Gatling Gun

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The Gatling Gun was one of the precursors to the modern machine gun, and the first support weapon to possess a mechanical cycle of function; while previous rapid-fire guns had required multiple barrels to fire multiple shots, Dr. Richard Jordan Gatling's gun instead used a mechanism resembling a rack of bolt-action rifles with their bolts interfacing with cams to operate them as the barrel group was rotated by a hand crank, using a single common feed source. The gun was initially used with paper cartridges in metal chamber sleeves (effectively making the gun an incredibly bizarre revolver), but switched to brass metallic cartridges with their invention.

Many models of Gatling were produced in various calibres, usually with six barrels but some with up to ten.

In the strictest sense Gatling's invention was not a machine gun since it was still completely manually operated, with the Maxim being the first true machine gun; it is often categorised as one because the effect of the weapon was the same. In the United States, the BATFE has ruled likewise that a crank-operated Gatling Gun is not legally considered a machine gun, since it requires continuous manual actions by the operator in order to fire.

Gatling also experimented with rigging one of his guns to an early electric motor, experiments that would be revitalised during the 1950s with the development of the M61 Vulcan aircraft cannon.

When Gatling guns were ordered by Tsarist Russia their production was overseen by General Aleksandr Gorloff, the military attaché to the Russian embassy in Washington DC. Gorloff slyly had his own name stamped on the weapons in Cyrillic before they were shipped, leading to some confusion in Russia with nationalists crediting Gorloff as the inventor and referring to the weapons as "Gorloff Guns."

Note: This page is reserved for the 19th century models of Gatling Guns build by manufacturers such as Colt. Modern electric driven Gatling-type weapons don't belong here nor should they be linked here.



British M1865 Gatling Gun at the Royal Artillery Museum with hopper feed - .58 Rimfire / .50-70
Colt Gatling Gun with Bruce Feed Guide - .45-70
Colt Model 1883 Gatling Gun with 104-round Accles Drum - .45-70
1877 Bulldog Gatling Gun with Bruce Feed Guide - .45-70 Government


Type: Rapid-fire gun

Caliber: Various, including .30-03, .30-06, .30-40, .45-70, .50-70, .58 Rimfire and 1-inch on naval versions.

Capacity: Various gravity feeds: manually loaded hopper (M1865), gravity "magazine" with unsprung follower (M1871), Bruce feed guide (M1881), Broadwell Drum (a cylindrical feeding device which was manually rotated to bring stacks of cartridges into position, either a seldom-used 400-round version with 20 20-round stacks or the more common 240-rounder with 20 stacks of 15): 104-round Accles Drum (a feeding system resembling a sideways pan magazine in that it was indexed by the gun's mechanism rather than a spring follower)

Fire Modes: Manual crank operated, speed depending on operator (usually 200-400 RPM), electrically driven Model 1893 tested at up to 1,500 RPM

Crew: 4

Gatling Guns of multiple manufacturers have been used in the following films:


Title Actor Character Note Date
The Real Glory David Niven Lt. Terence McCool Model 1883 1939
Gunga Din British troops Model 1883 1939
The War Wagon Bruce Cabot Frank Pierce mounted in turret 1967
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Union Army 1966
Guns of the Magnificent Seven Bernie Casey Cassie 1883 model 1969
100 Rifles Mexican soldiers, Indians 1969
Two Mules for Sister Sara French Troops 1970
There was a crooked man 1970
Something Big 1971
Bad Man's River (El hombre de Río Malo) 1971
A Reason to Live, A Reason to Die 1972
The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid Pinkertons 1972
The Outlaw Josey Wales Union Army 1975
Rooster Cogburn John Wayne Rooster Cogburn 1975
Rooster Cogburn Katharine Hepburn 1975
Young Guns Union Army 1988
Batman Returns 1992
Bad Girls Madeleine Stowe Cody Model 1874 1994
Nostromo 1996
Wild Wild West 1999
American Outlaws Union Army 2001
The Last Samurai Imperial Japanese Army Model 1874 2003
Van Helsing weapons tester 2004
Tremors 4: The Legend Begins Michael Gross Hiram Gummer 2004
3:10 to Yuma (2007) cart gunners Rubber Model 1874 2007
The Book of Eli Carnegie's men 2010
Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows Meinhard guards Ammo fed from Broadwell drums 2011
The Magnificent Seven 2016


Title Actor Character Note/Episode Date
Black Fox The Price of Peace Christopher Reeve Alan Johnson Mounted on tripod 1995
Rough Riders U.S Army 1997
Lock 'n Load With R. Lee Ermey Himself R. Lee Ermey 2009
Deadliest Warrior Theodore Roosevelt Model 1897 2009-2011
Westworld various 2016


Title Character Note Date
Rango The Mole Clan belt-fed; attached to saddles 2011
Rango Rattlesnake Jake attached to tail in place of a rattle 2011

Video Games

Game Title Appears as Notation Release Date
Resident Evil 4 With M134 drive mechanism 2005
Gun 2005
Call of Juarez With a drum magazine 2007
Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood With drum and stick magazines 2009
Jurassic: The Hunted Used as a turret weapon 2009
Red Dead Redemption Without a magazine 2010
Lead and Gold: Gangs of the Wild West With unlimited magazine 2010
Total War: Shogun 2 — Fall of the Samurai 2011
The Showdown Effect portable 2013
Fistful of Frags Used as a turret weapon - no magazine 2014
Ryu ga Gotoku Ishin! Unused prop 2014
Assassin's Creed Syndicate 2015
Hot Dogs, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades "Hand Crank Frank" In both mounted and handheld form 2016
Shadow Warrior 2 not usable 2016
Red Dead Redemption II "Gatling Gun" 2018
Yakuza Kiwami 2 2018


Title Character Note Date
Castle in the Sky Crewmen 1986
Gun Frontier Shitalnen 2002
Steamboy Mounted in Steam Castle 2005
The Mystic Archives of Dantalian A group of suitors Broadwell drum 2011
Suisei no Gargantia Sailors 2013
The Empire of Corpses Afghan soldiers 2015
Princess Principal Kingdom sailors Ep. 03; 1877 Bulldog Gatling Gun 2017

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