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Discussion Starter #1
My interest in cannons/mortars goes back to high school - we had an inhertited 1" bore bronze yacht signalling cannon. Fired it every 4th of July.

I'll post pix of current mortars that I've built next time - have selected a few - beer can caliber, soda pop caliber and 4"pvc pipe caliber.
 

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The first Mortar I built or rather had built in the 1980's was from a piece of 6 inch monel. I got the plans from a 1970's copy of Guns magazine. When the plans were made beer came in a steel can that took a church key to open. Those cans were bigger around than the now ever popular pop-top extruded aluminum cans. I found out by trial and error that Campbell soup cans fit that gun just perfect.

We filled those cans full of cement and fired them. We were able to put 10 of those cans into 20 feet at 900 yards. We would just point the Tube in a safe direction and fire away.

While I was in gunsmithing school I dimensioned out a hollow based air-gun pellet to the diameter of that gun's bore and made a mould for it. I cast two slugs out pure wheel weight that weighed about 8 lbs each.

The Muzzle loading artilleryman had a formula for determining powder charges for cannons by bore size and I made two charges. Turns out that formula was for straight bored guns and not guns with powder chamber smaller than bore size.

I loaded the gun up and fired it off. A huge smoke ring came out about 30 feet in diameter and the slug cracked through the air and disappeared never to be seen again. The recoil broke the 2x6 oak bases in half on both sides. Mind you now the trunnions were bolted into blocks mounted on the 2 inch side of the 2x6 oak sides. The recoil broke those sides like match sticks.

I had this gun along on the trip also.



That's Montana's Sweetgrass Hills in the back ground.


The fella that owned the ranch we were visiting had just pulled a old abandoned Ford Falcon out of the brush. He said why don't you shoot this old car with that cannon. I set the gun up about 20 yards away and aimed at the door. I lit the fuse and got out of the way. Big boom and a cloud smoke. The smoke drifted away and there was a big hole in the car door. We all hooted and hollared a second. Then a 6 inch alder about 50 yards beyond the car fell over. Cool we killed that Falcon and a tree too!



I have built two of the navel guns and two parrot rifles since. Well actually I have completed one Parrot rifle and have the carriage hardware to finish on the second. I have built two other Mortars and am working on my fourth. It is the proper bore size to slip fit a diet coke can.

Alas, I am no longer in Montana, stuck here next to VA's beltway. Don't know what I am going to do about shooting around here, but I am already hearing rumors about cannon shooting going on. People jammed so close around her that you can't pass gas least someone complains, let alone do any shooting.

I orginally posted this message over on the poll board before we got our own Forum to work with. It was a lot easier to cut and paste than retype[/img]
 

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Discussion Starter #3
This is a test - my first try at posting using a 3rd party to host pictures.

Here are two mortars - the near one in pop-bottle (16-20-24oz) caliber, the one being lit is 4" PVC pipe (4.550" bore diameter).

Take careful note of how close the powder cans are to the mortars. Don't do this at home, I no longer do.

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Next we have the 4.5" firing:



This is a closeup of the 4.5" as I'm measuring the elevation.

<img src="http://image1ex.villagephotos.com/pubimage.asp?id_=1288405" width=344 height=432>

Firing, but at a lower angle:
<img src="http://image1ex.villagephotos.com/pubimage.asp?id_=1288406" width=432 height=324>

Impact of a 4.5 pound piece of PVC pipe:
<img src="http://image1ex.villagephotos.com/pubimage.asp?id_=1288407" width=432 height=324>


and lastly, a couple of pop-can caliber coehorns:



Again, this was a test to see how posting pix works
 

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Mine is just a little guy, but works great for New Years....

A freind gave me a chunck of steel a few years back, it is about two inch diameter Hexagon, about 8" long. I drilled a 1/2" hole down the center, and then used a 1/8" bit to connect for the fuse hole. The back of it is flat, so it can be set on the ground facing straight up. We use it mostly for New Years Eve and 4th of July. Usually we load it with a paper wad without a projectile, however it is great for launching objects. We tried it unsuccesfully last year with an unopened can of beer. It didnt go very far, but it smelled really great if you are a beer lover, didnt find much of the can, but it rained beer for about two minutes.
A 1/2" bore works excellent beacause 1/2" = 50 caliber, I have fired patched balls in it a few times, works great, but alas, #11 percussion caps are a lot cheaper than cannon fuse.
 

