Page 1 of 1

Who Made The Best Cannons, & Cannon Plans

Posted: Sun Oct 04, 2015 9:04 pm
by Flapapancakes
Hello everyone!




I am brand new to this forum. Though I am not British by origin(sorry Limeys, my ancestors were your rivals across the Channel! Vive le Frogs!), I have a great respect for the history of the region. It was one of the very first places I learned about, historically speaking. The English Civil War is a very interesting one, and I was always astounded how such a small nation could overcome so many larger foes. Now that my introduction's done, to the meat:



-I am building a black powder cannon. My first question is; who made the best cannons during the black powder era? I should clarify that "best" means "safest"; least likely to explode in my face. I will in fact be using live rounds and full powder loads, so safety is a serious concern. What country was known as having the most reliable cannon?



-Expanding off that idea, does anyone have cannon plans that include measurements? A google search revealed a rather depressing result of a whopping.....5 plans. I should note here that I am not flush with cash, and thus I would really truly love to avoid paying someone money for a historical document(which should be freely available anyway; History is not for profit). I am interested in full-scale cannons, but I'd prefer the lighter, Galloper or 6lb'er versions. Much though I'd love to have a full size American 30lb Parrot Rifle, I simply don't have the manpower to move that much steel from my home to the range. I DO have plenty of room and time to care for such a piece, but I'd honestly feel bad letting it just sit in the living room forever.





Any help is appreciated. All my efforts so far have been met with rather rude people, offering plans, at a cost. I don't believe anyone should pay for historical documents, regardless of their information. History is inherently free, and it bothers me to see 99% of cannon design kept under wraps by individuals, like it's a business secret.





Anyways, that's my project. I promise I'll post video and picture of the finished product if you guys help me out!



Warm Regards,
Tom

Re: Who Made The Best Cannons, & Cannon Plans

Posted: Mon Oct 05, 2015 9:43 am
by acecat999
Dont make an authentic barrel using original plans then.

Re: Who Made The Best Cannons, & Cannon Plans

Posted: Tue Oct 06, 2015 3:17 am
by Flapapancakes
acecat999 wrote:Dont make an authentic barrel using original plans then.




You've been extraordinarily helpful, thank you. Do you have modern plans, or did you just the feel the need to speak?

Re: Who Made The Best Cannons, & Cannon Plans

Posted: Tue Oct 06, 2015 10:55 am
by acecat999
I have SEVERAL modern reproductions ... some home built.

none had "plans" as such...

Id suggest joining a group whereever you live who have cannon and talking over the local legal issues plus how they made theirs.

you dont seem to be from the UK.

Re: Who Made The Best Cannons, & Cannon Plans

Posted: Tue Oct 06, 2015 6:44 pm
by Graham Cooley
As soon as you drill the touch hole you create something that can be fired and as such it becomes a firearm. Depending upon the size it will either be under a shotgun licence or a firearm licence. In both cases if you drill the touch hole without the supervision of a registered firearms dealer you are breaking the law.

Once created the canon needs to be proofed and this can only be done at one of the proof houses. I have been to the one in Birmingham and they were helpful about the safety of the gun I was concerned about. Hence if they are not happy about the safety of the gun you will not get it proofed and will not be legally allowed to fire it.

So first identify what period of weapon you want. The black powder era covers a considerable period of time.
Second decide what sort of size you are looking at and then identify what licence you will require.
Talk to your local police. If they will not let you have a licence then you can't keep a gun.
Do you have any experience with Canon? If not join a group and get to try other peoples guns. The Sealed Knot for example have members who are interested in artillery. Join a gun crew for a battle and you will find lots of people who have lots of knowledge.

Ask around. I recently was asked about a canon barrel which was found in a garage. (Someone who used to do reenactment who had passed away.) It turned out that the touch hole has not been drilled and therefore it is currently not a firearm. However, if the touch hole is ever drilled then it is potentially very usable. A few hundred pounds and there is a barrel ready for a gunsmith and licensed dealer to turn into a licensed firearm. All you have to do is build the carriage and organise your licence and a firearms dealer to drill the touch hole and check the barrel.

