Mystery deepens: Who left 130-year-old rifle in NV desert?


A 130-year-old rifle found in the Nevada desert last year is fully loaded with mystery—and some of the questions surrounding it might never be answered.

The Winchester 1873 rifle was discovered in the Great Basin National Park leaning against a juniper tree in November. But the strange discovery has triggered more questions than answers.

“You have this gun that no one really knows what happened to it and it gets so much attention because of that,” said Ashley Hlebinsky, curator at the Cody Firearms Museum, in Wyoming.

The gun was carefully collected and shipped to the museum, where its weathered wood was stabilized with an alcohol solution. A team of researchers carried the firearm to a local hospital to be X-rayed under the patient name “Rifle.”