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Robert,

Take a look at Cat Whisperer's tubes. You will see that he has welded a piece of Round stock across the base to form trunnions. He then made a base and strap or trunnion cap to hold the trunnions. He has also made a screw device for one of them to control elevation.

You can see enough detail in Cat Whisperer's picture to make your gun carriage.

How did you get a beer can down a 1/2 inch hole? If you set it on top of the hole you are very lucky some one didn't get cut up by shrapnel.

Right now all my documents, files and books are in storage. When I get them out I will post the Issue number of the guns Magazine that had the plans for the beer can mortar. First somebody has to buy my Montana house.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
DD -
The bases are either made of laminated pine (prototypes) or solid oak (for replicas) or machined from channel iron with trunion support rings welded on. The form is cut (by a local machine shop) with cnc milling for the profile and the hole for the trunion. (I worked for a while as a tooling design engineer and designed everything on AutoCAD.)

Robert -
Sounds like fun. I used to load up an empty beer can in one of my mortars and fire it straight up on the 4th of July - I live in town too. You could hear it echo from the mountain on the other side of town and then up and down the valley! Well, things change, and my new neighbor wears a blue uniform, so it's a little quieter.

Had you thought of tapping the touch hole and building a counterweighted percussion hammer pulled with a lanyard?
 

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I built a snap hammer for one of the mortars. It was a lever on a pivot pin. The base of the hammer was on a pivot screwed into the tube below the fuse hole. Between the nipple and the pivot the hammer had a hole drilled in it to attach the lanyard. The lanyard went under the base of the hammer through the slot in the pivot. Jerk the lanyard and the hammer flipped over and popped the cap. I used a Musket nipple and cap. Worked fairly well, but we had to charge the fuse hole with FFFFG. It was a pain to charge.

I heard about taking small paper straws and filling them with a slurry of FFFG disolved in Alcohol and putting down the fuse hole. Drill out the nipple so the straw would fit. I plan on doing that for the current mortar project

Cat Whisperer check you PM
 

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Cat Whisperer.......

...Actually, we were right in the middle of all this hullabaloo last night, and somebody starts yelling ....Jesus...hold your fire, just as i fired my smoke pole into the air. It was an off duty cop, that is going out with the girl next door. He got behind us where it was safe and we proceeded to blow up everything we could get our hands on, including a homemade black powder firecracker we made right in front of him with about 1/4 pound of Black Powder. Poor guy, he probably didnt know what to think of us New Years pyros.
 

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whaty'all shoot

YeeHaw!
When did this forum go up? I have a South Bend Replicas
2 3/4 inch coehorn, and I am pining for one of their Dahlgrens. Mostly I shoot patched tennis ball blanks, but lead round balls as a service round snort pretty good!
I will have to grab the kid's digital camera for a photo, I made a solid base of laminated black ash 2x8's. Iron though bolts, and "foosball" type handles and iron furniture complete the whole works.
I was poking around here to have a pattern maker scale it tup and pour an iron fella that would shoot bowling balls, even on paper though, it got kinda expensive. Good to have this forum to talk "bucketmouths" and not be thought the looney! :D :D :D
 

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Discussion Starter #12
JeffG - NE Wisconsin eh? You must be closer to the 'blue bullets' (Point Beer) than to Leinenkugels (Chipawa Falls).

By all means post the pictures! If you can dig it out, send us the address to South Bend Replicas to add to our resource list.

We'd love to hear of your experiences too.

