Building the 1:8 Scale RML 10 Inch 18 Ton Woolwich Gun
Finally Seacoast Artillery is building a projectile shooting cannon that you can have a lot of fun with target shooting and turn a few heads at the range with as well. We are very sure that this Victorian Era British Seacoast Gun will be a lot of fun to build and will be designed to be a good shooter too with a Gun Drilled Bore. It will be precisely machined from a 100 pound round of 1018 steel with a DOM Reinforce 5.50" outside diameter over the chamber and 8.5" long. The Total length will be 22.5", the 1.000" bore about 18" long. The Tube will weigh a little over 70 pounds and the carriage and mount about 20 more. We are building only 3 of these at first to find out exactly what it costs us to do so. These will be loaners for our shooting friends who live nearby. I am teaching my son to run the lathe so he can stand there for the hours necessary to turn these large steel rounds into cannon shapes. See some added info with the following pics.
This is the photo we are modeling our efforts on. Courtesy of Wiki, it is the No.2. Gun in York Redoubt near Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. It is a 10 Inch 18 Ton RML (Rifled Muzzle Loader) Seacoast Gun, Serial No. 75, cast in 1870 at Woolwich, England. The weight of this large gun was 17-17-0-0. The first 17 represents Tons, the second 17, Hundred Weight, the first 0 is for quarters(25 pounds), the second 0, individual pounds. It has a Queen Victoria Cypher and is mounted on an Iron Traversing Carriage Mount. The English Ton is 2,240 U.S. and Canadian pounds, therefore the weight of this gun is computed thusly: (17 x 2,240 Lbs.) = 38,080 Lbs. + (17 x 112Lbs. = 1,904 Lbs.) = 39,984 Lbs. or close to 20 Tons, U.S./Canadian.
In Fort Jackson, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia 1887, members of the Long Course of Gunnery, Middle Head, moving a 10 Inch 18 Ton RML Gun Tube. Note the sights which are in view at the highest magnification. I searched for 3 weeks before I found this photo. From Wiki.
I found this drawing of the gun's mount and carriage in the Victorian Forts and Artillery website which was very helpful. Although it is only a two dimensional drawing, the details of the front and back can be gleaned from other photos of this cannon.
This dimensioned sketch was drawn by me, because I could not lift the original copy of the drawing from the site which displayed it; if I remember what the name was I will add that later. Whoa, silly me; it is written on my sketch/drawing.
When you can't "lift" a picture from the web, just take a picture of it with your camera.
I do it and they turn out pretty good.
Does that gun recoil on greased rails or are there wheels hidden somewhere?
Zulu, You know Michael, I've done that before with a camera and mostly, it works if you don't need a flash. I guess it was the wish to get it on paper which drove me to do it with a sketch this time. What comes next, of course, is a proper engineering drawing with all the features on it dimentioned. I think I will draw this gun full size on some large format velum I have, then go down to Fedex-Kinkos to get a few oversize copies made for shop use.
About how this large gun recoiled: NO GREASED RAILS were used. It was problematic enough to have to shoot these big guns in a drizzle. The water on the steel rails would lubricate the sliding steel carriage cheek bottoms and sometimes cause a grave situation, indeed. Instead of 2 or 3 feet of recoil induced travel, suddenly you had five or six, putting the carriage dangerously close to the back edge of the chassis. This gun had rubber bumpers in the front which you can see in the carriage and mounting drawing and certainly had them in the rear too. If you look carefully at that line drawing, you can see the small wheels at the front and rear bottom edges of the carriage.
These were used ONLY for returning the carriage to battery after a shot. They had eccentric axles which were thrown into gear only when forward movement was wanted. Once in battery, they were immediately thrown out of gear lowering the carriage onto the rails. Any crew who forgot to do this was in for a lot of trouble as the next shot sent the carriage flying back on it's still engaged wheels, and went right off the back off the chassis!! This could cause major damage and would cause two days of back breaking work for the crew getting the Tube and the Carriage back up on the Chassis.
Tracy & Mike
The British sent these large seacoast guns all over the world. Three of these large RML 10 Inch Guns were emplaced in Fort St. Catherine on the Island of Bermuda. You can see the "v" shaped rear transom on all of these guns to let the cascabel go lower for increased elevation. You can also see a 1/2 diameter bronze bearing under the right trunnion on the right-hand gun to facilitate easier trunnion rotation during Tube elevation or depression.
Your son probably doesn't realize how lucky he is to get to see first hand what you are doing and to have the opportunity to learn how to do this. I wish I had had the opportunity to work with and learn how to work with metal when I was younger. Actually I would even take advantage of the opportunity to learn to do so now. From what I can see it is an expensive hobby/trade to pursue. You can let your son know that I am envious of him.
Additionally id like to add that this is the best choice for a project yet. I have often drooled over the very picture you posted. That gun is an intimidating behemoth and I am sure that they made quite a boom when it was fired.
JFKaboom-69, We sure are glad you liked our choice. We were beginning to wonder if everyone had turned into cannon builders and were just to frickin busy to comment.
Additionally i'd like to add that this is the best choice for a project yet. I have often drooled over the very picture you posted. That gun is an intimidating behemoth and I am sure that they made quite a boom when it was fired.
