Introduction: Mountain Howitzer Golf Ball Cannon

About: its amusing that our universe somewhat resembles a single cell in our vast brain. F.A.A. Airframe & Powerplant rating. Grew up on the A-Team and MacGuiver.

In the words of one of my Favorite American Inventors....

"One of my primary objectives is to form the tools so the tools themselves shall fashion the work and give to every part, its just proportion." - E. Whitney

Task: To create an Instructables project that is waterproof, fireproof, freeze-proof, crushproof, crash-proof, drop-proof, shock-proof, radiation-proof, slash-proof, stab-proof, bullet-proof, shark-proof, tiger-proof, toddler-proof,

and can withstand most other acts of GOD ......... Im not messing with God but I dare a tiger to try and out run this thunder stick


(1) card board box

(1) piece of ply wood 48x80

(1) all thread rod

(1) oxygen tank

(1) ball hitch matching oxygen tanks thread

(1) smooth bore thick steel tube

(1) bag of quickrete

(1) set of bike pegs

(2) wheel chair wheels

(2) 6" x 8' boards

(2) 2" x 4' boards

(2) couplers matching wheel chair bolts

(8) nuts matching all thread rod

(2) heavy duty wood bolts


sawzall with both metal and wood blades

table saw


hole cutting bits

bench drill

2 wrenches

long bits matching all thread O.D.

"L" beam as long as the oxygen tank

6" # 10 bit

wood glue

orbital sander


work bench

deck water sealent

100 lb of weight

hole saw bits



Duct tape

2x4 inch piece of flat plastic

Step 1: Prepping for Assembely

Materials Needed :

A. Oxygen Tank

B. Tape Measurer

C. Ply Wood

D. planks

E. 2x4s

F. Orbital Sander

1. Evacuate all air from cylinder and remove valve head.

2. Measure 22 inches from the valve base and chop end of cylinder from base of tank and set aside,

3. Measure 48 inches from end of planks and saw ends off.

4. Measure 48 inches long by 6 inches wide and cut plywood to match planks.

5. From plywood measure 18" x 22" and cut eight peices. 

6. Measure 24 inches and cut 2x4s into 2 pieces.

7. Sand, planks, 2x4s and all plywood cuts.

Step 2: Fabrication of Carriage

now that you have sanded all of the impuritys and blemishes from the carriage framework, lay out all of the wood in a uniform order and step back...... now is a good time to picture your final product. imagine all of your friends and even people you dont know stuck in awe of the tremendous power you will posess! ok now back to work with a smile! dont worry i like to take a step out every once in a while, so we will do it again!

Materials needed:

A. planks

B. plywood inserts ( 6x48 )

C. clamps


1. Place the two plywood inserts between the planks like a sandwich and clamp one side. after you have the ends squared off, clamp it tight !

2. Stand combined wood on end that you clamped and clamp the reverse end TIGHTLY on the opposite side.

3. Lay clamped pieces down and measure 14 inches from the end on your top left side. Make a mark crossing all four pieces combined. we will call this side, side A.

4. Measure one inch up from the bottom right hand side of the combined pieces. Make a mark crossing all four joined pieces. We wil call this side, side B.

5. Mark a line from the top right mark (A)to the bottom left mark(B).

6. Use two, four inch wood screws to tack the pieces together temporarily.

7. Remove clamps from pieces and position carraige base for cutting and clamp to work bench.

( Note: position pieces and clamp so you do not damage your work bench! )

8. Cut your joined pieces from top right to bottom left to achieve a 10-12* downward sloping angle.

9. Remove clamps and re-position carriage base with 8 inches of the top left exposed over the table and clamp tightly. side (A)

10. Measure four inches up from the bottom of side a and mark, now measure four inches in from the first mark and draw a line.

11. Cut from the bottom of side A to the four inch horizontal mark and repeat for the horizontal line itself, removing a 4x4 square from the bottom of side A

(we are creating the axle housing for the carraige framework. so it should be able to fit two 2x4s stacked on top each other snug.)

