Armory, Self Defense, And EDC > Black Powder and Primitive Weapons

black powder cannons anyone?

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I've always wanted a black powder cannon, but they ain't cheap. 

Here's an interesting "modern" version.

I do revolutionary war reenaccting and we use the 6 pounder all the time. I have to say its such a thrilling experiance to fire one.

I bought a 1/2 scale Napolean about 20 years ago from Dixie Gunworks. Got the 2 pound sinker mold to make canon balls with too.
It's fun to shoot, but man you can go through some black powder.
Still got it, but need to rebuild the carriage, home built and didn't take the recoil too well.

     Have two identical barrels. They were ships swivel gun's and are bored to fire golf balls. A guy in Iowa, they call the "Cannon Man", did the barrels out of steel generator shafts. They have barrel rings and a proper taper; very historically accurate Chamber thickness is about 2". I built two Rev War "Grasshopper" gun carriages. I also made a naval carriage scaled on the 24 pound deck guns on Old Ironsides. They are 30 inches long. The barrels weigh about 130lbs. so they aren't too difficult to lug around. The field artillery carriages are scaled from Rev War plans and are about six feet long with 30" iron rimmed wooden spoke wheels. The grasshopper was usually crewed by two men, positioned in the ranks of infantry, loaded with grapeshot, and used as an anti-personnel weapon. They were nimble to move and used less cannon powder (basically a giant shotgun).
     We fire them with an ounce of Fg cannon powder, wadded with stale hotdog buns. Most of our firing is over water, so the buns are ecological. The only solid projectiles we've used are golf balls and once made up a grapeshot round (24, .45 cal. round balls), that would be dandy against the zombie hordes. A gunsmith told us that it is unsafe to shoot a cast lead ball over one inch in diameter. The reasoning is that lead has much more mass than cast iron. Therefore the chamber pressure will be very high as the expanding gases try to get the lead ball moving down the barrel. That's why cannonballs are cast iron.
     We've found that because the golf ball has no spin imparted by a smooth barrel, it is very inaccurate and will hit just about anywhere, with no consistency. A 1 5/8 steel ball bearing is almost the same size as a golf ball and doesn't have the aerodynamic "dimples" that make a golf ball so inaccurate in a smoothbore. However, they cost $2.75 at an industrial surplus store; a little spendy. We're really tempted to cast some lead ammo and try it out (at a safe distance) with a very reduced powder load (heavier projectile=less powder). Anyone have any experience with this?
     We also thought of forming a "Cannon Golf League", but haven't found a golf course big enough, or figured out what would be par.


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