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The Blunderbuss was a kind of weapon developed in the seventeenth century but used right through the nineteenth century. It was unique in its design in that it had a funnel shaped barrel which permitted the gun to fire projectiles within an amazingly wide range. A blunderbuss might hit an object within a 160' range of where it was aimed, but then again, it might not hit anything at all.

The blunderbuss was particularly useful for fowling, because you didn't have to be any sort of marksman to hit a bird. You simply aimed in a general direction and fired. Of course, there was no guarantee that you would hit any particular bird since the objects which were fired could go anywhere.

In military applications, this characteristic of the blunderbuss was a mixed blessing. Soldiers might be charging right at you and all be totally missed by the explosion of a blunderbuss, but on the other hand, the wide spread range of projectiles meant that you might hit a dozen men at once. There was just no way to tell ahead of time.

Blunderbusses were variously equip with flintlocks, wheel locks, or percussion locks. They could fire almost any hard object from bird seed to pebbles, or grape shot. This gave the weapon amazing versatility in the field where some sort of hard object would probably be at hand even if proper musket balls were in short supply.

The blunderbuss was loaded in the regular way with gun powder and wadding, but shootists tended to use extra gunpowder in a blunderbuss because the wide opening in the barrel dissipated the force of the gun's explosion. For that reason, the gun had a nasty kick-back which required the use of a tripod or prop to absorb some of the shock of the firing.

Blunderbusses were made in both pistol and shoulder gun models. Because of habitual overloading, many blunderbusses were destroyed in use and few survive today as antiques. When they come on the market, they fetch a pretty penny.