Harpoon Gun Inquiry

Enclosed are some photos of a Harpoon Gun?? (as I know nothing else to call it) that I aquired a few years ago. I know absolutely nothing about this or the projectile it fired. It is a centerfire smooth bore with a 1" diameter bore. The gun is all steel weighing 25 lbs. with a 16" barrel and an over all length of 34". The breach is marked “H.W.CHAPMAN PAT’D MAY 15 1877 NEWARK NJ NO. 104”. And before you ask I do have a clearance letter from the BATF to own this short barreled wonder. What I am asking of the audience is what is it and what type of ammunition did it fire? Thanks again for any information you can provide.

I don’t believe it’s a harpoon launcher, as much as I think it’s a “line launcher” (for throwing lines between ships)

Ammo would be some type of blank charge. You would need to provide some chamber dimensions to come up with the probable ammo used.

Check out this string on another forum. Very interesting stuff.


And here is an interesting link contained in the above thread.


WOW! Neat gun. Here’s the breech patent:
google.com/patents?id=Wu5oAA … ing&zoom=4

Thanks to SLICKRICK he was able to supply me with a link to the actual patent. The following is from the patent application written by H.W. Chapman quote" The invention has relation to an improvement in fire-arms, and especially to that class of guns that are used, in connection with whale-fishing, to project a missle of considerable weight." Chamber dimentions are very difficult to obtain as the breech wont allow proper measuring insturments. I had to simply use a rigid ruler, so dimentions can be off a few thousands. Rim diameter 1 5/8" base diameter 1 1/4". There appears to be no chamber dimentions as I can run a rigid rule the length of the inside of the barrel and not come in contact with any ridges. Any ideas about blank and projectile?

The second link provided by Hardrada55 included a copy of an ad from The Whalemen’s Shipping List that shows the projectile, which is described as a bomb lance and cartridge combined.

Once again I thought I had something that woud stump the forum. Once again a wealth of imformation was forthcoming. Hardrada55 gave me a link that actuall showed the gun and projectile. However when I tried to research the patented cartridge, patent no. 171533 patented Dec. 28 1875, I wasnt able to get any imfo or drawings from the patent office, so if anybody has any ideas could you pass them on? Again many thanks.

The patent number is 171553:

This is from an online auction from about (2) years ago. Went for about $200. Described as a Cunningham and Cogan Bomb Lance and is 1" dia. and 11-1/2" long.


Thanks Dave now I know what to look for. I will gladly pay $200 if another comes avalible.