Hope this helps.

Graham

Re: Who Made The Best Cannons, & Cannon Plans

Posted: Tue Oct 06, 2015 7:16 pm
by acecat999
Graham

hes in america.
the laws different there

andy

Re: Who Made The Best Cannons, & Cannon Plans

Posted: Tue Oct 06, 2015 10:49 pm
by Flapapancakes
In reverse order:

ACE:

-Yep, I am American. Black powder cannons are perfectly legal here.


Graham:

-The touchhole will be drilled here in the US. The barrel itself will be made in China as a non-firing replica.

-I'm not very picky on what type of cannon; ideally, I would love a Napoleon 6lb'er, but no one seems to have actual plans to making that one.

-Yes, 2 years as a Civil War re-enactor in the cannon batteries. I know how to safely transport, fire, load, and clean a cannon. I had a small golf ball cannon for a few years, but now I have the space for a full-size model, though I would like a smaller cannon, like a 3lb'er or 6lb'er.


Ace:

-I am a part of the Northwest Civil War Association. They do not have any plans available. Do you have any plans that you used in making yours? Even hand sketches are better than going to my machinist with nothing.

Re: Who Made The Best Cannons, & Cannon Plans

Posted: Wed Oct 07, 2015 7:46 am
by Medicus Matt
Flapapancakes wrote:
You've been extraordinarily helpful, thank you. Do you have modern plans, or did you just the feel the need to speak?


<Like>

Re: Who Made The Best Cannons, & Cannon Plans

Posted: Wed Oct 07, 2015 11:41 am
by acecat999
Nope.
Found a picture on interwebby.
just got a hydraulic tube. Did some jiggery pokery at one end to block it off. You already know how to do that?
then hid the hydraulic tubeness by welding a load of rings on it. Then drilled a hole. And did the legal UK stuff.

it still works 15 years later.


im coming over as sarcastic simply because Im inclined to believe you are overthinking this. (And im naturally sarcastic but most people get used to that)

Trust me... decent wheels in a suitable size to match your barrel are harder to come by than making the barrel.

Re: Who Made The Best Cannons, & Cannon Plans

Posted: Wed Oct 07, 2015 12:02 pm
by Merlon.
One could also be pedantic and say their is no such thing as a 6 pounder "Napoleon"
There is:-
Model 1841 6-Pounder.
Model 1857 12-pounder, known as a "Napoleon"

Putting the phrase "six pound model 1841 cannon drawing" in Google brings up a wide range of drawings on the Model 1841.

One of the more obvious ones is http://clarksvillefoundry.com/foundry-makes-replica-cannon-just-for-fun/

Re: Who Made The Best Cannons, & Cannon Plans

Posted: Wed Oct 07, 2015 7:41 pm
by Mark Griffin
2nd what was said above about the wheels, that's the tricky bit. Does Williamsburg still have a working wheelwright?

Surely its simply a case of going to an original cannon or even a good repro and doing some measuring up? Shame your National Army Museum didn't come to anything or I'd suggest there. As 18th/19th cent European cannons were used in America they cant be that scarce?

Over here we have several artillery museums and of course the records of the board of ordnance pattern room records.

Scaling up from model makers drawings is a route I'd explore too.

Re: Who Made The Best Cannons, & Cannon Plans

Posted: Thu Oct 08, 2015 12:40 am
by de Coverley
Be absolutely certain that you can (physically) and may (legally) keep your weapon suitably secure. If it's really heavy you'll need a crane to put it in a gun cabinet.

Re: Who Made The Best Cannons, & Cannon Plans

Posted: Thu Oct 08, 2015 8:23 am
by Mark Griffin
But he's in the US, so a cabinet may not be needed. Its down to his state laws and local law enforcement so some states you'll need pretty stringent stuff and others chained to a wall will be fine. Of course in the UK a cabinet isn't always needed either, its down to what your local police fo says.

