John Webster Cochran of New York, an inventor who filed 25 handgun patents in a 42-year period, came up with an under-hammer revolving arms design that was to be manufactured by C.B. Allen of Springfield, Mass., in 1837. Cochran’s turret concept could be produced in either seven- or nine-shot handgun or rifle configurations, but the more important issue of the shooter accidently shooting others or themselves through rearward-pointing loaded chambers meant that only a few hundred would be built. Despite its dangerous flaw, later Cochran rifles or pistols could be quickly reloaded by swapping out turrets through a hinged top strap.
The NRA National Firearms Museum at NRA Headquarters in Fairfax, Va.; the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum at Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, Mo.; and the Frank Brownell Museum of the Southwest at the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, N.M.; each have fine selections of historic arms on display. Admission to each is free, and donations are gratefully accepted. For more information, visit nramuseums.com, phone (703) 267-1600 or email [email protected]