Firearm terminology: British vs. American

If one who speaks the Queen’s English refers to a 12-bore fowling piece, is this synonymous with what an American would call a 12-gauge shotgun?

It would be a 12-bore shotgun, I think. Never heard of a “fowling piece”.

It’s a light short range shotgun designed for shooting small animals and gamebirds ( Fowl ).

A hundred years ago, it would have been called a “fowler” or “English fowler” in America, but that style of gun was never all that popular. All of the fowlers I have seen have been flint or percussion locks. I’ve never seen a modern fowler in the U.S.

The closest U.S. equivalent would be a shotgun, which is kinda the same thing but slightly different.

Similarly, there’s no direct U.K equivalent of the Kentucky rifle. You’ve got some rifles of the era which are kinda the same thing but not quite.

Including Snipe.

No, really

Thanks for the replies so far. I’m researching a story that includes a scene wherein the characters head out into the country on a snipe hunt (the real deal, not the "leave the poor sucker drunk and alone in the woods variation). The setting is rural England, circa 1910. The minimal data I’ve gathered thus far suggests that “master” hunters of the time favored a 12 bore fowling piece. But I’ve kind of gotten stuck on this point. Both bore and gauge are measurements of the barrel’s width, but I don’t know if they are congruent.

Bore refers to the diameter of the interior cross section of the barrel.

In shotguns, gauge refers to the number of lead spheres required to add up to a pound - if each of those spheres had the same diameter as the bore. So a twelve gauge bore would yield a diameter so that twelve lead spheres of that diameter would weigh one pound.

What I’ve read indicates that a 12 bore shotgun is shorthand for a shotgun whose bore diameter is 12 gauge, or roughly .729 inches.