Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Small cannon balls

  1. #1
    dennyntx is offline
    Team:
    Visitor (non-N-SSA Member)
    Member
    NA
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Posts
    28
    Region:
    Visitor

    Small cannon balls

    I had a guy give me 3 small somewhat round looks like steel balls he said he dug them up in Bentonville Arkansas I don't know if it is like grape shot are what they are
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Huntsville
    Posts
    2,214
    Region:
    Deep South - Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi and Texas
    If they are actually steel, a magnet will stick to them.

    Kids used to use steel ball bearings as sling shot ammo.

    Grape shot would be lead, I think.

    Steve

  3. #3
    Jim Brady Knap's Battery is offline
    Team:
    Knap's Battery, Pennsylvania Artillery
    Member
    2249v
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Gettysburg, Pa.
    Posts
    555
    Region:
    Allegheny - Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia
    Grape shot was not used much in field artillery. For field arty canister balls were usually iron while case shot contents were usually lead balls or even rifled musket bullets. I believe there are a very few exceptions but I'm too much into sitting with my cup of coffee to go dig out one of the books right now.
    Jim Brady
    2249V
    Knap's Battery


    CUM CATAPULTAE PROSCRIBEANTUR TUM SOLI PROSCRIPTI CATAPULTAS HABEANT

  4. #4
    dennyntx is offline
    Team:
    Visitor (non-N-SSA Member)
    Member
    NA
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Posts
    28
    Region:
    Visitor

    Small cannon balls???

    I checked and a magnet does stick to these they are not perfectly round almost looks like they were poured

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Raleigh NC
    Posts
    1,068
    Region:
    Tidewater - Virginia and North Carolina
    Looks like what was used in mortar balls and also shot inside 12 lb smoothbore CSA round.
    I have several also in my collection.
    MR. GADGET
    NRA LIFE BENEFACTOR MEMBER
    Rowan Artillery


    Just remember!
    When a pot needs stirring, someone needs to do it...

  6. #6
    Chris Sweeney is offline
    Team:
    44th NY Volunteer Infantry
    Member
    11847
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    358
    Region:
    Northeast- New York
    According to one wiki on CW artillery, case used in a 12-pounder Napoleon contained 78 balls, while canister had 27 and a 12 pounder grapeshot load was usually 9 balls
    Chris Sweeney
    Commander, 44th NYVI

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Sherman's Kitchen, GA
    Posts
    949
    Region:
    Deep South - Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi and Texas
    1861 Ordnance Manual gives gauge sizes of iron canister-shot for the 6-pdr gun as 1.14 and 1.17-inch diameter for the large and small gauge shot, and 1.05 and 1.08-inches for the large and small gauge diameters used with the 12-pdr field howitzer. These are the smallest listed. It also notes that grape and canister shot should be smooth and polished by rolling in a barrel for that purpose, but the manual lists no grape shot smaller than 3.54-inch in diameter. Of course, this assumes that the ordnance is American and not French or Spanish considering these were found in the old Missouri Territory.
    First Cousin (7 times removed) to Brigadier General Stand Watie (1806-1871), CSA
    1st Cherokee Mounted Rifles | Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation 1862-66

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    1,309
    Region:
    Deep South - Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi and Texas
    I used to collect this stuff (still have the stuff at another house). Those things in the picture look like canister rounds. I have several badly deteriorated, look like they're badly rusted; but Steve says they're not iron (they're not lead Big Steve -- too light). I have a Bormann fused 12 lb. Napoleon round cut in half. The case shot are obviously lead (got that nice white oxidation). I miked them out years ago and as I recall they were standard .69 cal round balls. The business charge (black powder explosive) is amazingly small - just a narrow cavity thru the middle maybe an inch in diameter. The object was to get the round to burst in flight scattering the lead balls in the air; the forward velocity of the round would then provide the lethalness (this is a real word - Webster lies). The balls are packed in some yellow crap --- maybe sulfur.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Sherman's Kitchen, GA
    Posts
    949
    Region:
    Deep South - Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi and Texas
    Such items would not have been made of steel if they were made before 1866 because steel was so expensive to make, so if they are not made of iron, how do you propose they acquired all the rust? It might be worth having one ball assayed to determine their metallurgical composition but they are quite likely of an inferior grade of iron having been processed with the least effort to make the material as cheap as possible. I seem to recall that the Germans in WW2 even compressed the iron filing scraps off the floor to make bullets. Perhaps the composition of these balls may be similar. The Ordnance Manual noted that the iron was sand cast rather than made with iron molds hence the slight variation in diameters and why they were sieved.

    In fact, if when the metal is assayed for its chemical composition, that information can be used to determine the origin of the iron ore (where it was mined), and that may assist in determining whether it was Union or Confederate? We did a similar assay of Roman iron recovered from archaeological sites in Britain to determine whether the iron ore had been imported or mined locally, and found in most cases, the Romans were mining the iron ore in Britain because it had the same types of impurities.
    Last edited by R. McAuley 3014V; 4 Weeks Ago at 10:40 AM.
    First Cousin (7 times removed) to Brigadier General Stand Watie (1806-1871), CSA
    1st Cherokee Mounted Rifles | Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation 1862-66

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Sherman's Kitchen, GA
    Posts
    949
    Region:
    Deep South - Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi and Texas
    Quote Originally Posted by Eggman View Post
    I used to collect this stuff (still have the stuff at another house). Those things in the picture look like canister rounds. I have several badly deteriorated, look like they're badly rusted; but Steve says they're not iron (they're not lead Big Steve -- too light). I have a Bormann fused 12 lb. Napoleon round cut in half. The case shot are obviously lead (got that nice white oxidation). I miked them out years ago and as I recall they were standard .69 cal round balls. The business charge (black powder explosive) is amazingly small - just a narrow cavity thru the middle maybe an inch in diameter. The object was to get the round to burst in flight scattering the lead balls in the air; the forward velocity of the round would then provide the lethalness (this is a real word - Webster lies). The balls are packed in some yellow crap --- maybe sulfur.
    Yes, the musket balls are packed in a sulfur resin which was to hold them in place while the cylindrical forming tube for the powder charge could be cast, and latterly filled with powder for the fuze train. In the table for canister-shot, the Ordnance manual stipulates that the 12 pdr mountain howitzer, used .69 caliber musket balls. But also specifies that grape and canister shot should be made of soft, gray iron. Gray cast iron is a low carbon iron between white malleable iron and ductile iron, and tends to have a higher silicon content, hence the lighter weight. Whether this adds to the legality of the ordnance, it would certainly move much faster than one with a higher carbon-lower silicon content iron shot.
    First Cousin (7 times removed) to Brigadier General Stand Watie (1806-1871), CSA
    1st Cherokee Mounted Rifles | Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation 1862-66

Similar Threads

  1. 685 balls
    By jonk in forum Wanted/For Sale Items
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 04-30-2015, 04:24 PM
  2. Guns and Cannon Balls For Sale
    By lenzer in forum Wanted/For Sale Items
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 06-17-2014, 03:48 PM
  3. FS- Small swivel gun / cannon, steel lined, 1.5" bore,
    By jd65 in forum Wanted/For Sale Items
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 01-08-2010, 10:19 AM
  4. What is the purpose of this small cannon?
    By cannonmn in forum Civil War Artillery
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 08-09-2008, 01:03 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •