Graybeard Outdoors banner
1 - 20 of 29 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
651 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just got back from a Civil War event at Moorpark, Ca. Probably the largest and definitely the best Civil War event on the West Coast. Oh my gosh... what a weekend it was !!! If I understood the figure correctly there were something like 700 reenactors out making smoke on the battlefield. Had 5 battles, 3 on Sat and 2 on Sun. I really enjoyed the evening one on Sat as all of the muzzleflashes were accentuated. During the daylight battles the smoke was so thick at times you really couldn't see what was going on. I was told that if that was multiplied by about 60 then I would have a fairly good idea what the Gettysburg reenactment looked like.

Between the North and the South there were 18 guns on the field... most all of them big guns, probably no more than 4 mountain howitzers. I was on a 10 pound Parrot. Went throught quite a bit of powder. Wish that I'd had time to take pictures but was really quite busy all weekend long.

Hmm, that brings me to a question. I've been somewhat considering building a larger gun for myself... probably a mountain howitzer as there is absolutely no way I could ever afford to go for one of the really big ones. Over the weekend we had 5 engagements firing an average of probably a dozen shots. We were using 4.5 ounces of Fg per shot and would occasionally fire a double just for the fun of it.... call it 15 charges per engagement. 5 engagements would be 75 charges at 4.5 ounces for a total of 337.5 ounces or just over 21 pounds. If powder runs say $17.50 a pound that would be $367.50. Then add in 60 friction primers at a buck each and you are up to $427.50 for the event. I realize that most events provide some sort of reimbursement for the cannons but somehow I doubt it would cover that kind of expense. Some of the guns were firing what sounded like half pound or larger charges too. Just how in the blue blazes can anyone afford to field their own gun??? Live fire is even more insane if you have to buy quality projectiles !!! It's enough to get me to pretty much change my mind about building one.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,418 Posts
The unit I'm with, Norfolk Light Artillery Blues, has a unit dues that goes towards the powder. Then you have the other reimbursments, from the club, and maybe the event. But you still end up only getting reimbursed for half to two thirds of your powder. Primers are usually on the gun owner.

It's simple, you budget for it like anything else. And maybe you let other hobbies slide some. You shop around. Landed cost to us for a case of Goex Fg from Coonies is about $345 (I think). We are looking at trying a different source, Jacks Powder Keg (someothing like that) at about $72 less per case. Some people in the ACWA have done tests with this, and it seems fine for blanks. I think it is called 'Jack's Battle Powder." This is what I have found on the web about it:
It's made with the same ingredients as the Goex sporting powder we'll all used for years. The difference is in the grading of the milled powder and the fact that it's not coated with graphite. Because there are fewer steps in production, it's less expensive than sporting grade powder.


And from people in the ACWA who have used it, I gather is it mostly Fg, but with some FFg and FFFg in, like it didn't go all the way through the seiving process. And, from the above quote, no graphie coating. Should be fine for blanks. I would NOT even think of using it for live fire.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
7,217 Posts
I've been somewhat considering building a larger gun for myself... probably a mountain howitzer as there is absolutely no way I could ever afford to go for one of the really big ones.

Assuming you would build it from mild steel instead of bronze, the basic round (8" dia x 37" long) would weigh about 511 lbs. Finished, I would expect about 225-250 lbs. And then you have to build a carriage.

If you started from a bronze casting, I am guessing it would require at least 400 lbs of bronze with a similar finished weight.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
35 Posts
Evil said:
5 engagements would be 75 charges at 4.5 ounces for a total of 337.5 ounces or just over 21 pounds. If powder runs say $17.50 a pound that would be $367.50. Then add in 60 friction primers at a buck each and you are up to $427.50 for the event. I realize that most events provide some sort of reimbursement for the cannons but somehow I doubt it would cover that kind of expense. Some of the guns were firing what sounded like half pound or larger charges too. Just how in the blue blazes can anyone afford to field their own gun???
Everything is relative. The amount you cite is certainly more than a game of bowling ... but less than the cost of a weekend golf getaway at a resort. And it is nothing compared to an hour's gas for an F-86 'warbird': the ultimate rich man's toy!

