View Full Version : OT..largest guage shotgun?

Greg Parent
06-21-2004, 03:00 PM
Hello all,
Does anyone know what the largest guage shotgun is? It does not have to be a hand held, hunting type firearm. I remember reading something about a tool used to clean out kilns and ceramic slurry tumblers that used a 1 guage shotgun shell and silica beads. Is there something bigger than a 1 guage?

06-21-2004, 03:04 PM
I've heard of 4 guage, but never 1 gauge, geez.
If you got a 1 guage, I dare you to shoot some magnum slugs with it against your shoulder.

06-21-2004, 03:10 PM
By definition, there can't be.

According to the way I learned it, shotguns were 'gauged' according to the number of round lead balls that could be made from 1# of lead. The old shot guns would shoot a single, round ball of lead - a shot.

On a .410, that's really a caliber and not a gauge so that's an exception.

The barrel of a 12 ga. would allow a 1/12 pound ball of lead pass. So a 1 ga. should allow a 1# ball of lead to pass!!! This sounds rather bizarre so I'd doubt there's such a thing as a 1 ga. shotgun.

I know I've heard of modern 10 ga. shotguns used for goose hunting and I'm not sure but there may have been an 8 ga. at one time.

I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong.

[This message has been edited by pgmrdan (edited 06-21-2004).]

06-21-2004, 03:20 PM
A number of the old radial engines used a very large shotgun style shell for starting. I don't know what guage they are but they are in some cases much larger than 10 guage. No shot of course.

06-21-2004, 03:26 PM
Several years back I was at Harold's Club in Reno Nevada, heck of a gun collection! They had a 4 gauge if I remember correctly, it was a "Flock" gun and mounted in the front of a boat. Just shoot into the flock and go pick em' up!

Forrest Addy
06-21-2004, 03:39 PM
ever hear of a "punt gun"? It was used by market hunters way back when. There's one in a museum at Ocean Shores that had a 2" barrel. The paper cartridges were big as ears of corn.

06-21-2004, 03:40 PM
Like the shells used in 'Flight of the Phoenix', to start the airplane engine?

06-21-2004, 03:55 PM
Look up punt guns and english shotgun also check out these links http://www.chuckhawks.com/intro_gauges.htm
shotgun gauge chart

06-21-2004, 04:56 PM
The largest legal gauge in the US, in most states is 10 gauge. Before the turn of the last century market hunters would use 4 or even two. These weren't exactly shoulder fired weapons. They'd hunt at night when the ducks and geese were roosting on the water.
Sometimes I wish they'd come back and take care of the goose population out here.

06-21-2004, 05:02 PM
I have seen 10 gauge goose guns and an 8 gauge guns that are used for putting a large cow down.

Some gun shop in the area has a small 8 gauge cannon for sale.


06-21-2004, 05:25 PM
I saw a 4 guage shotgun shell in a small museum in central BC, about 22 years ago. It was Kelowna, Kamloops, Pentictin or somewhere about there. I was a kid then and it was a big shell. Much to big I think to go in a handheld gun. Here are a few links proving the 4 guage exists.The second link has a good picture of a "Punt Gun" half way down the page.




06-21-2004, 05:39 PM
Remington makes and sells kiln guns for knocking slag from roatry kilns.

06-21-2004, 05:46 PM
There's nothing preventing the creation of, say, a 1/2 gauge shotgun. That would be a bore with a diameter such that a pure lead ball of that size would weigh 2lbs. However, I think once you get to that size you're probably talking artilery! The largest I've personally seen are some old 2 gauge guns in black powder...

06-21-2004, 05:50 PM
The largest shotgun shell that I've seen personally is a 2 gauge. It's huge!

Rich Carlstedt
06-21-2004, 07:19 PM
Since you said it does not have to be hand held, lets not forget 24 pound cannon (about 6"bore)
They use to fire "Grape shot" before boarding a ship. This was nothing more than a canister of iron pellets (grapes)....and produced the same effect..
Also, the old "Blunder Busses" were black powder shot guns..loaded with nails,rocks etc.
Saw one with a 2 inch bore from Spanish Navy in a museum over the pond.

06-21-2004, 08:13 PM
A 1/2 gauge is called a cannon!


06-21-2004, 09:17 PM
If I'm not mistaken, and I often am,, grapeshot also refered to fastening a short length of chain between two projectiles, cannonballs. This was fired into onrushing infantry.

Could this be the origin of the book title
"The Grapes of Wrath" http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

06-21-2004, 10:29 PM
Punt gun is what you call it. Some were mounted in the end of a row boat. The gun was pointed by steering the boat and the boat took the kick when the shooter took out a whole flock of ducks or geese when game was a common item in restaurants and commercial hunters took ducks and geese for a living. Read about one guy who had the punt gun resting in a window near a lake and he used a big pile of hay to catch him when he fired the thing. I think they had 1 guage and 2 guage guns mentioned in the article I read in American Rifleman magazine.

