Artifact of the Month: Chang Bunker’s rifle

If you’re a regular follower of the Artifact of the Month, you’ll remember that last month’s post featured Chang Bunker’s silverware. (And if you’re not a regular follower of the Artifact of the Month, why aren’t you?)

This month we’re pleased to share another artifact that sheds some light on the everyday lives of Chang and Eng Bunker, the original Siamese twins.

Chang Bunker's rifle

Recently, Chang’s hunting rifle was generously donated by Dr. Vance Haynes, one of Chang’s descendants.

Chang's rifle

The .41 caliber rifle was made by Jacob Kuntz (Kunz) of Philadelphia and is over fifty-five inches long.

Rifle accessories

Accompanying the rifle are a bag-style copper powder flask, a single-cavity iron ball mold, and a copper funnel.

rifle close-up

The rifle is impressive in its beauty and the quality of its craftsmanship. But what’s even more remarkable to the twenty-first century observer is its weight. This is a heavy weapon. To imagine lifting it — let alone shooting it — even without being a conjoined twin is a reminder of how much hardier our nineteenth-century forbears really were. That Chang fired it, as he did, attached at the sternum to his brother is yet another reminder of the Bunkers’ resilience.

2 thoughts on “Artifact of the Month: Chang Bunker’s rifle”

  1. I was happy to stumble upon this article/artifact and learn about the rifle…looks like a nice old piece and glad it’s in good hands. As I live in North Carolina I will make plans to visit the museum sometime. I happen to be an avid primitive muzzleloader shooter and rifle builder and am also the great great grandson of Chang…looks like a build I should try to reproduce. Thanks Uncle Vance

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