Revolver cannon

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Mauser BK-27 revolver cannon as an on- board weapon on a helicopter
Remote-controlled revolver cannon MLG 27 on the tender "Rhein"

A revolver gun is a special type of machine gun . The principle involves a drum - analogous to a "classic" revolver  - with a barrel in front of it, in contrast to machine guns with multiple barrels such as the Gatling and Hotchkiss revolver cannons .

The loading-shooting-ejecting cycle, which follows one after the other with normal automatic weapons, is carried out in parallel with a revolver cannon. With such a construction, the cadence can be increased significantly.


In a normal automatic gas pressure loader - Gun the powder gases are the propellant charge of the ignition cartridges for the translatory drive of the closure in use. With a revolver cannon, the breech does not exist in this form. A control slide mounted parallel to the drum is set in motion with the powder gases, which sets the revolver drum in rotation in the return and forward movement via coulisse. The rotational movement takes place incrementally, that is, in no uniform, continuous rotation, but in cycles from chamber to chamber. After the shot has been fired, the drum rotates one chamber further and the next shot can be fired. The empty cartridge case is ejected in the fired chamber. At the same time, the drum is reloaded, which can be done in three cycles. This temporal and spatial separation of the individual steps of the loading process enables higher rates of fire than with conventional designs, in which the complete ejection-reloading process must take place between two shots.

In addition to the classic gas drive, revolver cannons can also be externally driven, either electrically, pneumatically or hydraulically. The GIAT 30 , for example, is electrically powered externally. The advantage is higher reliability and cadence, the disadvantage is higher weight.

Compared to the Gatling cannon

Because revolver cannons fire all projectiles through a barrel, their maximum rate of fire is typically limited to less than 2,000 rounds per minute, otherwise the barrel will overheat. Gatling cannons , on the other hand, can reach a rate of fire of up to 10,000 rounds per minute ( Grjasew-Schipunow GSch-6-23 ). With short bursts of fire (up to a second), as they happen in air combat, the number of projectiles fired with a revolver cannon is greater than with a Gatling cannon, because the heavily externally driven, heavy barrel bundles of the Gatling cannons due to their inertia reach their full speed and thus the Achieve maximum rate of fire only after a short start-up time, while with revolver cannons, due to the lower moving masses, the full rate of fire is available from the first shot. Gatling cannons are heavier than comparable revolver cannons because of the external drive and the larger number of tubes.


Rheinmetall RMK30 (TechDemo 2008)
designation country Caliber
theoretical rate of
rounds / min
Muzzle velocity
m / s
M39 United States 20th 1500 1030 81
MK 213 Germany 20/
Mauser BK-27 Germany 27 1700 1025 102.5
ADEN United Kingdom 30th 1700 741 87.1
DEFA France 30th 1300 815 85
GIAT 30 France 30th 2500 1015 120
RMK 30 (recoilless MK) Germany 30th 300 n / A n / A
35/1000 Germany 35 1000 1050 405

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Revolver Cannon  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. With the Aden cannon, with a rate of fire of 1200 rounds / min. 20 rounds per second can be fed. With the cartridges used with a caliber of 30 mm, a cartridge length of 199 mm and a cartridge weight of 460 g, reloading would not be possible, but is made possible by the division into three cycles. The reload time per cartridge is longer than that of conventional automatic cannons of similar caliber (Hispano-Suiza HS 831 30 mm, Oerlikon GDF-001 35 mm).