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The Blunderbuss: 17th Century Dragon Firearm

Often associated with pilgrims, pirates, and highway robbers, the blunderbuss is an iconic firearm of a bygone era.

The host of this episode of Triggers, a show on the Military channel, says that the blunderbuss was known as the thunder pipe. That's an accurate description, but I've always liked its nickname dragon best.

While the dragon moniker was more commonly associated the handgun version of the blunderbuss, it was also used for the longer, shoulder fired weapon.

After seeing one fired you can see why people associated it with a fire and death spewing dragon.

The burst of flame and cloud of smoke that envelops the gun and shooter says it all. This is one badass weapon.

When many of us hear the word blunderbuss or see a picture of the stubby precursor to the shotgun, certain images immediately come to mind. We associate the odd, funnel-shaped firearm with historical characters both real and fictitious.

Colonial pilgrims are often imagined carrying blunderbusses, although the firearm was not as ubiquitous in the colonies as we've come to believe. Pirates and other rough characters of ages past are pictured as favoring the blunderbuss, and this association has some basis in fact. Even the cartoon character Scrooge McDuck was portrayed, in his early development, as guarding his money trove with a blunderbuss.

We also often think of the blunderbuss being loaded with various and sundry bits of metal, such as lead ball, nails, even stones.

Early weapons expert Paul Masterson says, "It's not always the most accurate weapon, but what it lacks in accuracy it makes up for in just sheer violence."

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NEXT: Super Cool Lorenzoni Repeating Flintlock From the 17th Century

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The Blunderbuss: 17th Century Dragon Firearm