Step 3: Fabrication of Carriage Axle

Now that you are able to take another step back maybe its time to figure out if you would like to stain or paint.... keep that in mind as we go on with this project.....

Materials :

A. 24 inch 2x4s (x 2)

B. couplers

C. through bolts from the wheel chair wheels

D. wheel chair wheels.

1. Measure a centered line on both of the 2x4 cut outs down the lengths of the 2x4s.

2. Measure the width of your couplers and set your table saws blade to half the width of the couplers.

3. Take half the width of the coupler and add it to both of the sides of the centered line,

making a guide so you dont route out too much and make the coupler fitting loose. we will call this our coupler limit line. remember snug is best, loose will end up in loosing your wheels when you fire!

4. Activate the table saw and run your board the full length of the table, cutting a line through the length of the wood along your centered line.

5. Adjust the guard 1/8 inch and run the length again and repeat until you reach your coupler limit line on both sides.

6. place couplers at each axle end of one 2x4( we will call this the bottom board ), with 1/8 inch protruding from the end of the boards. use a pencil to mark their places.

7. remove the couplers and vice them securley to your drill press.

8. with a bit the same size as your 1 inch wood screws drill a through hole, passing both sides of the coupler.

9. place top and bottom boards on top of each other and measure 1/2 inches from the top and bottoms of your coupler limit lines.

10. measure 6 inches in from the ends of each line and drill straight through.

( ending up with four holes on each board which are uniform to secure the two axle pieces together with wood screws. )

11. place couplers in pre designated spots on the bottom board. with a hand drill  using the drilled holes as a guide, drill through the bottom boards.

12. combine the couplers with the bottom board and then combine the top.

13. using wood screws join the top and bottom together with the couplers in place.

14. using wood screws join the couplers to the bottom board securley.

15. Set aside

Step 4: Carriage Assembely

with your axle nearly completed and your carriage frame almost together im sure the feeling of nobility is in the air. were at about 25% done, keep up the good work!


A. carriage frame

B. 6 inch bit matched to all thread width

C. all thread

D. nuts

E. washers

F. wood bolts

G. sawzall

1.Taking the frame built in stage 2 we are going to be drilling two through holes the diameter of the allthread.

2. Measure one inch up from the bottom of the frame and make a line running from side a to b.

3. Along that line measure 12 inches from side B to side A we will call it mark 1

4. Measure 12 inches from mark 1 along the same line twoards side A and make mark 2.

5. Place your frame on the drill press and drill through marks one and two completley.

6. Remove frame to work bench and move to side A.

7. Clamp side A tight so no gaps are between the wood.

8. Placing the axle inline with the square cut made in the carriage, center the axle by measuring the lengths of each wheel well exposed.

9. Once centered, mark the position of the carriage lip on the axle with a pencil and remove carriage frame.

10. Measure half the distance the axle took and mark on each outer plank of the carriage lip. 2"

11. Place frame on drill press.

12. After  matching the wood bolts width with a bit, center your bit over the planks lip marking and drill a through hole in each plank at 2" in.

13. Palce carrige frame together with the wood planks on the outside and the plys on the inside on top of your work bench.

14. Measure the width of the 4 pieces of wood. With that measurement cut an extra inch from the allthread. Do this twice.

15. Place all thread through the 4 boards in both holes, place washers and bolt together.

16. Place carriage lip on axle centerpoint, use the same drill bit for the first lip drill holes and drill through the TOP of the centered carriage AXLE board only.

17. Remove wood screws from axle frame and turn carriage so the lip is upside down.

18. Place top axle frame on lip with routing facing to you. screw in two wood bolts into the holes cut into the lip.

this should bring the bolt flush with the routed part of the board locking it into place.

19. Reassemble axle frame with couplers and secure tightly.

20. Turn carraige over and attach wheels to axle.

Step 5: Trunion Support System

With ALMOST all the through holes drilled in the frame and the axle looking ready to go all we need to finish the carriage is the trunion supports..... Now this is the most vital part of the carriage, with accuracy, dependancy and safety all coming into play.... Before i even start to write this out i need to explain that i have built over a dozen of these ranging from eagle scout projects to just plain old desert fun.... PLYWOOD..... for this part is our very, very best friend. its tensile strength surpasses ALL others. I know it might seem kinda ugly from the outside but you can always cover that up! But I must stress the forces applied to this contraption will shred most other woods. So stick with ply for this part!


