Men have always been good hunters. The problem is that they are too good, witness the loss of every big animal that roamed the earth during the last ice age. And during that time we barely had spears and arrows to hunt them with. That tradition of hunting everything to extinction continues to modern times, such as the disappearance of the passenger pidgeon in the United States, and the increasing difficulty we have in locating what fish are left in the oceans.
From the middle of the Nineteenth Century, so called 'Market Hunters' upped the ante for wildfowl hunting. They used huge shotguns to take large numbers of ducks and geese with one shot. These guns were too big to carry around, so they were mounted to small boats, punts, from which the name 'punt guns' was derived. They could use a pound of pellets, or more, and could collect 50 birds at a shot. The barrels were up to 2 inches in diameter and the guns could easily weigh one hundred pounds.
Some of these guns are so big, it looks like they were used by some mutant giant race of humans. They were way too successful, and were banned in the US from 1918, and even earlier in some states, but puntgunning still goes on in the UK.
Cowan's auction house in Cincinnati is selling off the lifetime collection of Richard Wray, a former President of Wray Electric Company and longtime collector of firearms. This huge auction includes over 200 firearms and at least 90 rare class III weapons.
These guns are not display items, not deactivated or converted to semi-auto, they are the real deal. Not only that, but most of these guns are rare as can be, and some are complete with all accessories. This seems to be the auction of a lifetime. The auction is to be held April 30th, 2013.
Some of my favorites...