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  1. #1
    Epic Contributor Soundguy's Avatar
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    Default anyone built a signal cannon or other legal muzzle loader/black powder style?

    or mortar.. etc?

    if so.. post pics/ descriptions..

  2. #2
    Veteran Member Depmandog's Avatar
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    Default

    Late 70's I was 17 and ran a fireworks stand on the Missouri / Iowa border. We set up shop at a small town grocery store. The store owners had a son who was in his mid twenties, big ole boy - drove a new trans-am. I pictured him as the town bully.

    He was always in our stand, taking single firework items and setting them off out in the gravel parking lot - after store hours (after his folks closed the store). Now I didn't own the fireworks, we worked on a percentage of the gross amount sold. I didn't like his pilfering, but he was "sort of" our "landlord", and the total dollar value of pilfered items was minor - so we lived with it. Besides, we often demonstrated what the fireworks did, to boost sales. So in this way we convinced ourselves we could justify his pilfering as "business development" and be fairly certain that no broken bones would happen

    One evening he pulls up with a contraption that he fabricated. It was a 4" schedule 40 pipe, about 5" in length. To the bottom he had welded 1/4" plate that was about 8" square. Through the side of the pipe, maybe a 1/2" from the bottom, he drilled an 1/8" fuse hole.

    He had this big grin as he poured in about 2" of black powder, wadded up and packed in a 1" thick newspaper wadding, then filled the rest of the pipe with gravel from the parking lot. He then came into the stand, wandered around until him found a suitable fuse, stole the fuse and then went to the parking lot and prepared to set it off.

    After screaming and yelling at him to move it to the far side of the parking, he lit it and ran like heck. Oh my oh my. Biggest boom I had ever heard. What seemed like at least one minute, gravel started to rain from the sky, and kept coming for a good thirty seconds. Sounded like a hail storm just starting.

    Afterwards, he recovered his mortar, and the 1/4" plate had some serious deformity. He later replaced the 1/4" with 1/2". He shot it off a few more times till the local police seemed to always be in the area when he was around. Hey, I had rat on him. I didn't want to die

    As near as I can remember, the 1/2" plate held pretty well. Although I would probably use schedule 80 and even thicker plate.
    Dean


  3. #3
    Elite Member
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    Default Re: anyone built a signal cannon or other legal muzzle loader/black powder style?

    When I worked for the Electric Utility we had problems with birds in the downtown Nashville substation. We placed a propane cannon inside the fence. These are commercially sold to scare off birds. It has a timer and it would give the cannon a shot of propane gas and then ignite it. Needless to say the police station at street level right next to the station wasn't too amused not knowing. I happen to be inside the building inside the substation at the time. Officers park near the station when they have to appear in court and was really funny seeing those guys duck and cover almost evertime it went off the first week it was there.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: anyone built a signal cannon or other legal muzzle loader/black powder style?

    "legal" Sort of needs to be sorted out. Not sure what kind of regulations are in place for home made black powder guns.

    Pictured are 2 little guys that I made several years ago.

    The smaller one on the dark base (Walnut) is about 1/4" bore and total length of the cannon is 4.5".
    A cigarette filter is a perfect fit in the bore. 1 Small scoop of "4FG" black power and its a little louder than a 38 Special hand gun.
    It was used several times on 4th of July & New Years. Then retired and put on a nice looking base.

    Larger cannon has a 3/8" bore and is 5" long. What worked out best for a load was 2 of the small scoops. A plastic packing worm was used to pack the powder. It was louder than a 12 gauge shot gun. Had a pretty good kick when hand held.

    I think to be completely legal the bore would have to be partly blocked. Enough to prevent a projectile loaded. Personally I would never load any type of projectile in either one of them.

    Sorry about the fuzzy picture.

    -cannon-002-jpg-cannons-jpg
    ::"I STARTED out with nothing....I still have most of it."

    New Holland TC45 1,300+ hours - FEL - back hoe - post hole digger - Hydraulic Gannon - cement mixer - pressure washer - 1975 Dodge 500 flat bed - 1974 chevy C65 6 yard dump truck.
    All home made by me. loading forks - 2 drags - roller - Sheep's Foot - Pusher (to unload flat bed truck.) - pickle fork digger - Log splitter -

  5. #5
    Super Star Member k0ua's Avatar
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    Default Re: anyone built a signal cannon or other legal muzzle loader/black powder style?

