The Nock Gun was a seven-barreled flintlock firearm produced briefly for the British Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars, and a rare example of a handheld volley gun. The first three examples were rifled, but all others were smoothbore: around 608 more were made, with 500 being for the Royal Navy. Civilian variants were also made for fowl hunting. It was invented by the firm of Henry Nock, for the purpose of arming snipers in the rigging of ships: the weapon essentially uses the undesirable "chain-fire" phenomenon of black-powder revolvers by design, with the flash from the number 1 barrel being allowed to propagate into the others to set them off at more or less the same time. Nock believed that it would allow British sailors to fire devastating volleys onto the decks of enemy ships during close-quarter engagements, but manufacture was discontinued after only a small number were produced.
The weapon proved to be impractical for a number of reasons, chief among them being the recoil: the force of seven half-inch barrels, firing simultaneously, was enough to dislocate or break the shoulder bone of a man using it and made the weapon nearly impossible to aim. Orders were later given to load the gun with only a half-charge, which bought the recoil under control but made the weapon useless for its intended purpose and little more than a giant shotgun. In the heat of battle it was also not unknown for sailors to forget which barrels had powder in them, making it very easy to accidentally double-load the gun, a problem compounded by one or more barrels frequently failing to fire. Additionally, for someone firing from high in the rigging of a ship, the gun greatly increased the risks of being knocked down and plunging to the deck, or accidentally setting fire to the sails (one of the reasons why Nelson refused to allow his captains to post snipers of any kind in their rigging during the Battle of Trafalgar).
This is not the only "Nock Gun," simply the most well-known: Nock was a prolific gunmaker who was well-known for his double-barrel shotguns and duelling pistols, and is thought to have done work for Elisha Collier. He also invented a very similar-looking musket to the classic Nock gun, this one a pepperbox rifle with six barrels that were manually rotated. Nock's company continued after his death in 1804, run by his son-in-law James Wilkinson, eventually becoming Wilkinson Sword.
As with most antique weapons, Nock guns seen in live-action productions are quite likely to be modern replicas or non-functional props.
The Nock Gun has been seen in the following used by the following actors:
- Barrel length: 20 inches (508 mm)
- Caliber: .52 Caliber (13.2 mm)
- Action: Flintlock
- Rate of fire: 7 rounds per discharge, several minutes to reload
- Feed system: Muzzle-loaded
|The Young Riders||Stephen Baldwin||William F. "Billy" Cody||"The Kid" (S1E1)||1989|
|The Young Riders||Josh Brolin||James Butler "Jimmy" Hickok||"The Kid" (S1E1)||1989|
|Banshee - Season 2||Seen in Proctor's illegal weapon arsenal (S2E8)||2014|
|Title||Appears as||Note||Release Date|
|Days Gone||"Nock Volley"||Incorrectly depicted as a breech-loading, break-action shotgun loaded via speedloader||2019|