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Bourjaily: Beretta’s Real Dinosaur Gun

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October 23, 2009

Bourjaily: Beretta’s Real Dinosaur Gun

By Phil Bourjaily

Some of you expressed disappointment that the new Beretta A400  -- billed as a dinosaur gun -- turned out to be a mere 3 ½ inch 12 gauge.  While I think the A400 should be a dandy gun for ducks, geese and pheasants, it is admittedly on the light side for one-shot kills on larger sauropods. I would want more gun. In fact, I would want one of these.

Here is a picture of Beretta’s real dinosaur gun, which I saw during my tour of the factory. It has a bore of 40mm (1.6 inches) and shoots about a pound of shot. Berretta made lots of punt guns like this one for local use on nearby Lake Garda, some with bores up to 53mm (just over 2 inches). This gun and boat date to the 1940s.

The idea of punt gunning is to sneak up on rafted ducks and geese in a low profile boat and shoot the flock on the water at about 40 yards with a lot of shot from a very big gun. This video shows you what a punt gun can do to a bunch of balloons:

Most punts have a single sculling oar that sticks out the stern, allowing you to lie down out of sight and paddle one handed. This one has three sets of oarlocks for rowing around the lake. Then, when it’s time to pull a sneak on a flock rafted ducks, the crew lies down and turns the cranks (you can see one just behind the breech of the gun) that drive two little propellers in the stern. The drive system reminded me a little of the Civil War submarine Hunley, albeit a little more refined.

It should be noted that Lake Garda, like any large lake in the world, is said to be home to a lake monster, probably some type of pliosaur.  I think a pound of shot upside the head would permanently discourage the largest marine reptile, don’t you?

Comments (15)

Top Rated
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from focusfront wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Awesome. No cripples there.

Back in the day when buffalo blackened the plains and Passenger Pigeons darkened the skies, ducks and geese used to fill the lakes and rivers, and market hunters with huge guns like these almost wiped them out. Sometimes I wish we had another name for hunting, to separate what we do and what Buffalo Bill and the punt gunners did. Some species actually WERE made extinct through hunting; now, hunting is a species' best friend.

+11 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

The quest for fire power is interesting, take the “AA” Gauge with a bore diameter of four inches and the “D” Gauge with a bore diameter of a quarter of an inch.

That punt gun makes good propulsion system if you can maintain firing!

From shooting shot to shooting pumpkins a mile away, what’s next!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from straightshooter wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

I wonder what a box of steel shot would cost for that thing?

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from jbird wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Whoa! That'd be fun to play around with!

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Glad they are gone...

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Talk about a "Streetsweeper" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ruckweiler wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

What with the Harpoon Gun and all, what's next, a home defense 105mm howitzer?

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bella wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

What! Only a 40 mike-mike! My golf ball cannon is bigger than that (44mm)! However that looks like quite the weapon system all together, looks like a mini Venitian galley from the days when Don Juan was an Admiral ( the battle of Lepanto, anyone?), what with the 3 sets of oarlocks and the bow cannon. Punt guns I have seen here in the US seem longer in the barrel and bigger in bore. One I saw in a museum had a bore big enough to stick yer arm in there.Of course while I think big guns are really neat, I too reverence the wisdom of our ancestors who had the forsight to end the market hunting that exterminated the passenger pidgeon and lay waste the great herds of bison.
Now we have to see the Bushmeat trade in Africa ended before the great herds there experience the same fate as the wisent and the aurochs.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from PbHead wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Very interesting. The Bass Pro in Springfield MO used to have a punt gun on display. As for me, I will stick with my trusty Potato Cannon. It ammuses the grandkids and delights the neighbors all for the price of a sack of spuds and some hairspray.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from muskiemaster wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

I'd rather be using a nearly 20,000 dollar whale gun for my anti dinosaur weapon of choice I'm not much of a manual boat driver.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

focusfront got it right; Nice post brother!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Fisher Boy wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

now that would be a great toy

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from charlie elk wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Instead of calling them "market hunters" call them what they were - harvesters. They did not go out with the intention of hunting anything rather they intended to get the biggest harvest.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bella wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

