Ripley machine gun

The Ripley Machine Gun was a volley gun, an early precursor of the machine gun, patented in 1861 by Ezra Ripley.[1] Although it was likely never actually produced, it demonstrated a number of basic concepts that were employed in the design of the Gatling Gun that was patented the following year.

Method of action

The design, as patented, consists of nine fixed barrels attached to a limbers and caissons. The weapon is loaded with a cylinder containing nine rounds of ammunition, arranged so that the rounds line up with the barrels of the weapon. A firing handle is then attached, locking the cylinder into place.

The weapon was fired by rotating the handle, the barrels firing in sequence. By rotating the handle quickly a high rate of fire could be achieved, or slowly, single shots. Once the nine rounds of ammunition in the chamber were expended, the cylinder could be removed for reloading and a fresh cylinder could be inserted into the breech.

The weapon was most probably never built,[2] and was passed over in favor of volley guns like the Billinghurst Requa Battery.


  • George M. Chinn, The Machine Gun, Volume I, 1951


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.