TL;DR; Just a random idea I had, but would a giant rotating shotgun-type weapon be effective?

I had this crazy/stupid/possibly-been-done-before/very-dangerous/probably-all-of-the-above idea. I have one quick sketch of the weapon but if you can't see it will or something I'm gonna try to describe this as best I can.


  1. Take a circle, make it about 2-3 inches thick, and a foot wide. Mount this on some sort of rotating dealio that will spin easily.

  2. Take a giant shotgun(or any other weapon, I just think a shotgun would be really cool and it has the flippy barrel thingy that you kinda need for it to work) and put on on the top and bottom of the circle. The top shotgun should be pointing forward, or if you want to be a rebel make the bottom one pointing forward. If you rotate the circle 180*, it should look exactly the same as it did before the rotation.

  3. Now take some sort of slide thingy with the ammo for you chosen weaponry(probably shotgun) and give it a disintegrating ammo chain. The slide holding the ammo should be able to move freely but return to its position quickly.

  4. One link of the ammo will hang over the edge of the slide. This hanging link should be X inches away from center of the circle, where X is the distance from the center of the circle to the breach of the shotgun.

  5. Add a small peg Y distance above the center of the circle, where Y is the distance from the center of the circle to the end of the shotgun minus about 3 inches or so.

  6. (optional step) Take this entire setup and mount it on a slightly movable platform so you can aim it within a degree.

quick sketch of the weapon


  1. Load both shotguns.

  2. Fire the top shotgun(or bottom if you're a rebel), which should be pointing forward. (major hand-waving ahead)The kickback should rotate the circle, and the small peg above the circle around the end of the shotgun will open the breach. The now-open shotgun will eject the spent cartridges somehow, and then slam down on the first link of the disintegrating chain hanging off the edge and load itself.

  3. When the second shotgun fires, the kickback will separate the first ammo link from the rest and the first shotgun will rotate around and snap up, closing the breach and be ready for firing. The ammo chain slides forward on link and resets to its position as the barrel of the first shotgun will move it around some. The second shotgun does what the first shotgun did, reloading and ejecting cartridges and such.

I was kinda imagining that this would be on the side of tanks or walking mechs or really deformed helicopters, and maybe a sort of support artillery unit. The concept could be used for quickly reloading mortars, RPGs, AA flak, or pretty much anything with a little bit of tweaking.


Take a 102/35 on SPA9000 and replace the gun part with this shotgun thing, add a shield in front, have the gunner stand to the side of it, and bam, light shotgun truck thing. Of course you would use whatever military vehicle is around at the time, this just already looked mostly like this idea.

Grab a tank, slap this on either side with whatever ammo or variation you want, and all done. Just point and blam, no more people in that direction.

Take the first variation, angle the shotgun thingy upwards(but keep the ammo rack and pegs in the same spot), fill with AA flak ammo, and use as AA flak cannon.

Slap on either side of a helicopter, angle slightly downwards for anti-ground, or keep level for air-air dogfights

Could possibly be a gun on a bomber, take first variation and stick it in a big plane.

Quite a bit of others, but I'm not sure how to do fighter planes tho. Suggestions would be welcome.

My concerns;

I feel like this leaves the weapon rather exposed as it has to be mounted on the side and has to rotate freely, which can be easily jammed by body parts, random debris, etc. You could probably put an armor plate on the out side, but you have to leave a channel for the weapon to rotate freely.

Also, this seems fun and all, but there's already machine guns which fire pretty quickly already, so this thing might not be needed at all. Even if you rig it to shoot giant anti-tank projectiles, you would run out of ammo rather quickly, and if your good you only need 1-2 shots, not a rapid fire 20 shots.

And it really sounds like I'm just reinventing the Gatling gun, just in a very roundabout and possibly cooler looking and/or less effective way.

So question;

Would a design such as this be a viable design for any type of weapon(handheld, emplacement, or mounted vehicle)?

If this has been done before, please let me know and maybe link to it. I don't really care about the time frame it would be useful at, it could be anywhere from near-future to whenever disintegrating ammo chains and guns came around, just wondering if it's a decent design that could be effective.

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    $\begingroup$ It reads like you've re-invented a Gatling shotgun. It would be useful for mowing down large groups of rioters and advancing zombies, but that's about it. Keep in mind that shotguns are close-in weapons, which means making them fully automatic, while interesting, doesn't really make a lot of sense. (But, then again, it's been invented, so somebody thought it would be useful.) (For the record, I like the mounted version better. Shotguns have a LOT of kick.) $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Dec 1, 2020 at 21:52
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    $\begingroup$ It's a bit hard to imagine from the description. Does it behave similarly to a Catherine wheel? $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Dec 1, 2020 at 21:56
  • $\begingroup$ @Alexander, never seen one in person but from the images i think yes. $\endgroup$ Dec 1, 2020 at 21:58
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    $\begingroup$ OK! That's not effective. Keep in mind that most automatic weapons (even Gatling weapons, the video notwithstanding) have a single chamber and rotating barrels. That's because the barrels get hot, not the chamber, and the ease of loading a single chamber is orders of magnitude simpler than loading multiple chambers (the video has multiple magazines, but on a battlefield, that's not ideal). The rotating barrels cool, but also make replacement simpler when the time comes (and it does come). That spinning construct will be a nightmare to reload at the least. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Dec 2, 2020 at 1:10
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    $\begingroup$ To anyone who thinks this design is probably not effective: imagine you are living the zombie apocalypse and all you got is a wooden table, a couple shotguns, some tools and a car. I also find that this would make for a nice steampunk weapon design. $\endgroup$ Dec 2, 2020 at 22:12

1 Answer 1


Effective- technically yes as it can be very destructive to a target. Any form of a rapid-fire weapon is always effective. But, you will probably have the issue of overheating barrels as they tend to get hot.

A good idea- Probably not. The thing is that there are already drum shotguns and Gatling guns that do basically the same thing but without being a nightmare to reload or be nearly as bulky, and as before mentioned, won't have the barrel overheating issue.

Conclusion- Yes it would be effective. But you probably shouldn't use it. As there are way better options available that will work so much better than your idea. You could probably mount it horizontally on the top of a tank or military vehicle. But otherwise, not super practical.

Edit: It might be a better design to use more than 2 barrels. As more barrels mean less overheating and since your design would have to be mounted, more barrels wouldn't cause a size issue. It would still be a nightmare to load though


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