360 Degrees of Death

T.P. Porter Turret Rifle

The Colt revolver is one of the best known weapons of the Old West. However, for a short period of time, Samuel Colt had competition from T.P. Porter and his innovative, yet dangerous, turret rifle.

The magazine for Porter’s rifle held 10-20 cartridges which was pretty impressive when compared to other firearms of the time. You would think this would be enough to cause widespread adoption of the rifle. There was just one issue with the design. Every time you used it, there was a slight chance all the cartridges would fire at once. As you can see in the picture above, this would fire bullets in 360 degrees… killing the operator and anything above, below, and around the rifle.

Colt, being the savvy businessman he was, spread rumors that T.P. Porter was killed by his own invention in just such a way. It wasn’t long before newspapers picked up the rumor as fact and the Porter Turret Rifle fell into disuse. T.P Porter would spend the rest of his life manufacturing more traditional (and safe) firearms.

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