Saturday, September 8, 2012

Nothing but a big bore

No, this isn't a confession about my uber posts, it's about a rifle.  A Two-bore, to be precise.  Via the magic of the Intarwebz and Flares into Darkness as a launching pad, we find perhaps the largest hand-held firearm, the Holland and Holland Two Bore:
Among other weapons, I had an extraordinary rifle that carried a half-pound percussion shell; this instrument of torture to the hunter was not sufficiently heavy for the weight of the projectile: it only weighted twenty pounds, thus with a charge of ten drachms [270 grains] of powder and a HALF-POUND shell, the recoil was so terrific, that I spun around like a weathercock in a hurricane. I really dreaded my own rifle, although I have been accustomed to heavy charges of powder and severe recoils for some years. None of my men could fire it, and it was looked upon as a species of awe, and it was name "Jenna-El-Mootfah" (Child of a Cannon) by the Arabs, which being a far too long of a name for practice, I christened it the "Baby", and the scream of this "Baby" loaded with a half-pound shell was always fatal. It was too severe, and I seldom fired it, but it is a curious fact that I never shot a fire with that rifle without bagging. The entire practice, during several years, was confined to about twenty shots. I was afraid to use it, but now and then as it was absolutely necessary, it was cleaned after months of staying loaded. On such occasions my men had the gratification of firing it, and the explosion was always accompanied by two men falling on their backs (one having propped up the shooter) and the "Baby" flying some yards behind them. This rifle was made by Holland & Holland, of Bond Street, and I could highly recommend it for the Goliath of Gath, but not for the men of A.D. 1866.[1]
That's from the memoirs of Sir Samuel White Baker, English Gentleman explorer.  It fired something like this:


It's the ball on the right hand side of the picture, made of a half pound (!) of lead.  That's 2500 grains.

[blink] [blink]

Err, I'll never meddle in caliber wars again, I promise.

And my shoulder hurts just watching it being fired.



Good grief, you can get a workout just picking the darn thing up.  I don't feel the slightest need for one, but it's insanely cool in an utterly useless sort of way.

17 comments:

Rev. Paul said...

That looks painful.

Anonymous said...

There are 7000 grains in a pound. That makes the 1/2 pound lead ball 3500 grains. Not a plinker, then.

Joel said...

I'll watch. From a respectful distance.

Dave H said...

I've never seen a shoulder fired mortar before.

Anonymous said...

Where's the kaboom? There was supposed to be an earth-shattering kaboom!
-Wonderduck

http://wonderduck.mu.nu

RabidAlien said...

Dang. Come zombie apocalypse or alien invasion, I think about three shots and the war would be over. As well as your shoulder, but still, a worthy sacrifice for destroying ALL your targets in three shots.

And extra points for the Marvin the Martian reference in the label!

kx59 said...

I bet if you had the opportunity, you'd shoot it.
Might not shoot anything else that day, but you'd shoot it.
How do they fix a dislocated collar bone anyway?

drjim said...

Any bigger and it would be a "Punt Gun".

http://www.wimp.com/biggestshotgun/

Theredneckengineer said...

I now know what I must build next.
There's quite a few people that have built these over at one of the home built firearms forum I'm on, I guess I'll have to look into it a bit closer.
It's not fun until you've dislocated a shoulder.

Old NFO said...

DAYUM... I'll pass on that one... 50BMG is bad enough!

Anonymous said...

Don't let them tell you size doesn't matter.

instinct said...

I would shoot it.... once, only once.

Anonymous said...

What does it do on the receiving end??
Yeah I'd shoot the thing...Then go home and whine about my poor shoulder..
And get no sympathy of course!!
But to be on the receiving end? Would leave smear...

instinct said...

I'm not even sure it would be a smear, maybe just a vapor cloud.

Kristophr said...

Yea, you want the chicken pad for that one.

My 8-bore only kicks like a .375.

Anonymous said...

Capstick tells a story about Baker in one of his "Death in the Long Grass" books. Apparently Baker was chasing a Cape buffalo around out in the desert, and only took a couple of those lead baseballs with him. I guess he missed a couple of times, and then managed to wound it. Pissing it off something fierce. The buff got ready to charge, and Baker was busily charging the 2 bore, reached into his pocket, and lo and behold, he didn't have any more bullets to seat on top of the powder. So, according to the story, he wrapped up what pocket change he had on him in a hankerchief and rammed it down on top of the powder charge. By this time, the buff was bearing down on him, and he let it have it between the eyes, which knocked it down, allowing Baker to escape while the buff's eyes were crossed.

Of course, Capstick struck me as one who might just embellish a story, given the chance.

Cheers, Medium Sized Jake

riki jorden said...

Thanks for sharing information on Borepatch, i have visited your blog great post.................
bores