Ammo How to measure cannon balls that are not in your possession?

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Ethan S.

Sergeant
Joined
Aug 19, 2019
Location
Carter County Kentucky
I would really really really really (okay, you get it) really love to have a spherical solid shot soon, and I can afford some of the ones seen here. The problem is, I'm trying to learn which ball went to what, i.e grapeshot or actual projectile fired out of a smooth bore rifle. I'm TERRIBLE at math (ask anybody) and I'm getting confused by referring to charts and stuff, so could a few of you guys take a look at these, and give me your best educated guess as to what they are?

P.S. The reason I post this here, and not just ask the seller is because I thought it would be helpful to others to see the answers.

 

Kurt G

First Sergeant
Joined
May 23, 2018
The most common would be a 6 pound shot and that would be 3.58" in diameter and the 12 pound shot and that would be 4.52" in diameter . There is no such thing as a smooth bore rifle so I assume you are asking about smooth bores since you indicated solid spherical shot . The use of grape shot on the battlefield was quite rare . Although you often hear soldiers referring to "Grape" , they are almost always speaking of cannister .
 

Kurt G

First Sergeant
Joined
May 23, 2018
I would be wary . At least a couple of items have problems . #15574 is listed as a 1 1/2" iron cannon ball . It would actually be a cannister round . Also #4151 is listed as a 1 1/8" grape shot . Generally speaking cannister rounds were around 1 1/2' or less. Grape was larger in diameter not less. Several other issues with the descriptions .
 
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Ethan S.

Sergeant
Joined
Aug 19, 2019
Location
Carter County Kentucky
The most common would be a 6 pound shot and that would be 3.58" in diameter and the 12 pound shot and that would be 4.52" in diameter . There is no such thing as a smooth bore rifle so I assume you are asking about smooth bores since you indicated solid spherical shot . The use of grape shot on the battlefield was quite rare . Although you often hear soldiers referring to "Grape" , they are almost always speaking of cannister .
By rifle I meant gun, or cannon. So, bad at math here, is 3.58 or 4.52 close to the measurements in the link? I think the 4.52 inch one is close.
 
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Kurt G

First Sergeant
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May 23, 2018
I would pass , but hopefully some experts will reply .
@Kurt G when you are talking about diameter of the shot, aren't you really talking about the diameter of the barrel? Or is cannon shot measured in pounds, like a 6 lb shot or 12 lb shot or 12 lb parrott or 32 lb parrott?
Both . A 12 pound smoothbore would have a bore diameter of 3.67 " and would fire a round shot of about 3.58".
 
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ucvrelics

Major
Forum Host
Joined
May 7, 2016
Location
Alabama
@Kurt G when you are talking about diameter of the shot, aren't you really talking about the diameter of the barrel? Or is cannon shot measured in pounds, like a 6 lb shot or 12 lb shot or 12 lb parrott or 32 lb parrott?
Yes it would be the bore diameter. The 6lb 12lb are just easier ways to say it and beside the 6lb case shot weights 5lb
 

Kurt G

First Sergeant
Joined
May 23, 2018
#15606 says it is a 3" solid cannonball . It could be an individual grapeshot . # 15632 says it is 4 1/4" and claims because of its size it must be from a naval cannon or siege cannon . This is wrong as well .
 
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Kurt G

First Sergeant
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May 23, 2018
I'm probably being too logical here, but why not call it 5lb shot?:O o:
I know that it can be confusing but anytime you read about a 6 or 12 or 24 or 32 pounder it means that the bore diameter allows the gun to fire a solid round ball of the described weight . Other types of rounds such as case shot or cannister would not weigh the same but would have a diameter allowing it to be fired from the gun.
 
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Kurt G

First Sergeant
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May 23, 2018
That's what sucks. I can't afford anything with a fuse hole. I'll keep looking then.
Believe it or not the prices on many Civil War items have dropped over the past several years . That doesn't make them cheap though. The items I have purchased over the years have come from The Horse Soldier in Gettysburg . They tend to be more expensive but they have a good reputation .
 
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Ethan S.

Sergeant
Joined
Aug 19, 2019
Location
Carter County Kentucky
Believe it or not the prices on many Civil War items have dropped over the past several years . That doesn't make them cheap though. The items I have purchased over the years have come from The Horse Soldier in Gettysburg . They tend to be more expensive but they have a good reputation .

I make my money mowing a neighbors grass when he's not home, and by selling bottles. I'm about 17 now. Want a bottle? :smile:
 
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