As subdjoe says, budgeting, prioritising, and shopping around should help you afford the cost. If it is still more than you can sensibly afford, not a problem: you can continue to enjoy serving on someone else's crew. There are opportunities for all sizes of pocketbooks. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,418 Posts
At a typical reenactment we have 4 battles, I bring out 16 charges each of 7 ounces for each one. (Note, not my gun - full size 3" Wrought Iron Rifle, but I do the care, feeding, and hauling of it so I get to be gun sergeant, with the owner being crew). Our first load is always a double, then mostly single charges. If we are tucked back, well away from the spectators we stick mostly to single charges. If we are where the public can really see and hear the gun, we will fire 3 or 4 double charges. Most battles I end up taking about 4 charges back to the magazine.

If we have a school day the day before the event, which is the case for 3 of them, we need another 14 or 15 charges. And of course the friction primers. It is tempting to go to quills to same some money.

So, minimum of 24 pounds of powder, and maybe about 60 primers.

That is better than the guy who bought a 12 pound Napoleon from Steen, 4.62 inch bore. Steen reccomends a minimum of 1 pound loads for it. I THINK it could go down to about 12 ounces. Less than that and the primer might not hit the charge.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
168 Posts
Hi; ;D
Here in washington we set up the rules to work with the rest of the coast. The rule states that you use 2 oz. per inch of D. My parrott uses 6oz. and because I made a 3in. chamber in my Mountain Howitzer we use the same charge in it.
Big guns are a bit spendy, but we do get a little help from WCWA we burn $10.98 a pound and they give us $5.75 for it.
When I made the Parrott I spent about $1900 for the steel 5 years ago, last year I gave $550 for the MH steel and the wheels cost me about $200 less per, and the trail was about 1/2 the cost of the Parrott.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,043 Posts
Thats some good info Gary .
at that price a couple of folks could indulge in this ? What is the WCWA ?
Gary
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
651 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Suffering from the "Senior Citizen Fixed Income" syndrome I really couldn't justify a $200 or more deficit every time I took my toy out to play... even more of a deficit based on the level of "reimbursement" from the event host. Better to just remain on the crew of somebody else's cannon and take my half scale Napoleon out to the local range when I want to get rid of wheelweight one pound at a time.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,043 Posts
I thought my Dom Parrott was kinda small till I started handling the thing . I 'could' single hand it but nothing bigger for sure .

The law of diminishing returns kicks in PDQ . twice as big .....8 times as heavy ! my tube is 58lbs ,and a total of 140 lbs .

But i wouldnt want "my shooter" any smaller either , so I got lucky on my first cannon purchase .

If anyone is wondering , these steel balls will take you from 30 yards of maybe accuracy with a golfball ,
to very good at 500 yds .....i cannt wait to go back to Cutbank and bang away agian !
gary
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
7,217 Posts
... I really couldn't justify a $200 or more deficit every time I took my toy out to play ...

Maybe you just need to fire half as many shots during the battles. Burn only the powder the event pays for.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
73 Posts
subdjoe said:
That is better than the guy who bought a 12 pound Napoleon from Steen, 4.62 inch bore. Steen reccomends a minimum of 1 pound loads for it. I THINK it could go down to about 12 ounces. Less than that and the primer might not hit the charge.
12 to 14 ounces should be plenty for the 12-Pounder. I was to the immediate right of the brand new Steen Napoleon at Fresno (it is a beauty!) with my section of 10 Pdr. Parrotts and his 1 lb. loads were so loud they literally shook my insides every time it fired. It should be noted that if you use any less than 12 ounces with a 4.62" bore the rounds would be so wafer thin they would tumble down the bore. Also, 2 ounces per inch in a Napoleon would sound quite weak, too much volume in that huge barrel. Good point made on the vent as well. I used to have an 1841 12 Pdr. Field Howitzer and it took a minimum of 10 ounces to reach the vent, and that is with a 6 Pdr. sized chamber which the Napoleon does not have. Of course my Field Howitzer did have an original vent configuration which angled forward entering the chamber further ahead. Though period correct in bore, chamber & vent, it made the piece impossible to use in venues requiring lighter loads.

