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By Brian Belko via

Black powder weapons are notorious for taking an extended amount of time to load. However, before today’s modern tech, it is all that soldiers and hunters had to work with. So what do you do when loading one barrel takes a long time? Well, you build a 32-barrel black powder machine gun of course! Although loading 32 barrels would take a while, it also would have offered the type of firepower needed to overwhelm enemy forces. At least until it needed to be reloaded again.

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  1. Black powder weapons are no slower to load than smokeless powder weapons. Is the Martini Henry slower to reload than a Ruger No.1?

    Now muzzle loading black powder weapons are slower. But self contained cartridges and breech loading were a thing before smokeless powder.

      • Does it take 30-60 minutes to reload an 1873 springfield? A 73 winchester? Black powder weapons encompass centuries of R&D. To make a genric statement about black powder weapons being slow to reload isn’t accurate or true.

        If he meant muzzle loaders, that’s what he should have said.

      • you can load a muzzle loader roughly 4 times in a minute with aimed shooting, roughly 4/32= 8 minute reload or at most 10 min

    • Yeah pretty much. Once you start in the sport, all the different types of firearms and noisemakers look pretty fun. I used to not think much of pistols until I started shooting rifles a bunch. I used to not think much of shotguns until I started shooting pistols and rifles a bunch. Now I just see it all looking like fun.

  2. It’s hardly a machine gun; it’s just a cluster of individual barrels with a common firing mechanism.

  3. I’m not sure that is an actual antique… looks like a replica or reproduction. I highly doubt these were ever used in combat.

    • Volley guns was the general term used for them. I don’t know if this particular model saw combat but others like them did.

      If I remember correctly both the chinese and romans had variations on these that launched arrows in the pre gun powder days.

      • The Koreans had something similar but with rocket launched arrows called the hwacha. They were developed in the late 1300s and used widely during the Japanese invasion of Korea in the late 1500s. They were quite effective against large, densely packed formations that the Japanese used. They were even placed on Korean ships to attack the Japanese Navy.

        Both Mythbusters and Lock N’ Load did segments on the hwacha.

  4. That looked like it was a blast (excuse the pun) to do. Useless for today, however I can see it being useful back in the day when army’s lined up nice and neat.

    • They were using just enough powder to see if it worked, not surprising given that it is an antique and might just explode if “properly” loaded. I’d bet with 15 grains in each barrel, it would not be something you’d stand in front of.

  5. I have a Pietta 1851 navy reproduction my dad got me for my 21st a while back. It’s a really fun gun to shoot and I plan on adding more muzzle loading guns to my collection eventually. The fact they can be shipped to your door with no ffl is pretty sweet

  6. So serious question — if you jury rig a centerfire volley gun from a bunch of Thompson Contenders, is that legal? I would presume not based on the double-barreled 1911 and AR that are out there, but what do I know? Anyone?

    • 1 shot per trigger pull. Thats why Gatling 10/22’s are good to go, the crank alternates the triggers being pulled.

      • So if you rigged a device to fire five triggers at once, that would be okay, but not if one trigger fired five hammers?

  7. Wish I could find the interest you all have but it does nothing for me. Now an A 10 with fully loaded canon and a few hellfires really does it for me.

  8. Nobody needs more than five shots to shoot a deer, Ummm… no one needs more than 1 barrel to shot a deer!

  9. This type of gun was used to deal with riots back in the day. Far cry from “Space to destroy” wouldn’t ya say!

  10. Really cool, but the slo-mo was a little too slow in the fact that it took a good 7-10 seconds for the gun(s) to go off. I wonder how many times this kind of weapon was used effectively in combat?

  11. This thing is pure military. No sporting or even self-defense purpose. And completely legal to own back then. Weapons and weapon systems like this existed at the time of the formation of the Bill of Rights. They definitely fall under the definition of “arms”. Where was the exception for private cannons and private war galleons? Oh yeah there wasn’t one.

    • Lets exercise our 2A rights and all pitch in together for our own carrier. That should really get the Moms Demand’s panties in a twist!

  12. I guess the reload time is not a big deal, since this weapon would be used when you were about to be over-run (to protect artillery batteries??), but I don’t want to think about cleaning it and maintaining the charges in the field.

  13. If I were to ever acquire enough land on which to establish my own private range, it’d be nice to have some replica weapons like these. Until then, I’ll have to make do with watching videos of other people having all the fun.

  14. Sure looks like a cool toy to me…. made a lot of smallish .32 caliber and undet smooth bore cannons on a lathe from steel and brass….. guess they were legal, shot the hell out of them. This looks like fun to me…..

  15. Still pretty nifty and a nice cloud of smoke produced. Maybe not the handiest thing to use, but looks fun!

  16. NFA take that!! Looks like fun, even though modern technology allows a shotgun with good loads to put more useful lead downrange. However, does fun have to be useful?

  17. The psychological effect of the smoke and fire spewing machine was probably equal to the terminal ballistics.

  18. All they have to do is paint it black, put a forward hand-grip on it and the brainless antis like Dianne Feinstein and the hens at MDA can have a fit about it while they make claims that it puts cops lives in danger and common sense and most Americans support it being banned.

  19. The more I think about this the less impressed I am. Seems like a good idea taken so far it becomes a bad idea. Each to his own I guess. Just not my cup of coffee.

  20. This thing looks awesome. They just need a way to make loading a bit less cumbersome; perhaps pre-packaged powder charges (maybe w/ bullets like they used to use), and some sort of ramrod that could do all of them.. or at least each bank of them all at the same time.

  21. that would be handy to have. A model rocket igniter would allow an actual “trigger” although it would be best to have it remote.

  22. I’d suggest waiting an hour or so before going down range to look at the target. There’s no way to tell if all the barrels have fired and black powder has a bad habit of taking a long time to burn. It would suck to find out the hard way that not all the barrels fired right away.


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