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Enco Steel Balls on sale now! Click the catalog page for the full size image.

 

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What would steel balls be used for in our context?
I always understood " never shoot anything out of your cannon that may be harder than your cannon"
Am I missing something?(as usual)
Santa Dave

[/color]TIME TO MIX UP THOSE FRUIT CAKES!!!
 

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"never shoot anything out of your cannon that may be harder than your cannon"

While this is good advice for your multi-kilobuck bench rest rifle, I think it really doesn't apply to a smoothbore cannon that is already oversize for the projectiles. After all, it was standard practice to fire cast iron shot from bronze barrels throughout the muzzleloading artillery period. The barrel life for bronze barrels was considered to be 500 shots. How many of our guns will be fired 500 times? And they are steel and not used for the same kind of serious activity.

Personally, I see no problem with firing steel shot from a steel barrel if you don't want to cast lead shot.
 

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I fire 1" mill balls (hardened 52100 steel...same as chrome moly bearings) out of my 1.1" medieval piece with no problems. The millballs are less than ideal shericalness/roundness and lines are visible in the residue after firing, and sometimes after cleaning, but rub out after a little oil with steel wool. The balls from ENCO are nice and spherical and smooth. I never knew they sold anything like that or I'd have been using them already. My major concern with the hardened steel balls is ricochet. Always know what's behind and to the sides of your target. Shooting old stone bridge support pillars may result in a bounceback as well.;)
 

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I would think you would want to be very careful with solid steel shot and vigorously practice the windage rule. Gauge every shot before it goes down the bore.

You also want to exercise extreme caution where you fire steel shot-- it is going to ricochet

N-SSA prohibits the use of solid ferrous shot. AAA doesn't say anything about it,
 

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well, i'm kinda worried about steel shot. i remember when steel shotgun shells first came out. i heard so many scary things about them, that i still won't use them. most of mine are antiques anyway, but there are some still made today that are not recommended for steel shot. i know a shotgun is kinda different than a cannon, but if certain shotguns can't use steel shot, wouldn't that go for cannons too?i'm not trying to be smart or anything like that, it's just that, about all i do is shoot. honestly, it might take a month or two in my free time, but i can put 500 shots through a small cannon. what can i say, it's fun to go shooting ;D
 

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I know a shotgun is kinda different than a cannon...

A cannon is like a cylinder bored shotgun, which is not like most shotguns out in the world.  The problem with steel shot in a shotgun is the choke which gets gouged by steel shot if the barrel steel is not hard enough and bulged if the walls aren't thick enough.  Since there is no choke in a cannon barrel and the walls are plenty thick, there shouldn't be a problem with using steel shot.  Keep in mind that we are firing a single bore size shot with a cannon versus a handful of small shot with a shotgun.  The surface of the single shot is almost an exact match for the surface of the bore so it can't do any gouging.  And anyway, the escaping powder gas should hold the shot away from the bore surface most of the time.

The issue of steel shot ricocheting is certainly real, but lead shot will do the same thing.  I have seen it in cowboy shooting.  You still need to select an appropriate backstop whether firing a BB gun or a bowling ball mortar or something in between.
 

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I have fired 12 mm stainless steel balls from a 13 mm home cast brass cannon and had no problems with it. But I did fire it only 4 times so I cant be sure. I didn't use black powder but a mixture of potassium chlorate and sodium benzoate.
 

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... it would darn near be impossible to remove the ball from the barrel.

I think a rare earth magnet on a stick would work if the shot hadn't been forced in.
 

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GGaskill said:
... it would darn near be impossible to remove the ball from the barrel.

I think a rare earth magnet on a stick would work if the shot hadn't been forced in.
I've got plenty if anyone would care to try. Would be difficult if the bore was ferrous.
 

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somebody HELP me, i got a hardened steel ball and a super magnet stuck in my cannon ;D ;D ;D
 
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