Naval guns. 2 questions

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#1
1)What was the most common naval gun used aboard ship by the end of the war? both sides
2)I've seen solid shot and explosive rounds, but were shells and grape shot used as well?
 

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Mark F. Jenkins

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#7
Just one caution: there were a wide variety of 32-pounders in use. For instance, there was a "light" version that was cast with less metal but still fired the same shot... it couldn't safely be used with the same powder charge, and also had a more considerable recoil as a direct result.
 
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#8
Just one caution: there were a wide variety of 32-pounders in use. For instance, there was a "light" version that was cast with less metal but still fired the same shot... it couldn't safely be used with the same powder charge, and also had a more considerable recoil as a direct result.
So why produce them then? The cost i guess but i'm not well educated in artillery.
 

Mark F. Jenkins

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#9
I'd have to look to make sure but I strongly suspect they were intended for lighter naval units and upper decks of heavier units, and weren't really intended for heavy/sustained use-- more as threat and occasional use when necessary. Carronades had decidedly gone out of style, and they needed something to fill a similar role, yet at the same time not use something other than the size of shot the Navy was trying to standardize on.
 

Carronade

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#15
In the early 1800s and previously, ships' guns came in a variety of calibers: 4, 6, 9, 12, 18, 24, 32, and 42-pounders (also 8, 36, and others in various navies). In the pre-Civil War period, the US Navy standardized on 32-pounders, but made them in a variety of weights (and therefore lengths). The classic 32pdr was 57 or 61 cwt (hundredweight) and shorter/lighter versions were 51, 46, 33, or 27. These weights correspond roughly to old-style 24, 18, 12, or 9pdrs; so a ship that might have carried 9pdrs in the old days would have 27cwt 32s.

There were also 32pdr carronades, about the weight of a long 6, powerful but short-ranged, so they had been mostly phased out by the Civil War. We might say the carronade was a victim of its own success, since it stimulated the development of the family of mid-sized weapons. Carronades had been produced in all the standard calibers from 42 (and 68 in the RN) down to 9, not sure about smaller.

With a complete range of weapons in 32pdr, the only need was for something bigger, in the USN the long 42. They could have built a range of 42s, but it would have been needless complication.
 
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