I meant to post something about this a while ago. As everyone in America who’s read Vampire Siege at Rio Muerto knows by now, Monster Hunter Mordecai Slate hunts his monsters with a Colt 1855 Revolver Rifle. A rifle that has a revolving cylinder, like a six gun.
A lot of people have asked me if I just made the gun up so Slate would have a nifty weapon to use, something to set him off from all the other monster hunters. The answer is no I didn’t make up the basic gun, but I did add some modifications to it to make it niftier.
This real 1855 had a six-round cylinder, like Colt’s .45 six gun, but, unlike the pistol, did not fire .45 caliber bullets. Instead it used paper cartridges, which, unfortunately had the discouraging feature of leaking powder. The paper would tear, gunpowder would leak, and the result would be a phenomenon known as “chain fire.” Namely, one of the cartridges would go off, and set off the other five rounds, serially or all together, depending how much powder had leaked. It was not an ideal situation.
The chain fire problem is probably the reason most people never heard of the gun. It was soon replaced by the more popular Winchester and Springfield rifles, which had no similar problems.
Slate came across the weapon as a young man during the Civil War. He liked the rapid fire capabilities of the cylinder and modified his by adding a larger cylinder that held 12 rounds instead of six. The most important change, of course, is that instead of paper cartridges it fires .45 caliber silver bullets that he and his uncle made, using scrap silver from a played out mine on his uncle’s ranch. Of course, the bullets are hand-rubbed with garlic.
But today I watched a show on the History Channel about werewolves that ran tests on rifles that fired both lead bullets and bullets made of silver. They concluded from the tests, that silver is a lousy metal for making bullets. The bullets come out too hard and as a result the rifling inside the barrel does not give the bullet a good spin. The shots are inaccurate! What a bummer.
So I guess maybe, that’s why Slate decided on the 12-round cylinder. The gun may not be all that accurate, but keep firing it and you’re bound to hit something!!!
Although the Colt 1855 seems to be a somewhat obscure weapon, you see it show up in western movies from time to time. In fact, it was my son J. Michael who pointed out to me that the rifle that Jamie Fox picks up at the end of Django Unchained, after he talks his way out of the cage transporting him to the mining company, is in fact a Colt 1855. It isn’t given much attention and you have to look close, but that’s the gun that Django’s holding as he rides back to Candieland to rescue the fair Broomhilda. Boy, what a great move that is.
And now, as a matter of fact, Taurus Guns now manufactures a revolver rifle called The Circuit Judge. And guess what, like Slate’s gun, it fires .45s! Life and art imitating each other, or something.
Anyway, that’s the latest from here. Hope you’ve been checking out all the Summer Zombie Tours posts. And don’t forget to get your copy of Vampire Siege at Rio Muerto, Kindle or paperback. You can only get it here.