The quest for high-capactity firearms

    A common misconception is that the desire for high capacity firearms is a relatively new phenomenon. This is far from the truth. Since the at least the mid 1800s designers had been experimenting with many novel ideas in an attempt to increase magazine capacity, mostly with little success.

    Early next month, the Rock Island Auction Company will be auctioning off a collection of prototype arms which include some interesting “high-cap” guns.

    Jarre Double Action Harmonica Pistol

    The bullet chamber houses nine pinfire 38 cartridges. The action functions in both single and double action. There is lower trigger attached to the rear of the primary trigger which fits through a slot in the bottom of the trigger guard that when pulled back advances the chamber and cocks the hammer. To fire double action one simply uses the primary trigger in the traditional manner. Fitted

    Estimated Price: $9,0000 – $14,000

    French Guycot Chain Rifle

    Manufactured circa 1878, this unusual and rare rifle features a chain housed in the frame and stock which holds 80 rounds of centerfire cartridges. The “endless chain” has carrying cups that hold the rounds. Once loaded the rifle can be fired as fast as the trigger can be pulled. The belt is revolved until a chamber (or cup) faces the barrel. At the same time a long firing pin is retracted. An inner barrel is drawn back through the heavy outer barrel until it covers the bullet end of the cartridge. When the long drag on the trigger end, the final pressure releases the needle like firing pin, which drives through a small opening in the base of the cup detonating the cartridge primer. The rifle fires a lead conical bullet which is hollowed out to accommodate the powder

    Estimated Price: $6,500 – $9,500

    Extremely Rare Meigs Sliding Guard Action Repeating Carbine

    Patented by Captain Josiah Meigs in 1866, this carbine is fitted with a unique action which provided a level of firepower virtually unknown in the era, with a potential rate of fire of nearly 160 rounds per minute, as compared to the 200 rounds per minute of the Model 1861 Gatling Gun. Blade front and flip-up adjustable rear sights, with no visible makers marks. The buttstock of the arm consists of a buttplate and carved walnut cheekpiece fitted to the 50-round tube magazine, which contains a replaceable 5-track rotating frame with spacers for 10 rounds per track. These frames could be preloaded, cutting down reload times substantially. Mounted on a rail between a pair of mortised tracks is the trigger guard assembly, which has a checkered firing trigger and a smooth long release trigger, and is reciprocated back and forth to rotate the magazine frame and move the breechblock, which extends up out of the frame to eject spent cartridges, Full length forearm with raised decorative carving and cord wrap, leaf pattern raised carving on the cheekpiece and nickel finished brass buttplate.

    This design resembles the helical-feed magazine design used by the Calico guns and its clones that were designed over 100 years later!

    Calico M960. Photo from Wikipedia
    Steve Johnson

    I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!