06-21-2004, 11:17 PM
A guy that lives up the road from me (fellow HSM) has one of those aircraft starters. I was over there one day and he pulled it off a shelf and asked me if I knew what it was. He said that in the twenty five years he's owned it, I was only the second person to correctly identify it. An educated guess on my part I might add.

06-22-2004, 12:15 AM
One of our local dealers had an "0" guage on display in his shop for about ten years,they resembled a knee mortar and where used for commercial duck and goose hunting down on the bayou,the flocks would fly over head and wham! they would let loose with several pounds of lead shot bringing down 20 or 30 birds at a time,they typically had one man firing the gun and two or three out wringing necks.

BJim Shell
06-22-2004, 01:08 AM
Two cannon balls conected by chain were called dismantling shot. Jim

jim davies
06-22-2004, 01:43 AM
WW Greener, in his "The Gun..." describes a suitable punt gun as being of 1 1/2 inch bore, about 100 pounds, bored for a 7in long drawn brass case holding 3 oz powder and 1 1/2 pounds of shot. Price abou 80 L, indiarubber recoil gear being extra.

For shoulder use he prefers the 8 gauge double to the 4 gauge because some folks are recoil sensitive to the 4 whilst recoil with the 8 gauge double is "unoticeable" even when weighing only 11#.

Wouldn't mind having one of his 8 gauge double Paradox Rifles designed for use at dangerous game. Recoil, he says, is nominal and unoticeable when at close quarters.

06-22-2004, 01:46 AM
Reading right out of my Cartridges Of The World 10th Edition;

the 2 guage would technically be called a 4 guage,
the 4 guage would technically be a 5 or 6 guage, due to the "equal sized number of pure lead ball that make 1 lb".
(there was some variance and non-standardization)

Bore diameters were (approximatly);

2ga 1.325"
3ga 1.157"
4ga .918" to .975"
8ga .835"
10ga .775"
11ga .751"
12ga .729"
14ga .693"

06-22-2004, 03:11 AM
I saw a 2 gauge at a museum in Carson City Nevada. It was mounted in the front of a small boat and was used to shoot a whole flock of ducks. They had some pictures that showed how many they shot at one time.

That reminds me of the old guys that brag about how many salmon they used to catch before all of the Californians moved to the Pacific Northwest, and now there is not enough fish to go around. I always thought it was probably because of the hundreds they caught and let spoil before they could eat them in the good old days. Sorry for getting a little off track.

06-22-2004, 08:39 AM
Does anybody remember the movie "Flight of the Pheonix" with Jimmy Stuart? They had to start the airplane engine with shells and it was a tense moment because they only had a limited number of shells and were stuck in the desert. Good movie

J Tiers
06-22-2004, 08:47 AM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by BJim Shell:
Two cannon balls conected by chain were called dismantling shot. Jim</font>

The usual system is actually one ball, in two halves, with the chain packed inside. They flew apart, and would take out the rigging, often allowing the masts to fall.

Another which you might be thinking of is two balls connected by a bar. Similar plan, but better for actually taking out the mast.

If the chain were packed between two full balls, the chain would be beat by being squeezed as the rear one hit the chain and front one. Even powder has enough oomph to do damage to the chain.

I have seen a punt gun, it did have at least a 1 1/2" bore, and was about 6 feet long. One would have to call it a shotgun, and it would clearly be the biggest I have seen.

06-22-2004, 08:48 AM
I certainly remember that movie. (I mentioned it up above.) What a way to start an engine!

Paul Gauthier
06-22-2004, 09:14 AM
Yes, great movie.

Paul G.

06-22-2004, 09:57 AM
There's a punt gun of some overwhelmingly large gauge (0, maybe?) at the Higgins Armory museum in Worcester, MA.

06-22-2004, 10:08 AM
Other engines were started with a shotgun cartridge, such as WW II tanks and some diesels.


06-22-2004, 10:10 AM
Technically, you could never have a true 0 gauge shotgun. That would require a bore of infinite size.

06-22-2004, 07:30 PM
The one I saw had a bore of at least 3",like I said a knee mortar more than a proper shotgun.

06-22-2004, 10:59 PM
If I remember correctly the term Grape shot was a civil war term meaning to load cannon with anything one had on hand: ie.rocks, nuts, bolts various other schrapnel one coule scrounge up on the battle field. Should make for a wicked charge at close range for an enemy charging up a hill...

06-22-2004, 11:38 PM
Grape Shot



[This message has been edited by Carl (edited 06-22-2004).]

06-22-2004, 11:53 PM
Coffman Cartridges were what they called the one for starting aircraft engines. B 52's used them for starting the jet engines during the cold war when they wanted to get into the air fast. anyone know where I can find one for my collection?

06-23-2004, 08:07 AM
The B-52 or the cartridge? http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

06-23-2004, 10:11 PM
I'll take the B 52 if the price is right

06-24-2004, 11:39 AM
You can get one here for $9.95