View Full Version : home made cannon

fistfull of hurt
August 15, 2010, 07:34 PM
im thinking of making and looking for some info such as charge size and wall thickness
i want to fire a 2 lb ball that is close 2 3/4" diam any help is greatly appreciated :D

August 15, 2010, 07:39 PM
What in the world for??? What would you shoot with it??

August 15, 2010, 07:39 PM
I'm sure if you succeed you'll make the front page of CNN, I'll be watching.

fistfull of hurt
August 15, 2010, 07:41 PM
i just think it would be fun to play with :D
i dont think i want to be on cnn :barf::barf:

August 15, 2010, 07:44 PM
where you live in wisc??? My mom lives in Gotham,,and works in Richland Center.

Dr. Strangelove
August 15, 2010, 07:51 PM
Check this link out, it may be informative, plus, it's a hilarious read...


This guy is even from Wisconsin, like yourself...

fistfull of hurt
August 15, 2010, 07:52 PM
i went to hs in mauston but i live in milwaukee

August 15, 2010, 10:37 PM
The standard is normally that the walls of the breech are equal to the diameter of the bore. A one inch bore cannon will be three inches wide at the breech.
Your cannon will weigh a lot. It would be 8.5 inches across the breech.
A good book on the subject is The Complete Cannoneer by Matt Switlik.
See a very complete reference section at http://www.go2gbo.com/forums/index.php/topic,41634.0.html

Charges - 2oz. of Fg or 3oz. of Cannon grade Goex BP per inch of bore.(from the American Artillery Association)


August 16, 2010, 12:58 AM
I personally cant wait to see the AOW charges this guy will rack up. Let us know if the ATF actually roll up in black tahoes:rolleyes:

August 16, 2010, 02:26 AM
I personally cant wait to see the AOW charges this guy will rack up. Let us know if the ATF actually roll up in black tahoes

Not really a problem. The cannon in question is essentially a muzzleloader. It uses - or will use - a substantial amount of BP to propel the ball; it's ignited by a fuze. Aside from size, though, it's not terribly different than any other BP gun.
You can buy ready made cannons of this size if you have the cash; they ain't cheap.

Bill DeShivs
August 16, 2010, 03:17 AM
Perfectly legal. I have several.

August 16, 2010, 06:10 AM
Bill, Have you ever seen people shooting anvils?:eek: It's the coolest thing, to watch an anvil fly 300 ft. into the air!!;)

August 16, 2010, 07:06 AM
I used to work with a guy that made a morter from 2 inch schedule 80 seamless steel pipe. He had alot of fun shooting projectiles he made out of 1 1/2" (possibly 1 1/4") pipe with blackpowder.

He said they went a long way and he got to where he was hitting his targets pretty accurately.

When it blew up it took off his left leg below the knee.

I think having one would be pretty cool, but I'd want to put alot of research into it before building one.

August 16, 2010, 08:39 AM
There are several websites by and for cannon fanciers. Check them out.
Look for the book Round Shot and Rammers by Harold Robbins, the cannon 'bible'.
Buy the catalog from South Bend Ordnance, loaded with good info.
Be advised, most modern made (old style) cannons have the bores sleeved with high quality steel for safety.

August 16, 2010, 01:42 PM
Call John Taylor at Taylor Machine. He has made several cannons and still has both his legs.

August 16, 2010, 01:55 PM
Yes Scorch, but did he use internet instructions for making them?

August 16, 2010, 02:05 PM
You know how to tell a good cannon-maker from a bad one????:confused: You start by counting fingers and toes and legs of course!!!:rolleyes:

August 16, 2010, 02:50 PM
I made a civil-war era mortar (about 3" dia x 5" long, 1/2" bore) in metal shop in Jr. High. Cast the aluminum,, turned it, etc. The shop teacher stood over my shoulder as I drilled the bore *half* way in, with dire predictions of it blowing up if I was to ever, EVER bore it all the way out. About fifteen minutes after getting home I had the thing functioning, and fired it about fifteen minutes after that in my driveway. Man, I gotta dig through some boxes of stuff and find that thing....

fistfull of hurt
August 16, 2010, 05:22 PM
thanks to all for your help ill try to keep the other 9 fingers i have :rolleyes:

August 16, 2010, 07:35 PM
This ought to keep those meddling kids off of your lawn, eh?

August 18, 2010, 03:02 PM
The cannon would be fun, but as darkgael mentioned, heavy..... probably hundreds of pounds.

Mortars are fun, too. You get a lot of the "big bore" thrill, but the weight is more manageable.

When I win the lotto, I want to get a 3/4 scale version of the 12-pounder mortar, machined from stainless steel. I'm thinking it would have a 3-1/2 inch bore, and the total weight would be under 100 pounds.

