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Thread: Pour your own ??

  1. #1
    Boolit Master Jack Stanley's Avatar
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    Pour your own ??

    With all the guys here that pour their own lead I'd find it hard to believe none of you have saved your scrap brass to make a cannon. C'mon fellas it doesn't have to be a full size six pounder or anything ...... half size would be fine .

    I have about two buckets saved

    Jack

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    Um, now I know what to do with that scrap brass!

  3. #3
    Boolit Master



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    Most ranges have spent .22 rim fire laying around. They would be proud to be recycled into a cannon.
    Blacksmith

    S. G. G. = Sons of the Greatest Generation. Too old to run, too proud to hide; we will stand our ground and take as many as we can with us!

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    Blacksmith check the swaging forum. Bet there's a bunch of members there who would take that .22 brass off your hands

  5. #5
    Boolit Master


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    It takes a lot of "hot" to cast brass. Bronze is tougher, requires tin to alloy. I would suggest making a wood pattern, and taking it, and your brass to a bell foundry.
    Remember to drill the bore in the casting upside down so the chips drop out.
    Best,
    Mike

    NRA Life Member
    Remember Ira Hayes

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Jack Stanley's Avatar
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    I've done a few years of hot chamber casting and cold chamber casting but that was injecting magniesium and aluminum . Realizing brass is a different animal and sand casting is something I haven't done . I could probably look up the proper pour temp but I think it's near eighteen hundred .

    Just an idea , I wondered of a barrel could be cast with a steel liner in it . It would use less brass and be as strong as it would need to be .

    Jack

  7. #7
    Boolit Man
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    at what temp does brass melt?

  8. #8
    Boolit Master Jack Stanley's Avatar
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    Somewhere in the seventeen hundred degree range , Dependent on the alloy I suspect . I keep having this itch about a small cannon ........ maybe it'll go away .

    Jack

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    Years ago I read about a guy from CA who had a towable 155 mm canon. He towed it to a desert area in NV and shot beer cans filled with concrete at targets he set up on a hillside. I loved the idea and hope you can build yours.

    Myth busters recently built one out of ice.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    I was saving some old brass with the idea of getting it melted into an ingot. When I was going to college, they had a class on metal casting, and I knew a couple of the guys who were teaching assistants. They told me they would NOT take spent brass and melt it down. Apparently, they had done so before and found some live primers in the mix, and the brass cousin of the tinsel fairy paid them a visit. They did cast an ingot mold for me out of aluminum. I made the pattern for the ingot mold, which I still have.

  12. #12
    On Heaven's Range

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    I have been researching brass/bronze casting from old cases for about 4 months now. Helps with cabin fever. I will be casting brass hammers, punches etc. I hate to scratch polished surfaces. It is just an experiment for now.

    Mr. Ed
    The only good cast boolit is the one that hits the target

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy

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    Try searching backyard metal casting. He is a real inspiration and I have made a few furnaces and burners from his designs

  14. #14
    Boolit Master silverado's Avatar
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    http://hamptonroads.com/2014/01/nc-m...annon-explodes
    Happened in my local paper.... As always sensus comunis
    You better watch where you go and remember where you been
    That's the way I see it I'm a Simple Man. - Charlie Daniels
    For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. -Matthew 6:14-15

  15. #15
    Boolit Master Jack Stanley's Avatar
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    About three buckets of brass saved now , I'm thinking if a steel liner could be used in the casting it might be safer .

    Jack
    Buy it cheap and stack it deep , you may need it !

    Black Rifles Matter

  16. #16
    Boolit Bub smilin jack's Avatar
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    Wink

    Back in 1968 while working in the foundry at my college (extra cash etc), I came across a wood cannon barrel pattern. Later when they were going to pour brass, I made up a sand casting mold of the 50 cal barrel. It's 6" long with a typical cannon shape.
    The fuse touch hole and bore needed drilled out so got a friend with a lathe to do the honors. I have made a carriage for the piece and use it as a salute gun on special occasions, normally with 100 gr of 3FFF powder with strips of newsprint tightly patched. It has a loud report.

