“Seems perfect for a little bit of light squirrel hunting,” Sampson comments on Mae’s YouTube page. Hang on; he’s serious. “Ever tried ‘barking’ a squirrel with a larger caliber weapon? It’s where you hit the branch they’re standing on instead of hitting the animal itself. They use to do it back in the days of .50 flintlocks and stuff so that there was actually something left to eat afterwards.” And now a short history lesson, courtesy the hive mind at wikipedia.org:
Wall guns were large caliber smooth-bore muskets that were used in the 16th through 18th centuries by defending forces to break the advance of enemy troops. They were too heavy to be fired from the shoulder and so were usually rested on window ledges or low walls, hence the name. They were also known as Hackbuts, a name originally given to early medieval hand cannon. Many were fitted with a barrel hook to absorb shock. Some of these weapons had multiple barrels which enabled volleys to be fired much faster than a normal single shot wall gun. . .
A wall gun’s barrel could be over 54 inches (140 cm) in length with a bore of at least 1 inch (2.5 cm). This made them more accurate than the standard flintlock or matchlock musket. George Washington acquired several wall guns during the American War of Independence; tests showed that they were capable of hitting a sheet of common writing paper at 600 yards (550 m). Wall guns were part of the standard equipment of some artillery pieces at that time.
How big was a sheet of common writing paper back in those days? And are those real soldiers standing silently behind Mae or ghosts? Just wonderin’ . . .