Smoothbore Pauly Sporting gun

Manufactured by Jean Samuel Pauly in Paris, France c.1812.
Pauly was a Swiss gunsmith based in Paris, in which he designed with the French Prélat the first self-contained cartridge, patenting the designs in 1808 and 1812. This allowed Pauly to manufacture easy to reload breech-loading firearms with the possibility to stockpile ready ammunition for them. These innovations would go unused for two dozens years except for these examples of hunting muskets, despite being the basis for all modern firearms.
Note the external cocking lever reminiscent of earlier firelocks.

a Pauly gun’s open breech


The Greener - Martini Light Harpoon Gun,

During the later half of the 19th century, the Martini-Henry rifle was the primary military arm of the British Empire.  With it the British were able to conquer a large colonial empire that stretched across the world.  By the 20th century, however, the old single shot breechloading Martini rifles were obsolete as the British adopted a new ten shot bolt action rifle called the Lee Enfield.  As a result, the British were left with a thousands of obsolete rifles which were essentially worth nothing.

To dispose of these surplus firearms, many Martini’s were converted to hunting and target rifles as well as smoothbore shotguns.  A company called W. W. Greener converted many Martini rifles into shotguns used by prison guards and colonial police.  In addition, W. W. Greener Ltd. converted a number of Martini’s into harpoon guns.  At the time, the whaling industry was still in full force as petrochemicals had not yet completely replaced the market for whale oil.  To convert the rifle to harpoon guns, a new barrel was placed on the firearm to accommodate a harpoon.  A new stock was also added to make the gun lighter and easier to wield.  To fire the gun, the user inserted a blank cartridge into the chamber.  When fired, the force of the discharge propelled the harpoon through the air.

The Greener harpoon gun became the most popular light harpoon gun in the whaling industry.  It also became popular with other fisherman, such as tuna and other big fish. Due to its popularity, a number were produced new rather than using older Martini-Henry rifles.  

The fall of the whaling industry, most caused by the replacement of whale oil with petrochemicals, and the passing of internationals agreements limiting and banning whaling, also brought the fall of the Greener Harpoon gun.  However, regardless of its legacy in whaling, the Greener Harpoon gun will always be remembered as the weapon of choice for the crusty shark hunter named Quint in the hit film Jaws. 


The Jornadian Falcon Turret, a remotely-controlled and fully automatic tank turret, equipped with a 120mm smoothbore gun, and designed to both enhance the tank’s fighting abilities and increase its survivability, while also reducing the crew from four to three.

Designed for both the al-Hussein (Chally 1) and Tarik (Centurion) tanks, with rumors of a version for the M-60, and while it was announced the turret would equip all al-Hussein tanks in service with the Jordanian army, as of 2015 no such upgrade has taken place.


Polish PL-01 Stealth Tank Prototype by OBRUM/BAE

Based on the Combat Vehicle 90 chasis, the PL-01 uses active infrared camouflage and radar absorbing material (RAM) to minimize infrared and radar signatures. In the near future, it will be used to test visual stealth technology as well. It is armed with either a 105 or 120 mm smoothbore cannon and 7.62 mm or .50 caliber independent gun turret system. It also has an active defense system, similar to Israel’s Trophy countermeasures. Level 5 ceramic-composite armor covers the frontal hemisphere, with the flanks having level four armor. Additional plug-and-play armor is available.

A full working prototype is scheduled to be fielded in 2016.

via Foxtrot Alpha


English air musket c.1800′s

.30 caliber, 120mm diameter brass gas tank, steel lock with brass smootbore barrel and triggerguard.
Only the trouble of making cheap and resilient air-tight pressurized air containers stopped air guns to become a common battlefield weapon. That would have been so awesome :v


The 15 and 20 Inch Rodman Columbiads,

During the Civil War columbiads were very large smoothbore guns that were popular for use in sieges and as coastal defense guns.  They were especially common among Union forces since the north had the industrial capacity and resources to produce these large guns.  In 1861 a Union artilleryman and ordnance engineer named Capt. Thomas Jackson Rodman developed a new way to cast iron cannon that was faster, more efficient, and produced guns that were stronger and safer to fire.  The new columbiad Rodman designed had a curving soda bottle shape which reinforced the chamber, the point where the most pressure would occur when firing.

As soon as the Union Army adopted the Rodman gun hundreds began to be produced in northern foundries.  Most were produced at Fort Pitt Foundry in Pittsburgh, although others were casted in foundries at New York and New England as well.  Calibers were 8 inch, 10 inch, and 15 inch.  While the 10 inch was the most common with over 1,000 made, it was the 15 inch that was the most prized, of which 323 were produced.  Manned by a crew of 12, the 15 inch Rodman gun could fire a 400 lb iron ball 5,000 yards (almost 3 miles) using a 40 lb charge of gunpowder. The massive gun itself weighed almost 50,000 lbs. Due to their long range most were used as coastal defense guns to protect ports against Confederate raiders. None of the 15 inch guns were ever fired in anger.  A number 10 inch Rodmans were used to bombard Confederate cities such as Vicksburg, Petersburg, and Richmond.

In 1864 the Fort Pitt Foundry pushed the envelope by producing three 20 inch Rodman guns. The gigantic guns weighed twice as much as the 15 inch, and could fire a 1,000 lb iron ball 8,000 yards (4.5 miles) using a 200 lb charge of gunpowder.  Two were stationed at Fort Hamilton, NY while a third was produced for the warship USS Puritan.

Altogether 1,840 Rodman guns casted during the American Civil War.  Today 140 survive and can be seen at various historic coastal fortifications across the Atlantic coast.


I.C. SAPS conversion air rifle

Manufactured in Berlin, Germany c.~1800 out of a hunting flintlock musket.
.30 ball, compressed air tank with integrated iron piston in the buttstock, brass large caliber barrel with internal sleeve, modified lock without any touch hole, cannot be used as a flintlock mechanism anymore.

These early air rifles are the shit, smokeless and easy to reload at a time when percussion firearms didn’t exist, let alone modern breechloading weapons.


Spanish Patilla Miquelet musket

.72 smoothbore, walnut stock.
Spain is notorious for being the only West European nation to have only ever issued Miquelet locks as their military smoothbore muskets, with the M1752 being their first general issue long arm and lasting until its replacement by a Minié-type rifle. This flintlock variant is in fact named after a Catalan or Valencian mountain militias of the 18th century.

Miquelet of the Regiment Vilar i Ferrer reenactor

Via  Friends of the Tank Museum :

The M60 Service Life extension Programme (SLEP) is a Raython offering allowing countries which still use the US Built M60 tank to modernise their vehicles at a relatively low cost. The 105 mm M68 rifled tank gun is replaced by the 120 mm M256 smoothbore gun of the M1A1 Abrams tank, while the engine is replaced with an uprated one which delivers 950 horsepower instead of the earlier 750 hp. Electric gun and turret drives replace the previous hydraulic versions, which were slower and a fire hazard, and the old mechanical ballistic computer is replaced by a modern digital fire control system.