Ian from Forgotten Weapons is at the Rock Island Auction Company, and this time, he has the Henry Nock 6-Barrel Flintlock Musket to show. The musket is up for sale in the December 2016 auction.
The Nock 6-barrel is a rotary barrel, 6-cluster gun with a self-priming flintlock action that fires 6 independent shots. Henry Nock of London, a respected gunsmith in the late 1700s, is believed to have created the musket with a guy named Artemis Wheeler. Wheeler, a gunsmith and inventor from Massachusetts, would go on to patent the Collier flintlock repeating revolver.
What makes this different from a Collier revolver is that, while they’re both hand-rotated, a Collier had a single barrel and a revolving cylinder. This is more like a flintlock pepperbox. It had a lot of firepower for the time period, but it also had the weight of 6 complete barrels. It also has Nock’s name on it in two places.
The gun is not a true revolver, but it’s very interesting for its priming system. Ian takes a closer look, and shows how it works. The barrel cluster is hand-rotated, and snaps into place with each shot. Collier’s improvement to this mechanism was a two-part system that both locked the barrel into place more securely, and had an early-type of gas seal to it. With this gun, no gas seal was needed since each barrel was self-contained.
Henry Nock made a lot of other guns, like standard-type muskets. He was also known in popular culture for his 7-volley gun, which was very similar in appearance to this Nock 6-barrel. That one had a cluster of 6 barrels too, but it had an additional center barrel, hence the 7 shots.
Nock died in 1804, but the company carried on under his name until 1818. It was run by his son-in-law Wilkinson, and eventually became the Wilkinson Sword Company.