August 18, 2010, 03:11 PM
The cannon would be fun, but as darkgael mentioned, heavy..... probably hundreds of pounds.
That's what gun carriages are for . . . I've never seen a shoulder-fired 3 pounder.

August 18, 2010, 04:03 PM
Yeah, I'm just thinking that something you can haul out to the boonies in the trunk of your car and shoot every week, might be more fun than a monster which requires a special trailer and a crew of men.

Guess it depends on the individual. I've got a 400-pound cannon, and a 25-pound mortar. Guess which one I've had the most fun with?

Magnum Wheel Man
August 18, 2010, 04:23 PM
I had been thinking about this a year or two ago... think I had a thead on it...

... still would like to do it, only made with modern materials but formed to look old... maybe a schedule 80 bore, then wrap composite around the bore... fiberglass or carbon fiber etc.

... in essence, making something stronger than the original bronze battle cannons, but shaped the same, & weighing much less ( though the weight would likely be good, when it came to actually shooting it...

I had envisioned having one on each side of our 1/4 mile long driveway, but at like $7,500.00 each for boughten ones, I opted not...

BTW... they do a really nice flame show at night, when packed with steel wool ;)


BTW #2... my old thread here, with a few links & pics...


August 18, 2010, 04:38 PM
That's a great photo!

Makes me think of the time back in the 70's when I started a grass fire with my big gun...... didn't seem like much fun at that time, but now I have to chuckle about it :)

October 8, 2010, 12:15 AM
New to the forum and so while I'm waiting for replies to my first post I came across this thread. Was in a gun shop yesterday and the owner had 2 working scale model cannons that had only a 1" bore with 18" spoke wheels and it was very very heavy, but cool! Anyway, point being that I've been building 50 caliber, civil war type, breach loading, cannons out of water pipe and scraps the past couple of weeks and that's enough fun for me and the grandkids. We use 1.5 grain firecrackers and that will shoot a 1" wooden "shell" about 30 yards. We've got 6 working models so far and counting. Fun fun!
BTW, any ideas on making a scale exploding "shell"? Which is why I was in the gun shop in the first place.

October 8, 2010, 07:16 AM
There is lots of info out there, they have their own forums. I am putting together a bowling ball mortar but I am leaning towards pneumatic instead of powder. With powder you only get 4 shots per pound but it’s easier to build. With pneumatic I can shoot all I want for the cost of gas for my air compressor, can use the rig as a sawdust cannon and a bead seater too.

For a bowling ball most people use a high pressure Oxygen or various inert gas tanks. The tank you are looking for is (approximately) 9.28” in diameter with a circumference of 29 3/16” , .350” wall thickness and a bowling ball slides in will a little room to spare.


October 8, 2010, 10:37 AM
Pipe or old oxy tanks ect will work.

Or you can put some real effort into it so your cannon so it doesn't look like a crude and childish farmers contraption.


October 8, 2010, 11:42 AM
I personally cant wait to see the AOW charges this guy will rack up.

Better not tell all the civil war reenactors.

Muzzle loading cannons and mortars are not 'weapons.'

October 8, 2010, 12:46 PM
Mine are primarily "rainy day cannons" as you can fire them in your living room and even hit pictures of the inlaws. Most times the "wad" stays in the barrel so there is no cleanup. 50 caliber Whitewood doweling is the projectile of choice . . . results may vary.


October 11, 2010, 05:06 PM
Or you can put some real effort into it so your cannon so it doesn't look like a crude and childish farmers contraption.


Don't bash on farmers.

from your link...

then a tool and die assembly for punching holes in cattle watering electrical plates.

buckstix.com has a real good one.

October 13, 2010, 05:51 PM
A number of years ago I was in the NSSA while living in Virginia. During the "Nationals" Winchester, Virginia there would be cannon competitions in two catagories. One was smooth boore and the other rifled cannon. They would shoot some plaster paris can projectile in the rifled cannons and quite frankly I don't what in the smooth bore. I tell you what those suckers were accurate hitting flower pots, bull eye targets at over 100 yards +.


Here's a link that i found:

October 13, 2010, 07:22 PM
I talked to some Civil War reenactors one day at my old job
I forget what size cannon they had but it was on a goose neck trailer. (it was very big)
They told me that one time they loaded it with a 25ft piece of 3/8 logging chain and fired it parallel with the ground.
Cleared out a lot of brush before it finally embeded itself in a oak tree.

They called it The Weedeater From Hell

They said they never did get the chain out of the tree.:)

October 17, 2010, 01:08 AM
Cannons are great fun. The internet is full of information on barrels, carriages, loads, etc. Use common sense and you'll be fine.

October 17, 2010, 11:10 AM
Been thinking about one for years, will likely start out with a store-bought .50 cal that will mostly hang out on the coffee table (no inlaw pics for targets!) and will someday maybe move up to 1". I doubt I'll be able to feed anything bigger but every time I see video of the bronze mortars I want one of those, too.