Tuesday, 26 May 2015

The Punt Gun - 19th Century weapon of mass destruction

The punt gun was a huge shotgun once used to slaughter a large number of waterfowl with a single shot - up to 80 ducks resting on the water at one go. Able to discharge over a pound of shot at a time, it was so ruinously effective at "harvesting" waterbirds that most US states had banned it by the 1860s. They were routinely mounted on punts, allowing the deadly killer to sneak up on unsuspecting little quackers before dispensing a shedload of leaden death:

Apparently there are still some 50 active punt guns in the UK, and (according to Wikipedia, so it must be true) during the Diamond Jubilee in 2012, 21 of them were fire separately in Cowbit, Lincolnshire, before they were all discharged a simultaneous volley. I'd really like to have seen that.

Here's a video explaining how theye were used (don't worry - the only things harmed in it are clay pigeons):

And here's one being fired closer to home:

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