Springfield Armory Museum - Collection Record

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Maker/Manufacturer:GATLING, RICHARD J.
Date of Manufacture:C 1881
Eminent Figure:
Catalog Number:SPAR 1530
Measurements:OL: 78.7CM 31" BL: 45.7CM 18" 10 barrels

Object Description:

Manufactured by Colt, Hartford, Ct. - Standard 10-barrel Gatling "Bulldog," totally enclosed in brass housing with direct drive crank in back. Complete with magazine and oscillator and shows no signs of having been fired. Weapon has an overall length of 31" and the barrels measure 18". Bolts do not function properly in their guides and therefore have been removed. Weapon is complete with magazine and oscillator and shows no signs of having been fired. A majority of the 10-barrel Gatling "Bulldogs" were purchased by China. Attached to tripod SPAR-1529

Colt-Gatling patent plate on breech.
Left rimbase: 45 CAL.
Right rimbase: NO. 335.

Notes: "Nearly all earlier Gatlings had exposed barrels - notable exceptions were some bronze-encased Model 1874 and 1875 guns made for the U.S. Navy. The 1877 Bulldog was the first regular production model to have its barrels and breech section fully enclosed in a cylindrical housing of bronze, giving the appearance of a small cannon. Front end was covered by a bronze plate, through which the muzzles protruded slightly.
The main shaft or axle, about which the barrels revolved, extended the length of the gun from muzzle plate back through the cascabel plate at the other end. Operating crank was rear-mounted in the Bulldog, rather than being located at the side, as in other Gatlings, and was attached directly to the end of the main shaft. Thus, instead of operating through the usual system of gears, which slowed the rate of fire, the Bulldog's drive was direct and each turn of the crank produced a complete revolution of the barrel unit. Rate of fire was as high as 1,000 rounds per minute - about twice that of the typical machine gun of World War II....
Chambered for the .45/70 Government cartridge, the Model 1877 Bulldog had 5 18-inch barrels rifled one turn in 22 inches (a number of guns, most of which were brought by China, had ten barrels). It weighed only 90 pounds and was usually mounted on a tripod of the type of the Model 1876 Gatling; a few of these guns were fitted to small almost miniature, artillery carriages, while some of the ten-barreled variety were furnished on cavalry carts. Ammunition was gravity-fed from a box magazine; some guns later were adapted to Bruce feed. A round, bronze legend plate on the breech casing bore both Colt and Gatling markings; serial number appeared on the casing just about the right trunnion. Lateral aiming adjustment was obtained through the oscillating device. Elevation adjustment was controlled by a jackscrew in the base of the yoke or through the trail of the field carriage.
During the summer of 1876, prototypes of the Model 1877 Bulldog were submitted to the U.S. Government for testing: a short, five-barrel model and a similar gun with ten barrels of musket length. Trials were held August 16-23 at Sandy Hook, New Jersey, by a board of army officers headed by Col. Silas Crispin. An inventor in his own right - the Crispin metallic cartridges (now much sought after by collectors) and such firearms as the Crispin revolver, patented 1865, manufactured by Smith Arms Company, New York City - Crispin was a career ordnance man of considerable ability and experience. The Gatling Gun had to be good to pass his expert scrutiny.
On August 18, the small gun was tested for rapidity of fire; 1,000 rounds were discharged in one minute nineteen seconds, an unheard-of performance in those days. The same gun, when tested for accuracy, scored 996 hits out of 1,000 shots fired at a range of 500 yards. Tested with several different brands of ammunition, it functioned satisfactorily with all.
One defect was noted: it was found that a number of fired cases had the heads torn off by the extractors. At the gun's high rate of fire, the initial rearward movement of the breech bolt was so powerful that it occasionally would rip the head from a cartridge case. The trial board recommended a wider extractor that would grasp a greater area of the cartridge rim and minimize this hazard.
The fo'Two guns were submitted by the company for tests, one being a short five-barreled gun, designed for cavalry service, the other a long ten-barreled gun for flank defense.
The improvements in the gun intended for service with cavalry, consist in a change of the position and attachment of the crank from the side to the rear, greatly facilitating and increasing the speed of revolution of the gun and rapidity of its fire; the feed-cases are entered more readily to the receiver, and stand vertically, thus insuring a direct fall and feed of the metallic cases; the exterior form of the receivers admits of reversing the motion of the crank without danger of jamming the cases. All the working parts as well as the barrels are encased in bronze, affording better protection from dust and dirt to the gun. It is lighter and of less expense construction, and more compact in appearance. An automatic device attached to the breech of this gun gives a transversing motion through a small angle, which can be set to suit range and circumstances of fire, and is worked by the crank operating the gun. The increased rapidity of fire is seen, from the examination of the record, to be more than double that of the old model ten-barreled gun, and its accuracy is by no means impaired.
The board is of opinion that the application of the crank to the rear, vertical feed, automatic transversing motion, lightness, cheapness, etc., are all important improvements.
All the changes and improvements in the Gatling gun for cavalry service are equally applicable to the long-barreled gun for flank defense....
The U.S. Army subsequently bought seventeen of the Model 1877 Bulldogs (serial Nos. 190, 203-218) and several also were purchased by the U.S. Navy. Probably the best of the Gatling Guns, the Bulldog enjoyed a considerable sale in the U.S. and abroad." - Paul Wahl & Don Toppel

