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I have been a metals craftsman for 53 years. From fine jewelry to tunnel boring machines. Along the way enjoyed building a variety of scale historic cannon. Recently i have created a table top scale Puckle Gun. A repeating cannon invented by James Puckle in 1718. It is a functioning concept model with the idea of building a 40mm rifled version.

 

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Neat, the perfect desk ornament in the complaint department! 

Is a 40mm. cannon legal? It'd sure be fun to set up when the inconsiderate gentlemen are shooting exploding targets at midnight in the pit just up the hill from us. Might convince them to consider the neighbor's right to sleep? 

Frosty The Lucky.

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On 8/24/2020 at 3:49 PM, Frosty said:

Is a 40mm. cannon legal?

Hey Frosty!

yes the cannon would be legal, as it is based on unfixed ammo, and those types that used cartridge base ammo are legal here in Washington after a destructive device permit is gotten, plus a tax stamp from the ATF. Anyway i have started the process for the full scale version.

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The barrel is from a de-mil anti-aircraft gun. And the other parts are from heat treated 4140 alloy steel. I designed this to withstand smokeless powder pressures but will only run pyrodex powder, which is a low pressure propellant made to be used in blackpowder guns.

the receiver and chambers are machined from solid bar stock. I have made cannons using high pressure seamless tube before and have 20 years of regular shooting with them, but in this instance i prefer starting off with solid stock.

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Looks like fun. I'm not a big into it gun guy but recognize a few. The thing that concerned me most about the Puckle gun was all the open charged cylinders. How much grease did it take to keep the whole thing from cooking off?

I'd like to have a mountain howitzer myself. The rifled, breech loading, cartridge, mountain howitzer. I don't need a large howitzer, just something for the shooting range. 

I made a muzzle loader in jr. high for a joint history project, a friend made the carriage. The bore was 5/8" and fired marbles. My metal shop teacher okayed it provided the bore and touch hole didn't meet. Mark and I got our grades then took it to Dad's garage shop and drilled the bore 1/2" to just kiss the touch hole with the bore. I figured if the power touched off in the center back it'd be more effective. We were 15 so . . .

Anyway, we finished boring it, took it out and tamped a teaspoon of 3f black powder and wadding in it with a marble. We touched it with a really long stick and a few drops of lighter fluid. Fired the marble straight through the 4"x4", some whole 3' away and into a dirt bank. Recoil? Oh:oBABY! It blew Mark's beautiful carriage to splinters. The cannon stopped about 20' from the firing point. Should've seen what it'd fire a marble through with a duple load.

Cannons are fun.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Now would not be a time to share the story of the croquet ball and sewer pipe cannon from when i was ten. However, at almost 70 i still have all my fingers, most of my teeth and some of my hearing. Give me the wind, and a ship and something to sink it with...

 

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38 minutes ago, Apacheforge said:

Give me the wind, and a ship and something to sink it with...

Oh we would've had some good times growing up. Our parents would be very relieved we didn't. 

We were doing a drilling job in Prince William Sound and bunking at a fish hatchery. As things turned out we got to fly home for a 4 day 4th of July weekend. Before the float plain out arrived I spotted the welder, Matt, and some of the cannery workers priming an oxy acet cannon. They all hid behind the building and lit a string soaked in lighter fluid fuse. REALLY LOUD CRACK BOOM and a beer can flies maybe 150'. 

I headed right over, the guys I worked with rolled their eyes and reminded me the plane wasn't going to wait on me. No sweat I say, this won't take long.  The excited celebrants were getting ready to fire another frozen beer can and I watched appalled.  "Where's the wadding? Look at the windage around the can!" "HUH, what's windage, what's wadding?" . . . "Have any newspaper, I'll show you." I take a sheet of news paper fold it into a small square and try to force the beer can down the barrel. I ended up holding the barrel and pounding the can on the dock to drive it in. Once the paper sheared it slid in tightly. 

The cannery folk are yammering about the cannon exploding, "Don't worry it won't explode."  Matt says it won't hold enough oxy acet." . . . "Don't worry Matt it'll fire this can more than half way across the bay." I loaded it with oxy acet and standing behind the bollard it was backed against I lit it with an oily rag on a bent wire. 

Not as loud a crack as there wasn't a bunch of oxy acet blowing past the beer can but it still rattled windows, newspaper confetti showered down for 30'. The cannery workers came out of the building and were asking where the can hit. They thought I was joking when I said it hadn't yet. Then better than 1/4 mile out in the bay there's this really pretty splash. We fired it one more time before the float plane circled and I headed to help load my gear. 

