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Quick-and-dirty digital model of the swivel gun recovered from the wreck of La Belle (1684), excavated in Matagorda Bay, Texas, 1995-97. Based on a drawing by Donny L. Hamilton, found in "Modeling La Belle: A Reconstruction of a Seventeenth Century Light Frigate," Master's Thesis by Glenn P. Grieco, Texas A&M University, 2003.







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Yes, they were certainly obsolete by La Salle's day. Similar (breech block, but not banded) guns were found in the 1554 Wrecks on Padre Island, but those are the only others I know of found in Texas. This (La Belle's) gun was found attached to its mounting post. It has a relatively large bore (3.42 inches, 9.3 cm, close to that of a four-pounder carriage gun. Although obsolete, it may have been seen as still useful against local Native Americans, who would have been relatively few in number and lacking firearms at all.

Edited by AndyHall
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