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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • NORTH TUSCANY COAST, 1948

Big Gun: 1923

Big Gun: 1923

July 30, 1923. Washington, D.C. "Big gun." National Photo Co. View full size.

 

Godzilla has met his match

As the saying goes, "Build a bigger Japanese monster, and someone will build a gun big enough to kill it."

Say hello...

to my little friend!! Somebody had to do it.

Joe from LI, NY

Cracked

The gun has obvious stress cracks in the tang and lock area -- which do not extend into the barrel. Seems that if it were all wood, as a sign might be, the cracks would extend into the barrel.

Also note that the butt-end is not in proportion to the rest of the gun, as might be in a sign, but is properly sized for actual shooting.

It looks like a punt gun to me, too, possibly for hunting on the Chesapeake Bay in the 1870s or so. Mounted on a boat, aimed by turning the boat towards the flock. Quite old-fashioned by 1923. Something Grandpa would have used.

Duck season

http://www.puntgunner.co.uk/

Website devoted to the sport. The gun is named after the kind of boat that they are mounted in -- a little skiff called a punt.

Some real ones

The Modern Mechanix blog has this post on similar looking guns in the June 1934 issue of Popular Mechanics. Also from 1934, an article in Modern Mechanix.

Proof Mark

Most punt guns were home-made. Talk about taking your life in your hands!

Big Shot

The trigger does not look carved, neither does the firing mechanism. I am more in favor of a museum display piece or a prop for a movie.

Ye Olde Gunsmith

This giant carved wood model of a percussion cap rifle appears to be an early 19th-century shop sign, like the giant dentures, pince nez glasses and druggist's mortars that once hung over storefronts. The wood is weathered and cracked, there are no gun sights along the top, and the butt end of the barrel is one with its stock.

Fake Gun

Being that it looks like it is entirely made of wood and the fact that 1923 is pretty darned late for the use of a percussion cap weapon for warfare, I'd say this fake gun was going to be used for some sort of display.

Rampart Gun

That looks a bit large for a punt gun. It's more like a rampart gun.
They were used in forts to hold off attackers.

Punt Gun

Maybe a punt gun, used by "meat market hunters" to kill large flocks of waterfowl with one shot.

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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