    It has fired cloth patched 490RB with a long fuse. We were concerned about chamber pressure.

    I made a steel barreled cannon a few years ago. The barrel is 16" long and the bore just accepts an empty 12ga shotshell filled with dirt as the projectile. 100gr of 3FFF works well to send the payload toward the target. It will punch thru 3/4" plywood but usually key holes and tumbles.

    An old guy at the local range had his mountain mortar in the truck and needed help getting it to the line. As a thank you for helping him, he allowed me to load and fire the piece. It weighed about 500 pounds and took a cup of course cannon powder. The slug was a 16 pound bowling ball with the finger holes toward the muzzle. He had tongs to lower the ball on the powder.

    The bowling ball would travel in a high arc to reach the hillside beyond the 300 yard targets. The finger holes made a whistling sound while flying. The ball bounced off some exposed bedrock one of the shots. Surprised how quiet a report. The guy said with a "full load" the ball would go over the hill and land in the farm field behind the range. He had no forward observer that day so the light loads were used. His truck bed had several dozen bowling balls from Good Will at 25 cents each. It was a fun day at the range.

    Dave
    smilin jack

  17. #17
    I'm a long way from my books at the moment, but there is a pretty good article on casting for the amateur in "The NRA Gunsmithing Book Updated". (I am afraid that is now a sinfully expensive book, new or old, but I've got mine.) They used coke with an electric blower, and I think a container about the size of a trashcan, which may indeed have been a trashcan. Charcoal was used in most countries' early iron smelting industries, and would probably be easier to get than coke these days. I don't remember, but assume, that they had a firebrick or fireclay lining. Ordinary clay (but not concrete) blocks would probably good enough for using only a time or two. It isn't like you need a battery of cannon.

    I think there are US companies selling cast-iron replicas (possibly reduced scale but not miniatures) of Civil War cannon, who use a cast-in steel tube. That should eliminate the tendency of the Parrot rifle, for example, to burst, which is bad enough during a war, but even more of a social liability in peacetime. Attaching a fuse, even if you no longer have to wait and see if the enemy goes for a walk while it is fizzing, seems such a limp-wristed way of doing things. I saw on the History Channel a 1000 yard match between a Parrot rifle and the Canadian army's modern field-gun. Astonishingly the modern gun was soundly thrashed for accuracy. Not that that reflects lethality, of course, since modern shells superiority in fusing and fragmentation more than makes up for the imprecise placement.

    In the UK I got permission on my licence to acquire a .716 miniature cannon. (They can be surprisingly obliging when no rising rate of cannon crime threatens red faces for not refusing.) I never got around to the project, and eventually let it lapse when I moved to a new area, with new licence and new collection of permissions. But I have about 22in. of hollow bronze bar threaded to insert a rifled Hastings 12ga. blank. You need something of the kind for a realistically scaled fabricated barrel, since I know of no other strong enough way of attaching the trunnions in the correct position, which is a bit below the centre-line.

    If I get around to continuing, I plan a quarter scale artillery carriage, spoked wheels complete. I will probably look on eBay for a brass Royal Artillery badge of King George V or King George VI, to be soldered in place with the numeral altered to George III. The reason the Royal Artillery don't carry colours is that there they are, cast on the guns.

    If you are casting a cannon I would suggest making a wooden or plastic dummy, possibly undersized, to determine where the trunnions ought to come. You would feel bit silly if your barrel wants to drop down under gravity when it is horizontal. If you have a lathe my inclination would be to cast it with no bore, leave enough metal at the rear end to grip it in a lathe chuck, and make the bore entirely by drilling and reaming. Then I would mount it by a metal rod temporarily epoxied in, and turn the cascabel knob at the rear. You could even soft solder in a rifled bore liner from www.trackofthewolf.com . Go on, you know you want to!
    Last edited by Ballistics in Scotland; 12-15-2014 at 04:56 AM.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master GoodOlBoy's Avatar
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    I would be wary of using "steel liners" in casting brass. You are just asking for extra air voids if not done perfectly and that's a good way to ruin your day. Brass, and bronze were used successfully for making cannons for a very long time. So long as you stick with Holy Black powder, avoid voids, cast in a single pour, do everything perfect, etc etc. You should be able to get a nice piece in the outcome. Whatever you do make SURE you take advantage of one modern technology with it. Have it x-rayed before you charge the bore the first time. Brass, Bronze, and Aluminum casting are relatively easy to do at home if you follow all the safety guidelines. There are a TON of youtube videos on the basics of it. Now casting a iron cannon? You are talking about more than a small garage foundry with that one.

