Blasted: The Biggest Guns in History Quiz


By: John Miller

5 Min Quiz

Image: Wiki Commons

About This Quiz

Human beings are obsessed with firearms, and sometimes they take these weapons to ludicrous levels of largeness. How much do you know about the biggest guns ever?

The Gustav gun fired shells that weighed up to how much?

The Gustav gun fired shells up to 7 tons in weight. The shells were 80 centimeters -- about 30 inches -- in diameter. In short, it was enough metal to make huge holes in just about anything.


The Gustav gun hurled 7-ton shells. What was the rifled gun's maximum range?

Gustav could fling shells about 25 miles. But it was an enormously unwieldy weapon that took a lot of manpower to fire. It was moved using railroads.


The Schwerer Gustav was built for which purpose?

During World War II, the Schwerer Gustav was a Nazi weapon built specifically to destroy the French Maginot Line, one of the most impressive fortifications in the history of humankind.


The impressive Gustav gun was never used in combat.

The Nazis used Gustav during the siege of Sevastopol. They fired only a few dozen rounds, but the weapon caused immense destruction and helped the Germans break the siege.


How many men were needed to operate the Gustav gun?

Gustav was so ridiculously big that it needed a crew of 250 men to operate it. It could fire about one shot per hour.


Which country built the Tsar Cannon, one of the largest caliber weapons in history?

In the late 1500s, Russia built the Tsar Cannon, which has a diameter of 35 inches, one of the biggest in history. The 39-ton gun was never used in battle.


The Tsar Cannon was never fired during a war. Why, then, was it constructed?

The Tsar Cannon is a huge gun that fires 1-ton projectiles. But it was built primarily just to intimidate anyone who set eyes on it, not for actual combat.


What were "punt guns"?

Punt guns were huge shotguns often used during commercial hunting expeditions of the 1800s. They were too big to carry, so they were mounted on boats.


Punt guns (some as large as 2-gauge) were used to hunt what sort of prey?

Hunters would blast flocks of waterfowl using enormous punt guns. The guns unleashed so much lead that they could kill dozens of birds at a time.


Why were punt guns outlawed?

Punt guns led to the eradication of some types of wildlife. The massacres got so out of control that the government had to outlaw these guns.


Which country set out to create a huge supergun using Project Babylon?

In the 1980s, Iraq's Saddam Hussein decided that he wanted to build a supergun. Project Babylon was meant to build that gun.


A small gun ("Baby Babylon") was built during Project Babylon. What was the gun's approximate range?

Baby Babylon had a range of around 450 miles, more than enough to let Hussein terrorize his neighbors. An even more powerful version was planned … but then the project was stopped.


Why was Project Babylon stopped?

Israel, no friend of Saddam, had no intentions of letting Iraq build a supergun. The country assassinated Gerard Bull, the man who was in charge of Hussein's project.


The Smith & Wesson Model 500 is one of the biggest handguns ever created. What size cartridge does it fire?

The Model 500 fires .50 caliber cartridges. Keep in mind that the Ma Deuce, one of the deadliest machine guns in history, fires the same caliber of bullet.


What sort of handgun is the Smith & Wesson Model 500?

The Smith & Wesson Model 500 is a classic-looking revolver. It has a massive 10-inch rifled barrel that makes it accurate to about 200 yards, much farther than most handguns.


The United States built a huge gun called Little David for use in which war?

The U.S. knew it would encounter deep Japanese fortifications during World War II. Little David was a gigantic mortar meant to blast those bunkers to smithereens.


What was the caliber of Little David?

The gun had a mind-blowing caliber of 36 inches, making it one of the biggest guns ever built. The barrel alone weighed 40 tons.


Why was Little David never fired in battle?

The U.S. had big plans for Little David, and the weapon underwent serious testing. But the war ended before it ever saw action.


Britain constructed a huge gun called Mallet's Mortar to kill which people?

Britain constructed Mallet's Mortar during the Crimean War. The gigantic mortar was meant to punish the Russian army.


Mallet's Mortar had an 11-foot barrel and fired shells that weighed more than 1 ton. How long was the approximate flight time of those terrifying shells?

Once fired, the shells lofted through the heavens towards unlucky men below. About 25 seconds later, the shells smashed to the ground, obliterating everything in sight.


The Pfeifer Zeliska .600 Nitro Express revolver might be the world's biggest handgun. Where is it made?

The Pfeifer Zeliska .600 Nitro Express revolver is made in Austria. The gun alone weighs more than 13 pounds -- and it's nearly 2 feet long.


The Pfeifer Zeliska .600 Nitro Express revolver costs more than $17,000. How much does each bullet cost?

Every .600 Nitro Express slug costs around $40. In short, owning (and actually using) this gun will cost you a fortune.


Which country built the infamous Paris Gun?

Of course, it was the Germans. The Paris Gun was a type of siege gun deployed during World War I -- and it was easily the biggest gun in the conflict.


What was the ultimate goal of the Paris Gun?

The Paris Gun was too unwieldy (and inaccurate) to be of any real military use. But the Germans scared people far and wide, and that was the real goal.


How high did shells from the Paris Gun go?

The Paris gun blasted shells 25 miles high -- all the way into the stratosphere, the first human-made objects ever to go so far into the heavens. It took 180 seconds for the shells to travel from gun to target.


When the Germans fired the Paris Gun, why did they simultaneously shoot many other artillery pieces?

If the Germans had fired the Paris Gun by itself, the Allies would have quickly located (and probably destroyed) the gun. So they masked the gun's blast by shooting other artillery pieces at the same time.


The Paris Gun never killed anyone.

The Paris Gun lobbed hundreds of shells into Paris and killed hundreds of people. And it did its damage from relative safety, thanks to its 75-mile range.


The infamous V-3 cannon was deployed during which war?

The Nazis deployed V-3 cannons during World War II. These huge guns were more than 430 feet long but could still fire hundreds of shells per hour.


What was weird about the V-3 cannon's firing system?

The barrel of V-3 cannons had multiple propellant charges that were fired in sequence, adding more and more velocity to the 310-pound shell.


How much damage did the V-3 gun cause during World War II?

The V-3 cannon concept -- like so many superguns -- was too big to be very effective. It did kill people and cause damage, but not as much as the Germans would have preferred.


Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!