Casing Cannon

About: I like to build and try to get some of my projects on instructables. Or, at least the little ones.
This instructable will show you how to make a cannon, but not just any cannon, a mini cannon.


I will not show you how to make the stand for the cannon because I don't think most of you have a pair of skis lying around. I also dont believe you have a trumpet you can take the keys off of. I WILL encourage you to make your own stand. I Just happend to live near a junk yard full of this stuff.

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Step 1: Finding a Bullet Casing (or Two)

First of all you will need a bullet casing. I used a .303 but that was because I had lots of them. I suggest EXTREMeLY that you shoot the bullet (at a rifle range) to get the casing. In fact I could not advise it more. My great uncle (my father's uncle) once tried to get a bullet out of its casing by smashing it with a hammer, in doing this he succeeded but also shot himself in the leg...

I say find a bullet casing or two because you might mess up and need to try again.

Step 2: Getting the Gun Powder

There are many ways of getting gunpowder. You can make it (there are instructables on that), you can buy it, and you can take it out of a shotgun shell (thats what I did). If you decide to take it out of a shotgun shell, which is what I would expect most of you to do because I am pretty sure many of you who have a gun also have a shotgun, and therefore you probably have shotgun shells.

Step 3: Other Things You Will Need

Of course you need a bullet casing and gunpowder, but there are other things you will need...

~ A drill
~ A 1/8 inch metal drill bit (or around that size)
~ A Toothpick
~ "strike anywhere matches"
~ Saftey glasses
~ Fuse (optional)

Step 4: Drilling a Hole

For this step all you need to do is drill a hole. But this is a little more complicated the it might seem.

First of all you will want the hole as close to the back of the case as possible but if too close you will drill into the primer cap. The metal is thick here and it will take a long time to get through. And if you do get through bash out the primer cap. Then you will want drill through the metal where the cap was making it posible for the gunpowder to light. After you have done this carefully bash the cap back in.

The second picture is where i did it wrong and had to fix it 'cause it was to close to the back. The first picture, however, is perfect, the hole is right before the cap

Step 5: The Final Stand

You are probably going to want a stand. Although it is not entirely necessary that you have one, it does add effect and can change the performance of the cannon. A stand that holds the cannon at the ideal angle will be hard to find. A stand that holds the cannon on its side might not be easy to light. A stand the holds the cannon pointing straight up lets gunpowder pour out. And a stand that holds the cannon diagonal is hard to find. And as I said, you don't need a stand, just placing the cannon upright is good enough.

Step 6: The Toothpick

After you fire your cannon there will be gunpowder cloging up the lighting hole, simply scrape it away with the toothpick

Step 7: Adding Gunpowder and Lighting

Add very little gunpowder. Around as much as to cover a button, two buttons at most (and small buttons at that).

Before you light the cannnon you should get a small peice of cotton ball and use you match like a ram-rod. this will make a little blast and make it more realistic.

To light it is not excactly easy. I have not yet found a way to light one nicely. Actualy we needed to add powder around the hole so we could get the stuff burning. That is why a fuse would be nice, but is difficult to find a good fuse.

OH Ya this has not been tested with ammo in it, it could be dangerous!

here are my shots



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    27 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I have an old trumpet and like 5 pairs of skies. that i used when i was like 4-9


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Theoretically, you could also get tiny amounts of gunpowder by taking apart those 8 ring pop caps. They're pretty cheap here in NJ like 9 rings for a dollah.

    5 replies

    Reply 5 years ago

    um they put a mix of potassium clorate and red phosphorus, ur better off going with strike anyware matches. I use a magnesium, match mix.

    You'd NEVER get enough...just get a can of FFFg Or FFFFg black powder or pyrodex... LITTLE bit, like, 10 grains TOPS.

    (Gotta love muzzleloading..traditional-style...I have all this stuff already!)


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    They do not contain gunpowder they contain the very sensitive powder; Armstrong's mix.  Don't mess with it unless you know what your doing.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Si Armstrong's Mix is basically gunpowder which ignites when you strike it? So then it would make a good pre-lighting powder, for example, you put primer, some of Armstrong Mix, and then gunpowder. The Mix should help the gunpowder catch on fire.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Armstrongs's Mix is a high explosive that means it detonates rather than deflagrates which causes it to have unsuitable brisance for a cannon.
    Also if you want a primer for gunpowder it would work relatively well, that and lead styphnate.


    5 years ago

    I made one with a 270 shell and fires with the firecrackers found in party popper

    Stephen D. Alverez

    9 years ago on Step 7

     I don't see your point, are you saying that I use the wrong kind of powder, or are you just not saying anything at all?

    2 replies

    9 years ago on Introduction

    This is AWESOME. Wish i had a few casings laying around, got a few .50 BMG but they are too big IMO. Maybe you could use the little white stuff out of caps (For cap guns) as fuses, instead of using a little extra powder on top.

    1 reply

    WARNING: I know I said to be careful, but I just got a first hand look at how dangerous this really is. I was making a bullet for a PVC cannon/gun that uses gun powder. Since I had all those shotgun shells lying around, with the primer caps still in them, I thought It was a good Idea to use those as the primer. So I fitted the bullet around the shell and (extreme stupidity in play) slammed the primer cap with a nail. The resulting blast could have costed me my hearing and my hand, luckily I can still type and use my ears.

    This is VERY important, and I think I may take this instructable down because of the danger, sorry.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    If you add like 2 espresso spoons of gun powder it sounds like a cannon


    9 years ago on Introduction

    quick stand:
    take a piece of scrap 2x4, attach one side of a long hinge to it, put a small wood screw under the part of the hinge that is not screwed down, and tape your cannon to said part of hinge.  you can adjust the trajectory by turning the screw.