By Lars Dalseide | April 1 2013 17:21

Shotgun from 1866 rotates cartridges like a six-shooter

A Roper Repeating Shotgun at the National Firearms Museum

Fairfax, Virginia - With shotguns scattered all over the news, Senior Curator Philip Schreier couldn't help but pull out a few favorites for this month's collection on Curator's Corner. Favorites here at the National Firearms Museum that most people have probably never seen.

"When we look at firearms technology and advancements, what people purchased or bought very early on, firearms were a necessity," Schreier explained. "They were a necessary piece of inventory if you chose to live out on the plains.

"In the immediate post Civil War era, firearms begin to take on a more recreational aspect. Instead of struggling to provide sustenance for the dinner table, therre was leisure time for almost the first time in history. That's when the Roper Shotgun came along. "

The open action of a Roper Repeating Shotgun at the National Firearms Museum

Produced in Amherst, Massachusetts from 1867 to 1868 (and in Hartford, Connecticut from 1869 to 1876), the Roper was designed by one Sylvester Roper. This avid inventor applied a little revolver technology to this frontier favorite. That resulted in a four-shot shotgun back when one was the benchmark.

"They fire in very clever fashion. You open the top gate and see this bolt. When you cock it, the bolt retracts all the way back and the round action brings another cartridge into play. You fire, bring it back, and it rotates a new round into place."

Down the side of a Roper Repeating Shotgun at the National Firearms Museum

Unfortunately for Stanley, he was done in by another of his inventions; a steam powered velocipede. (I had to look it up too ... basically a motorcycle.) While taking the veloci out for spin, he died after flying off the Charles River bicycle track.

But to see one of Roper's more successful inventions, tune in to the Sportsman Channel at 5:40pm this afternoon as NRANews comes back to the National Firearms Museum for Curator's Corner.

See the Roper action in action!

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