Help identifying a cannonball.

Joined
Mar 5, 2019
Messages
1
#1
Good morning, and thank you for accepting my request
My name is Leah
I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and about 45 years ago found what I thought was a cannonball. I've half heartedly tried to have it identified for years, but without much luck.
I've read some of the posts here, and am hoping someone can help me.
The ball is 7" in diameter and weighs about 19 lbs. It does have a core, or plug thru the center, with 1" round " plug ends" one of which heavily peened.
What makes this interesting, is that if you gently move it, it does have something inside that rattles within the core.It is made of brass, is fairly smooth, and does polish up nicely, but quickly becomes oxidized.
I dug it up as a child near the Columbia River in Oregon. I know Spanish war ships were in that region, but just cant find any answers about what this is.
I know it probably is not civil war related, but appreciate the knowledge here, and hope someone might have an idea.
Thank you.

Leah
 

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Carronade

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 4, 2011
Messages
4,413
Location
Pennsylvania
#2
Good morning, and thank you for accepting my request
My name is Leah
I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and about 45 years ago found what I thought was a cannonball. I've half heartedly tried to have it identified for years, but without much luck.
I've read some of the posts here, and am hoping someone can help me.
The ball is 7" in diameter and weighs about 19 lbs. It does have a core, or plug thru the center, with 1" round " plug ends" one of which heavily peened.
What makes this interesting, is that if you gently move it, it does have something inside that rattles within the core.It is made of brass, is fairly smooth, and does polish up nicely, but quickly becomes oxidized.
I dug it up as a child near the Columbia River in Oregon. I know Spanish war ships were in that region, but just cant find any answers about what this is.
I know it probably is not civil war related, but appreciate the knowledge here, and hope someone might have an idea.
Thank you.

Leah
I'm no expert, but if a 7" ball only weighs 19lb, there's room for a good amount of something inside. I'd be very careful of it until you do get someone knowledgeable to check it out.

I see this is your first message, and we'd like to have you around for more!
 

Ole Miss

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Dec 9, 2017
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2,522
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North Mississippi
#5
Welcome from the Shiloh/Pittsburg Landing Forum and North Mississippi! Be sure and drop by the Forum soon.
Regards
David
 
Joined
Mar 18, 2015
Messages
2,734
#6
Welcome from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I would contact the Horse Soldier Shop in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. These folks are experts in anything militaria and are very nice people to talk to and deal with and would be happy to answer any of your questions. David.
 

ucvrelics

Captain
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Joined
May 7, 2016
Messages
7,156
Location
Alabama
#8
Welcome From THE HEART Of Dixie. If you could post some photos over at The Weapons & Ammo forum https://civilwartalk.com/forums/weapons-ammunition.93/ We have many experts here that can help you out. From your description if it has a hole all the way thru both ends its not a cannon ball. If a cannon ball hole on one end only.
Weapons used:
Smoothbore 42 pounder, 7in. Caliber of the gun is 7.0in., round projectile diameter should measure 6.84in. approximately, variations will be noted.

A standard weight for a solid cast iron spherical ball was set at 42 pounds, hence balls of this caliber were referred to as "42 pounder". Weight of a solid shot is 42 pounds, hollow shot will weigh less. "Common" shot was a contemporary term referring to a "standard" containing an explosive charge and no balls. "Case shot" round referred to a hollow ball containing explosive charge and case shot balls. Generally (but there are exceptions) the walls of the ball are thinner for case shot, thicker for "common" shot. A ball filled with case shot will usually weigh more than a "common" round but this relationship can vary as the number of balls actually filled in a case shot can vary, the wall thickness can vary, and weight loss due to excessive corrosion can produce misleading results. Usually the case shot ball is filled with small lead balls around .5 inch to .7 inch, but dimensions are usually uneven and sometimes other materials were used such as iron balls, bullets, iron nails or almost any other form of scrap. "Canister" shot is not a round ball at all but refers to a cylindrical "can" filled with balls. Often the term "canister" and "case shot" have been used interchangeably but the correct use of the terms refers to distinctly different types of ordnance as indicated.

The bore for the 42 pounder is supposed to measure 7 inches, the ball itself will measure approximately 6.84 inches, the difference is the space needed to ram a ball through the muzzle into the chamber and is referred to as "windage". A ball needed to fit very close to these measurements, otherwise it would be a disaster for the artillery battery. If a ball is too large, it will simply not fit through the bore. If a ball is small, too much energy will be lost firing it and it simply will not be effective as a weapon. If a ball is not truly round it could jam the bore and that truly is bad news for a jammed gun could easily blow up on firing. There are many balls out there that are not cannon balls, these are weights, balls used to grind coal or other minerals , ornaments, gate weights. So one test of a cannon ball is that the measurement has to be pretty much right.
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