Volley Handguns


September 22, 2009, 03:19 PM
Here is a few examples of what I am talking about:











These differ from a pepperbox gun in that all barrels are discharged at once.
Are these (some dating to the 1600s) "machineguns" under federal law or exempt as antiques or antique replicas? (Who would have known, "machineguns" existed hundreds of years ago. :rolleyes: )
Would a modern version or one using cartridges be a "machinegun"?

Where is the line between such legal multi barrel guns that discharge all rounds at one time and "machineguns"?

Is there any reasonably priced models currently produced with 4 or more barrels pointing forward?

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September 22, 2009, 03:36 PM
Black powder muzzle loading guns do not fall under the laws of the NFA of 1936.
As such, duckfoot & volley guns are not machineguns, because they are not "firearms" under the law.

A modern cartridge firing version that discharged two or more shots with one pull of the trigger would be classified as a machinegun.


September 22, 2009, 03:57 PM
That is what I thought, but I also know there is some difference between "antique" and modern muzzle loaders under the law. Antique sometimes refering to reproductions of guns that actually did exist.
Could a modern one, one that never existed before 1899, with an entirely modern design still legally discharge all barrels at the same time without violating federal law?

Could you make a 9 barreled version that discharged 3 barrels per pull of the trigger?

How about something like this on a tripod, modified to discharge only a certain number of barrels at a time?


Or one of these 37 shot versions that even have a detachable magazine:
Then modify the design to discharge a certain number of barrels at a time. Say 6-7?

September 22, 2009, 04:45 PM
Is there any reasonably priced models currently produced with 4 or more barrels pointing forward?

Not reasonably priced, but aren't there rifle/shotgun combos made in Europe that have four barrels w/ varied chamberings? As pricey as an H&H double rifle, but I don't know if they can fire all four with one pull, but I don't see why it couldn't be configured.

I don't think it'd be categorized as a MG, but it'd definitely be "a modern cartridge firing version that discharged two or more shots with one pull of the trigger". For that matter, a double barrel shotgun can do that.

Here's a good one...

September 22, 2009, 04:53 PM
None of the guns you mentioned (German Combination guns - Drilling (3 barrel) or Vierling (4 barrel), double-barrel shotguns, COP four barrel pistol, etc.) can fire more then one shot with each pull of the trigger.

If they could, or were so modified to do so, they would be classified as machineguns under the NFA.

Trust me!


September 22, 2009, 04:57 PM
1934 NFA excerpt... "... any weapon which shoots ... automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger."

Sure looks like they'd be MGs.

September 22, 2009, 05:03 PM
Yes, the Combination Guns. Not reasonably priced IIRC.


I recall hearing about older DB shotguns that used one trigger, not an SST, that had two firing positions. Pull the trigger back to the first position and one barrel fired, pull it back further for the other barrel. Pull it all the way back the first time and both fired.

I don't know if that is considered, "by a single function of the trigger", but then again, I don't even know if what I heard had any truth to it to begin with.

September 22, 2009, 05:11 PM
I would hope not.
And I have never seen such a beast.
Back in the day double guns had two triggers.

More recently, single selective triggers are more common.

Anyone who would fire both barrels of a double shotgun at once would have to really like Pain. Unnaturally so in fact!

You might find the same to be the case with a modern volley gun firing several .357 Mag or larger rounds at once.

Recoil would rather quickly get out of hand!! And the gun might too!

Those old Black Powder duckfoots and such didn't have much power, and recoil was not much of a factor.
It would be with modern smokeless powder SD handgun loads.


September 22, 2009, 05:20 PM
I've shot a few defective/broken guns in my time.

One was an O/U Stoeger Condor that would unexpectedly fire the other barrel simultaneously with the first. It did this randomly. The other was a .22lr semi-auto that would double at random times too.

That's my only experience shooting machine guns.:neener:

September 22, 2009, 06:00 PM
Take rcmodels word for it, shooting a side by side 12 gage is NOT a pleasant experience if doing both barrels at the same time. I have a Norinco side by side in 12 and once, I repeat ONCE did I fire both barrels at one time. I will NEVER do that again. I've shot some nitro express rifles that didn't hurt that bad.

September 22, 2009, 06:10 PM
When the Stoeger I described doubled, it didn't seem to hurt any more than a single fired round. The first time it did it, I didn't even know that it had doubled until I pulled the trigger again. No fire, so I broke it open to check the shells. Both had fired... who knew? I let my little brother fire it a few times too. When it arbitrarily doubled, I could tell by the sound of it, but he couldn't tell until he broke it open to check. We were shooting light target/dove loads though. After a little more shooting, when it did it again, it was perceptible in sound and recoil, but it wasn't some mule of a kick to the shoulder. Just a bit more punch.

September 22, 2009, 07:22 PM
Here's a good one...

Negative Coromo the COP357 gun fires one of the 4 barrels per pull of the trigger, it is not a volley gun.

I did run across that firearm, and that design if it did fire all four barrels at once is what I am referring to. However as a modern cartridge firearm I believe it would be a "machinegun" per the ATF if it fired more than one barrel when the trigger was pulled.

That is why I was asking, are black powder volley guns, or those made prior to 1899, or reproductions based on such firearms, subject to the "if it fires more than one round" atf ruling?

Some of these pistol designs are from the 1600s-1700s. Are they machineguns from the 1600s per the ATF?

Mike J
September 22, 2009, 08:06 PM
When I was a kid I saw a man pull both barrels on a 10 gauge double barrel at the same time. He didn't say much but you could tell it hurt.

September 23, 2009, 01:08 AM
by a single function of the trigger.

By a single function of ONE trigger, correct? So on a SxS that can fire two at a time, pulling one trigger fires one shot, and pulling the other fires another.

September 23, 2009, 01:29 AM
I had a friend's borrowed 12ga double on me once when we were out hunting. It really hurt, especially since I was only 14 at the time.

Combination guns are really interesting, but as several people have pointed out they only fire one barrel at a time. Merkel (merkel-usa.com) makes an assortment of interesting-and very expensive-drillings and other combination guns, for the curious.

IIRC, the COP 357 mag used as a prop in Blade Runner was modified to fire 2 barrels simultaneously each time the trigger was pulled. Normally, the hammer rotates each time to strike a different firing pin (The COP has a separate firing pin for each barrel).

September 23, 2009, 07:20 PM
Eh, just get yourself a gatling. I like the idea of choosing the rate of fire by my own hand. Up and close, crank that sucker like it owes you money. At long range work it like a first date you got back to your room, slow and steady. Yeah it's not a minigun, but I wouldn't want to stand in front of one when it is firing, or have to charge one for that matter. It'd be interesing if a lever action, or "lever fired' modified style rifle with a box magazine, could be done in much the same science as a gatling. Where with each lowering of the lever by one inch, the gun fires, now granted you'd have to hold the gun tight, and continues t ofire as you rase it. With each inch of lowering or raising the lever, you trip a "trigger' that fires in a single action, one inch equals one shot. Eh just an idea I had once that I've played with one day cranking out in my one day machine shop.

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