black powder signal cannons


January 26, 2010, 09:39 PM
Over the years I've picke up a few hand made replicas of civil war cannons and mortars. My half scale Napoleans have 30" barrels with 2.5" bores. My biggest mortart has a 3" bore. I have no intention of firing a projectile though them, but would not be opposed to creating a good share of smoke and fire. All are drilled for fuse holes. A buddy told me to get a wooden dowwel of appropriate diameter and wrap the end in tin foil. Pour in a couple oz of FFG, close up the end, drop the package down the tube. Put a fuse through the hole and through the foil and light it. Is it that simple, Artillarists?: :evil:

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January 27, 2010, 10:15 AM
pictures? I LOVE them thangs!

January 27, 2010, 03:24 PM
the dregs of blasted foil have got to be a SOB to get out. My largest has a two inch bore and I just use loose fg and card board or leather wads. (I once could get 1/2 thick leveling splits from a tannery, made great stiff wads.) I have several noise makers. Only one have I ever fired projectiles and that was just to see how far. (Set up on the beach on a calm day, threw that 2 inch ball a fair distance. )

We did use the cannon for a Jr High science experiment. We set the cannon on one side of the river and video'd it with a telephoto from the other side. With the stop clock going, we set off the cannon on one side and noted the time of the visual blast and measured the time till the blast could be heard on the other side of the river (1.25 miles) The kids calculated and came within 20 feet of what is shown on the Coast and Geeodetic Survey maps from Uncle Sam.

January 27, 2010, 03:42 PM
Loose powder & some sort of consumable wadding packed tightly on top of it.

Even crumpled newspaper will work.


January 27, 2010, 04:25 PM
For a big boom all you need is some powder in a confined space. The tighter its packed in the better for combustion.

On my 1.75" bore swivel gun i use loose ffg, and pack it in with some corrugated cardboard discs that i cut out of whatever box is in the trash with an old compass and scissors. Three or four of those keep the powder compressed and uniform in the barrel. then i add a golfball, wrapped in a square of rag.

The important thing to think of with projectiles is the amount of pressure in the tube - AKA how close to a pipe-bomb you want to come....and with charge, wadding and orientation of the gun being equal, the heavier the cannonball, the more pressure you get in the chamber. With an old custom cannon you want to think about the metal as well...especially if it is period...and reduce your powder charge accordingly.

January 27, 2010, 04:27 PM
Also, i should add, get a powder measure & work up your charges...don't just eyeball it and pour in a couple ounces of powder!

January 27, 2010, 04:30 PM
here,s a cannon a friend gave me,made in conn. by strongfirearms co. its a 10ga blank cannon and not a muzzle loader, tho its not all there i think it is a valuable piece of americana. eastbank.

January 27, 2010, 08:13 PM
That's a real beaut eastbank. I've got a 3/4" cannon that's fired many 69 cal balls in 12ga wads. I used to make powder cartridges by soaking paper towel pieces in saltpeter solution and drying around a 16ga shell, fill when dry with 100gr ff and hand crimp or roll the open end, could get 8" groups at 30yds with the above combo.

January 28, 2010, 05:17 PM
My brother bought this one at an estate sale. I cleaned all the mud dauber nests out of it and gave it a try. Worked pretty good.

January 29, 2010, 04:34 PM
That looks an awful lot like a Big-Bang Carbide cannon.

You didn't load it with black powder did you? :eek:

If you did, don't do it again.

You'll shoot your eye out when it blows up!
And it will!


January 30, 2010, 07:57 AM,88.0.html

January 30, 2010, 10:56 AM
"That looks an awful lot like a Big-Bang Carbide cannon"

No, it's a regular little miniature cannon. Kinda hard to tell from the picture though.

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