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Tippmann Ordnance's .22LR Gatling Gun: The Next Best Thing

A gatling gun in .45 Colt is going to run a steep bill, but you can run the Tippmann Ordnance .22LR Gatling Gun all day long without breaking a sweat.

Tippmann Ordnance's .22LR Gatling Gun: The Next Best Thing

You are clearly a gun nerd or you wouldn’t currently be clutching this sacred tome. In my case, I bought my first BB gun at seven and my first handgun, a replica Colt 1851 Navy in kit form, at age thirteen. I began writing for the gun press in 1991. Trust me, I have enthusiastically jogged out to meet the “Brown Truck of Happiness” anxiously anticipating something new, black, and oily on more than a few occasions. Each new gun sets my heart aflutter to one degree or another. And then there was this bad boy. I think this may be the coolest thing I have ever seen. Tippmann used to make the most adorable scale-model belt-fed rimfire machineguns. Prior to the accursed 1986 machinegun ban, they were actually offered in full auto. The little M1919 and M1917 fired .22 LR. Their scale model Ma Deuce ran .22 Magnum. Of late those guys have been branching out.

A few years ago, Tippmann debuted the cutest little 9mm hand-powered Gatling Gun. This rascal was about the size of a small dorm fridge and rode about on knobby pneumatic tires. It fed via Glock magazines and fired 9mm Parabellum as fast as you could spin the crank. Limitations of the language prevent me from adequately describing how much fun it was to run that thing. While 9mm Para is about the cheapest centerfire cartridge around, this contraption still burned through that stuff at a prodigious clip. When fed using 33-round stick magazines, it was easy to expend an astronomical amount of ammunition in a short period of time. If only there was something cheaper…

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Vintage pre-ban M1917 and M1919 Tippmann miniature machineguns ran .22 LR from cloth belts. (Rock Island Auctions) This scale model Tippmann M-2 HB fired .22 Magnum rounds (bottom) which is makes sense. (Rock Island Auctions)

The latest mechanical miracle to sprout from the Tippmann skunk works is their crank-powered miniature Gatling Gun in .22LR. Holy snap! This adorable little rotating smoke pole is cuter than a box full of beagle puppies. The gun comes with a custom scale tripod and is belt-fed via proprietary polymer non-disintegrating linked belts. The whole shebang is small enough to conceivably sit comfortably on the side of your desk at work. Sporting six 8.5-inch barrels and weighing fifteen pounds on its own custom tripod, the Tippmann .22LR Gatling Gun makes a serious statement anyplace two or more firearms enthusiasts are gathered together. We can’t help it. It’s like admiring somebody’s toddler. You can’t keep your hands off this thing.

Fascinating Details

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The classic scene where John Wayne unlimbers his Gatling Gun from a raft on a raging river in Rooster Cogburn is Western movie gold. (MovieStillsDB.com)

For starters the Tippmann .22LR Gatling Gun is neither a rifle nor a handgun. There is a copy of the BATF approval letter that accompanies the weapon. The BATF guys clearly put a lot of thought into the specific categorization. As the gun comes with a tripod it is clearly not intended to be fired offhand. Pawing over it, I’m not sure anybody is actually that flexible. There is no provision for a buttstock, but it is hardly a pistol, either. In the final analysis, the Tippmann .22LR Gatling Gun is simply a firearm. Tippmann is therefore free to mount up any length barrels they might desire. However, there are some caveats to that. Let’s go ahead and address the big honking gorilla in the room. As much as you might want to, you cannot hook an electric motor onto the Tippmann Gatling Gun and make yourself a scale model minigun. That would create a weapon that fires more than one round with a single activation of the trigger. According to American firearms law at least, this would apparently trigger an extinction-level event for all of humanity. (Yes, that would make it an unregistered/illegal machinegun.) The BATF paper specifically addresses that.

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The Tippmann Ordnance 9mm Gatling Gun rides about on pneumatic tires and feeds from Glock mags.

Additionally, if the gun can be somehow managed offhand, the generic “firearm” designation is called into question. As a result, the weapon is connected to its adorable little tripod via blind rivets so you can’t dismount it. The rig comes with a nifty little T&E (traverse and elevation) mechanism capable of precise adjustments to windage and elevation. The T&E will come loose from the tripod. It is also technically removable from the gun. None of that matters. This little cherub of a firearm was literally born to run off of a mount. The end result is appropriately scaled and just cute as a button. The gun comes fully assembled and ready-to-run. As it comes out of the box, the barrel assembly is secured in place with a plastic lock. If you can tie your own shoes you can get this rascal into action. Once you have loaded up a belt and gotten this puppy oriented on the firing line, be prepared to make some new friends. Everybody will want a piece of this baby.

Feeding the Beast

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The Tippmann Ordnance Rimfire Gatling Gun really is adorable. The Desert Eagle pistol shows just how scaled down it is. This miniature range candy just drips cool.

Everything about the Tippmann Gatling gun is just so freaking cool. It comes with fifty individual polymer links that snap together to form a continuous belt. They seem more than adequately robust for a long service life. Additional belts work out to a buck a link on the Tippmann website. Once the belt is formed, flip it over so the open side faces up. Then snap your .22LR rounds in place one at a time. The links are massively oversized for the little rimfire rounds, but they are also exceptionally easy to load. Lots of machinegun belts will wreck your fingers if you spend an evening loading them in front of Netflix. Not so in this case. The links hold the rounds securely but are painless to charge. Once you have a loaded belt, pivot up the feed cover to expose the inner workings of the gun. There are six barrels, six bolts, and an integral feed mechanism. A cam machined into the inside of the steel housing accepts each individual bolt and guides it through its travel. The gun fires at the roughly 3 o’clock position when viewed from the rear and ejects out the bottom. The basic Gatling Gun is arguably the most reliable repeating firearm ever devised. Place the belt in the action with the links up. “Brass to the grass” is the way that old machinegun instructor first taught me back in the late Mesozoic when I wore the uniform. Once the belt is in place, just snap the feed cover back down, orient the gun toward something you dislike, and get ready to unleash chaos.

