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This is a very nice example of an incredibly rare 10-barrel Model 1873 Nordenfelt crank handle volley gun. This weapon was reportedly originally designed at the end of the 1860s by Helge Palmcrantz (July 7, 1842-November 22, 1880), a Swedish inventor, and subsequently financially backed in the early 1870s by Thorsten Nordenfelt (March 1, 1842-February 8, 1920), a Swedish steel producer and banker operating out of London, as a multi-barreled, volley firing weapon. Both of the aforementioned names have British patents relating to the designs of the gun, ammunition and carriage. The gun was officially named the "Nordenfelt machine gun" with the Nordenfelt Guns and Ammunition Company operating with sales offices in London and a plant set up in England. These guns were made in anywhere between single, 2, 3, 5, 6, 10 and 12-barrel configurations and offered in a variety of calibers. An early variant of the gun was demonstrated to the Swedish Defense Minister in 1868, and it was subsequently bought into the Swedish Army. During a demonstration at Portsmouth naval base in England, a 10-barrel Nordenfelt, like this example offered, reportedly fired 3,000 rounds in 3 minutes and 3 seconds without any stoppages, which was a very respectable feat for the time. The British Royal Navy officially adopted the Nordenfelt in addition to their Gardner and Gatling guns then in use. The Nordenfelt gun was eventually overshadowed by the Maxim machine gun as designed by Sir Hiram Maxim. Thorsten Nordenfelt eventually merged operations with the Maxim Gun Company to officially become Maxim-Nordenfelt Guns and Ammunition Company Limited in 1888. Shortly after, Thorsten Nordenfelt suffered a personal bankruptcy and was forced out of the Maxim-Nordenfelt company in 1890. Although a few examples are known in prominent museums, Nordenfelt guns never gained widespread success, and any surviving example today is considered extremely rare and desirable as an evolutionary piece in the story of "machine gun" development. The weapon basically functions by simply moving the side mounted crank handle backwards and forwards. The initial operation of the weapon is by retracting the crank handle to the rear, this movement retracts the breech bolts rearward, which in turn allows ten rounds to drop from the gravity feed hopper magazine located on top of the weapon through the cutouts on top of the receiver/top cover. Upon pushing the crank handle forward, this advances the breech bolts forward, while simultaneously positioning the rounds in line with the chambers in which the ten rounds fire at the end of travel. The operation is repeated with the addition of the extraction and ejection function for each cartridge, in which the empty shells drop out the bottom. The speed or cyclic rate of firing is determined by how fast the operator can move the crank handle forward and backwards. The weapon itself is all machined steel with a "U" shaped frame in which the ten barrels are mounted in parallel, with a brass breechblock, dual blade and notch sights on the left and right with elevation adjustable rear sights. The gun is mounted on a museum quality professionally made reproduction carriage with a single large elevation knob mechanism for the gun on the left side and a large hand-cranked, worm-gear driven traverse mechanism on the bottom of the gun. The matching serial number "163" is marked on the frame and on some of the components. A small circled "RA" logo is stamped in a few spots. Museum quality professionally made reproduction crank firing handle and right rear sight elevation dial, with the originals of each included (the included original sight dial is cracked/partially absent). Museum quality professionally made reproduction cartridge transfer bar. The gun is chambered in a necked .43 centerfire caliber and includes some dummy cartridges.
Fine with a mix of gray and brown patina on the iron with some scattered patches of light surface pitting. Professionally made museum quality reproduction firing handle, sight elevation adjustment knob, cartridge transfer bar, magazine and some small screws as mentioned above. The professionally made reproduction iron carriage is very fine, retains 97% green painted finish with a few scattered small chips, and the wheels are sturdy with some mild paint wear on the outer bands. Mechanically excellent. Surviving examples of Nordenfelt Volley "Machine" guns are extremely rare in any form, with the limited remaining examples residing in museums. Opportunities to acquire one are next to nonexistent!
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