Lewis & Clark shot here 

If Lewis and Clark had copyrighted themselves 200 years ago, boy would their ancestors be bankrolled today. Investment Arms, Inc., a manufacturer of limited edition firearms in Fort Collins, Colo., has just launched the latest entry into the Lewis and Clark bicentennial binge: the $599 Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Limited Edition Rifle. “Each Limited Edition Rifle,” reads the company’s brochure, “is a fully functional American symbol of tradition.”

The gun is modeled after a Ruger 1022, says Project Director Justin Daley, who explains that Investment Arms specializes in making firearms engraved to reflect historical events in cities and states nationwide. The Lewis and Clark rifles have been made for nine different states along the Corps of Discovery’s route; each state’s rifle has the state’s name engraved on it (between the engraved heads of Lewis and Clark), along with a map showing the route Lewis and Clark traveled. Only 200 rifles will be made for each state.

“We will never reproduce any of the edition numbers,” says Daley, “which guarantees the quality of the rifle.”

Even before advertising inserts began appearing in the Helena Independent Record on Aug. 26, the first Montana rifle had sold. Two Oregon rifles have sold in the Hood River area, and about a dozen of the North Dakota versions have sold around Williston, N.D. While Investment Arms won’t disclose identifying information about its buyers, Daley says his customers are “mostly historical fans, people who really take a lot of pride in their local history.” Daley’s father, Investment Arms’ Director of Marketing Bill Daley, says that buyers are generally “blue collar.”

The “more economical” $599 price tag, says Daley Jr., is aimed at making the rifle “available to as many people as possible.” Some of Investment Arms’ other guns are less affordable. The First Flight Centennial Winchester 94, celebrating the Wright Brothers’ 12-minute flight at Kitty Hawk, goes for $3,195. The Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial Rifle is $2,495.

But the NRA special edition “My First Gun,” which Daley Jr. says is meant as a gift for kids? That’s one of Investment Arms’ better buys at $549.95.

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