Large Caliber Rifle

My brother sent me a link to a YouTube Video about a modern, very large bore rifle, touted as the largest center-fire rifle ever made.  I'm glad they said it was a rifle and that it was center-fire because people have been experimenting with large bore guns ever since there have been guns.  That's where cannons came from.

But to be more specific, these weapons were not rifles and they did not fire a center-fire cartridge.  They were muzzleloaders.  And, wow, were they large caliber!  Here's an early illustration of a matchlock gun of the type I'm talking about:

The carriage may or may not be present.  The gun could be mounted in a movable yoke on the wall of a fortress.  It could be mounted on the gunwall of a ship at sea.  It was never shoulder-fired like the .95 caliber center-fire rifle in the YouTube video, but anything less than 1.00 caliber (one-inch bore) would have been considered small.  The old, black powder gun I'm talking about ranged in bore from 1 to 2 inches.

I saw one at the old Spanish Fort in St. Augustine, Florida (USA).  Photos are at the bottom of this page.  To give you an idea of how big the gun is, here's one I found on the net where a man is standing next to it:

Yeah, Wow!  That's what I said when I first saw the thing at St. Augustine.  Good thing there's a gun mount to absorb some of the recoile.  I don't think anyone is gonna shoulder that thing!

So what's this thing called?  Well, after much searching the net I found an excellent website with a great description.  Wikipedia helped at a little as well.  The class of weapon is an "Amusette."  It's French.  Not sure what it means.  There are several types in English, though.

The most common type is called a "Wall Gun" which can be mounted on a wall or a carriage as in the illustration above.  The reason for the carriage is the thing might weigh 50 lbs or more according to one website.  And that's not counting powder and ammunition.  The thing may also be called a "Rampart Musket" or "Light Field Piece" and could be mounted on the gunwall of a ship.  The differences between them are described at the bottom of this web page.  Now, here are the photos of the weapon we saw in 2012 in St. Augustine:


Amusette: Any piece bore between 90 and 200 caliber. Transportable by 3 or fewer men, or one horse/pony.  Amusettes may be further broken down as Wall Gun, Rampart Musket, and Light Field Piece. For the purposes of this article we will also accept the alternate spellings of amusette, amuzette, and amussette as all referring to the same concept.

Wall Gun: Is a stocked and locked piece of greater than 90 caliber bore transportable by 2 or fewer men. May or may not have trunions or provisions for swivel mounting. May or may not be rifled May be carried or mounted on a cart type carriage, meant to be primarily pulled by men.

Rampart Musket: French design smoothbore larger caliber musket with heavier bore, not intended or equipped to mount bayonet or slings, does not have trunions or provision for swivel mounting. Calibers tend to be between 75 and 90 caliber

Light field piece: Wheeled mounted piece with or without lock, but not stocked.  Bore between 100 and 200 approx caliber. Maybe designed to be transportable by men or single horse/pony.