Meriwether Lewis and the Austrian Air Rifle with Luke Haag

Luke Haag

The Colt and Winchester firearms are generally recognized as the predominant repeating firearms that are associated with the early American West. But one single air gun carried by Meriwether Lewis during the 1803 -1806 Journey of Discovery can rightfully be credited as the firearm of Western expansion. This presentation describes this amazing, but little-known historic air rifle, and shares insight into its exterior and wound ballistic capabilities.   

About the speaker:

Lucien C. “Luke” Haag is a former Criminalist and Technical Director of the Phoenix Crime Laboratory [1965-1982] with over 57 years’ experience in the field of criminalistics and forensic firearm examinations. Presently he is an independent forensic consultant with his own company, Forensic Science Services, Inc. in Carefree, Arizona.

Luke Haag has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley with subsequent forensic training at California State University at Long Beach, Indiana University, Arizona State University, McCrone Research Institute, the FBI Laboratory and the FBI Forensic Training Facility at Quantico, VA. He is a Distinguished Member and past-president of Association of Firearm and Toolmark Examiners (AFTE), a Distinguished Member of the California Association of Criminalists, a member of the Southwest Association of Forensic Scientists, a Fellow in the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and a past board member of the International Wound Ballistics Association.

He has authored and presented over 200 scientific papers, most of which have dealt with various exterior and terminal ballistic properties, the effects and behavior of projectiles. He is the co-author of the book Shooting Incident Reconstruction, now in its third edition and published by  Elsevier/Academic Press (2021). Additionally, he has worked on a number of high-profile and historic cases including a re-examination of the evidence in the Lindbergh Kidnapping case, newly discovered evidence in the 1935 assassination of Huey Long of Louisiana, the November, 4, 1995,assassination of Israeli prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, the death of Meriwether Lewis, the Randy Weaver/Ruby Ridge Case in Northern Idaho, the Bloody Sunday shootings in Londonderry Northern Ireland, and the Tom Horn case in Wyoming.

He has conducted extensive ballistic research into the November 22, 1963 assassination of President Kennedy resulting in five, peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals. Some of his test results appeared in a special, 2013 PBS-NOVA presentation, Cold Case:JFK.


Program Details:

Wednesday, May 1 | 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
FREE for Museum Members (Members, click here to log-in and procure tickets)
FREE with Museum Admission
$8 for program attendance only (does not include further admittance to the museum/galleries)