Trapdoor Line rifles

PostsCOLON 1659
JoinedCOLON Sun Nov 20, 2005 9:12 pm
LocationCOLON the most boring real estate west of Illinois

Trapdoor Line rifles

Post by Brent » Wed May 28, 2008 6:38 am

On another forum someone mentioned having used a trapdoor line rifle that was purpose built for firing ropes from ship to ship in the Navy. The poster said it had been co-opted by the USFS in Portland OR to shoot lines up into trees for some reason. Anyway, it came in a case with bp-charged cartridges and a bunch of attachments all for this purpose. So it does not sound like a one-off project.

I have heard of Sharps line rifles and know there is one nearby, but never a trapdoor. Anyone else heard of such a beast? I would think recoil would be substantial to say the least.


PostsCOLON 275
JoinedCOLON Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:02 pm
LocationCOLON WI

Re. Line throwing guns/ctgs

Post by beltfed » Wed May 28, 2008 8:37 am

Interesting stuff, Brent,

The line throwing gun is still in existance, as recently as the late 60s:
I have on hand about 27 pieces of fired brass,
headstamped WCC 66, 68, and the designation:
45 M32, also there is one in thecan RA61, and 45 M32.

Also, I have a wood ammo crate:

on End:
500 5/25/43

Caliber 45
Blank Cartridges
for Line Throwing Gun
Handle Carefully

Lot 6109

Contract W849-ORD-2901

On both sides:

Small Arms Ammunition-Metallic Cartridges
Made in USA
Western Cartridge Company
East Alton, Ill, USA

The wood ammo box, of 3/4" pine is obviously dated 5/25/43

TDs are neat. I love shooting them


PostsCOLON 1659
JoinedCOLON Sun Nov 20, 2005 9:12 pm
LocationCOLON the most boring real estate west of Illinois

Post by Brent » Wed May 28, 2008 9:27 am

Well damn. I learned something already today. Thanks.

PostsCOLON 2
JoinedCOLON Mon Sep 15, 2008 9:40 am
LocationCOLON Humboldt County, California

Post by waterman » Sat Sep 20, 2008 12:02 am

Used .45-70 line launch guns in US Navy in 1960-1965, but they were H&R break-open shotguns with short heavy barrels, not trapdoors. Barrels were recessed to take a brass rod with a large nylon or plastic float. Brass rod attached to strong cord was loaded into muzzle. .45-70 case went into breech. Aim & pull trigger. Bang! projectile took about 1 sec to cover distance between ships, 25 yards or less.

.45-70 cases (same as line launch cases) were used to fire cable cutters towed by mine sweepers. I heard that .45-70 cases were also used to fire cable cutters on leading edge of aircraft wings during WW2, but I do not know that to be a fact.