Friday, November 23, 2012

The Mayflower gun

This Thanksgiving, I was fascinated to read about the Mayflower gun, once owned by John Alden of the Mayflower.

What’s even more American than turkey, cranberries and pumpkin pie these days?  An Italian gun, that’s what.  The only known surviving firearm that crossed the wild Atlantic aboard the good ship Mayflower, settled with the pilgrims at Plymouth Colony and ultimately helped the first colonists not only survive, but prosper.  Meet the Mayflower Gun.

Affectionately dubbed the Mayflower Gun and thought of as an American icon, the gun is actually an Italian-made wheel-lock carbine.  This single-shot musket was originally chambered in .50 caliber rifle, though ages of heavy use have worn away the majority of the rifling.  Given the combination of natural wear, repairs and modifications, if the gun were to be loaded and fired today, it would require a .66 caliber.

There's much more at the link.  Most interesting, particularly to firearms enthusiasts.  I knew of wheel-lock firearms, of course, but I didn't know they'd come to this country - all the other historical guns I've seen here have been shaphaunces, flintlocks and percussion-fired firearms


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