Genhart Horizontal Turret Rifle

Heinrich Genhart was a Swiss designer working in Liege, Belgium in the 1850s making horizontal turret rifles. His design was actually pretty decent, and included recessed chamber mouths and a calming barrel which would lock more or less solidly into each chamber for firing, thus minimizing cylinder gap flash. This particular example is a roughly .38 caliber rifle with a 10-shot cylinder, in a pretty rough stock (I suspect a replacement). Genhart patented this design in Belgium in 1853 and in the United States in 1857, but turret rifles quickly fell out of popularity and his production ended by about 1860.

The Genhart guns were designed for a specialty cartridge, formed of lead or tin foil using tools sold with the gun. They used a type of tube primer set into the base of each cartridge during assembly, which was crushed by a hammer moving directly upwards. The whole system seems quite good, but doomed by the advent of much better cartridge technology.


  1. “Camming,” not “calming.” Stupid auto-correct functions. So much for this development, but one must explore every possibility, right? At least we know someone tried.

  2. Sounds like the ideal squirrel gun for the black powder shooter. You know the story shoct at mr squirrel miss mr squirrel and while you reload mr squirrel is 10 trees away With this gun you could at least miss him 10 times.

  3. ‘Ten quick shots.’ Well, sort of. That’s a pretty involved sequence of moves, and I wonder how quick it would be after the turret was heated up by a few rounds.

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