So I bought a cannon to restore

Discussion in 'Cannon' started by NMPaul, Jan 22, 2020.

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  1. Jan 24, 2020 #21

    NMPaul

    NMPaul

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  2. Jan 24, 2020 #22

    Nessmuck56

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    4th of July is around the corner..
     
  3. Jan 24, 2020 #23

    Mulebrain

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    I really like it and checked it out on the bay. I would clean it up some, but would probably leave the patina on it. I bet she will fire! That barrel has really thick walls, and she is vented.
     
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  4. Jan 24, 2020 #24

    steam1993

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    Looks like it could fire. Here in MN i have access to a person who will inspect cannons for me.
     
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  5. Jan 24, 2020 #25

    NMPaul

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    I probably will paint after I restore wood and barrel. It will be outside, so I dont think leaving the patina will be an option.
     
  6. Jan 24, 2020 #26

    NMPaul

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    I got nothing like that in NM. Feel free to share pics, would be interested in anything that anyone says. Someone out there knows something about this type of cannon. Thanks
     
  7. Jan 24, 2020 #27

    steam1993

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    100_4967_zpsbiu0rwts.jpg

    1.25 in 2 1.5in and a 5.8 in bore mortar NM Paul pm for more info.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 24, 2020
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  8. Jan 24, 2020 #28

    fossilledges

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    The magnafluxing sounds like a good idea. My late father was a metallurgist for ITT back when they were still building power plants in the seventies. They did both lab and mobile testing. He worked on nuclear plant cooling issues with pipes, valves, fixtures etetera. I still have all of his magnafluxing equipment and have often wondered about the applications pertinent to gunsmithing. I know they still use it in the automotive industry also to look for cracks in cylinder heads and blocks of restoration value. The field kits utilize etching and developers in conjunction with a black light. Perhaps one of the forum members here has more experience and guidance to share. I have a neighbor who is a diesel mechanic and he often uses a flexible bore camera to look inside engines. I believe magnafluxing and a camera would tell you what you need to know regarding the metallurgy. This is fascinating, thanks for sharing! --Dr. Paul
     
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  9. Jan 24, 2020 #29

    Zonie

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    The only problem with Magnafluxing is the person evaluating the results really needs to be trained to know what they are seeing.

    Cracks stand out very clearly but on a casting there will be other indications from porosity and non-magnetic inclusions that will show up. Some of these could be problem areas while others are not a big problem.

    Indications of this type including things will be worse if the surfaces of the barrel have a lot of rust or surface layers of material that is separating from the body of the casting on them. Well trained inspectors will know how to differentiate between what is dangerous and what is normal background indications.
     
  10. Jan 24, 2020 #30

    poker

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    She’s sure a good looking thing Paul. I’m betting that you’ll be buying powder by the case now. Beautiful country you live in there. Do you get some snow now and then so you could let her rip out over the pine trees?
     
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  11. Jan 24, 2020 #31

    NMPaul

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    Sure do. Even if I cant fire it, I am sure I will enjoy having it. thanks
     
  12. Jan 24, 2020 #32

    Jeff Kaufmann

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    Nice looking piece that you have there! I am sure that you will enjoy it!
     
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  13. Jan 24, 2020 #33

    ugly old guy

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    The size screams "Reproduction".
    The bore will likely be 2 or 2.5 inches, and steel lined. (no guarantees on the latter though)

    You'll want to make some powder cartridges. (Trying to get loose powder down the bore (which is near horizontal) does not work worth a hoot)
    A wood dowel that is near bore diameter, or a plugged on one end near bore diameter PVC pipe can be used to shape the cartridge.
    I believe we used 1 foot sections of aluminum foil, centered over the form, to make our powder cartridges, to make sure we had enough to fold over on the open end.
    When I was doing CW reenactments (Artillary) our standard powder cartridge was 2 ounces Fg (1F) under 4 ounces regular baking flour. We used aluminum foil to make the cartridge.
    I would suggest you start with a one ounce powder charge.

    You WILL need a mop, a bucket to hold water for the mop, cannon worm, ram, and a prick long enough to puncture the powder cartridge. Use FFFg (3 F) or FFg (2F) to prime after you punch a hole in the aluminum powder cartridge. (just pour it into the vent hole)
    I think Dixie Gun Works may still sell the cannon worm, mop, and a ram. (without having to buy one of their cannon, at any rate.)

