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Thread: Parrott Artillery Shell?

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  1. #1
    Mar 2016
    West Virginia
    Minelab Equinox 800, Garrett AT Max, Garrett AT Pro, Garrett Ace 400, Garrett Pro Pointer AT
    1229 times
    Metal Detecting

    Parrott Artillery Shell?

    About a week ago I found this artillery shell. I know it is a parrott shell but im unsure if it is a 2.9 inch or 3 inch, looking at my measurements i would assume it to be a 3 inch. But from what I've researched there is some confusion on shell size and bore diameters, early war was 2.9 then went to 3 inch. Also the shell contained 23-25 lead shot about .58 cal in size, and a white/green in color resin that smelt of burnt tar when heated. The fuse was mostly gone but some zink was present. So can someone tell me what size shell I have, type, and what gun it would have been fired from. The more info the better. Thanks.
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  2. #2

    Feb 2015
    Greenville, South Carolina
    319 times
    Metal Detecting
    Get a thin small tape measure, wrap it around the shell to get the circum. Divide by 3.14, this should give you a more true dia. Measure 3 or 4 places on the shell, 2.9/3.0 dia. Is almost 1/8" difference. I hope the rust
    Isn't to bad. Thanks for posting,nice pc.
    ANTIQUARIAN likes this.

  3. #3

    Feb 2006
    Occupied CSA (Richmond VA)
    White's 6000, Nautilus DMC-1, Minelab
    8302 times
    Relic Hunting
    The Model-1863 US 3.0"-caliber Parrott rifled cannon did not get into service until Spring 1864. No need to measure your shell's diameter... I can tell from your photos (and the one with a ruler) that it is definitely the 2.9"-caliber version, and (since you asked), it was fired from a Model-1860 US 2.9" Parrott Rifle. Forgive me for saying, I literally "wrote the book" on this subject.

    Your shell has been named differently in books from different times. During the civil war, Mr. Robert P. Parrott himself said it is a Read projectile, because the type of sabot on it was patented by Dr. John B. Read of Tuscaloosa Alabama. Thus, books written at that time called it s US-made Read projectile. In the 1960s, the authors (Sydney C. Kerksis & Thomas S. Dickey) of the first modern-era "comprehensive" book on civil war artillery projectiles wanted to give Mr. Parrot at least partial credit for this shell's form, because its Read-designed sabot had Mr. Parrott's "pre-engraved" rifling. So, their book called it a US Read-Parrott shell. But as I indicated above, that ID did not exist when your shell was made, and its ID as a US-made Read was recorded in civil war era books on artillery projectiles.

    So, it's up to you to decide whether you want to call your find a US-made Read shell (as Mr. Parrott himself called it), or a Read-Parrott shell. Either way, it is definitely NOT a "Parrott shell." Actual Parrott shells have the entirely different type of sabot designed (and patented) by Mr. Parrott... a brass ring sabot which encircles the projectile's perfectly-flat iron base.
    Last edited by TheCannonballGuy; Apr 01, 2019 at 04:38 AM. Reason: Clarification.
    "Let The Christ be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out."

  4. #4
    Mar 2016
    West Virginia
    Minelab Equinox 800, Garrett AT Max, Garrett AT Pro, Garrett Ace 400, Garrett Pro Pointer AT
    1229 times
    Metal Detecting
    CannonBallGuy, you killed it, when I wrote this I was hoping you were still lurking out there�� Thanks, and as always I'm very appreciative.
    TheCannonballGuy likes this.

  5. #5
    Dec 2007
    Chattanooga, TN
    Tosoro Bandido
    883 times
    Metal Detecting
    CannonballGuy what kind of fuse adapter did that shell use? I ask because I have one that measures the same and has the same sabot as that one. But mine has a wood fuse adapter. It was one of the shells fired at Kennesaw Mountain. I had always called it a ten pound Parrott.



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