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A Blunderbuss

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by dak0ta, May 13, 2014.

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  1. dak0ta

    dak0ta Member

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    Took a picture of this at the Boston Navy Yard museum. Imagine the damage done on the receiving end of this beast!.

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  2. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    Judging from the pintel, that is a gunwale gun or rampart gun. Designed to be loaded and then the pin is dropped into a hole in the gunwale to help steady it. Nothing in the photo for scale but I bet it is a large bore and a large gun. The belling helped loading on the pitching deck of the ship but did little to spread the shot. Those kind of guns were used to sweep the decks of boarders or to empty the sail rigging of men.

    Not something I would cherish facing.
     
  3. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    There was some shot spread, but the main reason for the belled mouth was for rapid reloading under less than optimal conditions, like on the deck of a moving ship or the seat of a bouncing stagecoach. Contrary to popular belief, they were not loaded with "nails, chunks of old iron or anything that was handy" as one poster put it on another site. Such a load would ruin the gun, of course. They were loaded with shot, like any other shotgun.

    Jim
     
  4. 627PCFan

    627PCFan Member

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    always wondered, what holds the shot on top of the powder and stops it from rolling out?
     
  5. jaguarxk120

    jaguarxk120 Member

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    The shot is held in place by a over shot wad (card wad) or wadding.

    In the middle of a fight I doubt if they took the time to use a over shot wad, load powder, some wadding, hand full of shot, prime pan and fire.
     
  6. Agsalaska

    Agsalaska Member

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    To the point about filling it with anything. I agree with JimK and I have always heard that and found it odd. That would destroy the gun. Not saying it never happened in a desperate moment, but, if you were that deperate, chances are you didnt live to tell about it.


    Question-What would that compare to today? I know its hard to imagine the differences in time and place. I cant imagine shooting that, but I can imagine pulling both triggers of a 12 gauge. Or even a 10 gauge. Do you think it probably had about the same effectiveness of both triggers of a double barreled 12 gauge?
     
  7. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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  8. Swampman

    Swampman Old Fart

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    @ dak0ta
    Can you recall if there was any information on bore size or payload around the display?

    It might not be quite as modern and effective as a Ma Deuce .50, but I can't imagine it doing a Zodiac full of Somali pirates any good whatsoever at 40 or 50 yards!

    I know the stories about them shooting rusty nails are BS, but I wonder how it'd do with a modern plastic shot cup and a couple ounces of flechettes...?

    "STAND BY TO REPEL BOARDERS!"
     
  9. Onmilo

    Onmilo Member

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    Notice the flattened oval bore?
    That gun is an example of the original duckbill choke.
    Designed to throw a load of shot on a 3 to 1 horizontal dispersion of heavy shot and made for clearing personnel from the deck of a ship.
    Likely load would be 4 to 5 drams of coarse cannon powder under 2 ounces of rough chopped "Beaver shot" which are quarter inch cubes of chopped bar shot.
    Wadding would be the same flax tow used for plugging holes by the ships carpenters.
     
  10. Pete D.

    Pete D. Member

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    load

    Two ounces seems a bit light for that gun. Smaller guns - carried on coaches in the Scottish borderlands - loaded two ounces and more.
    Pete
     
  11. Bernie Lomax

    Bernie Lomax Member

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    Hell, imagine the damage done on just the giving end. That thing has got to kick like a rabid mule on steroids.
     
  12. Cooldill

    Cooldill Member

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    Reminds me of the old punt guns used on the great lakes to shoot hundreds of ducks out of the sky in a single shot!
     
  13. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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    That thing has got to kick like a rabid mule on steroids.

    That's why it's on a pintle mount that swivels. The pintle could be dropped into a hole along the ship's rail, so the shooter didn't have to take the full brunt of the recoil.

    Here's a picture of a blunderbuss as mounted on Lewis & Clark's boats... from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pintle_mount#Pintle.


