Object Title

Percussion six-shot pepperbox

Percussion six-shot pepperbox



Object Number



Found to be unnumbered in cupboard No.69., in the Study Collection, September 1975. Provenance unknown.

Physical Description

The lockwork is housed in an alloy (probably German silver) frame. A plate in the left side of the frame is retained by a peg and a small screw. Removing the plate permits access to the lock mechanism.
The inverted hammer or striker and the large ring-trigger are attched to the same pivot screw. A spring-loaded plate attached to the trigger on the outside of the frame has a blade-like hook at its forward end which engages with a corresponding notch on the small exposed area of the head of the hammer. By pulling the trigger the hammer is drawn back against mainspring pressure and a spring-loaded finger-like plate, which engages with the ratchet on the rear of the barrel cluster, rotates the barrels one place anticlockwise. By pulling the trigger back to its fullest extent the small plate drawing back the hammer comes in contact with the underside of the frane and is forced out of engagement, allowing the hammer to fall onto the nipple of the undermost barrel. The trigger returns to its original position, when released, by spring pressur. The lock parts are all of high quality manufacture.

The underside of the flared butt is hollowed to accommodate shooting requisites, ie. lead balls or shot, percussion caps etc., and has a pivoted cover of the same metal as the frame. The centre panel of this cover, the rear frame strap, and the body of the frame have rather coarse foliate scroll engraved decoration. The left side of the body has a plain area containing J.R. COOPER PATENTEE. The iron cluster of six smooth-bored barrels is now largely bright, but shows traces of having originally been heat-blued. A nipple is screwed into the rear of each barrel, separated from its neighbours by semi-circular partitions. A narrow concave rib, similar to those on double-barrelled sporting guns, is formed between each barrel, the muzzle areas between these ribs are decorated with rather crude fern-like engraving. The cluster is attached by a large axis pin screwed into the forward face of the frame.
The butt has polished figured walnut grips retained by a single cross-screw.
For description of case, see XII.3989 A (Record No. 49401)


Dimensions: Length of barrel: 85 mm, Overall length: 215 mm Weight: 815 g

Component parts


Serial Number None visible


.40 in (72 bore)


Places England


J.R.Cooper's patent No. 12,781 of 20 September 1849 refers.