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This is a fine representative example of a U.S. Government inspected Colt Model 1883 Gatling Gun. Ahead of the Accles drum magazine the casing is marked/engraved "MANUFD BY/Colt's Pat F.A. Mfg. Co/HARTFORD CONN." and "U.S.A." in ornate script accented by some scrollwork. It is inscribed "J.C.A." (J.C. Ayers, inspector c. 1881-1883) just behind the magazine over a round "keyhole" plaque marked "GATLING GUN/PATENTED" with scroll accents and then "MODEL 1883/No 349/CAL. 45". The gun includes one donut shaped brass Accles drum magazine with a "D.F.C." (David F. Clark, inspector) mark by the ring. These "donut" drums were the most advanced feed method used on Gatling guns but proved too sensitive for sustained field use. They held 104 rounds of ammunition but could be disabled if they were not kept immaculately clean or if they were dented by enemy fire or poor handling. The speed on this model is variable and depended on which position the lever is in and how fast the operator rotates it. The "D.F.C." inspected bolts are numbered "1" through "10" with matching assembly number "9" and a mixture of numbers visible on the rear of each bolt. The Model 1883 has two sets of sights so that it can be fired with either 405 or 500 grain bullets without correction. The black painted pedestal has golden yellow painted markings reading "COLT/GATLING/GUN/MODEL 1883/No 349/CAL. 45" on the side. Gatling guns were incredibly useful against massed attacks and in suppressing the enemy while the main ground forces prepared to charge. Their very presence could lead to surrender or retreat. According to Wahl and Toppel in "The Gatling Gun," "Time and again, during its long history, the Gatling Gun proved itself a 'super riot gun'-a little of its characteristic 'music' or just the sight of its menacing multiple muzzles was usually enough to discourage a mob." They were used by armies around the world and were especially suited for use on naval vessels. They largely replaced the use of heavier "grapeshot" firing artillery pieces and could be fitted to a variety of carriages and mounts depending on their intended role. Gatling guns paved the way for modern machine gun designs by demonstrating the utility of high rates of fire in warfare and forever altered battlefields around the world.
Fine with a bright golden patina showing evidence of light cleaning on the brass, minor marks and scratches, distinct markings, and generally minor overall wear. Artificially aged modern replacement crank handle and yoke retaining pins. A few absent small screws. The safety mechanism does not properly function, otherwise mechanically excellent. The pedestal has minimal storage wear and excellent contrast between the applied golden yellow painted markings and accents and the black background. The Colt Gatling Gun is easily one of the most recognizable and impressive weapons used in American history and is the missing piece in the most advanced U.S. military collections!
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