Were there flintlock shotguns? In all those episodes of Davy Crockett and Danie Boone, I don’t remember shotguns. Grapeshot in cannon, yes. I can see that, gravity holding the shot in place. But before there were cartridges, how would shot in a shotgun stay in place? With wax?
A friend of mine has an ancient muzzleloading caplock shotgun, so I’d say there were also flintlock versions. I believe the shot is held in place with a wad of cloth or perhaps paper.
I’ve never seen a muzzleloading shotgun IRL, but since I have some experience with muzzleloading revolvers I’ve read how to load hotguns.
First you pour a measured powder charge into the barrel. Next comes an over-powder card (a cardboard disc) and a wad. The wad can be made of felt and cushions the shot from the force of the charge. The shot comes next, and it’s held in place by an over-shot card. The cards and wads fit snugly in the barrel, so the charge will stay in. The ramrod is used to push the cards and wads into position.
I guess the question’s already been answered, so all I can add is some pointless trivia.
They were called “fowling pieces” in the English-speaking world for obvious reasons (they were primarily intended for bird hunting).
Johnny L.A. is spot on on the loading procedure. The few times I’ve tried caplock shotguns I used an ordinary .410 hull as both a powder and shot measure. Just about the perfect size.
Y’know those pictures of the Pilgrms with their blunderbusses, those guns they’re always pictured with that have the funnel-shaped barrel?
Those are shotguns.
Shotguns were also used quite a lot in boarding actions from one ship to another, including pirate activity, and during the Napoleonic wars.
Oops. I forgot to mention ignition. Caplock, or percussions, guns have a nipple on the breech. A percussion cap is put over the nipple. When the hammer falls the flame from the percussion cap shoots through a hole in the nipple and into the breech where it touches and ignites the powder.
Flintlocks are similar in that they have a hole in the breech for flame to travel through. Instead of a nipple, there is a pan where you put FFFFg (very fine) blackpowder. When the hammer falls it carries the shaped piece of flint into contact with the frizzen. The flint scrapes hot pieces of metal (sparks) into the flashpan, the flame travels down the tube into the breech, contacts the powder, and ignites it. (Incidentally, I believe that the flintlock is where we get the phrase “a flash in the pan”.)
I’m not really interested in getting a flintlock. Nothing wrong with them of course, but by historical interests lie in a later era. I’d would like to get a percussion shotgun though. Cabella’s has one.