Anyone any ideas for cannon construction ?

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strange_bike
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Anyone any ideas for cannon construction ?

Postby strange_bike » Thu Aug 28, 2008 11:45 pm

Hi ya guys just wondering if anyone knows the regulations involving cannons and their construction. I think this offer to produce may bite me on the bum if its not all done by the numbers.
Anyone who does cannon stuff and knows about the law and black powder and how it all fits with the construction storage and use of a cannon. Also any points on the correct cannon to build for our group that covers the circa 1400-1500 ish period.
will need to be of a fabricated construction not cast as I can weld and cut metal but the idea of casting several pounds of steel or bronze is a non starter.
cheers I hope to hear from someone soon



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Phil the Grips
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Postby Phil the Grips » Fri Aug 29, 2008 1:02 am

http://livinghistory.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=14533

Dave B is also a good man to speak to here as he has just completed a couple of projects.


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gregory23b
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Postby gregory23b » Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:12 am

Talk to Mick Marshall as well, he of the Kynges Ordinance, recenty completed a lovely new gun.

You will find a fair few people here experienced in gun making/design.


Dave Key, who can be found in tis section, and I reckon will have scanned or will scan this bit, designed 'Thomas', our old gun.


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Fox
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Postby Fox » Fri Aug 29, 2008 10:35 am

I wouldn't enter this sort of project lightly. You'll be shocked how much work there is to it.

Dave B has just finished building a very simple cannon pictured here.
http://livinghistory.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=14522

It's taken quite a few years to bring to fruition.

First you'll need understand all the legal stuff regarding getting a cannon, but essentially it's easier if it's classed as a shotgun, which places some specific limitations on it's bore and length.

You'll also need to discuss the project with your local Fire Arms Officer. Different regions implement the rules in different ways and what he expects you to have in the way of storage may be very different to what those of us in other parts of the country have to do. All that will go much better if you can become very familiar with the rules and guidelines yourself.

Then you have to manifacture the cannon, for which there are number of subtleties to get right. Then of course it needs to be proofed and you'll need a tame firearms dealer to take it to a proof house.
You'll need to make tools for it and finally make a carriage for it (which is again more complex than you'd think).

You'll also need to learn about blackpowder and how to safely run a cannon; and then practice with it until it's all second nature.

If got the advice Dave and I got when he started the cannon project, including advice from Dave Key as mentioned above.

But there's a lot of detail to post aimlessly into a single thread, but I have it if you need it.

As a simple question, have you thought about getting a medieval hand gun of some sort as a starting point.
It'll get you familiar with using black powder, get you warmed up with firearms officer, applying for shotgun and explosives tickets and setting up some basic storage.
It'll even allow you decide whether you like it before you invest lots of time and effort on it. You might even build a different type of cannon once you get into the scene a bit more.

It's all very daunting, and it should be, but it's also great fun. I started by getting a medieval handgun for occasional use, and now I have a quite a collection of guns and firearms licence.

Can I ask which group you're with?



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Mick,M
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Postby Mick,M » Fri Aug 29, 2008 10:40 am

Thanks Gregory 23b,
But I can't take all the credit, it was team effort on the Part of the KO, information and expertise came for all members, friends and contacts.
The central repository for all this knowledge was kyngs, drop him a line on the site, he has loads of info,
and of course Dave he'll have loads of info,
hhmmm! must drop him a line



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Kynges
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Postby Kynges » Fri Aug 29, 2008 11:05 am

We love you too Phil and Jorge :D :D

Just a quick word about the legal side.

You do not need to be a RFD to build a gun, only if you want to SELL it.

The point when a cannon becomes a legal FA or SG is when its ability to fire a projectile has been made IE when the touch hole has been drilled. (Not to sure about cartidge based guns as I havent finished the Gatling Gun yet and a long discussion with my FALO has been undertaken Oppsss!) This also does NOT have to be done by a RFD but it helps if you have an understanding FALO.

You do NOT need to be a RFD to get a gun proofed.

