Articles, Blog

Reproduction 1877 “Bulldog” Gatling Gun


Reproduction 1877 “Bulldog”
Gatling Gun Hi guys, thanks for tuning in to another
video episode on ForgottenWeapons.com. I’m Ian, and today we have a really cool thing in store, we have a reproduction of an 1877
Bulldog Gatling Gun that we are going to set up and do some shooting on. Looking forward to this, should
be very cool. This is in .45-70. This is arguably one of the best
versions of the Gatling Gun. And we’ve got it here still in the crates
because I think a lot of people don’t appreciate just how stupid heavy this stuff
is. So we’re looking at probably 250 to 300 pounds worth of gear here
that we have to pull out. So we figured we’d show you it packed up, and then
get started with some assembly. This is the cradle assembly. So, this locks in with the
ball inside this brass piece. So to put it in, you have to slide it
up and then drop the trunnions. [inaudible] There’s your crank handle. Now one of the
interesting things about the Gatling mechanism, the way this is set up, is that this nut
is actually what adjusts your headspace. The tighter this gets, the farther it pushes the whole
bolt and rotating assembly against the breech faces. So we have this button right here, push that down. We have headspace already
marked on this gun, set it right there. But if you get into a situation where the gun gets
dirty or gets very hot, you simply push the button in and unscrew … It’s set on a set of clicks, or notches, and you unscrew to increase the headspace
until the gun functions right again. So, Dr. Gatling invented this gun
in the early part of the Civil War, and it’s interesting that his very first
model was put together really before metallic cartridges had become mainstream. And
the very first models, instead of using cartridges, he used a series of reusable chambers. So you’d have a steel chamber about
yay long, and pack it with powder and ball, and then you’d actually have a
magazine feed of those chambers. And after the gun fired it would drop the empty
chamber out and someone would have to pick those up and reload them in
order to keep shooting the gun. That obviously didn’t work very well, it
had a lot of problems with gas sealing, and it just wasn’t a real efficient
mechanism. So pretty quickly Gatling revised this to use the new metallic
cartridges that were just coming onto the scene. Now by this model, the 1877, they’d
really perfected a lot of the Gatling system. And so we can take a look here and see how it works.
It’s impressive that this is really a very simple gun, and very reliable especially given
its age and when it was developed. This is the feed magazine. You can put
a box [block] of 20 cartridges up here, and the rims are caught in these two grooves.
You put a box in, bring it down, pull the box off, and then you have manually selected
two columns of cartridges to feed from. Inside the gun we have a latch
right here that we can pull open. And as I crank the handle, what Gatling
did is he had a bolt for each individual barrel. And as you crank the gun, the bolts all ride in cams, and so each bolt is doing a different task at the same time. The gun obviously loads here vertically
from the top, where the magazine is, and then it is over the process of about not
quite half a revolution, the cartridge is chambered, it’s fired at about the 7 o’clock
position down in the bottom of the gun. For the next third of a turn or so,
the cartridge is … extracted, and then right about here the empty
case is … ejected out the side of the gun. There are a number of advantages to a system like this. Primarily if you have a cartridge that doesn’t
fire, it simply continues through the process, gets extracted and thrown out, whereas a gun
with a single bolt would have a malfunction often if … a cartridge misfired. The Gatling
just eats a misfire, throws it out and keeps going. Now disassembly. By 1877 they had added this slick system
to make disassembly very easy on the gun, a plug on the back of the case. So you pull this plug out, and then we can line up a bolt, and the bolt simply slides out the
back of the gun, and this is all there is to it. We have a firing pin (this one’s nice
and greasy), we have an extractor, and a nice big guide rod that the bolt
runs in. So really a very simple gun. These were very reliable in the field, unlike a
lot of repeating guns of the 1860s and 1870s. The Gatling was quite the success. In fact there was one military test done
on a single Gatling that fired 100,000 rounds of ammunition in a 3 day testing period. Basically without parts breakage or malfunction,
which is impressive by anyone’s standards. Right, well let’s load this up
and see what it’s like to shoot. Alright so as I was saying a wooden
cartridge block sets our ammunition up, and I put it right there, slide it
down, then we can pull the block off. There we go, 20 rounds ready to go. So normally while you are doing this you
would have an assistant gunner loading, while the gunner is shooting, to keep the gun fed. We just have me in front of the camera here, so. So, as you may have probably noticed, the
Bulldog model here has the crank handle on the very back of the gun, where
most Gatlings are on the side. This was done for mechanical simplicity. This
can be connected directly to the whole mechanism, where the side mounted guns
had to have a gear reduction involved. The other side effect of doing that is that these
Bulldog guns are capable of a higher rate of fire than the earlier side handle Gatlings,
simply because there isn’t a gear reduction. So every revolution of that handle will fire five shots. In theory, with a practiced operator, and assuming
you have a loading crew that can keep up with you, one of these guys can put out right
about 1,000 rounds a minute, and that was in 1877, which was
quite a technological feat. So I’m gonna go ahead and run this one as fast as
I can smoothly, because it sounds really impressive. Based on counting frames of film, this burst
was going at 880 rounds/minute… let’s watch
it again So once we’re all done in order to
safely clear the gun, it’s important that like, in fact, like some later machine guns, it’s
possible to have live cartridges in the gun but not visible from the top, because
they’re part way through the cylinder cycle, what you can do is actually crank the gun backwards which will have the same extraction process
in reverse, and it will not trip the firing pins. Now this wasn’t a feature on the original
guns, but it is on these reproductions, and it’s an important safety factor as such. So I have in fact shot this one dry.
If I had not, cranking backwards like that would throw any leftover cases out the side of the gun. You should also be aware, the owner of this
particular gun has a second one of these reproductions that he is interested in selling. So if you’re in
the market for something awesome like this, drop us a line and we’ll put you in touch with him. Thanks for watching guys.

