Oversized 8-Barrel British Pepperbox Revolver

The typical pepperbox revolver is a sleek and small .31 caliber double action pocket gun, like the Allen & Thurber standard type. This one, however, is anything but typical. This London-made gun is a far larger than normal, and sports 8 barrels, with a center square of four and an addition four outside of those. Those barrels are .36 caliber, and the firing mechanism is single action only. In addition, it is unusual in requiring manual indexing of the barrel cluster between shots – most pepperboxes index automatically when the trigger is pulled. I have no further information on the date or original of this piece beyond its “London” marking, and bring it to you as just one example of the wide variety of this sort of firearm that exists.


  1. “Say hello to my big, barking friend!” Considering how massive the barrel cluster must be, would any indexing device be strong enough to rotate the assembly while small enough to fit on a pistol?

  2. Maybe its just a “fungun”. The high society loved curiosa, from shrunken heads from Papua-New Guinea to lambs with two heads in a jar…

    So why no over exaggerated gangster gun?

  3. Another example of this sort from this side of the pond was the American Primitive pepperbox, a four-shot, hand-rotated, single-action .45 caliber. It was even larger than this one.

    There were also similar four-shot “turnover” pistols made in Britain and on the Continent. They were usually around .50 caliber, and had dual hammers and triggers like the double-barreled “howdah” pistols often used by British officers in the Crimean War.

    The difference with these “infidel killers” was that when you’d fired your two shots, you recocked the hammers and then turned the four-barrel cluster 180 degrees to bring two more loaded and capped barrels topside, so you could have another go without stopping to reload.

    I might add that even today, any display of “improvised” weapons found in cell searches in prisons here or anywhere will generally include at least one or two hand-rotated revolvers, barreled type or pepperbox. These may be either cartridge-firing or percussion types, the latter using the “blue” tips from strike-anywhere matches (potassium perchlorate) as their priming compound.



    • That’s possible. But the turnover pistol was a case of using technology of the time to improvise a concept of the future. Having multiple shots on tap was okay until cartridge technology and some creative design could allow for practical breech loaded hand held weapons. I could be wrong.

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