Cannon help

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Gunther

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Hey all! New here, I recently purchased a cannon barrel it’s 65 inches long 4inch bore and supposedly a 12 pounder. Only a few issues I have, I can’t tell if it’s steel lined, it doesn’t appear to have a vent hole drilled. I have the axel and wheels but need to complete the stock. I’ve found a few suppliers online but I figured here I might have some insider help. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance5F11BF08-D285-4AAB-B42E-F3AA43EA9428.jpeg
 

Treestalker

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Hello! Hard to tell what you've got, but it looks neat. A 12pdr is 4.62 bore, so if your barrel is 4" bore, it could be undersized enough to have a 1/4" thick steel liner. Or not. The best money you could spend would be a professional X-ray to see what the breech area looks like inside. This will tell you if you have a liner or not, and what kind of thickness in the breech area, any voids in the casting, off center bore problems, etc. I had a 3" bore barrel X-rayed by a local shop some years back: it determined a very good threaded breech plug and no problems. Cost was $65. for one X-ray. I would not fire a barrel until I KNOW it is OK. If the barrel is compromised, the X-ray and possible magna-flux will save you a carriage build and possibly the death or injury to your crew and public bystanders. Some good books to get you started are "Round Shot and Rammers" "The More Complete Cannoneer" and the outstanding catalog from South Bend Replicas. Your barrel looks like a 12pdr Field Howitzer (back end) and a 6pdr 1841 (front end). It is a beautiful combination, but nothing standard that I know of. I hope your barrel turns out OK, and good luck. Artillery is a rarified atmosphere that only Gun owners and their volunteer crews can appreciate. By the way, don't forget to include women in your crew, many make fine cannoneers. I wish you well in your sojourn to a heavy metal psychosis! George. ( Ex Corporal, 1st Arkansas Light Artillery, Confederate.
 

Gun Tramp

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Is the bore full depth? Any markings on the muzzle, breech ring, trunnion ends? Has the exterior been finished or left as cast?
 

Zonie

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I totally agree about getting the cannon X-rayed.
In a receint issue of Muzzle Blasts magazine, there is an article about cannon safety. In it, it shows several pictures of a cast cannon that was cut in half lengthwise to show what the cast walls looked like inside the metal.

In one of those pictures there were two large areas with no material in them at all. Just big hollow cavities. If I had to guess, I'd say one of them was about 1 1/4" in diameter and 6 inches long. (It was pointed forward and aft so it didn't break thru the walls.) The other was slightly smaller but not much. The metal in the bore and on the outside of these cavities looked for all the world like an excellent casting.
Faults like this can form in any casting and the only good way of detecting them is with X-Ray.

Ultrasonic inspection can also find faults like this but it usually involves submersing the thing being tested under a fluid. Not easily done with something like a full size cannon.
 
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Gunther

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No mark
Is the bore full depth? Any markings on the muzzle, breech ring, trunnion ends? Has the exterior been finished or left as cast?
ings I can find but it is on a dolly and weighs 950 pounds, gonna have to find a outfit to x ray it, the bore is full yeah, don’t have measurements in from of me but I’d say about 50 inches
 

Gunther

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I totally agree about getting the cannon X-rayed.
In a receint issue of Muzzle Blasts magazine, there is an article about cannon safety. In it, it shows several pictures of a cast cannon that was cut in half lengthwise to show what the cast walls looked like inside the metal.

In one of those pictures there were two large areas with no material in them at all. Just big hollow cavities. If I had to guess, I'd say one of them was about 1 1/4" in diameter and 6 inches long. (It was pointed forward and aft so it didn't break thru the walls.) The other was slightly smaller but not much. The metal in the bore and on the outside of these cavities looked for all the world like an excellent casting.
Faults like this can form in any casting and the only good way of detecting them is with X-Ray.

Ultrasonic inspection can also find faults like this but it usually involves submersing the thing being tested under a fluid. Not easily done with something like a full size cannon.
I’ll have to check out muzzle blast magazine! Never even heard of it
 

Gun Tramp

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Are you certain the entire tube is metal? Google "concrete cannon for sale" to see some convincing 1841 six-pounder yard ornaments...
 

Zonie

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I’ll have to check out muzzle blast magazine! Never even heard of it
In order to get "MuzzleBlasts" magazine you need to join the NMLRA. It is the magazine they publish monthly and send to their members.
NMLRA stands for "National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association".
I think their membership cost is $35 annual digital or $50 for regular membership which includes them mailing you the magazine.

Here's a link to their web site.

 

Treestalker

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The weight you mentioned 950 lb, is about right for an 1841 six-pounder. So I believe there is no doubt it is metal; hopefully a beautiful iron casting with a threaded- plugged liner of good steel.
 

Gunther

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Are you certain the entire tube is metal? Google "concrete cannon for sale" to see some convincing 1841 six-pounder yard ornaments...
Gave it the magnet test, was very worried after reading that but it passed it is 100% iron product of some sort!
 

Gunther

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The weight you mentioned 950 lb, is about right for an 1841 six-pounder. So I believe there is no doubt it is metal; hopefully a beautiful iron casting with a threaded- plugged liner of good steel.
I just got off a back to back 16 hour shifts but I’ll take some photos the ball, I believe plug at the end is not threaded on it is one solid casting from what I can tell, tomorrow I’ll take more photos closer up. Thanks again everyone been tons of help
 

Gun Tramp

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Gave it the magnet test, was very worried after reading that but it passed it is 100% iron product of some sort!
I was worried too. So far, so good. I think Treestalker was referring to the liner proper having a threaded plug; the cascabel (ball) should indeed be one with the tube casting. Still a mystery, though. Can the previous owner(s) help with origin? New unvented 3 1/2" bore welded liner plug are about $4000 plus truck freight maybe $400.
 

Gunther

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I was worried too. So far, so good. I think Treestalker was referring to the liner proper having a threaded plug; the cascabel (ball) should indeed be one with the tube casting. Still a mystery, though. Can the previous owner(s) help with origin? New unvented 3 1/2" bore welded liner plug are about $4000 plus truck freight maybe $400.
The original owner passed, I got it from his brother for 1500, but I could not find freight fomrnflorida to California for $400 that cost me $2000. But I’m still below 4000-5000 and I got wheels and an axel, so unvented barrels is a thing that was my other concern. Still searching for a X-ray service here in the Bay Area Sacramento part of California. But besides that my dad and I are working on a carriage today (not an authentic one but just one to get it off the crate) and worry about an authentic one later
 

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Gunther

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Still looking for an X ray service in CA to scan this sucker but my dad and I have been mocking up chariots just to see how it looks, with just this thrown together set up it’s easy to move and angle the barrel
 

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Treestalker

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Wow, sure does give one the willies seeing how it's going to look on a 1841 field carriage! It will take a while to build, but will be so worth it. We had a gunner in the 1st Ark whose son helped him build one, he used it in reenacting in his 70's, he passed some years ago, but it was a good gun and I hope it is still in battery somewhere.
 
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