A. pre cut ply squares

B. wood glue

C. wood screws

D. 100 + lb of weight

1. Place first plywood square down on flat even surface and apply wood glue, being sure to apply it evenly and covering whole square.

2. Repeat with two more pieces stacked uniformly together.

3. Apply wood glue to third square and place last square on top.

4. Use wood screws to tack the four plys together, each corner and one in the center. Cut cardboard spacer and place on top of last ply square.

5. Repeat steps 1, 2 and 3,

6. Placing the cardboard on top of the last ply you should have one stack of two trunion support systems.

7. Place the 100 lb. of weight on top of the stack and let cure for 24 hours depending on the weather.

8. With the left over card board and a pen and some paper, go ahead and design the overall look of your support system. Remember it has to be within the limits of your recently replyed ply wood! Most importantly we will be drilling two more through bolts to attach the support to the frame and axle so dont cheat yourself out of room! This is where the design and artistic virtues come together, so take your time and design a few, maybe cut them out of the cardboard and place it up to your frame and axle to see what you think....

Stepback this bad boy is coming to life !

Step 6: Trunion Support Design

This is where style comes into play. there are key factors here. To keep the historical accuracy, the barrel needs to be sunk 1/16th of the heigh of the wheel..... So i went with a 13 inch tall support, with a 33 * front slope and a 12 * rear slope with my trunion hole sunk an inch and a half into the support. It has made this carraige completly rebuildable. Able to replace planks, trunnion supports and even have intercangeable barrel sizes, a long enough front lip to support the 4x4 box & able to attach a battlefield sheild.... All with the turn of a wrench it can be completly un assembled for preventative maintenance, checks and services.

Materials Needed :

Re-laminated plywood planks

Jigsaw or table saw


Trunion support design.

Drill press

1. Place stencil of design on first ply board stack and trace outline on to board

2. Repeat step one for second stack.

3. Cut according to design.

4. Repeat setp 3 for second stack.

5. Stand trunion supports side by side and uniformley arrainge and preform a quality check.

6. Each support should be identical.

7. Place on carraige frame and make sure the 4x4 box is snug on the axle framework.

Step 7: Trunion Support and Carriage Frame Assembely

With your carriage framework attached to your axle and wheels, i bet your just glistening with anticipation as to how this masterpiece will loudly enlighten your days to come!!!..... with that in mind we need to attach the support system to the axle and carriage. we need to cut four spacers out of excess plywood to fit between the carriage and the support system, drill holes and cut more rebar... get prepared for the delicate part of the opperation.....

Materials Needed :

A. carriage assembely

B. supports

C. hole saw bit

D. drill bit matched to allthread

E. allthread

F. nuts and spacers fitted to allthread

G. support spacers

H. mallet / hammer

1. Place supports on both sides of carrage fitting the axle in the 4x4 box.

2. Even with the top of the axle trace a line across the trunion support.

3. Measure 2 inches from the 4x4 box and make a mark.

4. Measure 3 inches from the first mark and make another mark.

5. Remove the supports from the carriage frame and uniformly line up the sides, clam them together tight.

6. With the drill bit matched to the allthread drill a COMPLETLY STRAIGHT LINE through the two supports.

7. Change to the hole saw bits ( must match the size of  your bike pegs snugly ) and prepare to drill the trunion holes.

8. Measure 2 inches from either corner of the 4x4 hole use a protractor and make a line headed straight up the support

(this will center the barrel with the axle)

9. From the top of the line, measure 2.25 inches down and make a mark

10. Drill out holes with a drill press and make sure they are straight!

11. Switch to 2 inch hole saw bits and get some scrap ply.

12. Cut out four 2 inch circles and save the plugs

( the plugs are your spacers )

