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Thread: Large Cannonball (fused confirmation?)

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  1. #1

    Large Cannonball (fused confirmation?)

    Thoughts on this fused(?) cannonball for a friend. Big one at near 22 pounds, and as seen has a raised portion from casting and what he says is a 1/2 inch defined circle within, but hard to see in the pictures.
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    P.ALLEN, luke_00 and scruggs like this.

  2. #2
    Charter Member
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    With that protrusion shown in the next to last photo, I have my doubts about it being a cannonball. I would lean more towards a counter weight of some sort that had a hook or an eye coming out ot the area that the pen points to.
    trdking likes this.
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  3. #3
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    Looks like a gate weight that's had the lift eye broken off.
    trdking likes this.
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  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by creskol View Post
    With that protrusion shown in the next to last photo, I have my doubts about it being a cannonball. I would lean more towards a counter weight of some sort that had a hook or an eye coming out ot the area that the pen points to.

    Yeah it's nothing I've seen before.
    trdking likes this.

  5. #5
    Charter Member
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    I have seen some of these for sale recently, but have shied away from them. A protrusion like that would cause a cannon to explode.
    trdking likes this.

  6. #6
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    trdking likes this.
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  7. #7
    Educator

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    As Creskol and Smokeythecat indicated, the protrusion (or "swell") on the side of the ball prohibits it from being a cannonball, because the protrusion/swell would cause the ball to jam inside the cannonbarrel upon firing, causing the cannon itself the burst.

    The protrusion/swell also means it is not part of a Bar-Shot, or any other kind of artillery projectile.
    BuckleBoy likes this.
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  8. #8
    Charter Member

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    I'll play Devil's Advocate.........a smooth bore musket is basically a scaled down smooth bore cannon...........so if a musket / round ball with a mold sprue can be loaded and fired from a musket, why can't a cannon ball be fired If that protrusion (sprue) is facing up or down in the barrel? So I'll beat you guys to my tongue lashing and say yes I realize a musket ball is lead and a cannon ball is iron.......any other reason(s)?

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  9. #9
    us
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    And now a public service announcement: Keep your 'safe search' ON while searching "hanging ball weights". I'm out!
    “During the gold rush its a good time to be in the pick and shovel business.” Mark Twain

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tedyoh View Post
    I'll play Devil's Advocate.........a smooth bore musket is basically a scaled down smooth bore cannon...........so if a musket / round ball with a mold sprue can be loaded and fired from a musket, why can't a cannon ball be fired If that protrusion (sprue) is facing up or down in the barrel? So I'll beat you guys to my tongue lashing and say yes I realize a musket ball is lead and a cannon ball is iron.......any other reason(s)?

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    I'm going to leave the technical details of whether or not it can be fired to the experts, but it looks to me like the musket ball in your pic was dropped or discarded before the spru was cut off
    Icewing likes this.

  11. #11
    Educator

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    Tedyoh, you answered your Devil's Advocate question when you said "I realize a musket ball is lead and a cannon ball is iron." If a lead projection is a little too big, the soft lead gets smushed down in the gunbarrel's "windage" -- enough that it does not cause enough back-pressure to rupture the gunbarel. Iron won't smush down even slightly.

    In a .69-caliber musket, the windage (difference between the .64-inch projectile's diameter and the gunbarrel bore's .69-inch diameter) is .05-inch. That isn't much but it's enough to make the difference for the short casting-sprue projection, as seen in the photo you posted.

    Lead being soft enough to deform itself instead of rupturing the gunbarrel really is the answer. We know with certainty that breechloader bullets are larger in diameter than the gun's bore. For example, a Colt .36 Revolver's UNFIRED bullet is typically .380-inch in diameter. They routinely got fired with no damage to the gun.

    A bit more proof: Here's a scan showing three varieties of .58-caliber civil war bullets that got fired out of a breechloading .52-caliber Sharps Carbine. The result was that the .58 bullets got compressed into a "stretched" shape. (That's why some civil war bullet collectors gave these fired bullets the nickname "stretchies.") Note how much longer the .58 Williams Cleaner Type 3 bullet has become, in comparison to its normal length.
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  12. #12
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    Yeah, me never seeing a cannon being loaded, I wasn't sure it the ball just rolled down the barrel or if they used a patch like a muzzle loaded weapon....thinking if they loaded the pictured counter weight with the protrusion facing up or down, it wouldn't cause an overpressure situation when being fired....for the record I never thought the ball IP posted was a cannon ball, but did think it could be fired if the ball was placed in the cannon barrel "properly"

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    TheCannonballGuy and P.ALLEN like this.

  13. #13
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    Before the early-1800s, cannonballs were indeed "patched" with a fabric wrapping to fill in the greater Windage in cannons-&-projectiles of the Colonial Era. After the early-1800s, cannonballs were fitted with a wooden cup ("sabot") held in place by crossed tin straps. The purpose was an attempt to keep the ball's fuze facing away from the propellant powder charge. If the fuzeplug was exposed to firing blast, it could be driven into the shell by the firing blast, causing the shell to explode inside the cannon's barrel. But we know from Ordnance Department reports that the sabot wasn't always successful at its intended function. The ball tended to "roll" on its way out of the barrel, exposing the fuzeplug to firing-blast. The "rolling" problem is why cannonball fuzeplugs were carefully made to fit flush (or very nearly flush) with the ball's surface.

    And of course, the "rolling" problem is why the ball posted by Iron Patch definitely is not a cannonball.

    The photo below shows a civil war 12-pounder caliber roundshell, found underwater by a scuba-diver, with its original wooden cup sabot and crossed tin straps and collar which encircled the shell's fuzeplug. The waterlogged wood sabot shrank somewhat when it dried out after more than a century underwater.
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    Old Pueblo and Tedyoh like this.
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  14. #14
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    And now the age-old muzzleloading argument: do you load with the sprue up? Or with the sprue down? ;-)
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Icewing View Post
    And now a public service announcement: Keep your 'safe search' ON while searching "hanging ball weights". I'm out!
    I think Ill pass all together. Why Risk it?
    Icewing likes this.
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