We are bound by the rule of 2 to 3 ounces of powder per inch of bore for blanks. We actually use 7 ounce blanks as our standard load for our 3" guns and 9 ounce loads for our heavier loads when the venue allows for it (size of battle field and proximity to housing etc.). We average 10 shots per battle, 4 to 5 battles per event, times 2 or 3 cannons. 7 ounces in a 3" gun sound just about perfect for all occasions. Even on the extra large battle fields (i.e. GB size) any more than 9 ounces is just way too loud and a waste of money. The only exception is when we shoot at St. Catherin's in Anaheim. Due to the location we have to use extra light loads of around 5 ounces. They are fairly weak, but the field is small and residential housing is super close.

We also use full spec service loads when live firing ($$$$).

Yes it is quite expensive to own and shoot big guns... gotta spend your money on something I guess, sure can't take it with you. Once the artillery bug bites you it is all over. Our poor boat hardly ever gets used anymore, and my fishing tackle, water skis and other toys are all wondering why they are so neglected...

Anthony Variz
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
73 Posts
GGaskill said:
... I really couldn't justify a $200 or more deficit every time I took my toy out to play ...

Maybe you just need to fire half as many shots during the battles. Burn only the powder the event pays for.
If we did that we would only be firing about 3 or 4 shots per battle, even less if we counted our fuel costs for towing the big trailers. Some units do use extra light loads and a very slow rate of fire (like 5 or 6 minutes between shots for a 20 to 30 minute battle), and the reality is they are quite unimpressive. My motto is if your going to do it, do it right, or do not do it at all. This means we shoot loads that sound decent and keep up a steady but safe rate of fire during the battle.

And then on the other extreme there are units that scare the heck out of me by firing loads so heavy the guns actually jump/recoil (with blanks!) and shoot so fast they are cranking one out every minute or less. Those are the ones that are on borrowed time... I saw this at Fresno and was not happy about it, and yes I did bring it up to the attention of the Commanders.

Anthony Variz
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
651 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hmm.... I seem to have been somewhat missquoted here. It was Kaintuck sent me a private message, not the other way around. Well beyond my "Senior Citizen on a Fixed Income" budget anyway.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
651 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yes Doug... much more accurate. Thanks.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,986 Posts
RocklockI said:
The law of diminishing returns kicks in PDQ . twice as big .....8 times as heavy ! my tube is 58lbs ,and a total of 140 lbs .
That's kinda the way I look at it. I have a 1" mortar that weighs 5#, and a 3" that's 250#. Guess which one goes out more often? ;D

A few years back a friend offered me a Hern 2/3 scale 1841 on a nice carriage and all the goodies required to shoot it. He was asking $600 and I turned it down; I knew it would just turn into a garden ornament.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
651 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
A few years back a friend offered me a Hern 2/3 scale 1841 on a nice carriage and all the goodies required to shoot it. He was asking $600 and I turned it down.
Don't suppose that it would still be available?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,418 Posts
artillerybuff said:
12 to 14 ounces should be plenty for the 12-Pounder. I was to the immediate right of the brand new Steen Napoleon at Fresno (it is a beauty!) with my section of 10 Pdr. Parrotts and his 1 lb. loads were so loud they literally shook my insides every time it fired.
Ah! You are talking about Christian. He IS pretty, isn't he? Yeah, a one pound load is pretty respectable from him. His first shot was a Gibson Ranch, two pounds (service charge for shell). Rocked that big gun back almost a foot, and you could see the ground shake.

We put the rammer in and marked it through the vent with the vent prick. Then compared that mark with the charge.

Get any photos at Fresno? I would have been there with the 3" rifle if I hadn't fallen and twisted my back and knee a few days before. With the NLAB.
 
1 - 20 of 29 Posts
Top