The sturdy long arm known as a "fowler" served a variety of needs on the North American frontier. Such firearms could be used for hunting shore and water birds as well as small game when loaded with shot. Larger animals could be taken with buck and ball loads. Conversion to a military weapon simply involved the employment of ball loads when the colonial militia was called out. This example is a typical fowler; the stock is massive and very heavy. The thick, widely-flared butt and high, thin top comb terminating in a trigger thumb rest identify this as an early stock style. Although this style of stock existed in the early 1600s, it was retained into the late 17th century. Recovered from a 1690 shipwreck, the fowler seen here was last used in an unsuccessful naval expedition against Québec. Its owner was part of the militia from Dorcester, Massachusetts.
Date: circa 1650