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Genhart Horizontal Turret Rifle


Hi guys, thanks for tuning in to another
video on ForgottenWeapons.com. I’m Ian McCollum and I’m here today at the Rock Island Auction Company taking a look at some of the guns they are going to be selling in their upcoming May of 2019 Premiere firearms auction. Today we are taking a look at a
Genhart … horizontal turret rifle. Now the turret rifle or turret concept is…
it’s kind of the natural outgrowth of well, ideas being thrown up against the wall.
So, we have revolvers where you have a bunch of chambers that are all parallel to each
other and they rotate around a central axis. This seems to be a really good
system for having multiple shots. So someone’s going to see that and go,
“Aha, what if we rotate it around the axis perpendicular to the barrel?” So instead
of rotating a turret like this, pointing that way. What if we rotate it this way while
we’re pointing the barrel that way. And that would be different and thus
perhaps marketable, or at least patentable. Now the problem with turret style revolvers is… Well, there are a couple problems. The one that
first comes to mind for most people is safety. So with a standard typical revolver,
if on a muzzle loading revolver you have a multiple discharge and
more than one chamber goes off, presumably you are pointing the rifle at
something you intend to be shooting at and all of the rounds are going to
go down towards that target. It won’t be good for the gun, but it
shouldn’t be an immediate safety problem. Well, if you’ve got a turret system where you’ve
got chambers pointing in all the radial directions and you have a multiple discharge, that could be
potentially very bad, because you could be firing to the side, towards the back,
to yourself, any number of bad options. So this system did not last long. As soon
as there were really good viable revolvers, turret guns kind of went away. They became
old fashioned, and as soon as people got tired of deliberately using a, you know, old-fashioned
style of gun, boom, turret guns were gone. So Genhart here is actually one of the more prolific
of the designs, in that he made over 1,000 of these. They were manufactured in Belgium,
they’re proofed in Belgium. And they were made primarily for export
to the United Kingdom for sale there. And this one actually has a bunch of
really interesting good design features. So let me go ahead and show those to you. A word to any aspiring firearms designers here.
If you want to be sure that someone in the future will be able to identify and document your
work, put your name on it. It’s really a big help. And you can see here we have H. Genhart.
That is Heinrich Genhart by the way. He did this work from basically through the 1850s. This system was patented in Belgium in 1853.
It was patented in the US in 1857. By 1860 he was pretty much done,
these had become obsolete. So a basic overview here. We’re
gonna be looking at the system today, not necessarily this specific rifle, because I
believe large elements of this have been rebuilt. This lever does not match anything that
I’ve seen on other Genhart guns on-line. I believe it is a replacement. Originally, I think it
would have been a long lever that came back here, but the mechanism still works the
same so we’ll go ahead and show you. To start with this is approximately a .38 calibre
bore. It has a 10 shot cylinder to it. And first, and perhaps most interesting,
you’ll notice there’s a little bit of a gap here. And when I operate this lever that gap opens and closes, this
actually cams the barrel back and forth. By pulling this all the way back we can cam the
barrel all the way forward, and we can then lift the cylinder out. Taking a closer look at this, you’ve
got your 10 actual chambers there. There’s our Belgian proof mark,
these were made in Belgium, obviously. And you’ll notice that each chamber
actually has a little recess at the mouth. The reason for that is so that the barrel can
actually cam over the outside of the cylinder. So when I push this down the barrel cams backward
and that is going to lock it into one of the chambers. That prevents the turret, the cylinder, from
rotating and it also does at least a bit of a job of eliminating flashover. So that you’re not going to have
muzzle flash sparking over through the cylinder gap here and igniting cartridges on either side. However,
just in case as an extra safety precaution you can see that the whole turret is surrounded
by a relatively thick sheet of metal here and the two positions to either side of the firing position
are left open so that should you get a flashover, it’s most likely to happen to one of
these two, and that can discharge, not perfectly safely, but more safely
