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The Vault

Montigny Mitrailleuse Photos

The Mitrailleuse was one of the first pseudo-machine guns – the first ones were developed prior to the Gattling, but they continued to be purchased by military forces through the 1870s. There were several versions, the two most common being the Reffye and Montigny designs. We are taking a look at the Montigny today, which [...]

Union Repeating Gun

The Gatling is commonly seen as the first manual machine gun used by the US military, but it was preceded by several other designs, including the Union Repeating Gun. Also known as the Ager Gun or the Coffee Mill Gun, it was a single-barrel crank operated weapon developed prior to the adoption of self-contained cartridges.

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Book Review: Bullets and Bureaucrats

For a while now I’ve been following the rabbit hole of machine gun use in the second half of the 19th century – the days of the manually-operated machine gun (Gatling, Gardner, Nordenfelt, etc) and the early days of the Maxim. The persistent question is, why didn’t anyone seem to recognize the military potential of [...]

Book Review: Mr. Gatling’s Terrible Marvel

I hate to perpetuate stereotypes, but this is a case where there is more than a kernel of truth to one. The unfortunate subject is Julia Keller, author of Mr. Gatling’s Terrible Marvel, and she is very much an outsider to the world of firearms. She is a journalist, and one with an impressive list [...]

Gatling Gun Feeding Mechanisms

The Gatling Gun is interested for many reasons, and one of them is the variety of feeding mechanisms that were developed and used with it. Most firearms are designed around a single specific feeding mechanism, sometimes with variants made for two types (like mag-fed and strip-fed Hotchkiss LMGs). The Gatling was one of the very [...]

Shooting an 1877 Bulldog Gatling

Thanks to a friendly collector, we had the chance to take out one of the new, gorgeous reproduction 1877 Gatling guns being sold by Colt. It’s a near-exact replica, with the added feature of being able to crank backwards to safely clear any loaded cartridges out of the action. Being a Bulldog model, it has [...]

Book Review: The Gatling Gun by Wahl and Toppel

Today’s book review is a re-run, because I’ve been re-reading this book in preparation for doing some video on an 1877 Gatling gun:

The book we’re looking at is Paul Wahl and Donald Toppel’s The Gatling Gun, published back in 1971. In some cases old books are outdated, but this is a case where an [...]

Five-Barrel Nordenfelt Video

While we were visiting the Institute of Military Technology, we took a few minutes to check out their two 5-barrel Nordenfelt guns and chat with Joe from GardnerGuns.com about them. The Nordenfelt was one of the early manually-operated “machine guns” not seen much in the United States (the Gattling being much more common), but it [...]