"The sand of the desert is sodden red -
Red with the wreck of a square that broke -
The Gatling's jammed and the colonel dead,
And the regiment blind with the dust and smoke. - Sir Henry Newbolt

Army #6730 - GATLING M1877 SN# 214 - Disposal. Shipped -D-56-H. This weapon was sent to the Commanding General, Eglin Field, Florida in May of 1956.

1866-M1866 IMPROVED-.50-70-UNKNOWN-COLT-U.S. ARMY-50.
1871-M1871-.50-70-100 TO 108-COLT-U.S. ARMY-9.
1871-M1871-1"-121-COLT-U.S. ARMY-1.
1874-M1874 LONG-.45-70-57 TO 63 & 105 COLT.
1875-M1874 CAMEL-.45-70-1 TO 56-COLT-U.S. ARMY-56
1875-M1875 LONG-.45-70-107 TO 146, 163-166-COLT-U.S. ARMY-44.
1875-M1875 CAMEL-.45-70-159 TO 162-COLT-U.S. ARMY-4.
1876-M1876 LONG-.45-70-170 TO 188-COLT-U.S. NAVY-19.
1877-M1877 LONG-.45-70-191 TO 193 & 196-201-COLT-U.S. ARMY-11
1879-M1879-.45-70-225,225.226,226-229 & 231-242-COLT-U.S. ARMY-18.
Serial numbers 225 and 226 were issued twice through errors at the Colt factory.
1880-M1879-.45-70-245 TO 258-COLT-U.S. ARMY-14.
1881-M1881-.45-70-295 TO 319-COLT-U.S. ARMY-25.
1882-M1881-.45-70-321, 323-COLT-U.S. ARMY-2.
1883-M1883-.45-70-342-381-COLT-U.S. ARMY-40.
1885-M1885-.45-70-405 TO 425-COLT-U.S. ARMY-21.
1886-M1886-.45-70-431 TO 450-COLT-U.S. ARMY-20.
1887-M1887-.45-70-457 TO 476-COLT-U.S. ARMY-20.
1889-M1889-.45-70-492 TO 509-COLT-U.S. ARMY-18.
1891-M1891-.45-70-510 TO 527-COLT-U.S. ARMY-18.
1892-M1892-.45-70-530-547-COLT-U.S. ARMY-18.
1893-M1893-.30-40-1001 TO 1018-COLT-U.S. ARMY-18.
1898-M1895-.30-40-1032 TO 1049, 1081-1125, 1050-1080-COLT-U.S. ARMY -84.
1907-M1903-.30-06-1128-1159-COLT-U.About 175 guns prior to the 1907 contract were rechambered for .30-06. These guns had -06 added to the end of the serial number.
Serial numbers run in consecutive sequence from 1874-1911.
There are several contracts to the U.S. Navy during the late 1890 period but the records do not indicate the exact serial numbers.

UNITED STATES MARTIAL & COLLECTORS ARMS. Military Arms and Research Service. San Jose, Ca. 1971.
Wahl, Paul & Don Toppel. THE GATLING GUN. Arco Publishing Co. N.Y., N.Y. 1965.

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