100 thoughts on “Reproduction 1877 “Bulldog” Gatling Gun

  1. I wonder how fast you could theoretically get this shooting without malfunctioning. Like would a motor mounted on the back rather than the crank cause issues?

  2. I have a picture from my Great Granpa team Galting gun have from 3 to 5 people like team cannon gun . 1 men shooting 1,2 men reloading , 2 another people have mission protect and help reloading men change box ammo when there over and change if 1 in of them down

  3. From a google search, "If you have $56,000 burning a hole in your pocket and want a neat reproduction of a historic firearm, check out the Colt Model 1877 Bulldog …"
    Also with the crank on the back it would be real easy to add an electric motor and make a mini gun.

  4. I remember seeing advertisements for this gun years ago chambered in 38 Special. Either one would be a force not to be trifled with.

  5. This would be amazing in a cheaper design for military .50 cal on humvees exc it would just spit out the misfire instead of having to rack it over and over and over to get it to feed

  6. I want this for home defense. Dig yourself a fighting position on your front lawn and put this bad boy on it

  7. Put a motor in the place of the crank and see how fast it can fire. 😁👍Great video. 👍👍👍👍

  8. “Grab my massive Gatling, light you like a firecracker, pow!” That was from a bioshock 2 rap by jet music

  9. One of those guns today with a belt feed and right conditions could decimate even a modern police force.

  10. With a couple of these babies on last stand hill……….custer could have wiped out the entire indian nations of the northern plains in one afternoon.

  11. The best part is you can put ether a drill or some kind of moader and a power source than you have a minigun.

  12. Can you image never hearing of these before and going up against one in a firefight for the first time, just hearing those rounds go off in fast succession

  13. I wonder if anyone had thought of mounting some sort of windup mechanism into the crank, so you can lay down a stream of suppressing fire without any interruption . . .

  14. Now im wondering if its possible to convert a gatling to fire modern ammo, also, using an engine or generator, i want to know how fast the gatling can fire without failure.

  15. I never understand why people have to make guns “gold” if it gets scratched it’s easy to see if it gets dirty it’s easy to see and it can be a pain to clean and repair

  16. One can only imagine with horror the carnage caused for massed infantry and cavalry. Facing a battery of these guns was certain death for most.

  17. I had to drag my grandfather out the room and throw him in a cold shower when this was on…..he started drooling and steam was coming out of his trousers!

  18. Newfangled technology will never catch on. Heck, I could of reloaded my rifle at least TWICE in the time it took to set that monster up.

  19. Very informative but you did not show any downrange video while the gun was in action! Re-positioning the camera tripod behind you and the gun while cranking would have sufficed. But thanks for showing us the gun.

  20. Beautiful piece wow. Amazing, and .45-70!? Lmao!

    I would love to see a modernized .45/70 mag fed modular rifle, sorta like the HCAR .30-06 (which sadly didn’t make the splash I wish it did)

  21. @Forgotten Weapons >>> Were both the rear-crank and side-crank gatlings equal when it came to aiming?

    I always guessed the aim of the rear-crank version would tend to wander more than the side-crank version.

  22. Something I've often contemplated, Gatling Guns are not considered machineguns as they do not harness the energy created by firing to work the mechanism, whether it be recoil-actuation, blowback, or gas-operation. But… what if they could? Wouldn't there be lots of options to harness the firing of rounds into rotary energy? Like, say, a muzzle-brake on each barrel made to vent the firing gasses in such a way that it rotates the barrels so the next one automatically fires? Or perhaps a recoiling barrel design where each barrel travels to the rear a bit as it fires with the rear sliding along an internal ramp to generate lateral motion to again rotate the barrels?

  23. Damn you could hook that up to a belt and have a motor or a guy on a stationary bike or whatever and it'd go real fast…

  24. Any of you ever seen the 1885 Hotchkiss revolving cannon? Its basically a Gatling gun but its chambered for 53mm. It was a artillery piece. I got to see one fired a few years ago and it was awesome to see something like that being fired

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *