Opening Shot: Model 1883 and No. 353 Gatling Guns

by
posted on November 5, 2019
gatgun.jpg

Those words, from Rudyard Kipling’s 1890 poem “Gunga Din,” served as the inspiration for a 1939 movie by the same name starring Cary Grant, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Victor McLaughlin and Sam Jaffe. In the classic film’s final battle scene, two Gatling guns and their field carriages are offloaded from elephants, set up and put into action by the soon-to-be victorious British troops. Both of those guns now reside at NRA’s National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Va. They are Model 1883s, Serial No. 341 (shown here) and No. 353, chambered in .45-70 Gov’t, and they were made by “Colts Pat. F.A. Mfg. Co. Hartford Conn. USA”—as most were. Part of the Robert E. Peterson Collection, they were previously in the J.S. Stembridge gun rental collection at Paramount Studios.

The manually operated gun has 10 barrels that are fully encased in brass, and on its top is an Accles 104-round, positive-feed drum, patented by James G. Accles on Dec. 18, 1883. Unlike previous Gatlings, the crank could be mounted on either the right side or at the rear—providing direct drive—with an impressive cyclic rate of up to 1,500 rounds per minute, provided there were no issues with the finicky Accles system.

Serial No. 341 is part of the museum’s “Hollywood Guns” exhibit, and thanks to the Robert Peterson Estate, you can see Serial No. 353 (in its original box) as well as seven more Gatlings in chamberings from .30-40 Krag to .50-70 Gov’t at the National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Va.

Latest

GForce LVR410
GForce LVR410

Review: GForce LVR410

With a long and storied history in the United States, lever-action carbines continue to be favorites among modern American shooting sports enthusiasts. This evaluation takes a closer look at the 24"-barreled LVR410, which is being imported by GForce Arms, Inc. of Reno, Nev.

Editor’s Choice: “In Country | My Memories Of Vietnam And After”

I met author Forrest R. Lindsey at a gun show where he graciously provided a signed copy of this remarkable account of his experiences as a young man enlisting in the Marine Corps a year after high school in 1965.

The Armed Citizen® Feb. 26, 2024

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.

.30-’06 Springfield: History & Performance

The .30-’06 Springfield has reached beyond the century mark, but its popularity shows no sign of decline. It fundamentally changed how shooters and hunters look at and use rifles, and it remains one of America’s most popular big-game cartridges.

Preview: WCG Tactical Nylon AR-10/.308/M1A 20-Round Magazine Pouch

Built from highly durable 1000 denier synthetic polymer, the Tactical Nylon AR-10/.308/M1A 20-Round Magazine Pouch from Wilde Custom Gear is compatible with many of the 20-round detachable box magazines used across the broad spectrum of .308 Win.-chambered battle rifles.

Guns Of The 1936 Arab Revolt

The area of the former British Mandate of Palestine has been a scene of conflict for more than a century. One of the largest conflicts began in 1936 while under British imperial administration.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.