than any other position. And it’s left open so that it can vent like that
without seriously damaging the gun. Now we have a couple other elements in here
that you can see. One of them is this little pin which is connected to this button.
That is one of your cylinder locks. So when the barrel’s back that’s
going to lock the cylinder in place, that pin is also going to lock into one
of these holes at the outer periphery. The centre holes are connected to this
guy, which is actually your hammer. So we need to talk for a moment about the cartridge
that was used in this thing, because it really was a cartridge. Not a metallic brass cartridge like we’re used to,
but this system, this rifle, was actually sold with a set of tools to manufacture
cartridges out of either lead or tin foil. Basically, you would have a little mandrel and you
would wrap a piece of foil around your mandrel and and put it into your mould, which would
form it to the same shape as these chambers. You could then fill it with powder, seat a bullet in
the top and there was a bullet seating tool as well. And then the ignition on this was … basically
a form of Manton tube lock, or tube primer. Joseph Manton came up with this idea, (for which
by the way, he was successfully sued by Forsyth, the inventor of the percussion cap), he
had a short copper tube full of fulminate, And the original idea was that you could take that
tube and put it into the flash hole of, say, a flintlock style of gun, and then when a hammer hit it,
it would crush the top of that copper tube. It would ignite the fulminate inside as a primer,
and it would also seal the top of that tube. Which kind of does everything you would
want in a primer. It didn’t work perfectly, sometimes it didn’t fully seal and you’d
get some flash back into the shooter’s face. Occasionally it would really fail
badly and the whole tube would go shooting out the flash hole
and potentially hurt someone. But what Genhart did here is adapt that system, where he
has a tube primer that sticks out the back of the cartridge into these holes. Each cartridge has its
tube primer extend back into there, and when you pull the trigger here this
cylinder jumps straight upward into one of these holes, whichever one’s
in line with the chamber in the barrel. That’s going to crush that
copper tube and fire that cylinder. So this really is a pretty clever, effective system. … I’ve got the barrel forward so I can drop this in,
I’m gonna just rotate it till it pops into place, with one of these locking pins. You
can lock the barrel all the way back, this cylinder is now firmly locked
in place, go ahead and fire it. Which I’m not going to do because I
don’t want to damage the … hammer. When I cam the barrel forward like this
to open it up so I can get to my next shot, that also re-cocks the hammer which is nice. Then I’m gonna push down on this button,
rotate this until it gets to its next position, cam the barrel down again, fire again, unlock it, rotate to the next position, lock it, etc. We’ve got ten quick shots.
Once the cylinder is empty, unlock the barrel, it’s a simple matter to take this off and
replace it with a new one if you would like. And then you’ve got another 10 shots ready to go. I can show you the underside here.
This is the hammer mechanism. I said I really I don’t want to fire that because
I’m not sure how fragile these parts are inside, and I don’t want to damage anything.
But all it’s effectively doing is pushing a cylindrical hammer straight up where it would
crush that tube primer and fire off the cartridge. Now, I’m pretty sure that all of this brass,
in fact, I suspect this wood is all replacement, because it’s quite a bit cruder than
I’ve seen on other examples of the guns. So I think someone has attempted to
rebuild this from a damaged example. That butt plate with its serial
number may or may not be original. I don’t know if this stock is original to the gun
or if it’s a donor that was fitted to this gun. However, Genharts with serial numbers up about this
high, certainly in the 1,100s are documented,
so he did make quite a few of them. Unfortunately, this rifle overall is pretty rough. It looks to me like the stock has been reworked
substantially. It’s missing the front sight. There’s some big chips out of the turret itself.
But it’s a really cool example of one of the better (by which I mean, like, less awful), turret rifle designs
that I’ve seen. This thing’s actually pretty cool. So if you’d like to have it yourself it is, of
course, coming up for sale here at Rock Island. Take a look at their catalogue page
on it, it’ll show you their description, their pictures, their price estimate, all that sort of stuff. You can place a bid on it on-line and check out
everything else they’ve got in the sale as well. Thanks for watching.

