Some Interesting Guns

by Fred Ray on August 14, 2010 · 1 comment

Couple of interesting CW period guns. One is the Norwich rapid fire cannon, which was to compete with Gatling’s gun.

This prototype Norwich rapid fire “Gatling type” cannon was made in Greenville, Connecticut by James D. Mowry’s company which became the Norwich Arms Company.  It was made in about 1862 as a prototype for competition in providing a rapid fire rifle/cannon.  The company had a contract with the war department to produce 30,000 Springfield muskets at his Greenville factory. This unique piece is marked S. Mowry who is believed to be his brother and worked with James D. Mowry.  In 1861, in the Norwich City directory, there is listed a John S. Mowry of Greenville and James D. Mowry is also listed in the same directory.  In the 1868 Norwich City directory is listed Samuel Mowry (Mowry’s Machine Works, Greenville).

It is apparently the only one ever made.

The other is a beautiful Thomas Turner Snider Enfield. Turner was a custom gunsmith who catered to the sporting/volunteer market and hand built custom and expensive rifles. This is a later variation on the venerable P1853 Enfield in .577 caliber. Not the best photos but later in the 1860s the British Army settled on an updated breech-loading version of the Enfield that took a metallic cartridge. The Snider conversion featured a swing-up gate that allowed the weapon to be loaded from the breech, allowing the army to update its rifles at minimal cost. This sufficed until the introduction of the Martini-Henry, the first purpose build military breech loader.

Across the pond much the same thing was going on in America, with the US Army adopting the Allin conversion (commonly called the “trapdoor”) to the Springfield musket in 1866, first in .50-70 and later in .45-70.


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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Dick Stanley August 15, 2010 at 10:09 pm

The Norwich doesn’t look like it would give the Gatling much competition.

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