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The Bizarre Rifle That Rick Bought For Hundreds Of Dollars On Pawn Stars

"Pawn Stars" is currently airing its 18th season on History Channel, but even though seeing a new batch of risky buys makes for some good TV, you just can't beat some of the memorable deals — and defeats — from past seasons. Like when Rick Harrison bought a piece of junk in the shape of a rifle in Season 6.

In the episode, the Seller says that the gun is from the 16th or 17th century, so it should be worth something. Rick is confused by the rifle's firing system — the lock's design is unfamiliar, which could also drive up its value. In the 1500s, most guns used a matchlock, where the user pulls the trigger and a burning rope lights the gunpowder (or the user lights a match by hand to ignite the powder). After the 1600s, guns started to have flintlocks, which use flint to create sparks that ignite the powder. The gun is so strange because its lock seems to fall in between these mechanisms.

The rifle is very old, so the shop is cleared to buy it (federal regulations only permit pawn shops to buy weapons manufactured 1898 or earlier), but it's also in terrible condition, rusted all over and chipping in places, and Rick thinks it's unfireable. The seller asks for $1,000 for it, but with no gun experts in town to inspect the wacky weapon, Rick is left to make a gamble. Because the last time the seller brought something to the shop it turned out to be valuable, he decides to enter into negotiations for the gun-shaped block of rust.

Rick Harrison fails to hit his target: profit

Rick Harrison is intrigued by the bizarre lock on the rifle, but because it's in such bad condition, he's not willing to pay the $1,000 that the seller wants for it. So, he counters with $500, and the seller sticks out his hand and says, "Deal." Usually there's more back-and-forth than this, and it's a bit curious that the seller doesn't try to counter with $700 or something like that. But the seller soon reveals why he happily took the $500: In the post-deal interview, he laughs, "I did good. I paid $50 for the gun."

After his own research on the rifle proves unfruitful, Rick calls in antique guns expert Jemison Beshears to assess the firearm. Jemison identifies the rifle as a snaphance gun, made in Spain in the early 1500s. Although arms technology had advanced by the late 1600s, snaphance guns continued to be used in North Africa — where Europeans traded them for spices and other goods — until the 1900s. Jemison identifies the rifle's strange lock as a flintlock, although one that is more likely to misfire because of its primitive model. Finally, Jemison determines the gun's value, estimating it to be worth $400 to $500, as antique weapons collectors would find its condition unappealing.

Rather than take a loss on the gun, Rick opts to hang it in his office, but there's no hiding why he decides not to sell, and Corey revels in his father's defeat. But everybody in the shop knows this kind of thing happens from time to time. While Chumlee may hold the title for Gold & Silver Pawn's Most Duped Pawnbroker, they've all been ripped off (particularly with fake Rolexes and imitation diamonds) — even the Old Man. For all Corey knows, he'll be the next one to lose big on a risky purchase.