100 thoughts on “Genhart Horizontal Turret Rifle

  1. Thank you for the video, well explained as always! But i still can't imagine the kind of cartridge which was used or the tools to produce these… But that's the first time for 2 years i don't understand something in your videos XD So still a good job, thanks 😉

  2. I always wondered what if someone took a the Chicago Palm pistol and made it into a rifle and now I see a black powder forerunner. 🤔

  3. 8:02 It looks like the rearward facing arm on the barrel camming lever should push the secondary locking button on the right side of the turret down when you move it back to cam the barrel forward, so moving the lever would unlock both locks at once. It just looks like the arm is not bent far enough back on this example to do so, or perhaps something is not allowing the lever to move fully rearward. 🤔

  4. This may be a stupid question, but anyway: I know there were the "harmonica" rifles where there were preloaded "boxes" and there where revolvers with "fast change preloaded cylinders", but was there ever someone who made "percussion cap cartridges" What i mean by that is that just like the preloaded boxes or cylinders that someone manufactured a gun where you inserted single reusable loeaded little "pipes" with percussion caps in the rear?

  5. That's a quick reload if you've go several of those turrets. I'd have to agree that this design, with the exception of pointing rounds at urself, is a really good one and even better than 99% of all others.

  6. This is not a rifle. It's a divice for casting chocolat candy in the field. 1. Pour molten chocolate into the barrel 2. Turn the turret to fill every single chamber 3. Take the turret and bring it to the enemy to end war in a polite and friendly manner. No one can be mad at you if you bring them a box of tasty swiss chocolate candy.

  7. That seems really clever. I think this channel is the best info on YouTube. I just purchased a very nice "War Office Miniature Rifle pattern of 1906" I hope to see one on here. You could look at mine if interested. PM me if you like.

  8. Wow between Project Lightning and Forgotten Weapons Ian is really cranking out some awesome vids. Thank you Ian for all your hard work.

  9. This is a great gun to hang over your TV. You can violate storage laws with it because who the hell would expect it to be functional let alone have ammo, let alone try to use ammo they had in it.

  10. Who’s buying rifles like this in the 1840s? He made a thousand of them, but they don’t seem particularly useful outside of a military context—and I can’t imagine any military was using these things.

  11. It almost appears as if a few of the cylinders accidentally discharged, chipping the turret and damaging the wooden stock around the action area. Could the barrel camming mechanism be pulled back far enough to depress the cylinder lock button?

  12. Nice video, thanks for the upload! I'm wondering if you push that lever back enought wouldn't it press the button as well beyond moving the barrel?

  13. Ian, I have noticed there is no longer a reference to the RIA Catalog page. Is this some new Youtube rule? Thanks!

  14. If you are taking review requests, have you any interest in doing a video on the Smith and Wesson Model 2, the top-break pistol that introduced the .38 S&W cartridge? It is a relatively unknown little gun but very cool, essentially a miniature Model 3 and the start of the line that would lead to the famous Safety Hammerless and the countless clones of that design.

  15. How did you extract the spent "casings"? It seems like they would be prone to sticking in the cylinder after they expand a bit.

  16. I'm kinda surprised that people used these for that long, I'd get tired of these the first time that I got shot in the face

  17. That metal "shield" around the turret is more psychological than practical. If one of those chambers actually goes off, the extra metal is just going to add to the shrapnel.

  18. Interesting. I've been doodling attempts at plausible horizontal turret rifles for a few days, and the Ian does a video on one. What a pleasant coincidence.

  19. As a Mechanical Engineer Student this looks incredible, but practical? Anyway, Ian, if you see this, I was in my country most important Guns Museum (Argentina). I share the album link that I made. I think there are some things that you could find very interesting: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10217300669976088&type=1&l=676ac0f70f . Also would be awesome if you could make the trip and visit for your own. If I can assist you in any way, please contact me. (photos only reveal about 30% of the total).

  20. It would be great of you guys at forgotten weapons added a black powder or flintlock playlist to your channel.

  21. It looks like the 'spur' on the barrel lever is intended to press the button to allow the cylinder to rotate. You stop retracting the lever just prior to it depressing the button. Is this the case?

  22. I love guns so much. There's just something about cool looking and the simply complex design of them that just spikes my interest.

  23. Not to say it would be practical necessarily, but would it be possible to to convert one these to fire pinfire cartridges?

  24. Ian, there is no "soft" G (like "J"- i.e. "general") sound in the German language. Genhart would be pronounced with a "hard" G (i.e. "gold"). Interesting gun.

  25. I would love to see what the cartridges look like, I wonder how many currently living people have fired a live round from one of those?

  26. The inventor could have added a lever action to rotate the cylinder that would have made it faster look carefully and you can observe the loading mechanism could be extended into a lever action style extension where the shooter could rechamber a new round without having to take his eyes off the target could have made this a potent rifle.

  27. Based on the damage I suspect the lever had been broken of at some point (probably when the stock was damaged) thrown in a closet or something and forgotten about. Someone eventually inherited it/found it, had no clue how it functioned and proceeded to try to pry the turret out of it, which would explain those chips in it. Maybe the stock was further damaged, (or damaged initially) by some one trying to get in there to cam the barrel back forward.

  28. Since it's a 10 round turret cylinder it's almost California legal all it needs is a Bullet Button to slow down that change of the turret

  29. Hey Ian, What was that button looking thing(assuming it is a button) in the trigger guard in front of the trigger? Thanks for all you do. Have learned so much from your channel. Truly one of the best firearm content on YouTube.

  30. Does the safety issue of a turret style revolver carry over to guns like the Lewis gun with its style of magazine?

  31. заряжать заебёшься. лучше бы сделали втупую простой револьверный барабан,

  32. Ian i have a major question

    What is the difference between Pederson self-loading rifle and the Luger Selbstlader model 06

  33. Is this particular model representative of the general design of the Genhart rifles? Based on the location of the cocking lever, that rifle seems as if it was purposely and perfectly designed for left-handed shooters… which I approve of greatly as a southpaw shooter myself! With a longer lever, I guess that it could be fine for a right-handed shooter, but I'm quite amused to see that European designers were considering ambidexterity even back in the 19th century.

  34. Looks that that handle was redesigned a bit to also depress the turret lock button when you pull it all the way back to make reloads slightly faster

  35. hey ian i am from belgium. maybe you can help me. i need a person who is capable of callibrating a gun. any ideas??

  36. From an engineering point of view, very interesting how they managed to manufacture those parts with a degree of precision. If they made that wheel to be mechanically windable with spring tension, that would save one manual action after each shot.

  37. I wonder if the two vent holes were also so you could visually check if you had a round about to rotate into battery and in the other hole see if that chamber had fired. Not ideal in terms of safety but less faff then removing the whole cylinder.

  38. I've read of these things, but never even seen a picture. Thank you for showing us this, Ian. And if this is the best in class, I'm glad I skipped it. This thing is neat, but it's horrifying to.

    Looking at this latching system to go to the next chamber, I have to wonder if Genhart was a lefty.

  39. Correct me if I'm wrong, but if one were to turn that barrel camming lever a little farther back, wouldn't it press that cylinder release plunger? Thus allowing you to maintain a grip on the gun with one hand and "reloading" with the other.

  40. I have been slack in my job. Genhart's U. S. Patent for "Improvement in Repeating Fire-Arms" is 16,477 issued 27 January 1857.

  41. Funny how I copied and pasted Genhart Horizontal Turret Rifle and went to RockIslandAuction and went through many many different auctions and found it nowhere. I know you cannot link right to it off youtube but you are linked right to it so why not on your webpage have the link right there as this is prob the 10th time I have tried to find about the auctions and cant ever find anything. Hard to buy if you cant find it to buy it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  42. Could have named it the merry go round rifle. Like a sparkler pin wheel, you just didn’t know which way it might shoot, keeps it interesting. But as the calliope that crashed to the ground, the turret gun, slowly bowed out. Probably just not complex enough for the time.

    Like the Chinese novel Spots On Wall,
    by Whoo Flung Dung.

  43. Now I imagine a horizontal turret rifle with todays brass and a pump action for completely cycling the gun.

  44. The long, slow pan just makes the whole gun fuzzy and hard to see because the camera constantly smears the image. 🙁

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