POTD: Long Before The Circuit Judge – Roper Revolving Shotgun
Welcome to today’s Photo of the Day! Here we have a product from Mr. Sylvester Roper. Known more for his contributions to motorcycles technology, Sylvester Roper teamed up with Mr. Spencer of Spencer rifle fame to create this shotgun. This is a 16 Gauge revolving shotgun, but they also made them in 12 Gauge. The mechanism is actuated via a manual open-bolt style. The hammer is cocked back like a single-action revolver and this cocks an entire bolt back that is thrust forward when the trigger is pulled. These were introduced in the mid-1860s in a time where repeating rifles were taking off, but there were next to no repeating shotguns. Nonetheless, the Roper revolving shotgun met luke-warm reception and has since faded into obscurity.
“Manufactured circa 1869-1876, this is a rare example of a revolving 16 gauge shotgun manufactured by Roper Sporting Arms Company, Hartford, Connecticut. Built around a six-round shell carrier, with a breechblock connected to the hammer. Fitted with a brass post front sight and a sighting groove along the top of the frame at the breech. The hinged loading gate is marked “ROPER. REPEATING RIFLE CO./AMHERST MASS/PATENTED APRIL 10 1866″. Blue barrel with variable choke threaded at the muzzle, casehardened housing and frame. Matching serial number on the barrel and frame under the forearm. Mounted with a smooth, nicely figured walnut forearm with pewter tip and straight grip stock with a flat steel buttplate.”
Lot 263: Rare Roper Revolving 16 Gauge Shotgun. (n.d.). Rock Island Auction Company. photograph. Retrieved January 4, 2022, from https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/66/263/rare-roper-revolving-16-gauge-shotgun.