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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm giving a presentation to a local gun club on the Sims-Dudley 2.5 inch Dynamite Gun, a very long-barrelled smoothbore. I have an original dynamite gun projectile to show to them, that's the only hardware, the rest will be these pictures with ad lib dialogue inbetween. Most of these "show and tell" presentations last 5 minutes or less. My projectile is the only one still in existance, that I know of, which is strange since the company must have made over 2000 of them. As far as I know, they made about 20 of the guns. There are still two of them on display in Cuba, where they were used during the Spanish-American War. The breech mechanism is one of the most amazing I've ever seen. No wonder it was reported to have gotten out of order after every few shots. The cartridge case was the same is as used in the one-pounder (heavy) naval rapid-fire guns, and was filled with black powder. It went in the bottom barrel and the projectile went in the top barrel. Maximum range at 35 degrees elevation was 2000 yards. Teddy Roosevelt did not like these guns.









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Cannonmn,

I have seen very little written about these, other than some passages on the Spanish American war, Bannerman mentioning displaying one and Teddy seeing it,
during the return parade for the troops,

By your description it is a two chambered piece where by the lower chamber houses the propulsion charge and transmits the impulse somehow to the upper chamber,
I was under the mistaken impression that these were in effect Pneumatic cannon, or did the black powder charge compress a piston that gave the upper barrel a forced
shot of air?
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I looked again and the writeup in the Chief of Ordnance report for 1899 says there's simply an orifice between the combustion chamber (lower barrel) and the projectile tube (upper barrel.) The orifice is near the breech. So whatever hot air and powder gas mixture gets through that hole is what propels the projectile. The combustion tube is steel and the projectile tube is high-tensile bronze (75,000 psi tensile strength.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
why is it called a dynamite gun
The whole advantage of these guns was to propel a high-explosive shell ("dynamite") to get more destruction at the target, Prior to that, the only safe projectile filler was black powder, which was not very destructive relative to high explosives which were coming out at that time. It turned out that you could throw a high explosive if you softened the launch G's so it wasn't so much a shock, but a push. The filler in this system was really a nitrocellulose gelatine, not actual dynamite, but "dynamite" was a lot more exciting name for marketing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The Wiki article says the propulsion charge was smokeless powder so I'll have to check again, but I don't think smokeless will work as a blank with no projectile right in front of it, and I was under the impression that's why this thing used black powder. The CHORD report for 1898 has the first Army report of it, and would also have descriptions, but apparently I am missing that volume. If anyone has an extra, let me know, maybe we can trade.
 

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cannonmn,

I have here a copy of Smith's Standard Encyclopedia of Gas, Air and Spring Guns of the World (W.H.B. Smith, 1957). On Pages 64 - 65, he gives quite a bit of info on the Sims-Dudley. Also some stuff about Bannerman's purchase of 11 guns, and where one of them apparantly ended up (King Fuad, of Egypt).

Says here the shells were loaded with 7-9 ounces of smokeless powder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
shells were loaded with 7-9 ounces of smokeless powder.
Thanks, just read more in the CHORD report and in the fine print they mention the shells were loaded with "Dupont's special smokeless powder no. 3." The black powder was used as an igniter for the smokeless, so technically black powder was used but not as the primary propellant. I don't know how I had that wrong all these years but at least finally I have the story straight now.
 

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This has turned into an interesting thread that has gleaned more info on the Sim-Dudley,

Cannonmn, are there any known examples surviving of this cannon here in the United States?

So far we see that 2 are in Cuba, and one in Egypt, Bannerman had to have sold the rest somewhere....

Individuals? clubs? South America?
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
A friend of mine has a twisted, rusty piece of a carriage that was pulled out of the Hudson, I'm sure you know where. The nameplate is on it and partly legible. That's all I've ever heard of being in the US as far as the guns. Too bad, I'd love to just go touch one someday. Maybe when US-Cuba relations get to the point where we can travel there more freely I'll go take a peek (and some tradin' stuff!)
 

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Some interesting reading on the these guns, gives info on the testing of one on Long Island. two in Cuba may have been those used by the Cubans themselves against the Spanish, they had three of them.
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http://www.autentico.org/oa09313.php
 

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Wasn't there a ship called the "volcanic" that had a battery of the dynamight guns and was also used during the spanish american war?. The ship itself had to be pointed at the target rather than swivel the turrets. From what little I remember the guns themselves were in a fixed position hence the ship had to be pointed the shells were to go. Frank
 

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Cannonmn,

Thanks for the Cuban photos, it appears sadly the breech door is missing from it,

I have a feeling that there are no complete or restorable one's left in the world.
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I have a feeling that there are no complete or restorable one's left in the world.
There's another inside a museum in Cuba, and another in a museum in Egypt. I've never seen photos, but the one in Egypt is the one that was on display in Bannerman's store at 501 Broadway, NYC, so it is probably in the same condition as it was there.
 

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W.H.B. Smith believed that the gun that went to King Fuad's arms collection was the one that backed the Rough Riders.
 
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