Thanks,
 

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Thirty-odd years ago when I was in my teens and junior high schools still had wood and metal shops, my particular school hosted a weekly father- son shop on Tuesday nights. My dad is a talented engineer and mechanic and together we built a small non-firing naval cannon. It was about 12 inches long and we used the shop's foundry to cast the gun out of aluminum.
I have never forgotten that project and now that I'm a father (and a machinist) I thought it would be cool to make a cannon with my two boys. But, I thought, why not make a cannon that not only would actually fire but would fire something substantial? Why not make a cannon that would fire one pound lead balls? The die was cast.
I started with a 5 inch billet of 4140 twenty seven inches long. I had it rifle drilled and honed to a dimension ( I can't remember without going out to the garage and actually miking the I.D. what that dimension is at this moment.) that would accept a nominal one pound lead ball as cast from a dixie gun works mould. The bore is approximately 24 inches long.
I then cut sockets into the side walls about one quarter of an inch deep to accept the trunions. With this work behind me, I set out to profile the blank. I mounted the billet in the lathe and turned the cascable ( the rear ball) and the taper.
After the lathe work was complete I welded the trunions into the pre-machined sockets on the gun barrel. This was a little tricky because alloys such as 4140 (especially thicker material) must be pre-heated and allowed to cool slowly or the welds will crack. I heated the barrel with a torch to roughly 600 degrees, did my welding and buried the whole thing under a hill of oil absorbent (kitty litter). After more than twenty-four hours the assembly was still too hot to touch! How's that for slow cooling. No cracks, strong weld.
My boys and I began work on the carriage. We chose an approximation of a naval carriage simply because it is a little easier to build. It is made out of 1 3/4 oak (white, I think).
The project is almost complete. Only the finishing of the wood remains to be done and then we'll find a place to shoot.
One happy coincidence is that golf balls fit quite nicely into a bore designed around one pound lead balls.
I haven't the faintest idea of how to post an image or I'd do it. Too bad... looks cool.

Moderators note. Grumbly sent me an email message with photo's attached. It is so good that I am going to cut and paste it into this message and add the pictures...DD

Hello Double D:
That's a great idea! I'll attach a few photo's and you can feel free to post whichever you want or all if you want.
I'll give a brief explanation for each picture.

1. Right Side Cannon.
This is essentially the profile view. All visible acorn nuts are attached to allthread that runs through the entire length or width of the carriage components thereby drawing the assembly tightly together.
The wheels are pieces of 4" standard pipe faced to dimension and "filled" with solid maple. Gotta paint 'em; they look awful.


2. Rear View.
The rear view simply shows the overall width and proportion of the whole assembly. Also, the quoin (the apparatus that controls elevation) is visible in this view. A more traditional setup for the quoin would incorporate an integral dovetail rather than the slides that we installed.


3.Shop View.
This is a view of the cannon in my shop/garage which I included to provide a sense of scale.


4.Trunnions and Cap Irons.
This is a closer view of the trunnion and cap iron arrangement. The trunnions, as discussed earlier, are fitted into sockets milled about 1/4 to 3/8 deep into the sides of the barrel. The band that appears to encircle the barrel where the trunnions are located was material on the barrel that I decided not to cut away during the lathe turning phase. This decision was made to keep the trunnion sockets as deep as possible.
I used a little (very little) Bondo to feather out my welds in the interest of good looks.
The barrel itself weighs about 95 pounds.
The cap irons started out as two-inch steel plate flame cut to the general shape and milled to the proper dimensions.

Thanks again,
Heath (Grumbly)
 

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Folks you need to scroll back up this thread and take a look at Grumbly's post. He sent me an email with some pictures of his gun. They are great!

I cut and pasted his email message with the pictures into his original post. Normally I wouldn't do that but I wanted him to be able to go in and look at the code used to post pictures. Grumbly go into your original post an hit the edit button. If you scroll through the message you will see the format for the code to post pictures. The pictures need to be hosted somewhere to post.

For the rest of you please be patient, I am writing up something on how I post pictures. When I get it done I will post it for all to read.

Grumbly, one other thing, you need two other pictures (which you will post yourself) One of a big long column of smoke coming out that barrel and one of the smiles on the faces of the kids the first time you shoot it...include the dad kid in that picture!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Heath (Grumbly)

That's one TOUGH looking iron!!

I really like your treatment of the trunions and cap irons.

When you get serious with this, does the quoin stay well adjusted between shots - or is each one adjusted from scratch?

Tim K
 

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Double D:

Thanks for posting that info and the related photo's. Hope everybody gets a kick out of it. We do.
I'm not too sure what to make of the code but will wait patiently for your tutorial.
Tim K.:
Thanks for the compliments. At this point I don't really know what to expect from the quoin arrangement. I'll let you know as soon as we fire the gun.
Shouldn't be too much longer.
 

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DD

On a previous post, you talked about using a straw filled with a slurry of BP and alcool to ignite the charge in a cannon or mortar (basically, a quill). A simpler method is to pour 4fg powder on a strip of scotch tape (cut the same length as the straw you use) than roll it length-wise and insert it inside the straw with the sticky side (now covered with powder) toward the inside of the straw... Presto! Instant quills!

Works very well and is so much easier than the old way of making quills!

BTW, how do I post pics on the board?? I have some nice pics you might like to see.

Dragon
 
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