    BEFORE LOADING THE FIRST TIME: Measure from the muzzle to the vent. Take a broom stick and mark it to that length. Then put the broom stick down the barrel to verify the mark on the broomstick is even with the muzzle. If the mark is above the muzzle, (especially if several inches) the gun may be loaded. (It is also possible there is a dead squirrel or something stuck down there.)
    If there is ANY possibility the gun is loaded, pour water down the vent to neutralize any powder. (it may take a bit of water, A single cup or glass of water won't do it)
    Take your broom stick and "toss" it down the barrel. If it don't bounce back at you with a "DING" or Ringing sound, but you hear a "Thump" or "Thud" chances are you only have a powder cartridge (or a dead critter of some sort) down there. Your cannon worm should be able to remove it.
    If there is a projectile down there ... you got your work cut out for you. It could be anything from a large bore diameter or near bore diameter lead fishing sinker, to a baby food jar of concrete or cement.
    A large quantity of compressed air down the vent might remove whatever is in the breech. (Don't let anyone stand in front of the gun if you use compressed air.)

    DO NOT TRY TO SHOOT IT OUT!!!

    For your first shot, I would suggest sticking a foot or so of slow burning fuse down the vent to the powder, (after pricking.) Light the fuse, then get at least 100 yards away ... just in case the barrel decides to rupture.
    Inspect the barrel carriage, and wheels closely after that first shot for any damage.


    Order of Loading for each and every shot:

    1) MOP (the bore with a wet not dammpmop.)

    2) WORM (the bore with your cannon worm.)

    Steps 1 and 2 ensure there is nothing smoldering in the bore and breech that could potentially set off your next powder charge.

    3) CHARGE (Put the powder cartridge down to the breech, using the ram, after starting it as much as you can by hand.)

    STAND TO THE SIDE AND BACK OF THE MUZZLE WHEN PERFORMING STEPS 1 TO 3! NO EXCEPTIONS

    HOLD THE RAM, WORM, AND MOP SO THAT IF THE GUN SHOULD FIRE, THE TOOL WILL NOT REMOVE A HAND OR HANDS WHEN IT LEAVES!


    4) PRICK AND PRIME (use your prick to puncture the powder cartridge and pour the priming powder into the vent)

    5) FIRE IN THE HOLE!!!!
    To fire, you use either a long fuse wrapped around a LONG stick (The cotton from an outside laundry line soaked in Saltpeter, then dried in the sun works well) or, you can load your C&B revolver with blanks and shoot the priming. (Our Captain/Commander had to do that a couple times when our fuse was not burning properly, or some idiot (the Captain/Commander; not me. He was responsible for the gun and tools, and kept them in his garage.) forgot to load it along with the gun and tools, and left it home.) You want to stand to the side, and out of range of the wheels and axles when the gun recoils, when you set it off.

    Do NOT fire over the hood of a vehicle. You WILL remove the paint, and most probably will break the windshield and some of the other glass.

    Do NOT fire if there is a person or critter (such as a mutt or cat. If there is a legless reptile in the line of fire ... well .. IMHO, the only "good" legless reptile is a dead one ... fire away ...) in front of the gun within 10 or 20 feet. At a minimum, they will have their fur burnt off. The concussion may also do them serious harm.
    (At several reenactments, I have felt the concussion/shock wave of an "enemy" cannon, from as much as over 100 yards away.)

    The gun WILL RECOIL between 1 to 2 feet. Make sure there is room behind it for the recoil. For example, you do not want the gun to recoil into yours or someone else's vehicle and damage it or the gun carriage, or wheels.
    (Note: if you fire "Live" rounds at the range, the recoil will be greater - much, much greater.)

    Any crew you have assisting in loading should stand no closer than 10 feet to the side of tHe gun when fired, and with or without ear protection, they should put their hand over the ear closest to the gun.

    If at all possible, try to get a member of an reenactment Artillary group (Colonial, French & Indian War, Mexican-American War (they still used ML Artillary in that war) or Civil War (Union or Confederate, it don't matter) teach you how to load and shoot, and all the safety precautions.
    They should also be able to tell you if that particular cannon is safe to shoot.

