48lb Cannonball!
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  1. #1

    Oct 2019
    11 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Question 48lb Cannonball!

    So I have this Cannonball in my possession. It’s 48.8 lbs and 8-10 inches in diameter. It has a hole on one side where somebody shoved a marble in it. Not sure if it has black powder in it or not. Anybody have any guesses at it’s worth or potential origins? I live in North Texas but it was not found in the ground by me so I’m not sure if it was used in battle here.

    I’m told there is a man on here who knows just about everything there is to know about Cannonballs. Hopefully he can give me his 2cents.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2

    Oct 2019
    11 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Someone at some point shoved a marble in the hole it had. Click image for larger version. 

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    A2coins likes this.

  3. #3
    May 2005
    Drake, Costa Rica
    2402 times
    thinking you will need to know the diameter
    A2coins likes this.

  4. #4
    Oct 2014
    5089 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    CBG to the rescue...........
    A2coins, Coreymainit and rook3434 like this.

  5. #5
    Charter Member

    Nov 2013
    XP Deus, F75Ltd., AT PRO, Garrett pointer
    78438 times
    Cache Hunting
    I'm sure Cannon Ball Guy can help. In any case it's a nice relic whether its CW or Spanish American war.
    A2coins and Coreymainit like this.
    When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

  6. #6
    Mar 2014
    New Glarus,WI
    903 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Hell of a heavy bowling ball!
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  7. #7
    Charter Member
    Jun 2011
    Southwest Georgia
    5370 times
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    I'm pretty sure that the marble can be chipped out of there. Very cool relic to have around.
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  8. #8
    Jan 2013
    mother load goldfields
    gold master V-sat
    229 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    might not be a cannon ball.

    it may be a ball from a berdan pan.


    I have seen a few with a hole drilled in them for a ring to remove them from the pan
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  9. #9

    Oct 2019
    11 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Yeah I am not going to try to chip that marble out because I am not sure if this thing is still live or not...Wouldn't want to cause a spark and be blown to bits...
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  10. #10

    Oct 2019
    11 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Quote Originally Posted by rook3434 View Post
    I'm sure Cannon Ball Guy can help. In any case it's a nice relic whether its CW or Spanish American war.
    Can he be tagged or something? been hoping to hear from him.
    A2coins likes this.

  11. #11

    Feb 2006
    Occupied CSA (Richmond VA)
    White's 6000, Nautilus DMC-1, Minelab
    9759 times
    Relic Hunting
    Hi Coreymainit. I see you are a new member, so first let me say, welcome to TreasureNet. I co-wrote a very detailed educational article on how to tell with certainty whether a ball is an artillery ball or a civilian-usage ball.
    As the article says, for certainty in identifying the ball, we cannonball collectors must weigh it very precisely (typical household bathroom scales aren't precise enough), and measure it's very-exact diameter, using either a caliper or a diameter-tape. Your approximately-48-pound ball is too big for most calipers, so you'll need to borrow or buy a diameter-tape (also called a "Pi tape").

    In artillery use, a ball MUST NOT fit either too loosely or too tightly into the cannon's bore (the tunnel in the barrel). So, generally, the ball was about .09 to .12-inch smaller than the cannon's bore. Due to the very-important need that the ball fit just right, the Ordnance Department created very-exact diameter and weight specification rules, which all cannonball manufacturers had to obey. An army or navy Ordnance Inspector carefully measured every cannonball, and any which failed the very-precise measuring test were rejected. The size-&-weight specifications, called the "Shot Tables," were published in the US Ordnance Manual of 1861. (The Confederates used he same specifications.) We cannonball-collectors use the Shot Tables very-precise weight and diameter-size charts to tell with certainty whether the ball is an artillery ball or not.


    As the Shot Tables charts at the link above show, there is only one actual cannonball which your 48.8-pound ball is even slightly close to matching up with.
    An 8-inch caliber hollow explosive cannonball was 7.88-inches in diameter and weighed 49.75 pounds. Your ball is .95-pound lighter than that. But because I've very-precisely weighed many-many "definite" cannonballs, I can testify that being about 2% lighter than the official Shot Tables weight-specification doesn't automatically exclude a ball from being a cannonball. That's because large cast-iron objects made before the 20th century often contained airbubbles which were accidentally trapped inside the molten metal during the casting process.

    So, the next step in identifying your ball is to do some super-precise measuring of its diameter. As mentioned above, the Shot Tables say an 8-inch caliber cannonball was 7.88-inches in diameter. If your ball measures between 7.85 and 7.88-inches (rusting could have removed a few hundredths-of-an-inch from its surface), it's a cannonball. Otherwise, it is not a cannonball.

    Because you said you aren't sure whether or not it has gunpowder in it... let me also mention, if it is an 8-inch caliber cannonball, its 48.8-pound weight strongly indicates it no longer contains its 2-pound gunpowder bursting-charge. You can use a hammer and screwdriver to bust the glass marble out of the hole.

    Speaking of the hole... I should mention that in your photos it looks like an unusually small hole to be a cannonball's fuze-hole. That brings up another possible ID for your ball. It might be a solid (not hollow) ball with a small hole for mounting it on a monument, or some other "Ornamental" purpose. The final chart on the Shot Tables webpage says a 49-pound SOLID iron ball is 7.145-inches in diameter. So if your ball turns out to measure approximately that size, it is a solid one, and would be an Ornamental Ironwork ball, not a cannonball.
    Last edited by TheCannonballGuy; Oct 11, 2019 at 10:44 PM. Reason: Typing-error correction.
    "Let The Christ be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out."

  12. #12

    Oct 2019
    11 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Wow such great info and feedback! Thank you! I’m new to all this!

    The weight was done on a medical grade scale which I spent a fortune on it so I think it’s fairly accurate. I will have to seek out a large caliper. I did measure the circumference with the type of tape measure a Tailor would use and it came out to 24.5 inches which it seems I’m able to convert to 7.79 inches diameter. I’ll seek to get a better way of measuring though.

    I would chip the marble out but I’m terrified I might create spark and accidently detonate the thing.

    It sounds like there is still a chance or maybe a Cannonball! If it were to be the one Cannonball option you stated it could be. What would something like this be worth? Just curious.

    Thank you again!! Going to read tor links now.
    A2coins likes this.

  13. #13
    May 2005
    Drake, Costa Rica
    2402 times
    TCG, super informative post
    a ?, were cast cannons bored after casting ?
    a link as to how ?

    edit: Cm, busting glass will not spark; soak it, fracture the marble, soak it some more, pulverize it
    Last edited by BillA; Oct 12, 2019 at 06:10 AM.
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  14. #14
    Charter Member

    Dec 2015
    Ann Arbor
    Equinox 800
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    Welcome to tnet Great info CBG you are an asset to tnet
    Still Available Approved TreasureNet Sticker $2.00 for 11" X 3" Bumper Sticker ::. I have 34 left PM me if you would like to buy any Tommy.................... Put it on my Trans Am FREE SHIPPING Street Racing My Trans Am W/Tnet Stick

  15. #15
    Charter Member

    Aug 2019
    Formerly Ohio, now south
    472 times
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    Quote Originally Posted by A2coins View Post
    Welcome to tnet Great info CBG you are an asset to tnet
    Yeah, he's good no doubt. However not perfect. He failed to take into account the weight of the marble in his calculations. I addition there may be other marbles inside or what else only god knows. I'm going to remain on the fence a bit more before I give my full endorsement.


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