47 mm/5 (1.85") Hotchkiss gun
47 mm/1 (1.85") Hotchkiss gun
[3-pdr (1.4 kg) Hotchkiss guns]
Updated 01 December 2006

The Hotchkiss 47 mm/5 (5 = five-barrel) gun was first tested in Russia in 1879.  Starting in 1884, the Russian Navy bought over 150 of these and the similar 37 mm five barrel gun for use as anti-torpedo boat weapons on large ships and to arm light craft.  Russian production of these guns started in 1888 at Tula and by the time production stopped in 1896 an additional 40 weapons had been made.  These Hotchkiss weapons were crank-operated, five-barrel revolver-style rotating guns, externally somewhat similar to a Gatling gun but having a different ammunition feed system. 

In addition to the five-barrel weapon, the single barrel 47 mm/1 (1 = single barrel) gun was also purchased.  By 1901 about 693 guns of this type were in service.  As these single barrel guns were easier to manufacture than the multi-barrel guns, they became standard equipment in the Russian Navy until 1905.  In that year, combat during the Russo-Japanese War proved these weapons to be ineffective and they were quickly removed from most of the larger ships.  During World War I and the Russian Civil War they were widely used to arm light ships and river craft.  A number of them were converted into the AA guns and by 1917 at least 62 guns had been converted.  Ten Japanese 47 mm guns were acquired in 1917 and used to arm the Ushakov destroyer class.

These guns had monobloc barrels with a vertical blade type breech mechanism.


Single-barrel 47 mm guns on Retvisan


Single-barrel 47 mm Hotchkiss gun


3-pdr. Hotchkiss Gun
Note the complicated shoulder yoke and that the sailor is in bare feet


Hotchkiss five-barrel 3-pdr now in Texas County, Missouri
Note the crank used to operate the weapon and the ammunition feed guides
Photograph copyrighted by Jim Price

Gun Characteristics
Designation 47 mm/5 (1.85") Hotchkiss gun:  25 Calibers
47 mm/1 (1.85") Hotchkiss gun:  43.5 Calibers
Ship Class Used On Almost every Russian ship built between 1885 and 1905, light ships during World War I
Date Of Design 47 mm/5:  1873
47 mm/1:  about 1883
Date In Service 1884 for both
Gun Weight 47 mm/5:  1274 lbs. (578 kg)
47 mm/1:  519.2 lbs. (235.5 kg)
Gun Length oa 47 mm/5:  78.74 in (2 m)
Bore Length 47 mm/5:  46.26 in (1.175 m)
47 mm/1:  80.63 in (2.045 m)
Rifling Length 47 mm/5:  39.06 in (0.992 m)
47 mm/1:  58.43 in (1.484 m)
Grooves 20
Lands N/A
Twist N/A
Chamber Volume N/A
Rate Of Fire 47 mm/5:  50 rounds per minute design, 30 rounds per minute practical 
47 mm/1:  20 rounds per minute
Note:  As the feed lips on the rotary guns only held a few rounds and rounds were fed into them individually, it proved impossible for the loaders to keep up with the firing rate, hence the low practical rate of fire.
Type Fixed
Weight of Complete Round HE - 6.7 lbs. (3 kg)
Projectile Types and Weights HE - 3.3 lbs. (1.5 kg)
Bursting Charge 47 mm/5:  0.095 lbs. (43g)
47 mm/1:  0.044 lbs. (20g)
Projectile Length 2.9 calibers
Propellant Charge 47 mm/5:  0.49 lbs. (0.22 kg) brown powder
47 mm/5:  0.178 lbs. (0.081 kg) smokeless powder
47 mm/1:  1.65 lbs. (0.75 kg) brown powder
47 mm/1:  0.77 lbs. (0.35 kg) smokeless powder
Muzzle Velocity 47 mm/5:  1,476 fps (450 mps)
47 mm/1:  2,300 fps (701 mps)
Working Pressure N/A
Approximate Barrel Life N/A
Ammunition stowage per gun N/A
Range 47 mm/5
Elevation With 3.3 lbs. (1.5 kg) HE Shell
Range @ 4.6 degrees 2,020 yards (1,850 m)
Range 47 mm/1
Elevation With 3.3 lbs. (1.5 kg) HE Shell
Range @ 10.4 degrees 5,000 yards (4,575 m)

Mount / Turret Data
Designation 47 mm/5 single mount
47 mm/1 single mount
47 mm AA mount
Weight  N/A
Elevation 47 mm/1 single mount: -23 / +25
47 mm AA mount: +85
Elevation Rate Manually operated, only
Train 360 degrees
Train Rate Manually operated, only
Gun recoil N/A
Data from
"Entsiklopedia Otechestvennoi Artillerii" (Encyclopedia of Fatherland (Russian) Artillery) by A.V. Shirokorad
Special help from Vladimir Yakubov