World’s First Full-Auto Firearm was an 1855 Percussion Revolving Rifle ?!

    This American revolving rifle is designed by Ralph Mershon and Jehu Hollingsworth. It is a percussion firearm and it is reportedly a select fire one with full-auto fire capability/mode! After loading the cylinder, the shooter had to wind up the built-in spring which would cycle the action (rotate the cylinder, cock the hammer and fire).

    For winding up the spring there was a ratchet lever located behind the receiver. You can see that lever raised in this image.

    Not to confuse our readers, I have to admit that although many sources state that it was indeed a full-auto firearm, there is no solid proof that I could find. That’s why I put both exclamation and question marks at the end of the title.

    My personal opinion is that it absolutely could be full-auto capable. I assume it shouldn’t have been mechanically too big of a challenge for the inventors to design some sort of auto sear mechanism.

    Here is a video telling about this rifle:

    Later in 1863, Mershon and Hollingsworth also designed a self-cocking revolver, which incorporated the same spring powered mechanism. It was automatically cocking the hammer and rotating the cylinder so that each trigger pull was a light single action pull. Pretty much like the Webley-Fosbery revolver idea, except executed differently and designed much earlier.

    If you have any additional information concerning this rifle, please share it in the comments section. Also, let us know what impact on the history do you think this rifle could have should it be manufactured and/or adopted back in 1855?

    Hrachya H

    Being a lifelong firearms enthusiast, Hrachya always enjoys studying design, technology and history of guns and ammunition. His knowledge of Russian allows him to translate and make Russian/Soviet/Combloc small arms related information available for the English speaking audience. Hrachya also writes for SilahReport.com
    Should you need to contact him, feel free to shoot him a message at [email protected]


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