Re: Who Made The Best Cannons, & Cannon Plans

Posted: Thu Oct 08, 2015 9:21 am
by acecat999
At least im factually correct and sarcastic.
And read the OPs post.


as for size. .. make it to fit in your vehicle.
its a b**ger when your barrels too long to fit in the car.

Re: Who Made The Best Cannons, & Cannon Plans

Posted: Thu Oct 08, 2015 9:30 am
by Mark Griffin
gonna need a bigger vehicle.....

Re: Who Made The Best Cannons, & Cannon Plans

Posted: Thu Oct 08, 2015 9:32 am
by Mark Griffin
As for who made the safest, I'm not aware of any data from the main manufacturing countries that has been brought together to show that. There must be failure rate info for each country somewhere but I'd have thought by the 19th cent it was pretty minimal and any issues found out during proofing.

Re: Who Made The Best Cannons, & Cannon Plans

Posted: Fri Oct 09, 2015 7:01 pm
by guthrie
The trick will be ensuring good casting/ use of correct well made tubing when it is made in China a long way away.

Re: Who Made The Best Cannons, & Cannon Plans

Posted: Mon Oct 12, 2015 8:47 pm
by de Coverley
Firstly China would NOT be a place I'd buy a barrel from, Chinese alloy car wheels have a poor reputation for casting quality with inclusions and voids sometimes found on x-ray, second you will have to guess what alloy they used could be tough or brittle.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYWDuXadosA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=px9XAV3CNJ0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_5rISGFYjo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAomnhzif7w

Re: Who Made The Best Cannons, & Cannon Plans

Posted: Mon Oct 12, 2015 10:12 pm
by Mark Griffin
Again, that's what proofing is for.....

Re: Who Made The Best Cannons, & Cannon Plans

Posted: Tue Oct 13, 2015 7:20 am
by acecat999
Id never skip costs on your barrel....

you are unlikely to be the one maimed when it explodes
therefore have a manufacturer within the same legislative zone

Re: Who Made The Best Cannons, & Cannon Plans

Posted: Wed Oct 14, 2015 12:11 am
by de Coverley
Unless you find someone with specific experience with making gun barrels then it's likely that some competent workers will refuse the job for the ongoing product liability issues.

Re: Who Made The Best Cannons, & Cannon Plans

Posted: Thu Oct 22, 2015 11:46 pm
by Tomsk
I have friends who made a full size 6 pounder Amercian civil war cannon,they have used it for both ACW and Napoleonic war shows and took it to the big Waterloo battle last year.They crafted the whole thing..carriage/ironwork etc (Except the barrel,they made the wax mold (and insert pipe with trunnions etc) ,but got it cast by a professional).All the building was done via a book they found with all the original spec drawings/measurements.
Are you looking for someone to make the whole gun/just the barrel/give you the details to make your own gun?

Tomsk

Re: Who Made The Best Cannons, & Cannon Plans

Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2016 10:52 pm
by madjon
Barrel casting to a 19th century pattern, who made the safest barrels, well that depends on size and period if you are looking for barrels cast around a cooled tube, then that tech is no longer available, also do not repeat do not trust Chinese cast or forged iron if you are not 199 percent in the foundry at the time, there are several methods where they can be cast with welded plugs in hydraulic tubing with iron cast around them, but that is for reenactment and the tube is rarely ever exactly centred for range firing.

For the cost, buy an original barrel, you don't need a parrots, there are several suppliers with reasonable prices, to name a few there is brooks for smaller barrels, cannon superstore,etc if you are looking for what is labelled as an 1841 6 pounder by cannon barrel USA that is a downsized naval gun, anyways google, the cost of buying a quality fully proofed barrel both for safety and for accuracy is something worth considering, original barrels are available, from about 2k so aren't too bad,

Buy original, cheaper easier and when you are finished easier to resell it.

Re: Who Made The Best Cannons, & Cannon Plans

Posted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 6:40 am
by Maga22
I know that the English cannon design was a contributing factor to the defeat of the Spanish Armada. They were designed to allow for quicker reloading in the naval environment unlike the Spanish cannons that were essentially the same as the field cannons used by their army.