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Some time ago, about 10 years, I horse traded a guy a Chinese 98 Mauser for a piece steel for a "popcan mortar". The tube is 6.25 x 12 with the popcan bore and powder chamber in place. The only problem is that the popcan bore was slip fit, no windage at all. I needed to get the bore opened up a little.



Since I don't have a steady rest for my lathe to big enough handle a piece of round stock this big I sent my tube off to one of the board members here and he opened it up me. He has never said it's alright for me to identify him, so I'll let him step forward and take a bow if he wishes. His work is darn good, and that's my opinion and the opinion of my friend who delivered and picked up the mortar tube for me. My friend use to work in a machine shop that made parts for the aviation industry and knows good work when he sees it. Thank you unnamed person!

Instead of having the tube opened up to give the popcan some windage, I choose to open it all the way to 6 PDR bore, 3.67 inch. Shooting round cannonballs is sexier than shooting popcans. Besides round zinc cannonballs are recyclable and available.


This pretty close to actual size.

While the tube was getting opened up, I also had our illustrious board member make me a mould. He will be getting the very first ball cast from this mould, that has been shot 6 times.



So now I have a supply of 6PDR mortar balls and a tube. What profile should I go with?

Confederate?


Federal?


The Federal has a fancier profile, but were they made in iron or were they all bronze. My tube is steel and would be more appropriate painted black.

What do you fellows think, Confederate or Federal?
 

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Double D,

Wow! That barrel looks SWEET! Great work. Hope the “unnamed person” comes forward.

What are the dimensions of your powder chamber?

That Confederate sled you show, while certainly authentic looking, strikes me as just a little too plain for my tastes.

Cannon-Mania has a picture of a soda can mortar on what they say is a Confederate sled:



I’m not sure if that’s accurate or not. The one picture I’ve found of an original with this profile has a bronze barrel, suggesting it’s a Federal mortar.

Keep us posted on your progress on this 6 pounder.
 

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Cannons by Dean S. Thomas has a picture of captured ordnance at Richmond in April 1865. The picture shows two 24 PDR Confederate Mortars and three Federal mortars in the back ground. Both Confederate Mortars have this utilitarian base. Although the ones in the picture appear to be wider than tall unlike the one in the picture I posted.




The Federal mortars beds appear to be of three different patterns, one like you picture John.

The Confederate mortar picture I posted is of a mortar at the N-SSA shoot at Ft. Shenandoah and was supposed to habe been made by R.t. West. I have a set of scale drawing from West for both the 24 PDR and the 12 PDR confederate mortar.

I also have Antique Ordnance Publisher drawing of the Federal Coehorn.

My powder chamber is 1 5/8 x 1 inch. 500 grs of Cannon will toss the 6 lbs zinc ball 100 yards. 500 grs of FG will go 200 yards. The first part of the fun of these mortars is firing them. The second part is watching the impact. At 100 yards you could see the dirt fly and 200 yards, sometimes,

Couple weeks ago in our trip for the annual Moderators retreat we were firning off into the trees. We got smoke and fire and we could hear the impact but we couldn't see the impact. Okay, okay Tim, I will admit visability was reduced to about 30 feet due to the rain. But it's still a lot of fun to see the impact.
 

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DD
reguardless of color, I like the lines of the federal mortar and carriage better. The curves of the tube would go better with those sexier round balls.
You could paint it brass color. Just doesn't have the same ring.
The mold looks nice. Did the unnamed person make the 500 + gr. bullet
also? nice work.
 

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Hello all,
It was I who did the work on DD's tube and his ball mold. I've done custom work for several others here also. As much work that goes into these barrles I would go all out and build the "fancier" federal style mortar. Just my opinion.

Hopefully I'll be able to start back into the little 12 ga. signal cannon I started. I've been to busy to do anything latley , it seems like the harder I work the hinder I get. I got the roof put on my shop last weekend. All I have left is everything else.
 

