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Old 2nd September 2018, 09:02 AM   #1
AHorsa
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Default Canon barrel

Dear All,

I got this small canon barrel recently.
The over all length is nearly 65cm. Diameter inside is c 3,3cm.

Any ideas of its age and use (ship canon maybe?)

Kind regards
Andi
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Old 2nd September 2018, 03:10 PM   #2
Pukka Bundook
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Good morning Andi,

I am No expert, but first thoughts say a swivel gun from a ship.
The condition says it was in salt water for a long time too.

Very interesting find!

Richard.
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Old 2nd September 2018, 05:39 PM   #3
M ELEY
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Richard nailed it completely. It is a swivel/rail gun.

It still has the remnants of the swivel bar near the cascobel. Hard to tell from the pics, but the trunnions appear to be slightly lower than the mid-way point of the barrel, another indication of a swivel to allow for angling down. My metrics are horrible, so I'm not sure what the length is in inches? If it is less than 15", it is probably just a signal gun, also mounted on the rail. With that bar, however, I think this one was a true "murderer" as they used to be called! Very cool find and a true piece of history! Do you know where it came from/was found?
Mark
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Old 2nd September 2018, 10:17 PM   #4
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Perfect. Thanks guys!

The length in inch is nearly 25". Do you have an idea on how to date it? I think 18th or 17th century. But that´s quite vague.
The owner got it from Antwerp many years ago, together with a large cannon. Sadly he stored it outdoor, sticked inside the barrel of the large one. This is why the back is "newly" rusted and crusted.
Due to this I think I need to preserve it somehow (if it was the original condition as the rest of the cannon I think there won´t be much need). What do you think about removing the loose rust with a steel brush and than conserve the condition with Owatrol Oil?

Best
Andreas
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Old 3rd September 2018, 05:59 PM   #5
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Hello,

Not expert in cannons but it seems to me a british design cannon, sec 18 or 19.

Regards,

BV
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Old 4th September 2018, 04:10 AM   #6
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BV is right that it could be as 'new' as early 19th century, possibly British. I would place it between mid-18th to first decade of 19th. As far as cleaning it, everyone has different opinions on that. Because this piece is already in a deep state of corrosion (stabilized), perhaps just oiling it? If you really want the brown rust gone, perhaps steel wool or fine grip sandpaper with oil. I would be afraid the wire brush might clean away the dark patina and leave a 'shiny area' unpleasing to the eye-

Here's a British swivel, circa War of 1812. Note the elevated block surrounding the firing hole, similar to yours...
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Old 5th September 2018, 01:31 PM   #7
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Thanks guys!
Here is another similar piece, which shows the same remains of the swivel bar as mine:
http://nautarch.tamu.edu/CRL/Report10/gun.html

Best regards
Andreas
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Old 6th September 2018, 02:12 AM   #8
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Perfect! As the article mentions, these could fire a small ball (Rev War pieces even a 2 pound ball!) and small clusters of shot (partridge shot). It was not unheard of to load with nails, bits of scrap and even broken glass if in a pinch!
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Old 6th September 2018, 01:32 PM   #9
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Perhaps to use a single ball but, with a bore of 33 m/m. Deducting the windage, would lodge an ammo with less that 30 m/m, resulting in a weight of, roughly speaking, less than 80 grams iron (or some 120 grams lead), as fit for short-range anti-personnel ordnance.
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Old 6th September 2018, 01:50 PM   #10
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Red face If i am correct ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pukka Bundook
...I am No expert, but first thoughts say a swivel gun from a ship.
The condition says it was in salt water for a long time too...

Perhaps the cause for such excavation, Richard, is more due to it not having being immediately treated after being rescued than the time it stood under water.
As i read, while bronze pieces can be brought in (relatively) less chaotic conditions to contact with open air, those in iron tend to quickly disintegrate if not sank in water tanks and submitted to treatments like electrolysis.
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Old 6th September 2018, 02:01 PM   #11
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Dear Fernando,

Yes indeed you may well be right on this.
We sometimes see exactly the same thing where swords are concerned.
Excavated in good condition, not cleaned, and go to pot very quickly!

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on after-find treatment!

Best wishes as always, :-)

Richard.
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Old 6th September 2018, 04:23 PM   #12
fernando
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As being discussed HERE, Richard .
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Old 17th November 2018, 12:25 PM   #13
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I meanwhile cleaned the cannon a little and built a stand.

Is there any possibility to find out about the fragmented mark on the upper site of the barrel? It seems that the english had some arrow as a mark but that doesn´t fit here...

