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Thread: 12 ga cannon blanks

  1. #36
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    Default Re: 12 ga cannon blanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian McColgin View Post

    Better sound:
    That looks a lot like the 10 gauge Winchester cannon our yacht club used when I was a kid. In this litigious day I can't imagine a knowledgeable adult having anything whatsoever to do with it. It was always an attraction to us 10 and 11 year olds, became less so when we aged a bit and it dangerously became just another fixture in the summer evening races.

    We all knew the cone of destruction from its bore, the scorched and flattened dandelions and grass perfectly delineated it. It was mounted on a piece of plywood. You had to place your foot on the plywood then pull the cable - put your foot in the wrong place and the thing could pivot around and the cone of destruction wound up in an unintended direction. Then there were the 10 gauge blanks rolling around in the storage box. I don't think anyone ever counted them. They were an attraction too. Only one young kid that I knew actually stole a couple. He couldn't hide the deed because of the burns on his face. He sat on the curb, emptied the powder from the blanks in the gutter in front of him and lit it.

  2. #37
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    Default Re: 12 ga cannon blanks

    Exactly the signal cannon. Childhood memories of sloppy storage and unsafe handling practices are valid, as are the many contemporary examples of firearms in the hands of children. It is incumbent on anyone who owns any firearm to take full responsibility.

  3. #38
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    Default Re: 12 ga cannon blanks

    ^ +1

    The cannon is neither safe nor unsafe. The people using it can be either.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  4. #39
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    Default Re: 12 ga cannon blanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Wright View Post
    That looks a lot like the 10 gauge Winchester cannon our yacht club used when I was a kid. In this litigious day I can't imagine a knowledgeable adult having anything whatsoever to do with it. It was always an attraction to us 10 and 11 year olds, became less so when we aged a bit and it dangerously became just another fixture in the summer evening races.

    We all knew the cone of destruction from its bore, the scorched and flattened dandelions and grass perfectly delineated it. It was mounted on a piece of plywood. You had to place your foot on the plywood then pull the cable - put your foot in the wrong place and the thing could pivot around and the cone of destruction wound up in an unintended direction. Then there were the 10 gauge blanks rolling around in the storage box. I don't think anyone ever counted them. They were an attraction too. Only one young kid that I knew actually stole a couple. He couldn't hide the deed because of the burns on his face. He sat on the curb, emptied the powder from the blanks in the gutter in front of him and lit it.
    Sounds like he learned something. And remembered it!

    I knew a not so different young kid that stole those until he had collected enough powder to fill an metal airtight container. Then fitted a fuse from an M80, a book of matches and a lit cigarette. He got away with it!
    But there was quite an investigation, the military was involved...

  5. #40
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    Default Re: 12 ga cannon blanks

    Just another warning not to use plundered shotshells as blanks.
    Smokeless powder needs pressure to get proper burn rate which means that the wad might not even clear the barrel if fired without shot.
    This happend to my uncle, he made a dozen "blanks" for new years eve by emptying out the shot.
    On the sixth shot his barrel blew up. There were already two plastic wads stuck in there.

    He got to keep the fingers on his left hand but the scarring is impressive.

    This will probably not be a problem in a short barreled ignal cannon, but if someone has a backup shotgun they must be sure whats going into the barrels.
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  6. #41
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    Default Re: 12 ga cannon blanks

    As usual, I have received all the information I was after and so, so much more. As it turns out, in CT I cannot buy ammo (yes, blanks are ammo) without a firearms license, and I have no desire to get one. I will just have to appoint an acting cannoneer.

    Many thanks to all for their opinions.

  7. #42
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    Default Re: 12 ga cannon blanks

    Quote Originally Posted by phiil View Post
    As usual, I have received all the information I was after and so, so much more. As it turns out, in CT I cannot buy ammo (yes, blanks are ammo) without a firearms license, and I have no desire to get one. I will just have to appoint an acting cannoneer.

    Many thanks to all for their opinions.

    Air horns work nicely and racers always keep their eyes on the flags.

  8. #43
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    Now, there's a long story...
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    Default Re: 12 ga cannon blanks

    Quote Originally Posted by phiil View Post
    As usual, I have received all the information I was after and so, so much more. As it turns out, in CT I cannot buy ammo (yes, blanks are ammo) without a firearms license, and I have no desire to get one. I will just have to appoint an acting cannoneer.