13. Drill out holes in plugs to match size of allthread

14. Place trunion supports on both sides of carriage with plug spacers in between support and carriage.

15. Measure width of combined pieces and note width on paper

16. Cut allthread 1.5 inches longer than width from 15.

17. Remove plug spacers and use a hand drill to drill through carriage frame via support holes.

18. Replace spacers and tap allthread through holes in support, spacers and carriage frame.

19. Apply washers and nuts to allthread bars tightly to secure the trunion support to cannon carriage.


Step 8: Barrel Assembely

materials needed :

A. oxygen tank

B. L beam

C. drill bit matched to 1 1/4 bolts that are matched to bike pegs

D. bike pegs

E. bolts to pegs

F. quickrete

G. smooth bore thick steel tube

H. trailor hitch matched to oxygen tank thread

I. duct tape

J. 2x4 inch piece of plastic

1. Place steel tube into oxygen cylinder and mark where cylinder meets tube

2. remove tube and cut to size

3. Fold 2x4 plastic into a cone and duct tape together, make sure it is the same diameter of the inside of the tube. place duct tape lightly over open end.

4. slide cone into end of tube and secure with duct tape, it should look like a bottel rocket

5. place "L" beam across the oxygen cylinder and scribe a light line across

6. measure the diameter of the cylinder and from the top of the cylinder measure  half way around the tube and make a mark

7. do the same closer to the end of the cylinder before the curve

8. use the "L" bar to lightly scribe another line across the opposite side

9. measure half way down the cylinder and make a mark, do the same for the opposite side.

10. use the hole saw bit matched to the bike peg to etch a circle into the outside of the cylinder for each half way mark.

11. use a bit matched to the peg bolts to drill a STRAIGHT hole through the cylinder

12. tighten the bolts to the cylinder and the pegs forcing it to come under pressure

13. screw in the trailor ball into the threads of the cylinder until they stop, do not use pressure!. mark the thread where it stops

14. remove the ball and place it in a vice, remove the excess thread from the ball.

15. replace ball into cylinder

16. place tube with cone into cylinder and use c clamps and a measuring tape to center and brace the tube.

17. prepare quickrete and carefully pour into cylinder being careful not to get ANY into the steel tube.

18. let cure for 72 hours

Step 9: Assembeling Barrel and Carriage

what your looking at this and your like i know what to do im almost done..... i bet your wrong, sorry.

my bad im just joking. its rather simple from here were 90% done!

unscrew one side of the trunion support through bolts and remove that side partially.

place one trunion into the trunion hole and slide the other trunion support to the cannon.

with a mallot gently tap the support into the exposed trunion

once the support is firm, replace the bolts and look at whatyou have made!

Step 10: Firing Preperations

All right, have you been thinking of what you want to do to protect this bad mamma jamma? its definatly going to need a water seal, maybe some paint or a stain? your choice but lets move on to make this little heffer go BANG.

1. unscrew the ball hitch from the cylinder and place vertically into a vice. be careful not to tighten on the threads!

2. place your vice on your drill press and use a # 20 six inch drill bit to drill straight through the center of the ball hitch.

3. replace the ball hitch into the cylinder threads and remove the drill bit from the press.

4. attach the bit to your hand drill and carefully use the guide hole to drill through the quickrete and plastic cone.

5. remove the ball hitch again and add locktite to the threads.

6. once again replace the ball hitch tightly.

-- Congratulations you have sucessfully built a mountain howitzer. remember to always shoot in a safe direction and to use the highest saftey precautions. --

Saftey is our number one aspect. Thank you mr.incredible for bringing this to my attention,,,,,



The following safe shooting procedure presumes the crew is firing blank charges or projectiles with a muzzleloading artillery piece made (or altered) to modem safety standards. (If firing blanks skip Step VII and see Safety Rule 10.) The bore should be lined with seamless steel tubing with a minimum 3/8-inch wall thickness and a yield strength of 85,000 p.s.i. or greater. The breechplug should be threaded and pinned; welded and pinned breechplugs can be equally strong but require expert installation by competent manufacturers. Sand-cored bores are not recommended for shooting. The vent should be drilled in a threaded copper bolt similar to original cannon vent liners of the 1840-1865 period in order to provide an unbroken passage through the casting and the liner, into the bore.


