Long Before the Barrett —- The Chinese Taiqiang
Hundreds of years before the invention of the long range .50 sniper rifle, the Chinese has created the Taiqiang. The Taiqiang was an extra large rifle typically in .60 to .85 caliber, sometimes even more. The first Taiqiangs were muzzleloading rifles, at first matchlock, and later flintlock. As weapons technology progressed so did the Taiqiangs. By the turn of the century the Taiqiang was a bolt action rifle that fired a metallic cartridge. Skilled Chinese marksmen could often kill a man up to a thousand yards with a Taiqiang.
The Taiqiang had many purposes. Its was often popular as a wall gun, mounted on turrets and battlements to provide long range fire during sieges. It was also useful when conducting a siege, being used to pick off enemy troops who dared pop their heads above the battlements. Like the .50 cal sniper rifle of today they were sometimes used in an anti-material role. Chinese commanders often used them to destroy enemy supplies and horses from a distance.
The Taiqiang was used even up to World War II. During the Japanese invasion of China and WWII they were often used as anti-tank guns.
India also used similar rifles. Both China’s and India’s wall guns were nicknamed Jingal guns by the British.