The blunderbuss is a muzzle-loading firearm with a short, large caliber barrel, which is flared at the muzzle and frequently throughout the entire bore, and used with shot and other projectiles of relevant quantity and/or caliber. The blunderbuss could be considered to be an early form of shotgun or muzzleloader, which was often adapted to military and defensive use. It was effective at short ranges, but lacked accuracy for targets at long range. The term dragon was used to describe a blunderbuss in handgun form, and it is from this that the term dragoon evolved.
Contributions by Fluzwup, 220.127.116.11, and Beyond My Ken.