Establish a 50-foot wide safety zone between the spectators and the gun. No one is to be forward of the muzzle at any time. Only crew members or authorized personnel are to be in this zone.


Two men minimum. Ammunition box with self-closing lid restricted to opening at no greater than 80-degree angle. Vent brush or cleaning device. Vent pick. Thumbstall. Heavy leather welder's gloves. Leather haversack for use as ammunition pass box and another for priming materials. Rammer. Wet sponge. Dry sponge. Worm. Water bucket. Primers. Priming power device (if used). Linstock and slowmatch or lanyard. Stopwatch. Gimlet. Individual safety containers for powder charges, high intensity flashlight.


I: Clean The Vent

Clean the vent as the first step in each cleaning, loading, firing sequence. Use a .22 caliber or appropriately sized bronze cleaning brush on a suitable rod and brush the entire vent twice. If no brush is available, the alternative method is to run the priming pick or gimlet up and down the vent twice, twisting it to make sure the vent is completely free of powder bag remnants.

II: Stop The Vent

Seal the vent with thumb pressure during the entire cleaning and loading procedure. This means no air should escape the vent from the time the worm enters the muzzle until the rammer is removed after the projectile has been seated. Use a leather thumbstall or heavy leather glove to protect your thumb and make a tight seal.

III: Worm The Bore

Using a tool with two sharp steel points which replicates an original cannon cleaning worm, worm the bore twice. Give two complete turns of the worm at the breech each time to pick up any powder container remnants and to loosen any powder residue. The worm should fit closely so the points will pick up debris easily.

IV: Wet Sponge the Bore

•Sponge with a wet (but not sopping) tight-fitting sponge with a head of lambs wool or wool carpeting over a wooden cylinder affixed to a shaft at least one foot longer than the bore. The end of the sponge head should conform to the shape of the breechplug (hemispherical or flat).

•Seat the sponge against the breech with hand pressure and give two full rotations of the shaft. Withdraw the sponge half-length, twist, then reseat against the breech and give another two full rotations.

•Remove the sponge. If any powder container remnants or unburned powder comes out with the sponge, repeat the entire process, starting with Step III: Worm.

V: Dry Sponge The Bore

After wet sponging, the same procedure is used with the dry sponge. The dry sponge is cleaned and dried off periodically with an absorbent towel-type rag. (The purpose of the dry sponge is to remove excess moisture from the bore; if water is left in the bore it may cause incomplete burning of the next powder charge, leaving dangerously glowing residue.)

VI: Load Powder

•Use a plain wooden pole without a head, or with a smoothly tapered head, so that it might force the hand open should a premature ignition occur. Staffs should be dense hard wood (ash or maple). Painted cardboard tube rammers are safer than wood and can be obtained in heavy-duty long lengths which are durable but will disintegrate into less dangerous pieces.

•Mark the rammer in advance in two places, one to show the amount of shaft which should be left sticking out the muzzle when the charge is fully seated and the other to show when the rammer is fully seated at the breech.

•The ammunition chest should be located 25 feet behind the gun. Powder charges should be prepared in advance as specified in Safety Rules 1 and 2 below, wrapped in heavy-duty aluminum foil. Each charge should be kept in an individual safety container within the chest to prevent them from breaking open during transport or accidental upset of the chest. (Fiberboard military shell cases or fuse cans or similar tightly sealed containers are recommended.)

•Open the chest only long enough to remove one safety container and transfer it to a leather haversack. (Do not open chest following warning that a gun is about to fire until 10 seconds after that gun has been discharged. This is to prevent hot vent debris from falling into chest).

•Carry container within leather haversack to the gun. Do not proceed to load unless 3 minutes has elapsed since the gun was last fired (even though cleaning procedure has been completed). Use a stopwatch.

•Open safety container. Remove foil-wrapped charge and place it in muzzle with one hand while wearing heavy leather welding gloves, hot stove or foundry worker's gloves.

