Friday, 28 August 2015
Military History Photo Friday: Pepperbox Pistol
I came across an interesting old gun in an antique shop here in Oxford. It was a so-called pepperbox gun much like the one pictured above. The pepperbox was an early form of revolver that, instead of having a cylinder that revolved, had four or more barrels that all revolved together. Early models had to be rotated by hand but later models had an action connected to the trigger so it would rotate with each shot.
The concept goes back to medieval times, and I wrote about a similar multibarreled handgonne on another blog. They were most popular from about 1800 up to around 1860, when they were replaced by proper revolvers. The pepperbox never saw any official military use that I know of and was strictly a personal weapon. While the multishot capability was a major benefit, it was front heavy and couldn't be aimed very well.
I've always liked antiques and was tempted to pick it up. But how could I justify spending 300 pounds ($460) on a gun that doesn't work anymore? Well, maybe it works. I'll let you try it while I stand at a safe distance.
Here's another percussion cap model, somewhat cruder, from the Museum of Weapons in Tula, Russia. While the gun shown above has six barrels, this only has four.
Images courtesy Wikimedia Commons.