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This Waterbury rifle must have been made to take self-consuming cartridges or loaded bullets similar to those used in the Hunt, Jennings, or Volcanic firearms. There was no cartridge shell, for there is no way to eject an empty case. The cartridge must have been self-primed for there is no provision for a separate priming mechanism. The magazine was filled and the gun worked in the following manner.
There is a tubular magazine located below and parallel with the barrel. A tube-shaped section of this magazine, 3-3/4 inches long, was moved about 3-1/2 inches toward the muzzle of the rifle. When this had been done, a coil magazine spring and follower were brought up into the forward section of the magazine tube. This action revealed an opening at the upper end of the true magazine. Into the magazine were dropped 10 or 11 cartridges, that is, loaded and primed bullets. Then the magazine opening was closed, and the follower was lowered until it rested against the bullet nearest the muzzle.
Next the bolt was unlocked by lifting up on a swinging thumb piece at the end of the receiver, and by drawing back on the hooked shaped finger piece on the end of the bolt the latter was opened. Next a hook-shaped finger piece below the forward end of the stock was moved out away from the barrel, bringing down the carrier with it. Onto the top of this carrier a cartridge moved, forced into that position by the magazine spring. A long steel plate upon which the carrier and finger piece is fastened acts as a spring, so that when it is released the carrier moves back into position, bringing the cartridge into line with the chamber and at the same time acting as a magazine cutoff. The bolt had been cocked on the opening motion; when it was closed and the thumb piece turned down to the right, thus locking it in place, the rifle was ready to fire.
There is a sliding safety device to the rear of the trigger, operated by a supplementary trigger projecting below the trigger guard. This also serves as an extra finger rest. The single set trigger is adjustable by utilizing a set screw working through the forward part of the trigger guard.
No patent has been found for this action. It is not known who C.A. Waterbury was or where he worked. It is believed that this rifle was made about the middle of the 1850s, perhaps designed to sell in competion to the Jennings or Volcanic, probably the latter.
top of receiver/C.A. WATERBURY'S/VOLLEY RIFLE/
As of 06-14-2017 this object is on display in the Cody Firearms Museum. If you are making a special trip, please double-check before visiting.