Wheelgun Wednesday: The "Other" Gatling Gun

Rusty S.
by Rusty S.
Gatling DimanceaAll Photos Credit: Galerie De Mars

This week’s Wheelgun Wednesday has us looking at an ungainly, unconventional late 19th century Romanian-designed and partially British produced revolver: The Gatling Dimancea.

More Revolver Articles @ TFB:
Gatling Dimancea. All Photos Credit: Galerie De Mars

The Dimancea was designed and patented in 1885 by Haralamb Dimancea, a Romanian Army officer. First prototypes were produced by Kynoch, and then small-scale production (roughly one thousand pieces) was done by the “Gatling Arms & Ammunition Co.” This was a British company based in Birmingham that was previously formed to produce copies of the Gatling gun for European sales.

Function and Design

The Dimancea is a rather bulky six-shot .38 caliber revolver, and has some very unique design aspects. First and foremost, it is “hammerless”. The revolver fires via an internal sprocket actuated by the trigger that both turns the cylinder via one set of arms and cocks/releases an internal striker with the other.

Gatling Dimancea. All Photos Credit: Galerie De Mars

What looks like a shrouded hammer on the rear of the frame is actually a release latch to twist the cylinder and barrel portion 90 degrees to the left. One would then pull the barrel portion forward to eject the cartridge cases and reload.

Gatling Dimancea. All Photos Credit: Galerie De Mars
Gatling Dimancea. All Photos Credit: Galerie De Mars

The trigger and sear group is a removable unit, much like on some more modern rifles and shotguns. The sear has a dual function as the cylinder indexing stop when the trigger is fully pulled to the rear.

If that sounds confusing at all, that’s because it is! It’s a very unique, though perhaps overly complex design concept, for a revolver. To get a better visualization of it, one can see a full disassembly at Ian McCollum’s Forgotten Weapons channel.

Gatling Dimancea. All Photos Credit: Galerie De Mars

Short-Lived and Unsuccessful

The Dimancea revolver was intended for Romanian Army trails, and was also looked at by the French Army, but neither chose to adopt this strange revolver. Production ceased in 1890 when the Gatling Arms and Ammunition Co. ceased operations due to debts.

Gatling Dimancea. All Photos Credit: Galerie De Mars

Grenfell and Accles, the new company formed to acquire the production facilities, chose to no longer manufacture this sprocket-powered revolving oddity, likely due to its manufacturing complexity, and instead chose to only produce ammunition and improved versions of the Gatling Gun.

All Photos Credit: Galerie De Mars
Rusty S.
Rusty S.

Having always had a passion for firearms, Rusty S. has had experience in gunsmithing, firearms retail, hunting, competitive shooting, range construction, as an IDPA certified range safety officer and a certified instructor. He has received military, law enforcement, and private training in the use of firearms. Editor at Outdoorhub.com

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2 of 9 comments
  • Jim Smith Jim Smith on Apr 28, 2022

    "very unique" This does not exist. There are no levels of unique. It either is or is not unique.

    I apologize in advance for the pedantic rant. I normally don't even notice this in common conversation. You are a professional writer and should have better command of the English language. Feel free to rake my a** over the coals.

  • Slapshot Slapshot on Apr 29, 2022

    Looks like a M1895 Nagant had a baby with a MK IV Webley.