Colt 1855 Revolving Rifle

Life is inexplicable. The more I see, the more I know there is no logical explanation for most of the things that happen. They just happen and nobody knows why. People make up explanations, they try to make facts fit whatever theory they happen to believe in, but it’s mostly bunk. There are some things that are just downright inexplicable.

For example, back early last year, I came up with a character by the name of Mordecai Slate, a monster hunter who lived in the last part of the 19th-early 20th century. He was basically a lone rider, like most western heroes, and a bounty killer. The only difference was that he collected bounty not on outlaws but on things like werewolves, zombies and vampires. I created the character in response to Miles Boothe’s call for submissions to the Leather, Denim and Silver, Legends of the Monster Hunter anthology. The book was published by Pill Hill Press in April 2011. I wrote the first Slate story in early 2011 or later 2010 I don’t remember exactly.

One of the things I wanted to do was give Mordecai a unique weapon to use on his monster hunts. I did some research and found that Colt had manufactured a revolver rifle, the Colt 1855, and it was used briefly during the Civil War. It was a carbine that instead of a magazine with a lever or a bolt, had a revolving cylinder, like a Colt pistol.  The gun had problems, though. You had to load it with paper cartridges, and they leaked gunpowder. Soldiers found the gun blowing up in their hands and the Army canceled its contract with Colt and the gun disappeared.

I found the design of the gun appealing and decided to resurrect it, by having Slate modify the cylinder so that it could fire .45 caliber silver slugs. The Slate design had a removable cylinder that could be slapped in and out and replaced instantly with pre-loaded cylinders. Slate wears a bandolero with loaded cylinders clipped on it. Originally the gun held six shots, but in later designs in future stories he will use a larger cylinder that holds 12 shots.

I thought it was a clever idea, but the gun was purely imaginary. As far as I knew there hadn’t been another successful revolving rifle made since the Colt 1855. And there wasn’t. But guess what, fellow travelers here on the Yellow Brick Road. Now such a gun actually does exist!  In 2011, Taurus International in coordination with Rossi Firearms, introduced the new “Circuit Judge” revolver rifle.

Taurus/Rossi .45/.421 Revolver Rifle

This rifle fires both .45 caliber bullets and .410 shotgun shells.  It holds five shots and you can actually load this gun with both types of ammo in the cylinder at the same time. Say you got zombies outside your house 25 yards away, you can pick ’em off with the .45s. But if one of the varmints has gotten into your house, you pump him with buckshot from one of the various slimline shotgun shells available.  You’d need ammunition made of silver, of course.

I find this turn of events flabbergasting. I dreamed up a gun for a work of fiction, that was a modification of a carbine that hasn’t been around in 150 years, and at the same time that I’m imagining it, Taurus/Rossi is busy designing and manufacturing it. How bizarre is that? I never thought of using shotgun shells in it, that’s an extra touch that Rossi came up with. But it’s practically the same idea.

Maybe I better get an attorney. Have these guys been reading the Mordecai Slate stories? I want my cut. How in the world could we both come up with the same concept? Or is is just a case of what Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung called Synchronicity. Two identical events happening separately at the same time in different places with no causal connection, except the timing of the events? Something that happens in the Collective Unconscious? I don’t know. I don’t know what to think. It’s mind boggling.

I don’t seriously believe these Brazillian gun makers ever heard of Mordecai Slate or his gun. And I can swear on a stack of Bibles I never heard of the “The Circuit Judge” rifle until this weekend, when my son John Michael  told me he saw one in Dick’s Sporting Goods store and nearly flipped. I trotted down over there today and actually held one of these babies in my hands. Talk about a figment of your imagination taking concrete form. Maybe what I should do next is imagine finding a wheelbarrow full of $100 bills. Or why not this? Maybe someday Rossi Firearms could at least come out with the Mordecai Slate Signature Series.

They say art imitates life, but apparently sometimes life imitates art, without even knowing it’s doing it. Like I said. It’s inexplicable.

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