US Navy Driggs Mk IX 37mm Quickfire Cannon


Hi guys, thanks for tuning in to another
video on ForgottenWeapons.com. I’m Ian McCollum, and I am here today at
the Morphy Auction Company taking a look at one of the cannons that they are going to be selling
in their upcoming April of 2019 firearms auction. This is a Driggs-Schroeder [Mark IX] 37mm,
aka 1 Pounder, Naval Quick-Firing Cannon. The Navy bought a total of 15 of these guys in the
… mid-1890s. This is in a fact an 1897 dated gun. This gun was developed between 1883 and 1889
by a team of two United States Navy officers. A Lieutenant William Driggs, who’s name is on the gun, and
a Commander, later to become Admiral, Seaton Schroeder. They spent a fair amount of time
developing and tuning the design, and when they were done they had
something that was actually really competitive. This is a type of gun, like a single shot,
quick-fire 37mm gun, there were a fair number of different types of these out on the market at
the time, we are talking of course the late 1800s. Well, think of it like Browning style pistols
today, or AR-180 style based rifles today. There are a lot of different variations of them, but at
their mechanical core they are all pretty much the same. So, if you want to be competitive, you
have to … make the most efficient design. Little fine tuning sorts of features are more important than
having some sort of completely innovative different mechanism. Well, this gun is basically the same as the Hotchkiss
that was the overall market leader at the time. But it’s a really well done take
on … the basic Hotchkiss action. And in fact it was so well done that this really did
force Hotchkiss to make a number of improvements on their own [gun] if they wanted to
maintain their position of market leadership. Which they did, by the way, the Driggs
Ordnance Company, which was set up in 1889 to start making and selling these guns,
they only ended up selling 125 of them total. Driggs also made 3 pounder and 6
pounder versions of this same thing, It’s worth pointing out here of course that 3 pounder I believe is
about a 47mm version, and the 6 pounder is rather larger than that. So, I actually have one of the
cartridges here, this particular gun (If it looks familiar by the way, it probably is.
This gun was in one of seasons of Top Shot, the TV show, they used it for one
of the shooting competitions there.), and so they have, this is not original ammo, it is actually
1917 Navy production brass, which is pretty cool. But this is … a modern lathe-turned
projectile and modern hand loads. And the gun actually comes with a bunch of these, so whoever
buys this thing is going to be able to do some shooting with it. Operating this thing is, like most guns of this
type, quite easy. We have a breech lever here, when you pull that back the breech is actually
going to drop down and then rotate backwards. So you can see that more easily when I close it. It pivots up kind of like a rolling block, and in this position
you’ve now got the cartridge loaded in the chamber, and then pushing the lever the rest of the way
forward is going to lift this breech block up, which locks it in here, and makes the whole
thing safe and sealed up and then ready to fire. The trigger is this lever down here at the base of the breech
block, you would traditionally … put a lanyard on that. Pull it, the firing pin drops. This is a centrefire
type of cartridge, so it’s not one of the more exotic, you know, separated components type of artillery
shell, it’s just a really big overgrown cartridge. And of course once you’ve fired, … the
whole thing is going to reciprocate back, it’s going to use a cam to drop the breech
block open, there is an ejector right in here. So you can see the ejector right there. As the breech
block tips all the way down, it’s going to kick that [backward] which is going to throw the empty cartridge
case fiercely out the back of the action. Taking a look up here, you can see the cut outs in
this brass trunnion where the whole barrel assembly, really the whole gun, reciprocates backwards. The moving parts are again
pretty clear right up here. You note that there is a big cut
out in the middle to reduce friction, so you have less surface area in
contact as the thing has to cycle. And then this cylinder on the top is what is
going to slow down and stop the ejection, and then pull the whole assembly forward again after
it’s ejected. Just like a semi-automatic rifle function. So eject the case out and then reset the
whole thing ready for you to load a cartridge in, lift up the breech lever, and then fire. We have a cool brass data plate here on the gun
from the Driggs Ordnance Company of New York City, identifying this a 1 Pounder Slide Gun
Mark IX, right there. Inspected by the Navy. Specifically inspected by J.B.S.
of the US Navy, Navy anchor. Weight of just 79 pounds, which is
remarkably light for a gun like this. This is in fact the light version of the gun.
They also made a heavier version, like the Marks I and II were a substantially
heavier version. Manufactured in 1897. And then there is also a data plate on the carriage. Interesting that it’s the exact same data plate, so the
gun one has to specify that it is a gun being identified, where this one is a 1 Pounder Carriage, also Mark IX. We have two locking levers on here, one
right there which I’ve already got loosened, and one right here, which I will loosen right now. With those unlocked this whole gun pivots freely,
and that’s why you have got the shoulder stock here. This rubber is obviously modern, but this would have had
a bit of padding on it, probably wood actually at the time. And then you can lean into that, aim the gun, using
your sights right here. Let’s take a closer look at those. The sight doesn’t actually have an aperture, it actually
has two blades. So there is a blade in the back here, and then we can adjust this with this
continuous screw for adjusting our windage. And then there is an elevation dial here
which allows you to adjust for elevation (well, distance really), out to a
substantial distance, out to 3,500 yards. You can see the bottom of the scale there. So there’s your sight picture. If we transition over to the front blade. Got the front
blade there, and you’ve got a rear blade back here. So these guns were used by the Navy for
defence primarily against torpedo boats. … Different navies around the world, during this couple of decades
around this time period, would use a variety of different guns. Some of them of the school of thought of this: a small,
quick-firing, single shot, explosive type cartridge. There would be some navies that would
adopt guns like the Gatling for ship defence. You’d have larger guns of this type,
3 pounder and 6 pounder projectiles. And this is the sort of role that guns like the
Hotchkiss Revolving Cannon would also fill quite well. So if you are interested in getting
something awesome like this yourself, there is one additional cool little detail.
You noticed earlier this is an 1897 dated gun. That means that it is actually
considered an antique under US law, and despite being over .50 calibre it is
not legally considered a destructive device. So this transfers without needing any sort
of NFA involvement, which is pretty cool. So, if you’ve got a space in your living room
for a Driggs Mark IX Quick-Fire 37mm Cannon, this might be just the thing for you. If you
take a look at the description text below, you’ll find a link to ForgottenWeapons.com. From there
you can click over to Morphy’s catalogue page on this gun, you can see all of their pictures, which include all
the accessories that come with it, price estimate and the ability to bid right there on-line for it. And if not that, take a look at
everything else they have in the catalogue. Thanks for watching.

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