Two men holding the punt gun, unfortunately not found in our air rifle shop

Used in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the punt gun may well be one of the most insane guns ever built! For when killing two birds with one stone was too mainstream, the punt gun boasted the capability of being able to take down 50-100 birds with a single shot!

Of course, this ‘over the top’ beast was made by our American brethren, whose motto was, of course, ‘the bigger the gun the better!’ Many waterfowl hunters made their trade by bringing in as many birds as possible, and selling them at market, so being able to take out nearly 100 birds in a single shot seems like a pretty good return, wouldn’t you say?

Of course, the punt gun was far too heavy and packed a pretty strong punch in the recoil, meaning it could not be handled by one man alone, or be fired by hand. This led to hunters mounting them in small boats, known as “punts.”

The gun was aimed by manoeuvring the boat into position a few dozen metres from their target, and was then fired. Punt guns were never manufactured on a large scale, with each being custom made in order to fit the specifications of the buyer.

However, they stuck to a general design, with the barrel opening starting at 2 inches (5cm) in diameter, and weighed over 45 kg or 7 stone. They measured over 10 feet (3m) and would fire more than 6 kg per shot, which is over a stone in weight!

The world’s largest punt gun was known as “Irish Tom”, and was reported as taking down just over 100 birds in one shot, by its owner. The barrel was over 14 feet long (4.2m), and the gun weighed in at a massive 21 stone (136kg)!

The popularity of the punt gun eventually led to the decline in waterfowl, leading the gun to become all but obsolete, and eventually being made illegal in the United States. The gun is still legal here in the UK, but their barrels have to have a diameter less than 1.75 inches. Those using the gun require a permit from the Government for both the gun and black powder, and must stick to hunting seasons to use it. However, this isn’t much of an issue, as there are only a few dozen punt guns left in the UK today!

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to find a punt gun in our air rifle shop (I know, we’re spoilsports!), but you can find an excellent range of break barrel, CO2, pre charged and under lever rifles from a range of manufacturers, so why not pay us a visit in store or online today?


Photo courtesy of Adam Rifkin, under Creative Commons