks about why all militaria collectors should join the Company of Military Historians.” (6:38/2012/cannonmn)

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