    Quote Originally Posted by Depmandog View Post
    Late 70's I was 17 and ran a fireworks stand on the Missouri / Iowa border. We set up shop at a small town grocery store. The store owners had a son who was in his mid twenties, big ole boy - drove a new trans-am. I pictured him as the town bully.

    He was always in our stand, taking single firework items and setting them off out in the gravel parking lot - after store hours (after his folks closed the store). Now I didn't own the fireworks, we worked on a percentage of the gross amount sold. I didn't like his pilfering, but he was "sort of" our "landlord", and the total dollar value of pilfered items was minor - so we lived with it. Besides, we often demonstrated what the fireworks did, to boost sales. So in this way we convinced ourselves we could justify his pilfering as "business development" and be fairly certain that no broken bones would happen

    One evening he pulls up with a contraption that he fabricated. It was a 4" schedule 40 pipe, about 5" in length. To the bottom he had welded 1/4" plate that was about 8" square. Through the side of the pipe, maybe a 1/2" from the bottom, he drilled an 1/8" fuse hole.

    He had this big grin as he poured in about 2" of black powder, wadded up and packed in a 1" thick newspaper wadding, then filled the rest of the pipe with gravel from the parking lot. He then came into the stand, wandered around until him found a suitable fuse, stole the fuse and then went to the parking lot and prepared to set it off.

    After screaming and yelling at him to move it to the far side of the parking, he lit it and ran like heck. Oh my oh my. Biggest boom I had ever heard. What seemed like at least one minute, gravel started to rain from the sky, and kept coming for a good thirty seconds. Sounded like a hail storm just starting.

    Afterwards, he recovered his mortar, and the 1/4" plate had some serious deformity. He later replaced the 1/4" with 1/2". He shot it off a few more times till the local police seemed to always be in the area when he was around. Hey, I had rat on him. I didn't want to die

    As near as I can remember, the 1/2" plate held pretty well. Although I would probably use schedule 80 and even thicker plate.
    Hey Dean, that thing sounds like the makings for a good pipe bomb!.. It is a wonder there wasn't steel shrapnel flying around.
    James KUA

    Kioti DK35se hydrostat with 2 QA buckets, 48 inch. King Kutter Rotary Cutter. 750 lbs ballast box. Loaded tires, Construction Attachments SSQA Lightweight Pallet forks. EA 50 inch single lid "wicked" Grapple. Satisfied Everlast PA160 welder owner How to add a link to a post . Best way to search TBN


  6. #6
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    Default Re: anyone built a signal cannon or other legal muzzle loader/black powder style?

    I am fortunate to not have access to many things available today when I was younger. There are alot of things that would have gone bad most likely. It is scary when you consider all the information available at our finger tips these days!
    LS I3040H w/ loader
    JD 1050 w/ loader and backhoe
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  7. #7
    Veteran Member vtsnowedin's Avatar
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    Default Re: anyone built a signal cannon or other legal muzzle loader/black powder style?

    I tend to shy away from such projects. A local guy here had one blow up on him and a piece of shrapnel struck and killed one of the neighbors sons. The cannon builder committed suicide within a year.

  8. #8
    Super Star Member LD1's Avatar
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    Default Re: anyone built a signal cannon or other legal muzzle loader/black powder style?

    I dont have any pics but I built a golf ball cannon. You can find similar ones everywhere on the web for $200-$300.

    Since no pics, I'll give a short description...

    Started with a 3" diameter by 12" long chunk of solid steel.

    Drilled with a 1-1/4" (biggest I had) drill bit down 8" deep (deepest it would go.)

    Then bored it out to 1.693-1.695" give or take. Golf balls seem to measure between 1.685-1.688" So basically, there is " of solid mass at the breech, and a little over 5/8" wall thickness.

    About 1/8" away from the base of the bore, I drilled a 1/8" fuse hole. I use actual fuse. 29 second per foot burn time. So a 3" fuse is a good 8 seconds to get back. And this fuse is dirt cheap. Under $40 for 500'

    The trunnions are 1-1/4" x 2" long pins contoured and welded to the barrel. I didnt do anything fancy with the base. No wheels or anything. Just 3 peices of 5" channel iron welded together with the trunnion mounts being split-lock collars. That way, I can aim, tighten down, and fire.

    No onto the fun....I use 450gr of black powder substitute (pyrodex). How far it shoots the golfball....who knows Cant see it. But I have well over a mile where I shoot, and I dont shoot at too steep of an angle so I know it isnt leaving the "safe" zone.

