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Help identify this gun

Discussion in 'Firearms Research' started by Sonny79, Dec 4, 2016.

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What is this small cannon and how old

  1. manufacturer

    2 vote(s)
    66.7%
  2. date of manufacture

    3 vote(s)
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Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Sonny79

    Sonny79 Member

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    dscn0435 (2015_11_24 01_16_58 UTC).jpg dscn0436 (2015_11_24 01_16_58 UTC).jpg dscn0437 (2015_11_24 01_16_58 UTC).jpg dscn0442 (2015_11_24 01_16_58 UTC).jpg dscn0452 (2015_11_24 01_16_58 UTC).jpg [ATTACH=full It measures about 50 " and does have rifling. About a 1"+ Steel Screw breech
     
    243winxb and Bullseye like this.
  2. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    Very WHAG that it's a 'punt' gun. Possibly home made. Anything commercial from anywhere would have proof marks all over it.
     
  3. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    I thought about a punt gun but the rifling works against that.
     
  4. Sonny79

    Sonny79 Member

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    I always thought Punt guns were smooth bore. This has rifling. There is no name and there is a picture of one in the old Bannerman catalog which only lists it as an antique cannon. The bore is about 1 1/4" . It looks like it was mounted to a carrier of some kind. Thanks for your comment.
     
  5. ironworkerwill

    ironworkerwill Member

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    That's very cool, thanks for giving us the opportunity to help identify it.

    The picture may be deceiving. Does it have ratchet (chanted land) rifling?
     
  6. JohnnyFlake

    JohnnyFlake Member

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    I am not sure of the details of one, but it looks like something I've seen, called a Swivel Gun, used on older wood war ships. If I recall correctly they were used to protect against, shoot at, in coming torpedoes of the era.
     
  7. Sonny79

    Sonny79 Member

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    It is just normal rifling. I believe the ships had brass cannons so they wouldn't rust with the salt water. It certainly could have been used to shoot objects rather than people with that big of a bore.
     
  8. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    I doubt it was originally like that. It looks like someone took an old barrel and fitted a breech/firing mechanism to it. My problem is that I can't figure out why.

    It certainly is not something to go hunting with. I thought of a powder tester, but why use a rifled barrel, and where is the strength testing mechanism? The cap lock would date it to c.1830 at the earliest, but the cannon barrel would tend to point at an earlier date.

    Jim.
     
  9. Dog Soldier
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    Dog Soldier Member

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    These were used on Keel Boats during the explorations in the West. :)
     
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  10. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

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    I'd venture it's a wall gun from some old fortification.
     
  11. Kendal Black

    Kendal Black Member

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    From what time frame is the catalog? That might narrow things down a bit. The rate of twist (you can measure it with a rod and a ruler) might give some further evidence by suggesting what sort of projectile the thing was meant to shoot.

    Some things about this gun show up to my eye as possible clues.

    • The lockwork is as simple and crude as can be, and outside the gun where it can be damaged easily. It was, though, very easy to fabricate.
    • The receiver appears to be essentially a billet with minimal shaping, not much there of form following function--unless the main goal was quick cheap fabrication.
    • The muzzle is belled. Curious. Was the barrel recycled from an older weapon, or made that way out of a lingering stylistic habit or preference? If the latter, it may be a clue to the weapon's place of origin.
    • The breech screw is continuous, not the more convenient (and higher tech) interrupted thread type.
    • Screw breeches are more often seen on guns wherein the barrel is the main body of the weapon, rather than on tip-up guns on (improvised?) receiver blocks. If the receiver serves any purpose here, other than simply holding the lockwork, it is to mitigate recoil: It's a big chunk of metal.
    All that suggests a low tech, low cost fabrication effort somewhere, for some purpose. None of it points to professional work, unless the professionals were constrained by serious problems of time and tools. Perhaps it was a quickie job in some armory somewhere? Or even a field improvisation in some shop appropriated for the purpose, a carriage shop or a boiler factory perhaps, where minimal trouble in building the gun was an essential factor?

    That is my long-winded way of saying "I don't know." The points mentioned may, though, spark someone else's thinking. Quite often, THR solves these problems because somewhere, sometime, someone has seen something of the kind before, or heard of something similar.

    Or, one last hazarded guess? It might, conceivably, be something Bannerman's threw together just to sell. Some of their rifles had Frankensteinian forebears.
     