After finally collecting 36 images of Woolwich guns in every country of the British Empire, I kept coming back to the one that I just posted and also the one with a Tube and Carriage only at the South Gate of the Gibraltar complex which Fredstaple posted. I finally decided on the one you and I both liked, 'ole No.75, the number 2 gun in York Redoubt near Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Too bad the British didn't have that gun centuries ago when the Norsemen arrived in their Dragon boats. The Englishmen could have blown the horns off the Norsemen's helmets at 50 yards and would have blown their bodies back over the beach to the boats from which they came. Talk about INTIMIDATION. HA!!
Right now I am working on another posting which will explain how some of the special equipment works on the gun Carriage and Chassis. I am using the picture below to use for illustration:
Brought up to the top for ease of reference is this pic of the RML 10 Inch 18 Ton Mark II Gun manned by the artillerymen in the Long School of Gunnery at Middlehead Battery in Fort Jackson near Sidney, NSW, Australia. When I finish detaching various illustrative portions of this great photo in about an hour, I will post them right here as informative additions to this posting. Tracy
In this segment of the larger photo you can see a handwheel which is attached to a worm which rotates a worm gear. A spur gear is on the same shaft as the worm gear and turns the mating spur gear on the nearest shaft to the rack. That spur mates with the gear teeth on the rack to drive it up for Tube depression and down for Tube elevation.
This segment of the main photo shows an artilleryman holding a brass vent punch with which to run down the vent and punch a hole in the powder cartridge so fire from the friction primer can communicate to the powder in the cartridge, firing the gun. What most of you don't know is that the artilleryman in question has the vent punch in approx. the correct spot to place it in the vent. You see, in these large seacoast and naval guns the vents were 45 degrees from vertical to the right or left of top dead center. In an ironclad with two 10 Inch guns side by side, the right hand gun would have a right side vent and the other a left side vent for obvious reasons. We are not aware of any other service which had large gun vents so placed.
We do not have a manual of operations for the 10 Inch RML Gun, but we believe this segment shows the artilleryman at the right rotating the eccentric axle so that the right front carriage wheel goes into its lower position where it rests on the rail and is held there by a cross pin not visible in the photo. After this has been done on both sides of the carriage, then four artillerymen can embar the rear eccentric axle in the two places to the right and the left of the right cheek and the same on the other side and pull backward using their weight to assist them. This lifts the rear of the carriage up and makes the front wheels bear weight also. After the axle locks are set, the carriage is ready to be pushed or lowered down the ramps into battery at the Chassis front.
This segment of the photo shows the equipment which assists the artillerymen in lowering the Carriage, now on four wheels, down the 4 degree slope to the front bumpers into battery. You can see that there is a block and tackle attached to the rear of the carriage and the inside rear of the Chassis with the rope's end going over a single pulley on the outside top edge of the Chassis and down to a small take-up drum attached to a shaft with a large gear which engages a small gear at the end of a bevel gear shaft which engages with another shaft with a mating bevel gear and has a large crank on the other end outside of the Chassis to facilitate artillerymen in cranking it. This way the carriage can be gently lowered down the ramp to the in-battery position.
Any questions? Ask away.
That is an awesome project!
Well I opened the computer this morning and found this unfinished post I was working on yesterday. Hope it is still relevant.
Treatise on the Construction and Manufacture of Ordnance in the British Service is available on line in a number of places. I like print copies my self and got mine for less than $20 from print on demand.
Go to this page and and you can find a free download as well as a link to the print on demand service https://books.google.com/books?id=S1...J&oe=UTF-8
On the upper left side is a red icon for free Ebook. Below that is a tab to get the book in print. ABEBooks.com listing for the book are all print on demand, including if you want fancy, a leather bound print on demand edition. Also on the main page you will see suggestions for other book titles on the subject.
I have a copy of this book and there is a ton of information in it.
Thanks Fredstaple, we think it's an awesome project as well. the only thing that has me a little bit concerned is the weight of the raw materials and the power of our Harbor Freight 20 Ton Press. Fortunately we have a twenty-something, my son who lives close to Mike's house. He can move that steel, it's good exercise, after all. We will know pretty soon if our press will push that DOM reinforce piece onto the 4.500" Dia. 1018 round. If the DOM is really 4.50" dia. inside, then a line to line fit may be easy or quite difficult; it all depends on the roundness of the DOM I.D. We shall see.
Thanks very much for posting that link, Double D. $20 is cheap for a good reference book. All of my reference books are in print, no online stuff at all except some drawings that George sent me. Those are good to have online, because copies can be easily made. I will be sure to check the main page for the listing of other same subject material.
Here are a few pics that you fellows might be interested in.
Here is the RML 10 Inch Gun at the Southport Gate in Gibraltar.
Here is the same Gun in the same location with a walking girl and a running monkey.
A Close up of the same gun's muzzle with the Badge of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps.
Talking about ordnance; here is a 410 pound studded shell in Southsea Castle, UK that the RML 10 Inch 18 Ton Woolwich Gun fired. There was a non-studded shell too; we'll save that for another time.
Unless it costs an arm and both legs, I'm definitely going to want one of these!
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