    330px-Pintle_mounted_gun_on_the_%22White%22_pirogue.jpg
     
  14. Pete D.

    Pete D. Member

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    reference

    I was curious enough about this topic to do some research about it.
    Blunderbusses were a popular weapon for protecting stagecoaches in the lawless borderlands between England and Scotland in the 18th century.
    The load was 10-12 shot "the size of a pea". So... how big is a pea?
    Those shoulder fired weapons certainly used a smaller shot charge than the swivel guns did....J.D. Forman in "The Blunderbuss: 1500-1900" mentions that the larger guns used loads like those in a small cannon.
    He also refers to the oval muzzle, often found on Italian guns but rare on English..... used in the "false hope of sending forth a flat crowd stinging pattern".
    Just added info.
    Pete
     
  15. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    blunderbuss myths

    I read a story back in the 1970s where a guy bought two blunderbuss replicas from Dixie Gun Works, kept one with the belled muzzle, sawed the other one where the straight cylinder bore ended where the bore started to bell. He got the same patterns from both guns. Once the shot charge leaves the cylinder part of the bore, the bell has no effect on the shot. The writer concluded that blunderbuss muzzle is belled so that it can be easily loaded on a rolling ship or rocking stagecoach.

    Shooting at an outdoor range (I believe it was an abandoned gravel pit--I'm relying on memory), he also loaded the blunderbuss with shot, and tried the usual pawn shop talk loads: broken glass, nails and scrap metal, and gravel. He fired at steel coffee cans (1970s cans mind you). He got penetration only with convention shot or from cartridge casings accidentally included in the scoops of gravel. Random shaped scrap metal and gravel dented the cans but did not penetrate.
     
  16. kBob

    kBob Member

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    This reminded me of an early form of purpose built shot gun that was actually a pole arm used by the English navy during the transition between long bow and fire arms. Rather than the traditional mini cannon tube on a stick this was a flat rectangular bored fan shaped hunk of iron on a stout stick. Ut had a powder chamber at the base that was filled then wading then the fan shaped area was given a layer or three of cube shot and wadding.

    This was pointed across the enemy deck and a bit of punk or hot wire applied to the touch hole.

    Think reusable M 18 A1 Claymore AP mine on a stick......

    I thought the name appropriate.......Murderer.

    -kBob
     
  17. silicosys4

    silicosys4 Member

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  18. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Member

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    Since I did a short tour in vietnam many years ago the first modern example I can think of that compares to that old deck gun isn't a gun at all.... it would be a Claymore mine that fired a spreading charge of about 250 1/4" sized ball bearings. I never was a combat type so my only experience was training shots. What that device would do into empty ammo crates had to seen to be believed... Of course you had a back blast to deal with but anyone in range would just get shredded...
     
  19. bigmouth

    bigmouth Member

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    I have 2 orig. flint brass/bronze barreled busses. I take friends out several time a year to shoot them. I use 120-140 grs of FFG and 18 - .31 balls in the Dutch naval gun & 12 - .31 balls in the Eng. coach gun. They kick! Keep your palm over the barrel if shooting from the hip instead of just your thumb. I learned the hard way! They are a thrill & different.
     
  20. Piper106

    Piper106 Member

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    ... but I can't imagine it doing a Zodiac full of Somali pirates any good whatsoever at 40 or 50 yards! "STAND BY TO REPEL BOARDERS!"

    Two ounces of coarse shot at 50 yards... yup, would suck to be a pirate, but...

    When you show up at the rail with your bunderbuss, they would likely start shooting with their AK-47s and RPG-7s. Way too much like a 'fair' fight for my taste. I would rather have something where I could reach out and 'touch' them at 1000 yards.
     
  21. Lord Teapot

    Lord Teapot Member

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    well, those are steel cans, human flesh is much more vulnerable to high velocity pieces of random stuff.
     
  22. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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  23. Lord Teapot

    Lord Teapot Member

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    i wonder if that thing could get any more inaccurate
     
  24. bigmouth

    bigmouth Member

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    A blunderbuss is an un-choked big bore shotgun meant for close range & questionable target bracketing. They fulfilled that role or they wouldn't have been so popular or made for centuries. They were even used to some degree in Washington's army of rebels. For close quarters on horseback or from a rocking coach, they were probably more effective than an AK. The flint ignition in the early models under such conditions was probably their worst short-coming. You can take the lock off of a door with an AK, etc., but I can take a good part of the door off with one of my blunderbusses! LOL!
     
  25. amlevin

    amlevin Member

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    Accuracy is not all that important. It relies on the same principle used in many corporate offices, that is "if you throw enough {manure} against the wall, some is bound to stick "(or hit it's mark}.

    The "Sea-Whiz" is designed to hit flying objects so all it needs to do is put out a wall of "metal".

    When you see it hitting a stationary target it's often put down as "inaccurate".
     
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