Powder for cannon...

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Jay Carlson

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What powders can you fire safely in a cannon? We have a Hern Iron works swivel gun mounted in a navel carriage. Someone donated some powder but a member of the group says it may be blasting powder. (course wise it is black powder) Would this be unsafe to use in our cannon?
 

flintlock75

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A friend of mine had a 3 pounder cannon and used blasting powder in it, big clouds of yellow-green smoke, the difference I saw was the grains were larger than cannon powder, but the pressures were not as high. I use cannon grade Goex in my 2" bore gun, big grain size when compared to musket or rifle powder, I have used reduced charges of 3F in my gun with blanks, more smoke but not something I like to do.
Always be careful of unknown powder, I would do a test in the open to see how it burns/reacts before using it in a cannon.
 

Zonie

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I agree. Trying a little bit of the "blasting powder" out in the open is a real good idea.

It may be a little harder to light but when it does if it gives the typical black powder "POOF!!" and smells like there is a lot of sulfur in it, it's probably safe to shoot.

If it just burns with a moderate speed and without the "POOF", I would be very wary of it.
 

Alden

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Scheutzen Reenactor is GREAT in a swivel gun! They say in all cannon.
 

davec2

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The primary difference between blasting powder and "rifle" powder is that the basting powder is made with Sodium nitrate rather than Potassium nitrate. As such, it produces more fouling and lower pressures. It should be fine to use.
 

Jay Carlson

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Cool, Thank you all very much. I'll post some pics as soon as I figure out how. lol
 

Poor Private

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I am going to use some 2f in my swivel cannon. I can't find cannon grade locally, and sure aint going to buy it in a 25# lot. I found 1 pound of canon and picked up a pound of 2f.
 

Alden

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Why don't you try to trade that with someone here for a can of Fg, Scheutzen Reenactor, or #1-1/2 at least? Be safe...
 

curator

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I agree with Alden in that Shutzen "reenactor" powder is great for blanks in cannons. I have used a lot of it in various sized cannons for reenactments. However, this powder is a mixture of different sized granules from dust to Fg. I can't imagine that it produced less pressure than FFg having taken the time to actually screen it. Three different 1 lb. cans taken at random from a 25 pound lot had 1/4 of the powder pass through the .30mm screen. A good percentage of this was clearly dust (smaller than FFFFg) My point is: you should be able to use a good quality FFg in your swivel gun provided it is well made and you aren't overloading it. To be extra safe, cut back 10-15% on the powder charge.
 
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