May 082012

Two guys firing a punt gun on land

Manufacturer:  Many manufacturers, many homemade.

Years Active: 19th-20th centuries.  Some sporting use in 21st.

Type: Extremely large breech-loaded  shotgun.

Length: Around 10 feet long.

Bore: 50 mm or greater.

Use: Rapid harvesting of large flocks of water fowl for commercial consumption.  Could kill 50 or more birds at a shot.

Ammunition:  Special paper or brass cartridges.  Some containing a pound of shot!

Legalilty:  Not legal for hunting in the US.  Bore size limited in the UK.

Trivia:  The name punt comes from the flat bottomed boats these guns were often fired from.

Punt gun fried from punt

Dec 082011

USS Ward (DD-139)

Country:United States

Builder: Mare Island Navy Yard

Class: Wickes-class Destroyer

Commissioned: 24 July 1918

Re-commissioned: January 15, 1941

Displacement :1,267 tons

Length: 314 ft

Propulsion:  2 x geared turbines

Speed: 35 knots

Compliment: 231

Armament: 4 inch (100mm)/55 caliber guns (4), 3 inch (76mm)/50 caliber anti-aircraft guns (2)

21 inch(530 mm) torpedo tubes (12)

Trivia:  On December 7, 1941, the Ward was patrolling outside of Pearl Harbor when she encountered a Japanese mini-submarine. At first,  the captain was going to ram the conning tower of the sub, but then decided to fire instead and sunk the sub.  Those shots were the first American shots in WWII.  Three years later, on December 7th, 1944, the Ward was sunk by a Kamikaze.

USS Ward 4 inch Gun at Minnesota State Capitol