    Do not use more than a ounce of black powder, even when shooting blanks.

    The baking flour adds to the "BANG!!!" and smoke. It does not increase pressures in the bore.

    If possible, I would suggest you join an Artillary reenactment group.
    Doing so will cut your costs of firing your cannon significantly.
    The good folks holding the events always supply the black powder to the participants on/at the group level. Infantry gets about a pound of powder.
    Artillary gets on average, and depending on the gun or guns they have, between 5 and 10 pounds at each event.
    They organizers realize it takes a LOT of powder to shoot a cannon, and they want the cannons fired during their event.
    I know one group that was at most of the events I went to had an original 24 pounder. They used 12 ounces of powder per shot in that one. Their CO told me they usually got 50 pounds of powder when they showed up, because of their 24 pounder, and their original 12 pounder, which needed 7 or 8 ounces of powder per shot.

    When the guy who owned the cannon the group I was in quit, we became "Dismounted" Artillary, (He wanted too much for the gun for us to buy it) but we still received on average 6 pounds of powder when we showed up.
    Needless to say, we did not use anywhere near that much during an event - or after several events, come to that. The excess powder was divvied up between members of the group. I had something like 10 or 15 pounds of FFg and Fg at home. I did not have to buy powder for my rifles and revolvers, for a long time, even after I moved to a different state, and had to leave the group.

    If actually firing your piece either with banks or "live" rounds, sounds like a bit more than you desire to deal with, using it as a yard decoration (perhaps manned by pink flamingos and/or garden gnomes?) is always a viable option.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2020
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  14. Jan 24, 2020 #34

    poker

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    Thats a great bull you got there. Bow shot I see. I had the pleasure of muzzleloading for elk over just north of Grants a few times, many years ago, when it was really good hunting. That old checkerboard stuff
     
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  15. Jan 24, 2020 #35

    Heelerau

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    The carriage and wheels look ver sound, so that is a good relief. If you strip the old finish I would heavily oil the wheels with linseed oil to stop them from drying out. Well made Sarvin hubs with bronze slipper bearings. Keep them well greased. It might be a ver well made reproduction with original wheels. That barrel looks to me to have been machined, in which case its a steel barrel and should be a good thing. As suggested best check to see iffen its loaded. Will greatly look forward to more pictures and the end result after you have cleaned her up.
    I say old reproduction because the nuts are not square which I would have thought to be more period correct, others here might know more for certain
     
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  16. Jan 26, 2020 #36

    NMPaul

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    That is some very good intel. Thank you very much for taking the time to share it. I have owned a bunch of muzzle loaders so much of that is familiar. I was already thinking I would need to make a powder charge, was thinking making it out of sheet material and poking it with a skewer. I am sure there are better ideas out there, but, just daydreaming so far. I also ordered some cannon fuse, and was planning on being behind a building first time I fired it.
    What do you think a minimum charge would be to push out a carved potato with wadding. That is what I thought I would fire out of it first.
    I think you are right about it being a replica. To many ornate items on it to be military. Not a machined barrel I dont think. I will try to post a picture, but, the barrel was full of rust and looked like a mouse or squirrel was storing junk in there. I also had to clear the touch hole with a drill. It was rusted shut. Yes, yard ornament first, but, I really would like to be able to fire it occasionally as well.
     
  17. Jan 26, 2020 #37

    NMPaul

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    Yes, I am leaning towards a reproduction also. To many ornate items on it for military use IMO.
     
  18. Jan 26, 2020 #38

    NMPaul

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    Yes, I live in NM and am lucking to do a lot of hunting here and all over the west.
     
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  19. Jan 28, 2020 #39

    Col. Batguano

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    Yeah absolutely have the tube x-rayed or magnafluxed. Even at that, historically, tubes were retired after firing X number of rounds due to work hardening of the metal making it brittle and prone to failure. If you decide to shoot it, keep your loads light or confined to blanks. A breech failure with a cannon can kill the whole gun crew.
     
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  20. Jan 28, 2020 #40

    poker

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    Col. are you recommending that even if a replica? I ask because I have been thinking of finding a used barrel and building a carriage. In reading the safety post in the stickys on top of this forum, its easy to imagine that things could go terriblly bad in a split second. Do they check new barrels in this manner or isnt that an issue with them?
     

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