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Guns of the Showman Shooter


by NRA Staff

Two well-used guns in the National Firearms Museum collection proudly tell of a time when exhibition shooting captured the nation’s attention. A Smith & Wesson .22 Outdoorsman revolver and a .38 M&P revolver commemorating the exploits of Herb Parsons, Winchester representative and master exhibition shooter, were donated in 2009 by his family.

Parsons, renowned for being the actual stunt shooter for Jimmy Stewart in the film “Winchester ’73,” as well as his thousands of demonstrations across America from 1930 to 1960, fired a variety of handguns, rifles, shotguns and even a nickel-plated Thompson submachine gun. During the World War II years, his unique training skills aided in preparing servicemen heading off to battle. His two nickel-plated Smith & Wessons, fitted with stag grips, are now part of the museum’s competitive shooting gallery.

The National Firearms Museum at NRA Headquarters in Fairfax, Va., offers visitors the chance to experience historic arms through the ages. Admission is free (donations accepted) and the galleries are open daily. For more information, visit, e-mail or call (703) 267-1600.