    But just for signaling or making a big boom, I up the load to 600gr, and just use a couple peices of bread wadded into a doughball. Makes a good boom. And once the birds finally come back around They enjoy the bread.
    ".........there is only one way to find out."
    "Ok, hold my beer and watch this.........."


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  9. #9
    Super Star Member k0ua's Avatar
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    Default Re: anyone built a signal cannon or other legal muzzle loader/black powder style?

    Quote Originally Posted by LD1 View Post
    I dont have any pics but I built a golf ball cannon. You can find similar ones everywhere on the web for $200-$300.

    Since no pics, I'll give a short description...

    Started with a 3" diameter by 12" long chunk of solid steel.

    Drilled with a 1-1/4" (biggest I had) drill bit down 8" deep (deepest it would go.)

    Then bored it out to 1.693-1.695" give or take. Golf balls seem to measure between 1.685-1.688" So basically, there is " of solid mass at the breech, and a little over 5/8" wall thickness.

    About 1/8" away from the base of the bore, I drilled a 1/8" fuse hole. I use actual fuse. 29 second per foot burn time. So a 3" fuse is a good 8 seconds to get back. And this fuse is dirt cheap. Under $40 for 500'

    The trunnions are 1-1/4" x 2" long pins contoured and welded to the barrel. I didnt do anything fancy with the base. No wheels or anything. Just 3 peices of 5" channel iron welded together with the trunnion mounts being split-lock collars. That way, I can aim, tighten down, and fire.

    No onto the fun....I use 450gr of black powder substitute (pyrodex). How far it shoots the golfball....who knows Cant see it. But I have well over a mile where I shoot, and I dont shoot at too steep of an angle so I know it isnt leaving the "safe" zone.

    But just for signaling or making a big boom, I up the load to 600gr, and just use a couple peices of bread wadded into a doughball. Makes a good boom. And once the birds finally come back around They enjoy the bread.
    That one sounds a heck of a lot safer than the "pipebomb"
    James KUA

    Kioti DK35se hydrostat with 2 QA buckets, 48 inch. King Kutter Rotary Cutter. 750 lbs ballast box. Loaded tires, Construction Attachments SSQA Lightweight Pallet forks. EA 50 inch single lid "wicked" Grapple. Satisfied Everlast PA160 welder owner How to add a link to a post . Best way to search TBN


  10. #10
    Super Star Member k0ua's Avatar
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    Default Re: anyone built a signal cannon or other legal muzzle loader/black powder style?

    Quote Originally Posted by LD1 View Post
    I dont have any pics but I built a golf ball cannon. You can find similar ones everywhere on the web for $200-$300.

    Since no pics, I'll give a short description...

    Started with a 3" diameter by 12" long chunk of solid steel.

    Drilled with a 1-1/4" (biggest I had) drill bit down 8" deep (deepest it would go.)

    Then bored it out to 1.693-1.695" give or take. Golf balls seem to measure between 1.685-1.688" So basically, there is " of solid mass at the breech, and a little over 5/8" wall thickness.

    About 1/8" away from the base of the bore, I drilled a 1/8" fuse hole. I use actual fuse. 29 second per foot burn time. So a 3" fuse is a good 8 seconds to get back. And this fuse is dirt cheap. Under $40 for 500'

    The trunnions are 1-1/4" x 2" long pins contoured and welded to the barrel. I didnt do anything fancy with the base. No wheels or anything. Just 3 peices of 5" channel iron welded together with the trunnion mounts being split-lock collars. That way, I can aim, tighten down, and fire.

    No onto the fun....I use 450gr of black powder substitute (pyrodex). How far it shoots the golfball....who knows Cant see it. But I have well over a mile where I shoot, and I dont shoot at too steep of an angle so I know it isnt leaving the "safe" zone.

    But just for signaling or making a big boom, I up the load to 600gr, and just use a couple peices of bread wadded into a doughball. Makes a good boom. And once the birds finally come back around They enjoy the bread.
    That one sounds a heck of a lot safer than the "pipebomb"
    James KUA

    Kioti DK35se hydrostat with 2 QA buckets, 48 inch. King Kutter Rotary Cutter. 750 lbs ballast box. Loaded tires, Construction Attachments SSQA Lightweight Pallet forks. EA 50 inch single lid "wicked" Grapple. Satisfied Everlast PA160 welder owner How to add a link to a post . Best way to search TBN


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