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Oh, Almost forgot. Thanks for the kind words. Also, I have a hexagon barrel that I was going to list in the classified section but I thought I'd give you people first dibs. It is the same one that mortarnoobie was interested in. PM me for details. Thanks,
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The settles it, the Federal mortar is Bronze and this tube is steel, so confederate mortar it shall be.

No I need to keep my eye out for a piece of bronze/brass for a Federal Mortar.

Thanks Wes for the great work. The first ball cast from the mold and fired from the tube are headed your way.
 

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Maybe try making an 1861 mortar. This is a 3/8 scale 8" mortar bored for 2.25" shot. 5.973" diameter (cleanup diameter from 6" round stock) and 8.25" long. Trunnions are 3.5" and 4" by 1.25".

 

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GGaskill, very nice mortar!!Questions,what material did you use?What did you use to weld the trunnions??What type of wire/rod?Thanks.
 

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Tube steel is of unknown alloy but welds nicely. I have made two mortars from the piece I bought originally. The trunnions are 1018 (bought new so I know what it is.) Welding filler rod is 1/8" 70S-2 TIG rod and the process was TIG at about 250 Amps. Had some porosity problems (probably due to inadequate prep) so the welds aren't Xray quality but I doubt the trunnions will come off.

Still need to add the lift ring and elevation notches.
 

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I went to the scrap yard today looking for some steel for a golf ball mortar I’ve been asked to build. They didn’t have anything in the size range that I was looking for but they did have a 6’ piece of 6”. The guy at the yard said that I could get a 2’ piece for $50. I didn’t ask how much he wanted for the whole piece. I think that most of the price would be for cutting it. I don’t need a new project right now but you guys are making it really hard.

Good looking work.
 

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DD, I got the ball a few days ago. Dang! Thats a big ball! I might need one of those after all :twisted: Thanks, Wes
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Powder Keg that is a full size 6 PDR ball. I have a stack of them now. I guess I am going to have to make a brass monkey. I choose 6PDR because I could buy cast balls and the cannon guys shoot them regularly-source it’s all about supply.

If you use the proper size steel for a pop can mortar it is no big deal to open the bore from 2.7 to 3.61. Too many guys are using too short and small a diameter tube and the can sticks out the front. That is an accident just waiting to happen in my opinion.

I think you could get away with a piece of the 5 1/5 inch stuff you made the mould from for a 6PDR. The walls of the mould are almost an inch thick. If you could find a piece of 9 or 8 inch stock you could make a full size 12 PDR or a 24 PDR in the Confederate pattern. You could also turn a Federal pattern. I think you have the plans for the Confederate pieces; I have the full scale plans for the Federal piece if you need them. I have pretty much decide to finish this gun out in the Confederate style.

I am going add handles and alignment pins to the mould you made for me. The mould is heavy and difficult to handle when hot. The alignment grooves got banged during casting and made closing and opening difficult. I may machine off the male groove after putting in pins.

It will be a while before need to cast any more. You can see from the ball I sent that the zinc ball do take some abuse. That ball was fired 6 times out into the high desert south of Challis.

After firing that tube I was reminded why I gave up firing cement balls. The bore was polished shiny. I just didn’t like firing something that abrasive out my barrel in under pressure and at velocity.

Thanks again for the mold, it is great!
 

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What about a 6pdr British Mortar....

....since there was niether a CS or US mortar that small during the Civil War. The Brits did produce a 6 pdr version during the F & I and the Rev War period. Muller's Treatise on Artillery has drawings and info on how to scale the tube based on bore size. You will probably have to omit the royal cypher and the vent shell, but basic coehorn shape should be doable.

 

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Discussion Starter #15
The Brit mortar is pretty, but it's bronze is it not? My tube is steel and it is on it's to to becoming a Confederate style mortar..

I am already thinking of my next project and I think it will be full scale. It's gonna cost some money, but I have a plan for that also..just don't any of you guys say anything to the wife.
 
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