•Wearing the heavy gloves, stand to the side of barrel with as much of your body as possible behind the plane of the muzzle. Grasp rammer underhand, with one hand, thumb-to-the-side. Seat the charge lightly with smooth, short strokes. Do not pound the rammer against the charge.

•Immediately upon feeling the charge reach the breech, drop your hand away, releasing the rammer. After 10 seconds and after ascertaining the charge is fully home (according to the rammer marks) remove the rammer, one hand, underhand, thumb-to-the-side. This may require grasping and releasing the shaft a few times. At no time should more of the body than absolutely necessary be forward of the muzzle face and never in front of it Never have two hands on the rammer.

VII: Load Projectile

•The projectile loading procedure is the same as that for powder. The rammer is operated with short strokes, one hand, underhand, thumb to the side, until the mark shows the projectile has been fully seated.

•As with all muzzleloaders, to avoid bursting the barrel it is essential there is no air gap between powder charge and projectile when the gun is fired.

•When the rammer is removed, after the projectile is seated, the vent may be released.

VIII: Pick The Charge

•To insure ignition, pick the powder charge wrapper through the vent with a pick or gimlet held by the shaft, between glove protected fingers.

•The pick should not be so long that it reaches the bottom of the bore when fully inserted so as to avoid making pits under the vent

IX: Prime

Priming the vent depends on the type of ignition to be used. Typical systems are: linstock and priming powder, fuse, priming quills, friction primers, .22 blank, and percussion cap.

X: Fire The Gun

The man designated to ignite the charge (the No. 4 man in Civil War period drill) calls out "Ready to Fire" in a loud voice to alert other crews on the line that his gun is about to fire and to notify the gun captain that the piece is primed. At this call, any open ammunition chests are immediately closed. The gun captain makes a quick visual inspection of the range forward of the muzzle to make sure no one (photographers, children, pets, etc.) is in danger and then commands "Fire". The primer is then ignited.

Priming powder, fuse and priming quills are ignited with a linstock which is long enough to allow the cannoneer to stand outside the wheels. The linstock holds the burning slow match made of cotton rope impregnated with potassium nitrate or lead acetate to make it burn.

If a lanyard is used to ignite friction primers, or to activate a lock using percussion caps or blank cartridge, it also should be long enough to allow the cannoneer to stand outside the wheels and out of the way of recoil.

Start your stopwatch to be sure at least 3 minutes elapses before powder is reloaded.


If the primer ignites, but the gun fails to fire:

•Command: "Do not advance, the primer has failed." Start stopwatch. Wait 3 minutes.

•When 3 minutes has elapsed, step inside wheel from the front of the axle so you will be out of recoil path should the gun discharge unexpectedly. Do not get in front of muzzle at any time. If gun is less than full-size or barrel under 5 ft. this position might put you in danger of muzzle flash so you will have to work behind the axle. Use good judgment. Estimate recoil distance and stand well back from axle.

•Wearing gloves, use a gimlet to clear the vent. Grasp by shaft only. Keep head away from vent. When vent is clear, reprime and fire.

•If three attempts fail to fire the gun, use a C02 fire extinguisher (with horn removed) to blow down vent and force powder (and projectile) from the barrel. If C02 is unavailable, flood bore and vent with water and worm after thorough soaking.


1. Maximum blank powder charges for properly constructed guns of 3-inch bore or larger should not exceed 2 oz. of Fg grade or 3 oz. of Cannon Grade GOEX black powder per inch of bore diameter. Maximum powder charge for bore of more than 2 inches and less than 3 inches should not exceed a total of 3 oz. Fg or 4 oz. Cannon Grade. Use reduced loads with projectiles. (See North-South Skirmish Association regulations for a guide to projectile weights and powder charges.)

2. Prepare powder charges in advance using light-weight plastic baggies with end twisted closed. Leave 2 inches of twist; cut off excess plastic. Fold twist to bag. Enclose bag in a triple layer of double-thickness heavy-duty aluminum foil (six layers total). Take care not to break plastic baggie. The bag prevents escape of powder dust and keeps granules from getting trapped under folds of aluminum to help insure complete burning. (Aluminum foil wormed out after firing often yields unburned powder although this may appear impossible to those familiar with smaller caliber guns.)

