POTD: Basically a Shotgun But Accurate? – Harrington Volley Pistol
Welcome to today’s Photo of the Day! Here we have a unique volley gun designed by Henry Harrington (yes, it does sounds like a made-up name). Volley guns are rifles or pistols that have one fixed barrel apparatus that contains multiple rifled barrels within the larger one. All barrels fire at once making it a cloud of bullets much like that of a shotgun but arguably more accurate since most of the time these barrels are rifled. At the very least they have some extra spin to go further faster. This volley pistol is very rare. It has seven barrels and this example shows off everything tha originally came in the case.
“He is actually best remembered outside of gun collecting as a manufacturer of cutlery. In fact, his company, founded in 1818, is credited as the first U.S. cutlery manufacturer and remains the largest manufacturer of cutlery within the country today. He produced a limited number of long guns and handguns of various patterns based on this “volley” design, including some with an incredible number individual chambers. All of these firearms are incredibly rare and desirable, and most are fairly unique given the variety of calibers, single versus double hammer varieties, barrel lengths, different materials, etc. Norm Flayderman indicated a three-shot was the norm, if a norm could really be established among the extant examples, and this seven-shot pistol is believed to be the finest Henry Harrington patent volley pistol extant. It is certainly made especially desirable by the inclusion of three additional breechblocks and other accessories. While the individual .12 caliber conical bullets from this pistol don’t sound like they would pack much of a punch, a cluster of seven of them at short range would certainly be unpleasant to say the least. Reloading on this single hammer example is very easy. You slide the lever ahead of the trigger guard to the right, pull the hammer back, and lift the breechblock out. Then, you place another loaded breechblock in its place and slide the lever to the left to lock it in place. There is no half-cock, so the hammer is either going to be left resting on a live cap if the gun is primed or left with the hammer back over a live cap. This would certainly be rather risky. Reloading the breechblocks involves first seating the seven individual bullets in their respective chambers and then filling the powder chamber from the rear.”
Lot 129: Cased Henry Harrington Patent Seven-Shot Volley Pistol – Outstanding Henry Harrington Patented Breech Loading Percussion Seven-Shot Volley Pistol with Presentation Case and Accessories Including Three Additional Breechblocks [Photograph found in Auction Catalog #81, Rock Island Auction Company]. (n.d.). Retrieved August 7, 2022, from https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/81/129/cased-henry-harrington-patent-sevenshot-volley-pistol