The pepper-box revolver or simply pepperbox (also “pepper-pot”, from its resemblance to the household pepper shakers) is a multiple-barrel repeating firearm that has three or more barrels which revolve around a central axis. It mostly appears in the form of a multi-shot handheld firearm. Pepperboxes exist in all ammunition systems: matchlock, wheellock, flintlock, caplock, pinfire, rimfire, and centerfire. While pepperboxes are usually handguns, a few rifle-sized guns were made; Samuel Colt owned a revolving 3-barrel matchlock musket from India, and an 8-barreled pepperbox shotgun was designed but never went into production.
This type of firearm was popular in North America from 1830 until the American Civil War, but the concept was introduced much earlier, in the 15th century
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