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Thread: Bar Shot or Dumbbell?

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  1. #16
    Educator

    Feb 2006
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    Maryland Dan wrote:
    > Just so I know, this wouldn't be an artillery shot for the weight, bar shape, size, connection to the ball, or all three?

    Among the reasons you listed above, the most important one is that your find is a one-piece solid cast object. Every artillery bar-shot was made by attaching two balls or half-balls onto the bar.

    If your find was an "assembled" object, then we'd consider the other factors, such as the shape of the bar... and the PRECISELY-MEASURED size of the balls (or, half-balls). The very-precise size (diameter) of the bore in Colonial Era (and US civil war) cannons is well-documented in historical artillery data records. For example, a "3-Pounder caliber" cannon's bore was precisely 2.90-inches in diameter, and the cannonballs it used were therefore very precisely manufactured to be 2.84-inches in diameter. After manufacture, every cannonball's exact diameter was precisely measured by an Artillery Ordnance Inspector to make sure the ball would fit correctly (not too big, not too small) into the intended cannon's bore. For us relic-diggers and collectors, that means, if a ball's (or bar-shot's) diameter does not precisely match up with one of the historical sizes, it's not an artillery ball. (For example, a 2.7-inch diameter ball fails the cannonball-diameter test... so it absolutely cannot be a cannonball.)

    Examine the historical artillery ball size-&-weight data, here:
    http://www.civilwarartillery.com/shottables.htm

    > Also, did anyone ever make their own artillery shots or did they all follow the same structure when made?

    Generally, nobody "made their own" cannonballs nor bar-shots, etc. Cannonballs and cannons tended to be made at major ironcasting Foundries, under government purchase-contract, with strict size-specifications. (It's not so easy to cast a perfectly-round iron ball as you might think it'd be.) If you wanted to start your own Militia artillery unit, you'd order the cannons and ammo from an Iron-Foundry which was capable of such exacting work. I say "exacting" because when you're making something that uses a large gunpowder charge, it damwell BETTER be very skillfully made. (For example, at the start of the civil war there were less than 10 iron-foundries in the entire South that manufactured cannons.) But if you did try to cast your own ammo, you'd have to carefully make sure the ball's size matched up properly with the cannon's bore-size... which was "standardized" by the major European (and later, American) national Army/Navy Artillery Ordnance Department. For example, the Shot Tables charts at the link I posted above tell the British, French, US, and Confederate cannon bore and ball sizes.

    > Were they only shot from ship to ship or did people ever use on land to protect from an incoming ship?

    Cannonballs, Bar-Shot, and Grapeshot were used on land against ships, at harbor and river defense fortifications... not just used in ship-against-ship fights.

    > Sorry for the questions, sadly, I don't know which sites to trust for the info.

    Sadly, that IS a big problem with info on the internet. I recommend the civilwarartillery.com website, because I've found only a few errors among the massive amount of information there.

    > If you have any suggestions where I can look into the Captain who owned the land for that period in time, let me know as well.

    You said, "The land patents were issued to someone referred to as a 'Capt.' who passed prior to 1790s." Apparently, the records you found don't say whether the landowner was an army (or local Militia) Captain or a navy-ship Captain or a civilian-ship captain. That complicates your search. Sorry, I've never tried to research a 1700s person. So for that time-period, I can only suggest the obvious routes, such as Googling, or Ancestry.com's records.

    > Thank you for your time and knowledge again.

    You're welcome. Providing reliable historical-info answers to my fellow relic-diggers (or collectors) is why I post in the What-Is-It forum. For my credentials about the info being reliable, check my T-Net Profile.
    Last edited by TheCannonballGuy; Aug 30, 2019 at 05:53 PM. Reason: Added more info, mostly on cannon-&-ammo manufacturing.
    Maryland Dan likes this.
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  2. #17
    um
    Nemo me impune lacesset

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    Not to pick a fight with anyone or ruff feathers, but bar shot is not all like the image posted. Some of them have two round balls connected by a bar. Here is one example:


    I have a half of one that is Dutch manufacture (1600s) and it is a round ball not a half round ball.

    The item in question looks rather like a bullet starter to me, at least it is the correct size for a bullet starter.


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  3. #18
    Educator

    Feb 2006
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    Oroblanco wrote:
    > Not to pick a fight with anyone or ruff feathers, but bar shot is not all like the image posted. Some of them have two round balls connected by a bar.

    (Sigh.) My first post in this thread said bar-shot was a "bar made of wrought-iron with a solid cast-iron ball (or half-ball) attached onto each end of the bar." (That's in Post #3 in this thread.)

    Not to pick a fight with anyone or ruffle feathers... but I've got a worthwhile question.
    What is the historical provenance of the maybe-barshots ion the photo you posted? I say maybe because in the photo the balls at each end appear to be not the same diameter, and also appear to be out-of-round. Plus, the length of the bar between the balls appears to be much shorter than is typically seen on actual barshot. (Note the comparative length of the bar in the photo I posted.)
    Last edited by TheCannonballGuy; Aug 31, 2019 at 11:24 AM. Reason: Added the second paragraph.
    "Let The Christ be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out."

  4. #19
    us
    Aug 2019
    Maryland
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oroblanco View Post
    N
    The item in question looks rather like a bullet starter to me, at least it is the correct size for a bullet starter.


    That does look after a google to be around the same size. I don't see a hole in it but I will look into that one.

 

 
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