I too greatly enjoyed my potato cannons, I even put sights on mine and found it fairly accurate out to 100 yards. Then I discovered the State of Masterbachusetts considers them "infernal devices" so I turned 'em back into pieces of pvc pipe and got real cannons, which oddly enough are perfectly legal as long as you don't attempt to fire explosive shells at your obnoxious neighbors. (I like MY neighbors, the taters, golf balls, wadded corncobs and other projectiles all go into the swamp).
I have the pleasure of residing not far from the Higgins armoury museum in Worcester where they still may have a Revolutionary era Wall Gun that must be 20 feet long, flintlock with a bore of maybe 3 inches. It would have been mounted on a parapet in a fort, nobody could ever pick it up single handed.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

that would be fun to play around with but no way would it be ethical for hunting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from lakedistricthotels wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

Doesn't that look a little too big for hunting, though the design is awe-inspiring.
Lake District Hotels

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from focusfront wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Awesome. No cripples there.

Back in the day when buffalo blackened the plains and Passenger Pigeons darkened the skies, ducks and geese used to fill the lakes and rivers, and market hunters with huge guns like these almost wiped them out. Sometimes I wish we had another name for hunting, to separate what we do and what Buffalo Bill and the punt gunners did. Some species actually WERE made extinct through hunting; now, hunting is a species' best friend.

+11 Good Comment? | | Report
from jbird wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Whoa! That'd be fun to play around with!

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from straightshooter wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

I wonder what a box of steel shot would cost for that thing?

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Glad they are gone...

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ruckweiler wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

What with the Harpoon Gun and all, what's next, a home defense 105mm howitzer?

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bella wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

What! Only a 40 mike-mike! My golf ball cannon is bigger than that (44mm)! However that looks like quite the weapon system all together, looks like a mini Venitian galley from the days when Don Juan was an Admiral ( the battle of Lepanto, anyone?), what with the 3 sets of oarlocks and the bow cannon. Punt guns I have seen here in the US seem longer in the barrel and bigger in bore. One I saw in a museum had a bore big enough to stick yer arm in there.Of course while I think big guns are really neat, I too reverence the wisdom of our ancestors who had the forsight to end the market hunting that exterminated the passenger pidgeon and lay waste the great herds of bison.
Now we have to see the Bushmeat trade in Africa ended before the great herds there experience the same fate as the wisent and the aurochs.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from PbHead wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Very interesting. The Bass Pro in Springfield MO used to have a punt gun on display. As for me, I will stick with my trusty Potato Cannon. It ammuses the grandkids and delights the neighbors all for the price of a sack of spuds and some hairspray.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

The quest for fire power is interesting, take the “AA” Gauge with a bore diameter of four inches and the “D” Gauge with a bore diameter of a quarter of an inch.

That punt gun makes good propulsion system if you can maintain firing!

From shooting shot to shooting pumpkins a mile away, what’s next!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from muskiemaster wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

I'd rather be using a nearly 20,000 dollar whale gun for my anti dinosaur weapon of choice I'm not much of a manual boat driver.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Talk about a "Streetsweeper" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

focusfront got it right; Nice post brother!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Fisher Boy wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

now that would be a great toy

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from charlie elk wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

Instead of calling them "market hunters" call them what they were - harvesters. They did not go out with the intention of hunting anything rather they intended to get the biggest harvest.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bella wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

I too greatly enjoyed my potato cannons, I even put sights on mine and found it fairly accurate out to 100 yards. Then I discovered the State of Masterbachusetts considers them "infernal devices" so I turned 'em back into pieces of pvc pipe and got real cannons, which oddly enough are perfectly legal as long as you don't attempt to fire explosive shells at your obnoxious neighbors. (I like MY neighbors, the taters, golf balls, wadded corncobs and other projectiles all go into the swamp).
I have the pleasure of residing not far from the Higgins armoury museum in Worcester where they still may have a Revolutionary era Wall Gun that must be 20 feet long, flintlock with a bore of maybe 3 inches. It would have been mounted on a parapet in a fort, nobody could ever pick it up single handed.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

that would be fun to play around with but no way would it be ethical for hunting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from lakedistricthotels wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

Doesn't that look a little too big for hunting, though the design is awe-inspiring.
Lake District Hotels

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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