A few days later we return and at dinner that evening I hear the tale of the annual 4th. of July visit by the Coast Guard Cutter Mustad. The little tradition was for the hatchery to fire a beer can salute and the Mustad to return one with their deck gun. This time the cannery crew spanged the beer can off the cutter's super structure. 

I don't know if they fired salutes again. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Always more fun when you can fire for effect!  There was the time we were asked to take out an old outhouse on the cannon range as they were going to swivel the range to a new direction...or that discarded toilet down in the river bottoms...(2" smooth bore falconette with single F black powder...)

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/31/2020 at 12:47 AM, Frosty said:

The rifled, breech loading, cartridge, mountain howitzer. I don't need a large howitzer, just something for the shooting range. 

A few friends of mine have purchased little Krupp 50mm pack howitzers that were found in a warehouse in Thailand. Cute and deadly from around 1900. At the time my friends bought them, those guns sold for $25,000. Now you can expect to pay $75,000. Heres a pic.

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Here is the receiver being set up for locating the trunnions. Counter bores were added and the trunnions had a stub turned at the base to fit the counter bore. I then Tig welded them in place with nice big and deep filets. I then bored and turned some solid 4130 bar into collars that will be coped for a nice fit and then welded in place.

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I've been turned down at several ranges just with my little 2" smoothbore...

A friend and I were going out to a farm to get a little shooting time in with my falconette and his littler cannon; as we were driving we decided we were a bit low on powder and stopped at a gunstore/range in a very ritzy area to see if they had any single F.  Talking to the counter guy we could hear someone shooting a large bore pistol in the range attached.  The counter guy said "They are really shooting a cannon in there!"  We said "No the cannons are in the back of the truck."  He laughed until we piled all the single F they had in the shop on the counter. 

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I trust you are making it with a square bore for shooting non christians! That is a mighty project, will be interested in the finished result.  I love the Krupp pack cannons. I have a 3rd scale 32lb naval gun that mounts in the bed of my old pickupP1000504.thumb.jpeg.edde178136311d715c8efdaf2ea9d541.jpeg

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Do you have wee, 2 foot high, gunners to serve the piece?  How large is the bore, what weight shot,  and range? It appears that you are using a linstock for ignition although a pistol flint lock might be about in scale for a 1/3 scale cannon lock.   I particularly like all the tackle to return the piece to battery.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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What I like is he appears to be firing it from the basement. Boy would solicitors get the message. . . Finally. 

I need more friends with cannons.

Frosty The Lucky.

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1 1/4 inch bore, 10z of Fg, ball just over 1/2 lb cast lead.  We have a terrace on the south side of the house with an embrasure for the gun, next to a flag pole.  That was a time shot hence the double image.  Weight of about 70 lbs, cast iron around a seamless steel bore with welded breech plug.  Cast in a local Perth boundary, a chap had a number of these made, my in-laws gave it to me as a 50th birthday present.

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When my father-in-law died, I inherited all his tools (he was an enthusiastic maintainer of his cars' mechanicals); I often think how much he'd love my using them for my various smithing machinery projects.

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Here is my 3 inch rifled howitzer on a pivot mount. I have a coastal battery of six artillery pieces that overlooks a tiny harbor here on Puget Sound. Too much fun. There is a gun range 50 miles from me, but there is a lot of public land between here and there, so i use public land.

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Do you have adjustable recoil pads/buffers on the carriage to prevent it from slamming into the rear of the mount?  Very cool toy.  Since it is rifled do you use shot that will take the rifling?  If so, how is the accuracy?

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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12 hours ago, George N. M. said:

Do you have adjustable recoil pads/buffers on the carriage to prevent it from slamming into the rear of the mount?  Very cool toy.  Since it is rifled do you use shot that will take the rifling?  If so, how is the accuracy?

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

The gun has been tested in a oak deck-carriage with a two pound powder charge and a ten pound steel projectile. Fired into a hill a thousand yards away. We located the impact hole but never recovered the projectile. Free recoil was about 15 feet. What i call Fun-loads involve a soup can filled with concrete with a wooden plug at the can’s opening. This is now the base of the projectile. At ignition the plug is forced deeper into the can, which expands the rim to engage the rifling. Uses about 5 oz. of powder. At 300 yard targets, its fairly accurate. And recoil is only 24 inches. On the pivot mount, the gun’s mass and the restraining tackle, along with the coil spring, handles the recoil easily. The barrel is a cut off section of a naval 3in.- 50 deck gun. The breech is a nickel steel alloy and they screwed together on a 4tpi whitworth thread. I built the barrel 25 years ago, but built the mount just nine months ago.

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