© 2024 Wyoming Public Media
800-729-5897 | 307-766-4240
Wyoming Public Media is a service of the University of Wyoming
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Transmission & Streaming Disruptions

Museum Minute: A Different History To The Gatling Gun


The Gatling gun is usually associated with the American West, but Danny Micheal, the assistant curator of the Cody Firearms Museums at the Buffalo Bill Museum of the West, said there is a unique history to the Model 1883 Gatling gun.

“It actually has roots in World War II and Cold War history, even though it's a model from the 1880s,”

The model was used as a proof of concept for the Vulcan Project. That was the name of a World War II initiative to design new armament for jet fighters.

“Army and Air Force designers realized that jets were moving too fast for conventional guns and they needed something that fired a lot faster,” said Micheal.

So, the Army acquired the 1883 Gatling gun and hooked it up to an electric motor.

“They got it up to a cyclic rate of 5,500 rounds a minute. The reported failure in the test was eventually the gun broken extractor, which is a relatively small part,” said Micheal. “But it's kind of crazy to think of a black powder gun that we think of as the Old West as being the basis for what is on all of modern America's jet fighters.”

Kamila has worked for public radio stations in California, New York, France and Poland. Originally from New York City, she loves exploring new places. Kamila received her master in journalism from Columbia University. She has won a regional Murrow award for her reporting on mental health and firearm owners. During her time leading the Wyoming Public Media newsroom, reporters have won multiple PMJA, Murrow and Top of the Rockies Excellence in Journalism Awards. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the surrounding areas with her two pups and husband.