The most historic firearm on display is a genuine 1865 Spencer carbine, one of only a handful left in working order. It carries $3,000 price tag.
Kissel, who previously worked in Cabela's stores in Dundee, Mich., and Hoffman Estates, Ill., said working in the Gun Library is "the best job anyone could ask for."
"There's literally something new every day," he said. "You never know what is going to walk through the door."
Gun Library employees are the ones who appraise, buy and trade firearms. For that reason, Kissel said, the company hires only people for the department who have what he calls "collector knowledge."
"We try to find the 'best of the best' to work the library," he said.
Store executives go out of their way to make the library look special. At the Charleston store, it occupies a special room, paneled in walnut and lined with glass display cases. A pair of elephant tusks flanks the entrance. Special LED lights illuminate each gun-filled case.
"We try to display these guns in the best possible light," Kissel said.
The approach seems to work. Kissel said most of the people who visit Cabela's stores anywhere in the nation eventually end up in the stores' Gun Libraries.
"A lot of these guns are truly works of art," he said. "And people seem to gravitate toward the fanciest and priciest ones.
"I guarantee you that if you examined all these cases at the end of a day, the one with the most fingerprints on it — by far — would be the one that holds the most expensive gun in the store."
Reach John McCoy at 304-348-1231 or johnmc...@wvgazette.com.