You also do NOT need to get any gun proofed but if you are going to SELL it then it has to be. This is not to say that you should not get it proofed. I certainly would not entertain using a gun or being on the battlefield next to a gun that has not.

I should point out that the law is interpreted differently by each constabulary and therefore run the FAL in different ways. I am lucky here in Bristol as the FALO is brilliant and is always keen and enthusiatic about what we do. I spend a lot of time talking to him to make sure we get everything totally legal.

It doesnt hurt to talk to these guys. They would rather you do that then do something and have the wrath of HSE come down on you.



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John Waller
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Postby John Waller » Fri Aug 29, 2008 11:29 am

If you are going for a staved barrel, as you would seem to indicate, then you would probably be best to build it round an inner sleeve of seamless high presure tube. You will need to be able to machine and fit a suitable breech plug. Good luck with your project. Please do keep us posted on progress.


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Fox
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Postby Fox » Fri Aug 29, 2008 11:43 am

I was trying to keep things simple since it was such a long post... :roll:

Kynges wrote:You do NOT need to be a RFD to get a gun proofed.

Birmingham Proof House no longer take private proofings [we have been told], they only proof weapons from an RFD.
This may not be true everywhere, but it's certainly easier if you have an RFD who regularly has weapons proofed.

Kynges wrote:You also do NOT need to get any gun proofed...

But an unproofed gun may have interesting consiquences for your PLI and H&S. As Kynges says it may not be a legal requirement, but you should get it done.

Kynges wrote:You do not need to be a RFD to build a gun, only if you want to SELL it.

If I understand correctly, you do not need to be an RFD to build a shotgun, but you do to build a firearm. But you can go a good way through the build process before it becomes either. Nevertheless, it's a little fraut with technicalities. Dave B can give good advice on this having been involved in the manifacture of both a "shotgun" cannon and a firearm.



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Kynges
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Postby Kynges » Fri Aug 29, 2008 12:24 pm

Fox wrote:I was trying to keep things simple since it was such a long post... :roll:


I understand and I will be brief :D but its good to try to get these little points sorted as it stops someone doing something illegal or silly!

Fox wrote:Birmingham Proof House no longer take private proofings [we have been told], they only proof weapons from an RFD.


Then something went astray because in May I took Belle's barrel to BPH and was not asked if I was a RFD etc. I wonder if, as in the next point, it was because it was SG!

Fox wrote:If I understand correctly, you do not need to be an RFD to build a shotgun, but you do to build a firearm.


The law must have changed or not been has tight then as we built the breech loader which is Section 1 and again we were not asked for RFD docs etc. I have a meeting with our FALO next week and I will ask him to clarify for us :D



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Postby Fox » Fri Aug 29, 2008 2:09 pm

I can't see a specific prohibition in the Guidance Notes (which doesn't mean it isn't there...)

It may have to do with easily convertable imitation firearms, which may not be applicable if you do all the manifacturing yourself.

Anyway, strange_bike, you get that it isn't simple; so it's always worth having a chat with your firearms officer before you start actually making anything; regardless of the actualy law it's best if your both on the same page.... which is where I think we came in.



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Postby Fox » Fri Aug 29, 2008 2:16 pm

Kynges wrote:
Fox wrote:Birmingham Proof House no longer take private proofings [we have been told], they only proof weapons from an RFD.


Then something went astray because in May I took Belle's barrel to BPH and was not asked if I was a RFD etc. I wonder if, as in the next point, it was because it was SG!


I've checked. Apparently they will accept a weapon from anyone, but they much prefer it to be via an RFD.

It seems you shouldn't pay any attention to anything I say today.



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gregory23b
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Postby gregory23b » Fri Aug 29, 2008 2:27 pm

Yeah, sorry Mick, I didn't mean that you made it, mainly as a point of contact, you are talented, but blimey!

Kynges, as above.

