A Bowling Ball Cannon! God This Looks Like Fun

Discussion in 'Cannon' started by Mulebrain, Jul 10, 2005.

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  1. Jul 10, 2005 #1

    Mulebrain

    Mulebrain

    Mulebrain

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    This does shoot black powder, and is a cannon of sorts. I read this site while doing cannon study. Does anyone here shoot cannon balls? Wow over 600 yards, man this is a hoot!

    http://www.docsmachine.com/nonPB/mortar.html
     
  2. Jul 10, 2005 #2

    musketman

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    Wonder how this would do on that tricky 7-10 split... :D
     
  3. Jul 10, 2005 #3

    Halftail

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    I stumbled accross that awhile back myself.I'd just love to be there when that was going on! :redthumb:
     
  4. Jul 10, 2005 #4

    Mulebrain

    Mulebrain

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    I would love to take it to an alley! Hey Musket! Boy if I had hair like that my Granpa woulda killed me :haha:
     
  5. Jul 10, 2005 #5

    LSU TIGER

    LSU TIGER

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    I want one! :applause:
     
  6. Jul 10, 2005 #6

    BillinOregon

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    I've seen these being shot, but they were properly dimensioned Civil War mortars with the short, heavy barrel. Deafening report, and then you watch that ball get smaller and smaller, and as it falls, you hear the wind in the finger holes making a screaming sound from Hades ... Way cool!
     
  7. Jul 10, 2005 #7

    Mulebrain

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    I would love to see an mpeg of one going off! I am searching!!

    I did find a pretty neat one here made from a gas cylider!

    http://www.frankb.us/cannon/
     
  8. Jul 10, 2005 #8

    frankb

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    That's my page. I don't have any mpegs. The bowling ball is a sloppy fit in a gas cylinder, there was at least a quater inch of clearance, but if you use enough powder it doesn't matter.

    We were launching close to straight up (maybe 75 degrees elevation). With a light powder charge it whistles going up, then it gets quiet as it slows near the top of it's trajectory, then it starts whistling again on the way down. With a bigger charge the whistle turns into a fearce sounding shreak and the ball dissappears into the sky. I don't remember the exact amounts of powder we used. I think it was about 1 cup of Elephant brand cannon grade.
     
  9. Jul 11, 2005 #9

    WRussell

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    It sure does sound like fun. I was heading that direction 30 years ago but never got beyond a tennis ball mortar. At least it can be fired in a residential neighborhood without bringing in the cops.

    I grew up in the sticks, and wish I was still there so I could play with stuff like that.
     
  10. Jul 11, 2005 #10

    olgriz

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    I did a long post at one time, telling about shooting the mortar over the hill in the back ground of the first picture. But I'll show these photos again, figuring that you guys would like to see what a first class mortar looks like. This one belongs to a friend and it will loft a bowling ball out of sight. I don't think I'd be really interested in shooting the pipe bomb that is shown on that web page. I just don't like the looks of that. There's more to these cannons than meets the eye, and you really need to have safety in mind if you are going to be shooting them, and I don't mean just be worried where the ball is going to land. I've seen some home made cannons that I really don't want to be around when they are fired, and the people that own them don't want to listen to anyone about their wreck in progress. Anyhow, enough of that, here are some neat pictures of a mortar.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  11. Jul 11, 2005 #11

    frankb

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    True enough. The air cylinders are welded tubes with long unknown histories. I have heard of several people using them without a failure, but we all hid behind an earth embankment when setting ours off.
     
  12. Jul 11, 2005 #12

    Mulebrain

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    I have my C02 cylinders for my beer keg machines, and also my dive tanks tested at a place called Hydro-Stat. They may be able to supply me with some pipe to use?

    I know, you gotta know what your getting in to! I guy firing a cannon like this killed two people at a biker party, from flying shrapnel. Maybe his loads got out of hand?
     
  13. Jul 11, 2005 #13

    microbe1

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    I think it's Fort McCoy in Kansas??? US Army School of Arty?? They've a great website with original pieces.. the Army pay reenactors to serve the guns to show Off'r Cadets...what a joy!
    There's a great shot of an original bowling ball mortar firing..the angle is such that you can just see the ball at the top of the picture...
    Al
     
  14. Jul 11, 2005 #14

    musketman

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    Couldn't you use a patch like a round ball?

    Like your wife's table cloth... :p
     
  15. Jul 11, 2005 #15

    andrellj

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    I read on another post that there should be a certain
    amount of windage between barel and ball. It's not like
    a rifle.

    I'm not sure though, but when dealing with substantially
    larger amounts of powder, I'd rather leave space to reduce
    pressure. I do know you still need a wad on the powder and
    a wad holding the ball down on the powder.

    I've only fired blanks to date, so please correct me if I'm
    wrong. :peace:
     
  16. Jul 11, 2005 #16

    musketman

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    Yep, they used wads...

    Some Civil War era cannons even used wooden sabots...

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Jul 11, 2005 #17

    robinghewitt

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    The big difference between a cannon and a musket is that the cannon shoots an iron ball which can get severely stuck if it hits an obstruction. A lead ball will tear and deform to get past a blockage but iron is less forgiving. That's why the went to such pains to make sure cannon balls were round, a ball with a lump on it could go in, turn and be reluctant to come out. A quarter inch of windage was reassuring.

    Chokes would be a really bad idea :crackup:
     
  18. Jul 11, 2005 #18

    frankb

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    The inside of the air cylinders have a large seam where they were welded. This makes "patching" unpractical, it would also require a very thick patch. We didn't use any wadding over the powder either.

    I've seen people use patches with small cannons (1" to 2" bore) with round lead cannon balls, but no wadding over the powder. Most cannon crews have pre-measured powder charges wrapped in aluminum foil. It makes for quick loading, and it offers some protection from glowing embers that might be left in the barrel (always use a damp swab between shots).
     
  19. Jul 12, 2005 #19

    wwfeatherston

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    Playing around with compressed air cannons, I used a few wraps of duct tape to get a better seal, when firing water-filled coke bottles.
     
  20. Jul 17, 2005 #20

    LSU TIGER

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