3. All crew members should wear ear protection devices.

4. No one should cross in front of the muzzle at any time during the cleaning, loading or firing procedure.

5. The ammunition box shall be located 25 feet behind gun and attended at all times or locked. The interior shall be lined with a non-sparking material and the box itself shall be stoutly constructed of wood or metal.

6. No smoking at any time within the safety zone.

7. No drinking alcoholic beverages for 10 hours prior to serving on a cannon crew. Any crew member showing signs of the effects of alcohol or other drug should be replaced.

8. Projectiles shall be constructed so that they easily pass through a sizing gauge with finger or thumb pressure only. The sizing gauge to be a length at least 1.5 times the length of the projectile and in inner diameter no greater than bore diameter when the barrel was new.

9. Projectiles should not weigh more than one half the weight of projectiles used in original issue guns of same bore diameter.

10. When blank firing no wadding should be used nor should be necessary for a realistic report.


A. Always allow 3 minutes between firing and reloading next powder charge! There is a valid reason for every rule and procedure contained herein. Follow them and make this a safe sport.

B. Use black powder only. Inspect your gun tube regularly for signs of stress.

C. Maintain the 50-foot safety zone with a rope or string marker.

D. Walk. Do no run. Work at a smooth steady pace.

E. Train your crew. Run through a dry fire evolution at least twice before commencing operations with live charges each day. Be sure each crew member performs his duties smoothly and accurately.

F. Make sure each crew member has knowledge of procedures and safety rules.

G. Have the No. 1 man (rammer) repeat the step instructions as they are called out by the gun commander (or No. 3 man tending the vent). This serves as a procedural check so that none of the 10 steps are omitted by error. Memorize this sequence: 1. Clean vent, 2. Stop vent, 3. Worm, 4. Sponge, 5. Dry sponge, 6. Load powder, 7. Load projectile, 8. Pick charge, 9. Prime, 10. Fire.

H. Use good common sense. If something is done wrong, STOP. Think it through. Then act to correct it. The stop and think approach gives more opportunity to avoid accidents than the press onward-out-of-sequence method.


Loading and firing antique or replica muzzleloading cannon is a highly dangerous activity, likely to result in death, dismemberment or serious injury. Structural integrity of the barrel, powder charge preparation, premature discharge as a result of burning embers remaining in the barrel from previous cannon fire, reliance on others to follow proper procedures and other unforeseen and unanticipated conditions may contribute to accidents, serious injury or death. The authors and publishers of these Rules and Procedures specifically recommend you do not engage in this activity unless you are thoroughly trained by competent instructors, and fully aware of the potential for injury or death. DO NOT RELY ON THE INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN TO PROTECT YOU FROM THE DANGERS OF ENGAGING IN THE LOADING OR FIRING OF ARTILLERY. This document is ONLY a summary of what the publishers consider the essential safety rules and procedures they themselves follow when engaging in this extremely hazardous activity, and which have been adopted in part by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Dept. of Public Safety, the North-South Skirmish Association, the American Artillery Association, the Union and Confederate Volunteers, the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association and other such groups which participate in the loading and shooting of antique artillery for recreational and historic demonstration purposes. You should be forewarned that SEVERAL DISMEMBERMENTS AND FIVE DEATHS HAVE OCCURRED in the United States and Canada since 1975 to persons while loading or shooting antique artillery or replicas. In addition, gun tubes have failed, sending fragments in all directions at high speed and causing damage and injury. If you decide to engage in this activity, use only black powder in Cannon Grade or Fg grade. Just because the color of the powder is black it doesn't mean it is "Black Powder." Know your propellant and get it from a reliable source in labeled containers.

Step 11: My Challenge to You.....

Build It, Fire It and Record it ..... here are some links to applicable colaborations i think would ring nice with this project. Inbox me with possible improvements or thoughts......

Jury Rig It! Contest

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Indestructibles Contest

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