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  • Firearms make hunting a lot easier than it used to  

  • be on our spear and sling-wielding  ancestors. But in the early 1800s,  

  • some people thought hunting still wasn't  easy enough- so they made a 12 foot shotgun.

  • It's the only gun ever banned for being  too good at its job. In the early 1800s,  

  • fashionable humans everywhere decided  that they needed more feathers for hats,  

  • and extra meat wasn't bad either. Luckily  for humans, ducks could provide both-  

  • but there was just one problem. A shotgun could  only down a few birds at once, if the shooter  

  • was extremely lucky that is. There had to be  a better way to mass murder ducks and geese.

  • Then, some enterprising hunter thought  to himself- if shotguns are good for  

  • killing several birds at once, then  why not just make the shotgun bigger?

  • And by god, this stroke of genius workedEssentially nothing more than a massively  

  • upscaled shotgun, the punt gun was soon bornFeaturing barrels that were over eight feet in  

  • length, sometimes as long as 12 feet, the  punt gun had a bore 2 inches in diameter.  

  • The weapon was loaded with a pound of shot  and three quarters of a pound of gunpowder,  

  • which really began to beg the question if this  was even a gun anymore or an artillery piece.

  • The idea was simple. With one trigger pull,  a single hunter would spray several hundred  

  • pellets over a wide area- not at all  unlike a modern day claymore in gun form.  

  • The concept had already been proven to work  for hundreds of years, with warships during the  

  • age of sail being loaded with three different  kind of shot- cannon balls for sinking ships,  

  • smaller balls attached with chains to destroy  rigging, and grapeshot to kill crew on the deck.

  • Much like a warship, the punt gun could  only be fired from a boat. Its size made  

  • it impossible for a man to shoulder and  fire- if he valued retaining said shoulder.  

  • The incredible recoil would also make it  perilous to fire from a fixed position.  

  • Instead, the gun was fastened to a small boatand the hunter would then silently row himself  

  • into position so as not to scare the waterfowl  away. Once in position, it was a simple matter  

  • of lining up his shot, and then blasting dozens  of birds on a one way trip to meet their bird god.

  • The recoil from firing the gun would actually  push the boat back several feet. If you're a  

  • hunter today you've probably given yourself scope  eye at least once- try that with a punt gun and  

  • you won't have an eye left to damage. Or probably  even a face for that matter. The punt gun actually  

  • got its name from the small boats it was loaded  on to, known as punts, and not as we originally  

  • assumed, because it was singlehandedly punting  entire species of waterfowl into extinction.

  • The gun was good, but commercial hunters were  pretty sure that there was a way to kill even  

  • more birds faster. That's when double-barreled  punt guns came into being, because if one barrel  

  • is good, then two can only be better. It likely  only took one attempt to immediately reduce the  

  • gunpowder load of a double-barreled punt gun  versus its single barreled cousins, as that  

  • much recoil was as likely to kill the hunter as  it was a dozen birds. With a reduced powder load,  

  • the double-barreled punt gun actually proved to be  less effective than the single-barreled punt gun,  

  • leading to a preference for the  traditional single-barreled punt gun.

  • Two barrels didn't work out, but if you  couldn't add more firepower directly to the gun,  

  • so as to kill more birds fasterthen maybe it was just a matter of  

  • adding more guns. And that's exactly  what commercial hunters began to do,  

  • eventually setting up whole fleets of punt guns  that would cooperate in a single bird hunt.

  • Well, at this point, the term  hunt is being used quite loosely.  

  • Bird holocaust would be more like it.

  • To maximize carnage and profits, hunters would  simply attempt to kill an entire flock at once.  

  • With fleets of up to 10 punt guns, each boat would  silently move into position until the entire fleet  

  • effectively surrounded the flock of birds resting  on the water. Because there was no radio or walkie  

  • talkies back then, the men would carefully  coordinate their firing with a pre-agreed  

  • upon signal, so that the guns fired all at once  and thus give the birds no chance for escape.

  • First though, the birds would be encouraged to  fly, otherwise each punt gun would fire across  

  • the lake and at the boat opposite it. Once the  birds were in the air though, the carnage lasted  

  • just a few seconds as the guns all fired in rapid  succession. Up to 500 ducks or geese could be  

  • eradicated at once with this tactic- an entire  flock of birds and their bird wifes, their bird  

  • children, their bird grandmas and grandpas. All  dead. Perforated by thousands of lead pellets.

  • Punt guns were only used by commercial hunterswhich severely limited any potential market for  

  • weapons manufacturers. Thus, they were never  officially supported by the weapons industry,  

  • which made repairing or finding spare parts for  punt guns incredibly difficult. Fixes would often  

  • have to be jerryrigged, with the hunters often  being their own punt gun mechanics and engineers.

  • However, the weapon was ultimately  doomed for a reason no other weapon  

  • has ever been banned for in historyit was simply too good at its job.

  • Ladies got their hat feathers, and hungry  people got their duck and goose meat,  

  • but within decades bird populations  began to plummet in the United States.  

  • Punt guns were driving entire  species of birds to extinction,  

  • with the hunters irrevocably destroying their  own livelihoods. And yet, commercial hunters  

  • fiercely resisted any attempt to make the use of  punt guns illegal, because of course they did.

  • The United States however eventually  passed legislation to outlaw the punt gun.  

  • The transportation of game across  state lines was made illegal in a  

  • bid to crack down on commercial  hunting, and slowly but surely  

  • legislation targeting the use of punt  guns themselves for hunting was passed.  

  • Shortly after the complete banning of punt  guns, bird populations began to rebound.

  • Today punt guns are not technically illegal in  the United States, but it isn't legal to hunt  

  • anything with them. One may keep a punt gun as  a collector's item, with 100 surviving punt guns  

  • around the world today. In the United Kingdompunt guns are used in various ceremonies, thanks  

  • to a tradition started in 1897 by Queen VictoriaOn her Diamond Jubilee, the Queen requested a punt  

  • gun salute, rather than the traditional rifle  salute. Pleased with the thunderous cacophony  

  • of a dozen punt guns firing at once, the tradition  got picked up and spread amongst England's royals.

  • Had the Nazis invaded the British isles, they  may have come face to face with the punt gun  

  • themselves. In 1941, an Irish local defense force  unit was outfitted with various flintlock weapons,  

  • including a massive nine foot long punt gun. While  the first shot would've likely been terrifying  

  • for the Nazis, the incredibly long and difficult  reload would've likely spelled doom for the Irish  

  • defenders. That and the fact that they were facing  off against automatic weapons with flintlocks.

  • As for the birds, they remember the  punt gun and the genocide it caused.  

  • They remember as they watch. They  remember as they silently wait...

  • Now go watch weirdest weapons in the  world, or click this other video instead!

Firearms make hunting a lot easier than it used to  

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B2 punt gun bird shotgun hunter recoil

12 Foot Shotgun - Craziest Real Weapons

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    Summer posted on 2021/07/20
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