    GoodOlBoy
    Yes I can be long winded. Yes I follow rabbit trails. Yes I admit when I am wrong. Your mileage may vary.

    Keep your powder dry. Watch yer Top knot.

    "Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!"

    Yes there were "Short" 45 Colts! http://www.leverguns.com/articles/taylor/45_short_colt.htm

  19. #19
    Most certainly a thin steel liner would be a Very Bad Idea. I don't say it needs to be thick enough to bear the pressure on its own, but it should be capable of standing up with small local bubbles on its outside, and careful work ought to be able to achieve that or better. Cold drawn steel hydraulic tubing ought to be fine.

    For a small cannon there is a lot to be said for a mould made in fireclay or other clay, which you can get from a potters' supplier. Unlike a sand mould you can tap that on the outside before the metal hardens, to help liberate any bubbles.

    Another useful trick afterwards is to test the specific gravity of the finished casting. Suspend it by a thread of as little volume as possible, and weigh it first dry, then in water. The dry weight divided by the difference between dry and wet is the specific gravity, i.e. the number of times heavier than its own volume of water it is. It needs to be the same as that of a leftover piece of the same metal which you trust to be free of cavities.

    Ornamental, saluting and yacht race starting cannon were often brass, and still are. You can turn a good one (small unless you can afford a lot of money) from brass rod. But cannon from the days when they were intended for serious social work, although often called brass, were almost invariably bronze.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master AllanD's Avatar
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    The way cannon were cast was one thing, but inserting the liner is another process done after casting and lathe turning the bore to a precise side so that the Bronze barrel after Lathe Turning it reheated and the liner chilled and the two are pressed together quickly thus the Bronze barrel is Shrunk onto a liner that Otherwise would be an interference fit.

    I remember seeing an old catalog offering materials for Serious Civil war Renactors that Included stuff like completed wagon wheels gun carriage axles and of course Rifled barrel liners and other smaller hardware...

    I've long dreamed of making a foundry melter that would handle enough brass or bronze to cast a cannon barrel,
    a friend owns a lathe big enough and long enough to do the finishing work

    I personally would not Sand-cast one I'd use a "lost foam" investment casting process.

    But I want a cannon the proper size to shoot golf ball sized balls of lead or simply golf balls.
    30 odd years ago I was asked to assemble some "Canister Shot" for a friend of a friend for a
    civil war style Rifled-cannon that was designed to shoot concrete filled Campbells soup cans.

    A bit rich for my taste. As the gun burned an entire pound of powder with each shot. I made his rounds by splitting empty soup cans lengthwise like a shotgun wad and screwing them to 3/4" thick plywood discs filling the cans with .440 RB and capping the can with four layers of waxed corrugated cardboard and banding the cans together with cheap mechanics wire... I later settled on three plywood discs as a base, about 1" of cast lead in the can and a single wire band that (was left on the ram rod after the can was pressed down the bore) they came apart very consistently 6feet out of the muzzle.

    It was interesting reverse engineering 19the century projectiles

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Stanley View Post
    I've done a few years of hot chamber casting and cold chamber casting but that was injecting magniesium and aluminum . Realizing brass is a different animal and sand casting is something I haven't done . I could probably look up the proper pour temp but I think it's near eighteen hundred .

    Just an idea , I wondered of a barrel could be cast with a steel liner in it . It would use less brass and be as strong as it would need to be .

    Jack
    Last edited by AllanD; 01-08-2018 at 03:30 AM.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check