    Many thanks to all for their opinions.
    Have any friends in Vermont?
    Heute ist so ein schöne Tag...

  9. #44
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    Default Re: 12 ga cannon blanks

    We still use two Winchester 10 gauge cannons at our yacht club for starting races, the most common cartridge we get here is the old 2 7/8" case, this is filled with 8 drams of fg blackpowder & a thin card wad with roll turnover. Eight drams is a lot of powder & makes for a proper bang. Once one was being used on the club balcony to start a race, the "gunner" pulled the lanyard upwards without his foot on the back of the carriage, the gun tipped up & as its muzzle touched the deck it fired blowing a hole through the 1" pine board. It was just as well nobody was standing underneath at that point as they would have been peppered by wood splinters.

  10. #45
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    Default Re: 12 ga cannon blanks

    Black powder is a little different. I used to play with gun powder as a kid and tried all sorts of interesting "experiments" Fortunately it was smokeless powder which for a child is predictable. You can light a trail of powder like a fuse leading to a little pile of and it will burn and flare up nicely. Do the same thing with black powder and it will burn along to the little pile and then explode!

  11. #46
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    Default Re: 12 ga cannon blanks

    Quote Originally Posted by phiil View Post
    As usual, I have received all the information I was after and so, so much more. As it turns out, in CT I cannot buy ammo (yes, blanks are ammo) without a firearms license, and I have no desire to get one. I will just have to appoint an acting cannoneer.

    Many thanks to all for their opinions.
    Might be an exception for yacht racing starts. MA has similar laws and I believe there is an exception for sailboat racers. Can understand if you don't want the bother even if covered by an exception.

  12. #47
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    Default Re: 12 ga cannon blanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    Black powder is a little different. I used to play with gun powder as a kid and tried all sorts of interesting "experiments" Fortunately it was smokeless powder which for a child is predictable. You can light a trail of powder like a fuse leading to a little pile of and it will burn and flare up nicely. Do the same thing with black powder and it will burn along to the little pile and then explode!
    That is very true, I know this because i once set of a pound of the stuff in my old workshop with the jet of sparks from a 9" angle grinder. I was standing about 5ft away & it was an interesting experience. Very hot & very loud!

  13. #48
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    Default Re: 12 ga cannon blanks

    Update:
    It was the mail order guys who insisted on a permit, even for blanks. Found a local gun shop who declared that blanks are not actually ammo, and was happy to sell me a box. (At $45 for a box of 24!!!)

    The race went well, the cannon never misfired. Next year I will build a swivel base for it, a we scared the beJusus out of the rail candy whose skipper put them 20' from the gun at the start. The barrel was angled up sufficiently so there was no danger, but I'd rather not do so again.

  14. #49
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    Default Re: 12 ga cannon blanks

    (At $45 for a box of 24!!!)
    I pay $30 for a box of 10 duck loads.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  15. #50
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    Default Re: 12 ga cannon blanks

    At one stage a marathon canoe race here was started with a cannon much bigger than that, rather like this carronade,


    One day it blew back through the touch hole and up the side of the face of the careless gunner.
    It was interesting explaining at the hospital how he managed to get powder burns from an 18th century ships cannon.

    Next race they used a shotgun.

  16. #51
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    Default Re: 12 ga cannon blanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    What do the wildfowlers think about opening up a cartridge and replacing the shot with flour?
    My dad had a small brass muzzle loader and he used clothes dryer lint for wadding. Unlimited supply..... The thing made a helluva report and the bore was only about 1/2 inch. One couldn't get casual about it however, one time to put the fear of god in us kids, he blew a hole through a piece of 1/2" marine plywood at close range with lint as the projectile.
    Ken

  17. #52
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    Default Re: 12 ga cannon blanks

    As above, buy the shells if loading is too much hassle or makes you uncomfortable. As for Pyrodex for non-shot / theatrical loads, I don't know anyone who uses it. It needs the higher compression produced by shot and heavy wadding, whereas regular black powder works fine with thin paper wadding, real florist's foam wads, or no wadding at all (the latter mostly for muskets).

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