As they say, black powder is thicker than sugar....;-)


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Postby Dave B » Fri Aug 29, 2008 2:58 pm

Kynges wrote:The law must have changed or not been has tight then as we built the breech loader which is Section 1 and again we were not asked for RFD docs etc. I have a meeting with our FALO next week and I will ask him to clarify for us :D


Yup. it's OK under the firearms act, but falls foul of the law about convertable replica firearms (in the Violent crime reduction bill) basicaly it says that if 'weapon' has the appearance of being a section 1 firearm, cannot fire, but could be converted to fire with the use of DIY tools then it is treated as a prhibited weapon. So the proof house would not be interested and the FO might not think about it, but if someone wanted to be a git then there is a minimum prison sentence associated.

I spoke to my firearms officer, then to the head of firearms for the county, who called the met and called me back, and then advised that an RFD should be involved.

The trick is to form a relationship with your RFD. I'd echo what Fox said, start with a handgun, one that classifies as a shotgun, and work from there. the other factor is that my handgun costs about 12 to 20pence a bang in powder and my little cannon costs £1.25 - £2.50


Oddly enough a few people have been asking about this and I promised to write a booklet on the safety and legality of firearms in earlier period reenactment. I will get round to it and when I do I plan to post it on here for these good chaps to tear apart until it's right.


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After the legal stuff

Postby Soggybiker » Fri Aug 29, 2008 8:42 pm

Once you have worked out the accronym's, tamed your firearms liason officer and persuaded the world and their dog you are a nice nutter, not the nasty kind you have to work out what you want to make.

If memory serves you can class a cannon as a shotgun if it is smoothbore, has a barrel length of 22"+ and a bore of less than 2". Please correct me if the law has changed or I am just talking out my a**e.
The advantage of this I a good reason is needed to refuse you a shotgun ticket, whereas it's getting tougher to get a firearms ticket. This rules out a breech loader.

As I believe Fox has said high pressure seamless tube is a good place to start for the barrel. with the breech plug I would suggest you get this (and the barrel) threaded and heat welded in place for extra security. As DaveB has stated elsewhere running the touch hole as close to the back of the breech as possible is sensible as this prevents powder deiseling
backwards and stressing the breech plug.

The really important bit after you have built a safe and authentic(ish) cannon are the crew.
Cannon are a group thang. you really need to trust the people you are working with, with your life. Melodramatic but true if it goes wrong it is life changing. Someone needs to be in charge, but everyone needs to be able shout 'STOP' if they feel it is necessary.

Best of luck with your endevours and if you are looking for a barrel to be made I can recommend Goyland forge in Holland however the cost may be a bit daunting.



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Postby Dave B » Fri Aug 29, 2008 10:41 pm

24 inches chap - touchhole to muzzle


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Postby Soggybiker » Sat Aug 30, 2008 12:24 am

See would have got you in trouble already.

BTW thanks for the advertising Phil i will buy you a beer if you get your *rse reaving again :D



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Phil the Grips
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Postby Phil the Grips » Sat Aug 30, 2008 8:59 am

Cheers- may yet get back to the tower this winter and claim it :)


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Postby Langley » Wed Sep 17, 2008 1:57 pm

Are all you cannon types aware of ORDCON? It is the Ordnance Conferance on the safe use of Black Powder. It is on November 1st at the Thames Valley police training HQ, Sulehamstead near Reading. It is well worth attending - have been going for some years now. You get to know a lot of ELOs. Programme for this year is as follows:
9:45 Registration
10:00 till 12:50 Morning Session
Major Ken Cross,Vice President IExpE
IExpE Supporting Explosives Practitioners
Emily Burns, English Heritage
The importance of Firearms and Explosives in
interpretation
Adrian Whiting
Firearms
1:00 pm Lunch
Please note the times are approximate and the order
of the speakers might change
1:45pm till 4:30pm Afternoon Session
Chris Chew of BERR
Exporting and OGELS
Don Mansfield
Firing Bombards for Filming
Malcolm Ingry President IExpE
Film Pyrotechnics

Contact is John Wilson. bstatpsla@yahoo.co.uk




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