Just a quick one today. I heard this story on an episode of QI (series M, episode “Military Matters”).
During the Boer War (1899-1902), it was noted that British soldiers generally had poor aim with their rifles. In an attempt to get in more practice from a younger age (because we have all of those colonial interests to protect, wot wot), the government passed laws allowing shooting galleries at carnivals and fairs, with live ammunition.
To this day in the UK (apparently), they can still legal use real rifles with up to .23 ammunition. I don’t know if anyone does, but it is allegedly legal.
And because this is is a short post, I’ll give you a two-for-one deal.
This, my friends, is a punt gun.
It is used for hunting ducks, in a punt, like so:
One shot form a punt gun could kill 50 ducks at a time. It was used in America in the nineteenth century, before being outlawed in 1860, largely because hunters were just killing too many damn birds.