New Season of Discovery’s ‘American Guns’ Premieres April 25, Featuring Historic and Outrageous Weapons
via press release:
(Silver Spring, Md.) – From making the ultimate zombie gun to fixing the design flaws in a Civil War-era cannon, Denver-based Gunsmoke is busier than ever. Custom orders are pouring in, on top of the customers walking through their doors to buy in-stock guns, register for safety classes or engrave their firearm. The Wyatt family knows they need to step up their game to keep up with the workflow – and ensure every weapon leaving their gun shop meets their standards. The pressure is on for Rich Wyatt, his wife Renee, son Kurt and daughter Paige as they return for an all-new season of AMERICAN GUNS, premiering Wednesday, April 25th at 9PM ET/PT.
The Wyatt family has owned Gunsmoke for 19 years, turning the small business into a firearms enterprise. Rich is a master firearms trainer and former police officer with more than 22 years experience in law enforcement. He is one of only six people in the world certified by Colonel Jeff Cooper, a master firearms instructor and one of the 20th century’s foremost experts on the use and history of small arms. And Rich is an extremely talented gunsmith. Give him a block of steel and he’ll create art.
Renee is the matriarch of the Wyatt clan. She runs the household and the business. And she doesn’t go anywhere without her pistol in her boot. Kurt, 22, is the son of Rich and Renee. He qualified as a pistol expert at the age of 13 and handles all of the engraving jobs that come through Gunsmoke. Daughter Paige, 17 years old, graduated high school early and now works in the shop full time, taking on additional responsibilities for the business.
This season of AMERICAN GUNS is full of historical, iconic and completely outrageous weapons:
AXE GUN – A medieval expert commissions Rich and the Gunsmoke team to build an incredibly rare – and barbaric – weapon: the axe gun. A practical weapon in the 14th-15th centuries, axe guns were carried by soldiers and criminals alike. After the user fired his single shot, he could then wield the axe and stay in the battle. To build this unique weapon, historical records are carefully compiled to aid in the design and maintain authenticity. But the Gunsmoke crew can’t resist putting its own twist on the weapon and creating a modern day hybrid.
MARE’S LEG LEVER ACTION PISTOL – A fan of the film Zombie Land commissions this iconic pistol, but he wants it in a monster caliber befitting of the monster gun: .500 S&W mag, designed by Smith & Wesson to be the most powerful production handgun cartridge. To contend with the massive recoil of this round, the team takes a few liberties with the original design including machining an amped up receiver, cutting and threading a .50 caliber barrel,designing a feeding tube and creating an integrated porting system. For this build, the resulting zombie shootout is as cool as the gun itself.
20MM AVALANCHE RIFLE – The Gunsmoke team attempts to make one of the largest rifles in existence. Intentional avalanche triggering (to avoid the chance of a natural avalanche barreling down on traffic) is typically done with a cannon where a shell is launched 300 yards into the snow, leaving the operators at risk of the impending avalanche. A mountain man and Colorado highlander working in avalanche control commissions Rich and the Gunsmoke crew to build something to fix this problem: a 110 pound rifle. The massive Avalanche Rifle would have the destructive power of a cannon with the range of a .50 caliber rifle – and would shoot an explosive 20mm round from more than a mile away!
DOUBLE-BARRELED CANNON – The double-barreled cannon was a Civil War experimental weapon built for the extreme warfare of the time. It was designed to fire two cannon balls simultaneously, connected by a chain, to take down the enemy. However, after several test fires it was deemed a failure and never saw battle. The prototype is now a Georgia landmark. A cannon enthusiast asks Rich to build a similar double-barreled cannon, this time solving the ignition problems that plagued the original design.
PUNT GUN – A punt gun is large shotgun used in the 19th and early 20th century, usually used for commercial hunting. Some were so large they could fire over a pound of shot at a time. Given the enormous size and fierce recoil, they were too big to be shoulder fired so they were traditionally mounted on punts (flat-bottomed boats). A shotgun collector and self-made millionaire wants to add a punt gun to his collection and approaches Rich for help. Of course Rich says yes, but this will be the largest gun build ever taken on by Gunsmoke – and requires the entiregunsmithing team just to thread the barrel.
AMERICAN GUNS is produced for Discovery Channel by Gurney Productions, where Scott Gurney and Deirdre Gurney are executive producers. For Discovery Channel, Anna Geddes is executive producer.