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This one got my attention!!! I've always day dreamed about building a BP cannon.I shoot BP mostly because of the sound and smoke,it's a beautiful thing.After reading this forum I gotta have one.
Can someone give me some direction on getting started?I have no doubt trial and error is a dangerous way to learn!! :eek: The mistakes have already been made and I don't want to repeat them.Where do I get plans for a homemade cannon?Where do I get the "Dos andDon'ts?I'm mechanical enough to handle this project but there's nothing like real exp. Someone give me a leg up on this awesome sport!!!!!!
 

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I'll start by saying that the FIRST thing to think of is SAFETY. Yes, I have personally observed a cannon explode while standing 10 feet from it (as a teenager).

That having been said, think of the caliber - ammunition is a pain to procure. Casting cannon balls is not easy - I'll go into that later. I use calibers that are common to something - golf balls, beer cans, pop bottles or PVC pipe.

Look at where you're going to shoot. I frequent a 100yd range. There are times that taking a mortar that soots 1000yds plus is a little difficult there when the round goes over the mountain at the back of the range. 100yds is OK - you can SEE what and where it's going to hit.

There will be others (and myself) that will post construction methods. Pictures help.

Good shootin'
 

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Go to www.google.com and query cannon, cannon plans, black powder cannon plans, beer can mortars and similiar terms. You will get a lot of hits.

There use to be a fellow down in Florida who sold detailed scale model firing cannon plans. I have bought his plans in the past. I don't have access to my files right now to give his address.


You might check with the Muzzle Loading Artileryman magazine also. Google it also.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys
Safety is the issue that held me up so far.Thats the reason I'm looking to the experienced for info.I can see the dangers in this sport.
25yrs of hunting NE Missouri farmlands allows me access to plenty of room to shoot. half mile line of sight is not a prob.
I'll check this out more on google now that my curiosity has been tweaked. My concerns are powder chg.vs proj. wieght vs proj. dia. vs proj. length vs brl.length vs wall thickness vs ect. ect.
I will have a safe situation before ever lining up for a shot.I just had to write in on this forum since the first time it was est.
:D THANKS AGAIN FOR THE REPLY
SMOKESTAK
 

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OK, moving on a little bit.

Let me describe two methods of building a mortar, there are more. My first was cut on the lathe from an old piece of hot rolled steel. Used a boring bar to go as deep as I could - a bit limiting. So the bore is just 1/4" longer than the can. Lots of muzzle blast, short range, light and FUN. Another I had made for me was of prehardened 4140 steel. About 16" bore. Long range (long tube) using little powder, thunks instead of going BANG! Also fun. Heavy.

A friend of mine built his of 4140 or 4130 DOM (drawn over mandrel) tubing, threaded and welded. (Welding is a trick - has to be preheated and slowly cooled (see Grumbly's pix on 'so what do y'all shoot topic'))

Long range from long tube with very little powder. Incredable fun to put on your shoulder (listening to the fuse sputter along - knowing that if something goes wrong that you'll never know it).

I personally will not do any welding on a tube that I'm going to fire. I personally will massively overbuild. Personal experience of having seen a 1" bore 18" long tube blow up when I was in high school. No one seriously hurt - thank God!

I have a Napoleon with a 1-7/8" bore (a little large for golf balls) that is made from cast iron. Don't have a base yet, but it'll shoot a cast lead ball over a (measured) mile. It scares me - I'd like to be able to see farther than what I'm shooting.

Plans - do you have CAD. I can share some AutoCAD files of my designs.
 

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For what it's worth here are three images of the 4.55" bore dia. mortar - made of 4140 steel and Armaloy hard chrome plated. Barrel and trunion weigh 103 lbs. Fires 4.5 and 7.5 lb concrete filled pipe to about 350 meters. Takes one or two film canisters of black powder. Note that if anything the wall thickness is a bit heavy. You will also note the radii inside the bore - to eliminate stress points. The powder chamber is just about right - could be larger.

<img src="http://image1ex.villagephotos.com/pubimage.asp?id_=1320579" width=318 height=408>

<img src="http://image1ex.villagephotos.com/pubimage.asp?id_=1320580" width=377 height=412>

<img src="http://image1ex.villagephotos.com/pubimage.asp?id_=1320581" width=322 height=409>

Note: all standard disclaimers apply. YOU are responsible for your own actions. If you build something according to these designs, just remember that you've got to be tough if you're stupid. It's your life.
 

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Here is a link to a section we should all should be aware of before we start shooting cannons. I am going to make a safety posting for permanent posting at the top of this board. These rules are set to promote safety when shooting cannons during competition, but we can use the safety rules for our recreational shooting. These rule can also guide us in construction.

http://www2.control.com/~emoore/marty.html

http://www.civilwarnews.com/artillerysaftey.htm
 
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