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Was out to a cannon match today in Lucerne Valley, Ca. Wasn't much by most standards, only 2 cannon participating. Both were 3/4 scale smoothbores... a Parrot of about 1 5/8" bore and a Napoleon of around 1 1/4" bore. Both were firing what looked to be balls cast from either zinc or wheelweight with a single 1/2" thick white plastic (polyethylene?) disk sheetmetal screwed on to them. Charges were in the 2 ounce range of GOEX... probably CANNON grade but not sure.

The first target was a cardboard sheet at 100 yards. It had a 13" circle with a 6" circle inside of that.... 2 sets of circles for each cannon. 6 shots at each of the 2 targets for a total of 12 shots. Any shot within the 13" circle counted for 5 points, shots within the 6" circle counted as 5 points and an "X". Only the best 5 shots counted on each target. The Parrot scored a total of 40-3X while the Napoleon scored 50-5X.

The second set of targets were 2 liter Pepsi bottles filled with dark blue water and hung alternating high and low from the same target frames.... 10 bottles for each cannon. Each bottle was worth 5 points, one shot per bottle. The Parrot hit all 10 while the Napoleon hit 9. None of these were glancing hits either... those bottles just exploded !!!

Final score was the Parrot a total of 90 and the Napoleon a total of 95.

Sorry about not having any pictures to post.... I was too busy running powder for the Napoleon.

I was truely amazed at the accuracy of these 3/4 scale smoothbores. Guess I am going to have to make up some rounds for my half scale Napoleon and head to the range in the near future.
 

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It's surprising how accurate smoothbores (even miniatures) can be.
 

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So, I take it the plastic disk was at the rear of the ball, in the position a sabot would be in. The disk had same effect as sabot in that it kept the ball from picking up any spin in the bore, which is good for consistency at the target. Do you think that's what happened? I would assume the disk survived launch and went downrange still attached to the ball?
 

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That is some very fine shooting!!!

Sounds like good ole Bobby Riggs and his group. They have a shoot up there almost every month. I have never gone up there as I need a lot more range to make it worth while for my big guns.

I've seen Bobby use a special hybrid load like that in his full size Parrott at our shoot here in Imperial County and do quite well at the closer targets, but not so well at the 300, 500, or 600 yard targets. Not sure if his special ammo becomes unstable at longer flight or if his powder charge is too light (it is a lead ball with some kind of high temp plastic sabot attached/bolted on).

At our January 2009 event my unit nailed the 300, 500, and 600 yard targets on the very first shot with a 2.9" smoothbore Parrott using a 5 lb. lead ball with wood sabots (not permanently attached) for first place in the round shot match. We were thrilled as it was the very first time we ever live fired this piece.

Our next live fire event is coming up fast. It will be our 12th annual 2-day live fire event held on MLK weekend, January 16-17, 2010. Gun slots are limited, but if you have a full sized Civil War era cannon and want to bring it, please let me know as soon as you can and I will attempt to secure a spot for you.

In addition, I would also like to offer an open invitation to anybody on this site to come crew a cannon in January. Between Moody's Battery and Battery D 5th US we have far more cannons than we can possibly crew. If enough people commit we will place another gun on the line and provide the ammo for it. And I do not mean you'll be running powder either. As long as you can pass our drill you will be helping to crew the gun. How's that for an invitation? However, I need to know in the next couple of weeks. This is because I need most of November & December to make the ammo and friction primers, as well as procure enough powder for each cannon.

Cheers~

2nd Lt. Anthony A. Variz
Battery D 5th US
www.batteryd.net
 

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cannonmn said:
So, I take it the plastic disk was at the rear of the ball, in the position a sabot would be in. The disk had same effect as sabot in that it kept the ball from picking up any spin in the bore, which is good for consistency at the target. Do you think that's what happened? I would assume the disk survived launch and went downrange still attached to the ball?
On his 2.75" smoothbore Parrott that he has shot at our local event I have seen the bolted on sabot either survive or break off which may be part of the reason they do not do well at longer distances. And yes it is loaded sabot side first. He used to make them so tight he had to beat the rounds down the barrel, claimed it improved the accuracy. Made me nervous as all get out when I saw that! If it were up to me I would not allow any ammo that does not slide down freely. Needless to say I made sure I was at the other end of the gun line...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hey Tony.... yes, it was Bobby with the Parrot. Tom Odell was running the Napoleon. Would have loved to have you there but 100 yards would have been a little short for Zeus and Apollo to play.... their muzzleblast alone would have taken out the Pepsi bottles !!!

Looking forward to the live fire come January... I'll be there with the 4th US, Batt B. Hopefully Bobby won't have the flu again this year and we will have a gun this time.
 

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cannonmn said:
In addition, I would also like to offer an open invitation to anybody on this site to come crew a cannon in January.
Are we taking about Portland, ME or Paris, TX?
Sorry about that! None of the above, it is in Imperial County in Southern California. The website I provided above, www.batteryd.net, has a schedule link that will take you to the live fire info and early registration for the event.

I would also like to mention this is so much more than paper punching. It is two days of black powder shooting all Civil War era devices, including muskets, pistols, field artillery and mortars (scale mortars are allowed).

We shoot company against company with knock down metal targets which require troupe movement, 4X4 post cutting, Saturday twilight shoot, round ball cannon match engaging targets from 300 to 600 yards, counter battery match shooting at recreations of man sized targets and cannons, combined assaults with artillery required to blow out a wooden reinforce before the infantry can advance and engage their targets, and so on...

As far as the artillery is concerned, full size field pieces have always been required, however, they are not super picky about the bore configuration. This may change someday when more guns try to come than their is room for on the firing line, but so far I have seen normally rifled pieces with smooth bores and even reduced in diameter. Also, in the past due to such low numbers of mortars being entered we have allowed any size scale mortar. I am fairly certain those will be shooting at flags posted at 276 & 450 yards this coming year.

Be well~ Anthony Variz
 

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Pop Bottles at 100 yds ,with a smooth bore .......good shooting i guess ! :eek:

gary
 
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