Watch: Porter Turret Rifle; Which Way Will it Fire?


Watch: Porter Turret Rifle; Which Way Will it Fire?

We all love revolving rifles. Well, I do anyhow, and I love seeing the things that inventors came up with to increase firepower. This is a fairly dramatic example of an attempt to make a repeating rifle in the days before metallic cartridges became practical and widely available.

The one which Ian of Forgotten Weapons is showing us here is one of the first versions of this gun, and man does it look good, especially considering that it was built in the 1850s. I have no doubt that this one has been refinished, but it appears to have been done well.

Multiple cap and ball loads are loaded in chambers within a turret, which rotates vertically, and then (in theory) each chamber will be fired when it aligns with the barrel. There are nine chambers on this one.

This first model was pretty complex. A side-mounted hammer operating above a “magazine of caps” would strike one of the caps, the flame would travel through a hole in the receiver, through a hole in the turret, and into the chamber where it would ignite the powder charge.

I can see this system getting those flash holes gunked up pretty quickly, and any inclement weather would be likely to foul the powder.

The right side of the action opens waaaay up, to allow access to the turret, or cylinder.


Chambers galore… and some of them are facing the shooter! They’re also blocking the traditional line of sight down the center of the rifle…


So the sights are set off to one side. Southpaws beware!

This is one of Ian’s best videos in that he is able to clearly demonstrate how the action operates–mostly. It is pretty complicated and seems to be missing part of the mechanism for the cap magazine.

This rifle sold for a hammer price of $4,313.

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Editor & Contributing Writer Russ Chastain is a lifelong hunter and shooter who has spent his life learning about hunting, shooting, guns, ammunition, gunsmithing, reloading, and bullet casting. He started toting his own gun in the woods at age nine and he's pursued deer with rifles since 1982, so his hunting knowledge has been growing for more than three and a half decades. His desire and ability to share this knowledge with others has also grown, and Russ has been professionally writing and editing original hunting & shooting content since 1998. Russ Chastain has a passion for sharing accurate, honest, interesting hunting & shooting knowledge and stories with people of all skill levels.

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