Wild West

ONE-SHOT WONDER

Little is known about the early life of Charles Henry Ballard. Born in 1822 near Sterling, Massachusetts, he moved to the New England gunmaking hub of Worcester as a young man to apply his talents as a machinist and inventor. Ballard ultimately became a well-known master mechanic, patenting both a single-shot rifle and a single-shot derringer. On Nov. 5, 1861, the government issued him a patent for an “improvement in breechloading firearms,” specifically the block action at

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