The original black rifle

The NRA Blog writes

One of the most unusual repeating firearms ever to be manufactured in the United States was Isaiah Jennings’ repeating flintlock rifle of 1821.

Built with a detachable skeleton-type shoulder stock as well as a removable 21-inch octagonal barrel, the Jennings rifle was capable of firing twelve shots without reloading. This multi-shot arm was loaded with a dozen superimposed bullets and alternating powder charges, each placed one on top on another down the bore, and was fitted with twelve individual touchholes, each also being equipped with a swivel cover.

More photos of this intriguing rifle here.

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.


  • KBCraig

    It’s the original MetalStorm!

  • Nick Pacific

    A 19th Century Metalstorm?

  • Nanban Jim

    Yup. Nothing new under the sun. I’m curious about the effects of reduced barrel length for the first several rounds (or excessive length for the final several rounds). Although something tells me that wouldn’t have really been a huge issue at the time. Accuracy via volume and all.

  • John C.

    Great Idea but i would not want to see what happens if one of the back charges went off first.

  • Chris

    “…capable of firing twelve shots without reloading.”

    So banned in California? :p

  • JonMac

    Jennings was a Johnny-Come-Lately 😉

    The original Jover & Belton superposed load carbines were actually procured and fielded by the East India Company in the 1780s. Though older, those were actually more advanced, having reloadable iron tube magazine/breeches.