Kind regards!
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Old 17th November 2018, 01:06 PM   #14
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Nice work; impecable stand .
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Old 17th November 2018, 05:43 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AHorsa
Is there any possibility to find out about the fragmented mark on the upper site of the barrel?

Kind regards!


Possibly a number 1 to designate a 1lb shot. Common on british made guns. See the recently sold 2lb gun marked with a 2 (incorrectly described as a 4 pounder).

-
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Old 17th November 2018, 08:15 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CSinTX
Possibly a number 1 to designate a 1lb shot. Common on british made guns. See the recently sold 2lb gun marked with a 2 (incorrectly described as a 4 pounder)...


I also doubt very much that it is a Carronade.


.

Last edited by fernando : 17th November 2018 at 08:47 PM.
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Old 19th November 2018, 06:47 AM   #17
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Thanks for the feedbacks!
The number of the weight myght be a possibility, but I doubt that it was an one from its shape...
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Old 23rd November 2018, 02:04 AM   #18
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As a point of clarification the difference between a swivel gun and a signal cannon is often just the mounting/fittings. Length can be from about 12in./30cm to 28in./71cm. for either. Though 15in./38cm. and under is more typical of swivel guns and over 20in./50.cm is more typical of signal cannons. Some barrels were basically universal between the two modes (though some were made for dedicated purpose as one or the other). The square cube law as is relates to mass and weight means that over 20in./50.cm becomes very difficult to operate as a swivel gun.

What's interesting here is that the length would suggest that it's more on the signal cannon side of things. However it has the remnants of a firing lanyard on the neck and knob. A very real possibility is that it was used as a swivel gun last. But because of the interchangeability of it all. It could have originally been a signal cannon that was repurposed for wartime.

The form is very indicative of an American or British make from around the turn of the 19th century. Given that it's clearly a shipwreck recovery and it's similarity to ship and dock guns of the time It's even very likely that a gun like this was involved in the war of 1812/Napoleonic wars.

I'd actually lean more towards American given that at the time the British were starting to use wood stocks on their swivel guns. Whereas the Americans for a large chunk of that time period had no more than 13 warships the British has over 6,000. America building more ships had to be done on the cheap and discretely as it was hard to secure funding and they didn't want to be seen as mobilizing. Rounding up all the dedicated signal cannons and converting them into swivel guns is exactly the kind of thing the poor American fleet would have had to do at the time.

Oh also you may want to double check the mounting job you did. The firing lanyard appears to be upside down. However if the bow of it is on the vent hole side it may just be that it got turned somehow. It could also be that it was mounted upside down for more control with the kick of the gun given it's length (again if the vent hole is on the same side).
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Old 23rd November 2018, 07:25 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helleri
As a point of clarification the difference between a swivel gun and a signal cannon is often just the mounting/fittings. Length can be from about 12in./30cm to 28in./71cm. for either. Though 15in./38cm. and under is more typical of swivel guns and over 20in./50.cm is more typical of signal cannons... The square cube law as is relates to mass and weight means that over 20in./50.cm becomes very difficult to operate as a swivel gun.
...

Sorry for my confusion Hellery but, your vision of typologies doesn't fit into what i humbly understand of these things, namely on what concerns swivel guns. Where would i place in it, for example, barrels of XV-XVI century Portuguese berços, with a length of 162 cms. (weighing 100 Kilos) or 118 cms. long Malasian lantakas ?
I take it for me that, as long as the trunnions are accurately positioned, which is to expect from the gun smithing specialists, "heavy" cannons swivel so easily that their weight doesn't count.
... Unless i am in a different frequency and didn't get your point, for which i would appologize .


.
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Old 7th December 2018, 04:06 PM   #20
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It's not the fact that it can still swivel if well balanced at virtually any size. It's that when you touch-off one that's too large, no bar is going to prevent that thing from kicking back on you and actually sending the round god knows where. Larger and longer barrels equate to either more charge capacity or more gas compression. There is no outguessing for this either. So it all comes as recoil. The bigger the gun, the more it takes to keep it under control while discharging. There's an upper limit on what a man can manage in this respect.
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Old 7th December 2018, 05:42 PM   #21
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Reasoning considered. Still, gas compression wasn't properly these things middle name ; and certainly all factors raised were pondered by then ... more or less an incidental victim.
Not to speak of the linstock and other devices that would enable the gunner to hold still the cannon and light the fuse at a safe distance .
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