Gatling Gun(redirected from Rotary cannons)
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Gatling gun[′gat·liŋ ‚gən]
a multibarreled firearm mounted on a wheeled carriage or tripod and designed for rapid fire. The first Gatling gun, built by the American inventor R. Gatling in the 1860’s, had from six to ten barrels of 13 or 25.4 mm caliber and fired up to 200 rounds per minute. Many armies, including the Russian, used Gatling guns. The more refined Gatling gun designed by the French inventors J.-B. Verchére de Reffye and Montigny had 37 barrels and was called a mitrailleuse. In the 1880’s, Russian inventors, among them A. P. Gorlov, invented a still more refined gun that had from five to ten barrels and that fired standard rifle cartridges. In the late 19th century Gatling guns lost their value because shrapnel fired by artillery guns proved more effective. Further searches for the technological solution to the problem of rapid fire led to the construction of the machine gun.