Technical Details

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Umm, nope. As much as we’d like to, you cannot mount an electric motor onto the side of the Tippmann .22LR Gatling Gun to make a rimfire minigun. My, but wouldn’t that be cool? (Public domain)

The Tippmann rimfire Gatling Gun sports its six barrels oriented around a central shaft. The entire gun is finished in an attractive and durable matte black. There is a single wooden handle in the back for your weak hand. The gun will fire as fast as you can spin the crank. The action loosens up quickly over time. Once you take its measure, this thing will run like a scalded ape. I would estimate the most comfortable rate of fire as faster than a Grease Gun but slower than an M-4. Perhaps 500–550 rpm. The belt links do not disintegrate in use. If you really want to keep things tidy just hook the belt up in a continuous loop. You know the gun is empty when it stops firing. If ever you have a dud round, something that does happen from time to time with bulk-packed rimfire ammo, the gun just spits the dead cartridge out and keeps going. The T&E mechanism allows you to do surprisingly precise shooting should the spirit lead. Seat the tripod down firmly and fire one round at a time, and the gun shoots plenty straight. The front sight is a fixed post. The two-position sliding rear unit is readily adjustable for both windage and elevation without tools. However, that’s not what this gun is really designed for.

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The gun is permanently attached to its tripod via blind rivets. The traverse and elevation mechanism is technically removable. It allows precise adjustment to the gun on the tripod. The belts consist of individual polymer links that snap together. Charging belts with .22LR cartridges is quick, easy, and painless.

You don’t invest in a rimfire Gatling Gun because you want to punch contiguous cloverleaves at 100 meters. You buy a Gatling Gun so you can saturate your range space with zippy little 40-grain bullets. That Tippmann Gatling Gun does that very well, thank you very much. Out to 25 meters or so, fifty rounds in a continuous burst will eat a hole in your backstop about the size of a golf ball. I bought myself a case of .22 rimfire rounds and shot this gun until my arm was sore. Set up behind a comfortable table and get ready for a whole new shooting experience. Do the same thing at a public range and dates with supermodels will invariably follow.

Ruminations

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The classic multi-barrel architecture of the Tippmann Rimfire Gatling Gun is nothing short of iconic. A pivoting feed cover gives access to the gun’s inner work- ings for loading. The flip-adjustable rear sight is readily adjustable without tools.

So, what’s the Tippmann rimfire Gatling Gun actually good for? Don’t know, don’t care. You can’t hunt with it. The home defense applications are pretty limited as well. There’s really not much practical defensive work that this scale rimfire Gatling Gun will do that a cheap cop-surplus Glock pistol won’t do way better. However, once you pull in behind this thing it will grab you and not let go. Your Call of Duty fantasy genre might be running a minigun out of an MH-60 Blackhawk in the skies over Mogadishu. Or perhaps you’d sooner brave the rapids alongside Rooster Cogburn while using a vintage Gatling Gun to defend Katherine Hepburn. The Tippmann rimfire Gatling Gun will reliably scratch that itch. However, now that I’ve hopefully gotten you all hot and bothered over this thing, here’s the bad news: The MSRP for the Tippmann .22-caliber Gatling Gun is a cool $4,600. That’s some serious money. Given what went into building this gun, that number is really not unreasonable. This is the mechanical equivalent of six separate custom-designed .22 rifles all orchestrated and synchronized to fire around a central shaft.

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The manual of arms is easily mastered. The Tippmann Rimfire Gatling Gun was completely reliable with everything I fed it. Running the gun with the T&E mechanism adds an extra layer of cool. A single wooden handgrip helps keep the gun steady.

The workmanship is superb, and the engineering sublime. Additionally, unlike most guns that are this cool, there are no onerous transfer taxes or paperwork. The Tippmann .22 rimfire Gatling Gun transfers through your local FFL just like a conventional rifle. This won’t be anybody’s first firearm. In fact, you will land your own Tippmann .22 rimfire Gatling Gun only if you have all of your needs and most of your wants addressed already. However, for those well-heeled gun nerds who are ready to take things to the next level, the adorable little Tippmann rimfire Gatling Gun scratches a particularly hard-to-reach itch. Inspired, inimitably reliable, and just a ton of fun, running a brick or two through the Tippmann rimfire Gatling Gun is the best way I know of to kill a lazy Saturday afternoon.

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This is fifty rounds in a continuous burst off of the tripod at 25 meters.

Tippmann Rimfire Gatling Gun Specs

  • Caliber: .22LR
  • Barrel Length: 8.5 in. 
  • Overall Length: 18 in. 
  • Weight: 15 lbs. 
  • Action: Hand-cranked, rotary
  • Feed: Non-disintegrating polymer belt
  • Number of Barrels: 6
  • Sights: Fixed front, flip-adjustable two-position rear
  • Mount: Permanently attached tripod with T&E mechanism
  • Cyclic Rate: Operator Dependent 
  • MSRP: $4,600
  • Contact: Tippmann Ordnance

If you have any thoughts or comments on this article, we’d love to hear them. Email us at FirearmsNews@Outdoorsg.com.




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