  12. PRD1

    PRD1 Member

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    Without more information I would classify it with the various types of wallguns or Jingals used in India and neighboring Asian/Southeast Asian countries - they were native-made and workmanship varies from very crude to fairly sophisticated. It is obviously a breechloader and made for a reloadable and removeable cartridge of some type. The hole through the body would likely have been for a pintle-type swivel mounting.

    PRD1 - mhb - MIke
     
  13. Kendal Black

    Kendal Black Member

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    How many rifling grooves do you make out, Sonny79? From what I can see in the picture, there seem to be a lot of them: another clue.
     
  14. Steel Horse Rider

    Steel Horse Rider Member

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    I am also thinking it is some type of low budget oddity. I have never seen one with the screw breech closer although I have a Podewils-Lindner which uses a type of interrupted thread bolt to close the breech that was manufactured around 1860. Since this gun was percussion ignition it probably was meant to use some type of paper cartridge just as the Podewils. Given the pitch of the breech thread and the distance it would be required to open in order to insert a paper cartridge of that caliber with enough powder to make it lethal at a distance I don't think it was intended for rapid fire. The wall swivel guns on display at the fort in St Augustine did not have that type of breech though. I think the barrel may be a genuine old barrel but the breech assembly is of much later manufacture.
     
  15. Sonny79

    Sonny79 Member

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    It has 14 grooves and the twist is about 1x20. One very similar is in the 1925 Bannerman catalog and is described as Antique Cannon 1 1/4 inch bore, 13 rifle grooves, 47" steel barrel, screw breech, fired by curious outside lock and trigger. Thanks to all of you for contributing your ideas. It's very interesting.
     
  16. Dog Soldier
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    Dog Soldier Member

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    It appears to be one of the "guns" fashioned on the American Frontier between 1820-1840. The Frontier Fur companies mads all manner of things from limited supplies. Guarding supplies and furs required "Shotguns" and medium portable artillery. Just a thought.:)
     
  17. Archie

    Archie Member

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    Looks to me like a 'set' or 'trap' gun. That type of thing was traditionally used with a trip wire to fire the device along the line of the trip wire. It was variously used as an 'alarm' system against intruders or a booby trap for belligerent soldiers.

    As an anti-intruder or 'alarm' device they have been illegal in most of Western Civilization since one realized one could set up the same sort of thing with a cross bow and shoot a bolt (arrow). The main reason for making them illegal is they have no discernment; the device will injure a cat, dog or child just as easily as an intruder.

    I do not believe they are illegal to own, just illegal to use in the 'self actuating' mode.

    And it may be something else entirely.

    Time period: Since it is clearly chambered for a "cased" cartridge, one can assume it was made after the American Civil War. The hammer seems to be a non-percussion type, indicating a (more or less) modern primer type cartridge. The bore size and rifling design strikes me as black powder type round. I would guess it was made between 1870(ish) and 1890(ish) when smokeless powder started entering the industry. Opinion worth twice what you paid for it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2016
  18. Browning

    Browning Member

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    I was reading something not to long ago that was talking about percussion guns on whaling ships, particularly Norwegian ships. It was before they went to those harpoon guns and when there was still a mix of methods of killing the whale and hauling it in.

    Whatever it was I believe it was a commercial type hunting gun.

    - It's not a punt gun meant for commercially hunting fowl because it's rifled which suggests a single bullet rather than firing shot.

    - It's design suggests that it was mounted, either on a ship, wagon or a fort wall.

    - It's percussion fired which suggests that it was made after the War of Northern Aggression.

    - It's caliber seems to small to me to be a military gun fired from the wall of a fort. I'm guessing that it's a gun for civilian use rather than military.

    Certainly interesting whatever it is.
     
  19. Steel Horse Rider

    Steel Horse Rider Member

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    Wouldn't a percussion gun be more likely dated before the war of Northern Aggression? If Lincoln had paid attention to those who really wanted the Union Army to be well armed they would have had repeating weaponry. Percussion weapons were meeting the end of their lifespan when the un-Civil War was fought.
     
  20. rodinal220

    rodinal220 Member

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  21. natman

    natman Member

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    Looks somewhat similar to the barrel on this:

     
  22. Gaucho Gringo

    Gaucho Gringo Member

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    It looks similar to aiming tube guns for big breach loading naval guns. They fit inside the gun and used mainly for practice.
     

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