The one Mr. Twain commented on was a more advanced model, with 6 barrels which rotated when you pulled the trigger.
Sorry about the fuzzy image, but this one has 4 barrels, and must be indexed by hand before firing the next shot. Caliber is .36, which turns out to be .357. More on that in the next post.
Twains remarks as follows:
George Bemis . . . wore in his belt an old original "Allen" revolver, such as irreverent people called a "pepper-box." Simply drawing the trigger back, cocked and fired the pistol. As the trigger came back, the hammer would begin to rise and the barrel to turn over, and presently down would drop the hammer, and away would speed the ball. To aim along the turning barrel and hit the thing aimed at was a feat which was probably never done with an "Allen" in the world. But George's was a reliable weapon, nevertheless, because, as one of the stage-drivers afterward said, "If she didn't get what she went after, she would fetch something else." And so she did. She went after a deuce of spades nailed against a tree, once, and fetched a mule standing about thirty yards to the left of it. Bemis did not want the mule; but the owner came out with a double-barreled shotgun and persuaded him to buy it, anyhow. It was a cheerful weapon--the "Allen." Sometimes all its six barrels would go off at once, and then there was no safe place in all the region round about, but behind it.Sounds exciting, if possibly expensive. Mine is so poorly designed, ergonomically that a conventional grip
Causes the barrel to rise about 30-40 degrees when you pull the trigger. Even at close range this will result in a hole in the bad guys hat, and an even more pissed-off bad guy. The trigger works best if you hold it at about waist lever, or just under the poker table,
Place the barrel against the underside of the poker table, and use the middle finger to pull the trigger more up than back.
I got this as an unfinished kit. Got it cleaned up and finished out, then tried it with a very light load and some quickie plastic bullets. Load was 8 gr of 3f under a fabricated Teflon bullet about 3/8 in long with a pointy nose. Not very scientific, but hey, watch the results. Our first target was an empty cardboard box, 14 x 14, with one top flap up, so overall target is 14 wide x 21 high.
1st shot, me shooting at about 5 feet. Shot from hip using poker table grip. I hit box in the upper LH corner of the flap. I Felt disappointed in distance from center of box (aim point).
2nd shot: Partner tries gun. Same box, same distance. He uses the more conventional grip, and misses the box completely. He tells me to let a 3rd partner in crime try the last one.
3rd shot: PIC #3 takes conventional stance in his back yard, aims at the center of the narrow side of a small barn at about 15 feet. Success, sort of. He hits barn about 8 in below the 15 foot high eave. The bullet bounces off the side of the barn, hits the eave, bounces off the eave, hits a chair in back yard about 10 ft in front of us, bounces off the chair, hits a motorcycle about 5 ft to my right, bounces off the motorcycle, and comes to rest in thicket of vines.
Please observe all safety precautions, such as safety glasses. We did.
Everything Mr. Twain said about the Pepperbox is confirmed. I feel like Deadeye Dick for hitting the box at all.
The thing is a hoot at the range, loaded up with a proper dose of 3f powder and a .36 cal ball. I let other people shoot is, and enjoy the look of puzzlement on their faces when they miss the human silhouette target at 5 feet. The barrel is so heavy that recoil is negligible.
This is the ready-to-fire orientation of the barrel. The others, I guess, would be the safe position that doesn't leave the hammer sitting directly on a percussion cap.