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Arranging my Balls, my Cannonballs that is!!!!!

Article about: Well I thought it time to arrange my Cannonballs, they range from less than 1 pound to 64 pounds, all but a couple are solid shot, I am now trying to find Hollow ( Shrapnel or Shell Balls) C

  1. #11


    Both, Glenn. The hollows have the plug in them(or the hole for it) that, and as you said, the hollows weigh Far less than a solid of the same diameter would-even when still packing explosive. Rather hard job getting in the charge After they had been welded shut(the 2 halves being joined). A person would have to be a mud head to not notice the difference and use still loaded explosive balls to make such a thing.
    But...Having said that, I do remember a CW display in a town square here in the States that had Welded a stack of balls together to make a nice display by a cannon, only to notice many many years later, that they had never been Emptied...How in the World they somehow had succeeded in applying a Welding torch to an explosive shell (Several, actually) and not gone up to meet the clouds, is a mystery! Sometimes you get Lucky...sometimes you make fireplace guards and get Unlucky....

    Last edited by Wagriff; 06-24-2015 at 04:43 PM.

    "Much that once was, is lost. For none now live who remember it."

  2. #12


    OK, first, "Hollow" Cannonballs ( shrapnel or explosive) were never welded shut once filled, they were loaded through the hole in the ball them a plug to hold the fuse ( wooden or lead) was put in, or in some cases just a fuse was put in, for transit, many had plugs that would be screwed out to place the fuse into the hole when the ball was ready for firing.

    You can always tell a "hollow" ball buy the filler hole, even if it has a plug in it.
    Also remember, if it is a shrapnal round the bursting charge is very small, and is half way down in the center of the ball.

    Since I posted this sometime ago, I have found a few more, including a 8 inch mortar round ( you can see the divits on either side of the hole to use pincers to pick it up, as well as a 9 inch solid shot, that weighs 100 pounds,
    One Shell has the brass transit plug in it as shown in the photos..also I have shown the 115 pound Armstrong round that I have, this was for forts and was to knock out shipping, there is a SRD jug beside it to show the size.

    The smaller 12 pounder shell with the hole is a US Civil War Confederate shell.

    I have also included a photo of a cutaway shell to show how small the bursting charge was, is s the small void in the matrix

    Dean O

    Click image for larger version. 

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  3. #13


    Nice collection Dean.
    Thanks for sharing them with us.

    I specialize in M1 carbines and Lugers.

  4. #14


    Thank You!!!

    Dean O

  5. #15


    Great collection Dean! I'm a bit like hitler when it comes to these things, I've only got one ball.

  6. #16



    Dean O

  7. #17


    wow glen there's an interesting story! haven't heard that one before. It should be pretty obvious, both hole and weight. Usually a fuse was inserted after filling the thing with gun powder and shrapnel. In the US national anthem it refers to "Bombs bursting in air" this literally refers to what happened in your friends fire place! Not good! I had a friend who found one still full of shrapnel and powder. he took the 200 year old powder out (ground dug war of 1812 relic) and let it dry. He took a small sample and lit it. According to him it worked just fine after 200 years under the ground.

  8. #18


    Are any of those hand me down balls?
    "Only a real risk tests the reality of a belief." - C.S. Lewis

  9. #19


    not mine, I bought all mine off an old man

  10. #20


    'Old man balls'...nice.

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