The quest for high-capactity firearms [ Part 2 ]

After writing the The quest for high-capactity firearms post, readers told me about other interesting attempts at high capacity guns.

Porter Revolving Turret Rifle

9-shot; .48 caliber. In excellent overall condition. Bore is excellent plus; 28″ barrel. Metal is smooth and well marked. Showing little or no use. Manufactured in 1851. Mechanically excellent. Wood is excellent, with one tiny area of wood loss. Only 1250 Porter Turret Rifles made, in three types, of which approximately 375 were type II. Lacks rear sight, cover screw broken, otherwise complete and excellent. A very advanced weapon for its time, and a competitor to the Colt Revolving Rifle, many were used during the Westward Migration. Seldom available on today’s market, this example is in far above average condition. $11400

If you are interested, this rifle can be purchased at

Isaiah Jennings 12 shot repeating flintlock rifle

According to the press release [PDF warning], when this gun was auctioned off, it achieved a record sales price in Louisiana.

An 1820 Prototype Isaiah Jennings 12 Shot Repeating Rifle, engraved with the serial number “No. 1,” generated a great deal of interest on the telephone, through eBay and from within the room. Bidding finally stopped (and the applause began) when a local purchased this exceptionally rare rifle for $34,000.00, making it a Louisiana record price for a firearm sold at auction.

Does anybody know how this type of gun works?

Ingrham’s Underhammer Harmonica Rifle

The Underhammer Society Blog has a post about a modern reproduction of this 175 year old rifle design. Be sure to watch the video.

The Puckle gun

This gun dates back to the early 1700s! It fired 32mm caliber projectiles at a rate of just under 10 rounds per minute. I think make almost makes it an Auto-Cannon 🙂

Photo from Wikipedia.

Many thanks to Mehual, Clodboy and El Duderino for the links.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Sanjay Mortimer

    “Does anybody know how this type of gun works?”

    Odd as the juxtaposition of new and old is, this thing actually works in a very similar way to metal storm. With consecutive charges and projectiles in the single barrel. The difference being that this firearm instead of using multiple electrical impulses at different position to detonate each charge it has multiple flash holes, pans and hammers along the barrel to detonate each charge in turn, front first. Cunning.

  • guy

    Looking at the pictures here what I took to be hammers are “vent covers” and there are multiple flash holes down the side of the barrel. Almost as if the lockwork was meant to be jogged backward with each shot. Like a blackpowder version of Metalstorm?

  • If I’m not mistaken, you simply muzzle-load the Isaiah Jennings rifle, then load another powder and ball in front of that, and another, and another, and so on. There are touchholes all the way down the barrel, and the flintlock is manually slid down a rail. You fire the charges one at a time, from front to back.

    Seems to me it’d be a pain in the butt to get the charges spaced perfectly without over- or undercharging without leaving any airspace (because the recoil of the rounds in front will tamp everything down). And I don’t want to think about how much black powder fouling would end up in those front touchholes. There’s probably a reason these never took off. 😉

    • elmo_iscariot, ah, that makes sense.

  • le bolide

    You should decide whether The Puckle gun is mm or caliber, because it doesn’t make sense to be both. The wikipedia article you linked to gave it “a bore of 1.25 inches (32 mm).”

  • Matt Groom

    I think I love the Harmonica Rifle. Wow, that’s neat! I bet it never caught on because there is a possibility of gas leaking out of the cylinder gap as there is on the Colt’s Revolving Rifle (which I also always found very interesting). This can be a painful surprise if there’s any lead build up, as anyone who’s ever shot a very dirty revolver with their support thumb too far forward can attest.

    In the Knight’s Armament Museum (more fun than Disney World if you’re a gun nut like me!), there’s an innovative percussion rifle that has two locks on the same barrel, one in front of the other on the right side. The shots are loaded inline like on a Firestorm design. The idea is that you could fire the front round with the first lock for the front shot, and then fire the rear shot. The problem was that the front shot would compress the charge on the rear shot, making ignition unreliable, and if you fired the rear shot first, you’d get dangerously high pressures do to the increased mass. Anybody know what that design is called (I can’t remember)?

    • Matt, I did not now they had a museum. I gotta see that!

  • Simon_The_Brit

    The Puckle Gun had round shot for use against Christians and square shot for use against non Christians.

    • Simon_The_Brit, I did not notice that when I read the article. I would say that the square would be less acurate, but the difference was probably missing by a mile and missing by a mile and a few yards.

  • Steve,

    While this would, of course, not be possible with “muzzleloading” repeaters, with a cartridge revolving rifle it should be possible to eliminate leaks out of the cylinder-barrel gap if someone were to use the old Pieper-Nagant gas seal system. Of course, this would mean living with greater complexity in the design of the gun and greater cost, but the syetem proved itself even as a military sidearm in Imperial Russia. Frankly, I am always surprised that no one has tried replicating the design these days with monster revolvers like the 454 Casull, 480 Ruger and 500 S&W being offered.

    • Mehul, I guess they figure they can just want a bigger cartridge (and sell more arms) than try to optimize performace form the current lot. How long till we see the .501 S&W Magnum Extreme +++P+ ? Not long I bet 😉

  • Greetings from Texas,
    I’m playing catch-up here so bear with me. History Channel had a program on ‘Bizzar Firearms’ this afternoon that talked about the rifle with the two locks Matt Groom was talking about. They described it as working like a roman candle. The first trigger and lock lit off a number of shots (don’t recall how many) and then the second barrel did the same thing. I guess make your peace with the lord and pull the trigger, hold on target until it stops ‘erupting’! In that case single shots don’t sound half bad.
    I would love to get my hands on a revolving rifle, or -shutter- try to build one. The big problem with it from my reading was, and I am quoting here “the weapon has a distressing tendency to set fire to the soldiers tunic sleves.” I once saw an old jacket with a scorched leather patch sewed to the inside left sleve from elbow to wrist. I thought of Colt revolving rifles at once.
    Steve_the_Brit is right about the pucket gun firing two types of projectal. The squar shot was suppose to be more painful, the round shot was for civilized enemies – read christian. I don’t think I want to get shot with either. It’s in the online article but back before computers (I’m dating my self here) I read books on firearm history. Must confess I still do. All manor of interesting tidbits, plus books don’t crash.

    • Arthur, yes, another problem was the blast igniting other chambers if loose blackpowder was floating around the mechanisms, which was a major problem with the Colt revolving rifle.

  • Matt Groom

    Every two years, during the Orlando SHOT Show, Knight’s has a tour night where they have live music, free booze, a catered dinner, and tours of Knight’s Arms Museum and their Tank Museum. It’s badass, and anyone who can get into the SHOT Show can go (they even have tour buses that drive to and from the event), but the expense of such an event is a clear indication as to why their products cost so damn much.

    • Matt, very cool.

      The big boys spend a fortune on marketing. One contract will easily pay for maybe decades of marketing. I remember reading military journals that I was giving and being amazed at what was being advertise: double page ad for C17’s, full page ad for Apaches, smaller ads for various APCs, rifles, trucks and so on. How many countries are going to be able to purchase Apaches? How many counties can Boeing(?) get export licenses for to sell Apaches? Very few I guess but the small amount spent on advertising would be nothing compared to the sale of a single Apache.