Black Powder Cannon

Make One


Black Powder Cannon Making a Barrel

If you want to build your own black powder cannon, the simplest design to use would be that of a naval deck cannon.  The reason that we will make a deck canon, is that the carriage will be easier to make than a field artillery black powder canon with spoke wheels. Here you will be able to come up with your own black powder cannon plans.

The first thing that we must make or have made is the barrel.  The steel to use for your barrel can be either 1008 or 1010 steel, but 4140 steel would be the best for it is stronger.  For a barrel up to 12 inches of length we will use a bore diameter no bigger than 1 inch.  The barrel thickness back at the breech will be no less than 2 inches in diameter.

The reason for making a barrel only up to 12 inches is for what would be easiest to make or have made. If you want to scale your barrel bigger you can if you have the tooling to make it with. Or check out and see what your design would cost to be made. Bores of this size in diameter, going deeper than 12 inches will require a longer than normal boring bar. If you want to make a longer barrel you may have to find a shop that has a gun drill.

If you are going to get quotes on having your barrel made at a machine shop, you will need to have some kind of sketch or print made up. This way the shop quoting your work will be able to give you exactly what you want. Just remember that the bigger and more fancy of a contour shape of your barrel, the more it is going to cost to be made.

This will give us a minimum of half an inch per side of steel strength at the breech. You will want to keep with a ½ inch of thickness for any sized cannon that you make. This is for anything that will have a bore of ½ to 1 inch in diameter, and a barrel length of 12 inches or shorter. If you make a bigger barrel, scale up your wall thickness to match.

  For the shape of the barrel, you can do a simple search on the Internet, or if you all are close to where there is an actual cannon you can scale the barrel to get your shape. This would be the best way to be authentic. Alternatively, simply come up with a shape of your own.

In order to make your barrel you'll have to have access to a metal cutting lathe, a computer numerically controlled or (CNC) lathe will be better to use rather than a manual lathe.  Using a CNC lathe will allow you to be more precise with your shape.  However, if you want to make a simple shaped cannon barrel, you still can use a manual lathe.

To mount the trunnions, the barrel should be spot drilled so that you can place the trunnions before welding.  The trunnions will mount in the middle of the barrel's length. The touch hole will be drilled just up from the bore end by about 1/8 inch, and at 1/8 inch in diameter. This diameter will stay the same for all sized cannon barrels.

If you are planning on firing your cannon barrel, you are going to have to test fire it. This way you know that it is safe to be around when firing it on your carriage. You will tie it down to a large 4 x 4 and then if your barrel is large, tie that to an old tire or anything heavy.

First, a word of caution on test firing of your barrel. First make sure that you do this where if the barrel does explode, that you are behind something big enough to stop any parts from getting to you. Furthermore, make sure that you do this where you do not put any other people or property in danger also.

You are totally responsible for any firing of your cannon barrel. This website and or its owners are not responsible for any actions with this information given here or anywhere on this website. If you do not agree to this, do not use any information on this site.

For the load, take your maximum load and add half again as much black powder or Pyrodex to it. Then double the wad that you will normally use also. Tamp it all down very well, and light your cannon fuse. Chances are that you will get a very loud boom and see a lot of smoke and your barrel will survive. Now you know for certain that your barrel is safe at normal loads.

Now lets go over to the build your carriage page. You can also check out some Thailand black powder cannon pictures.

Go back to Black Powder Shooter home page, just click link.

Go back to the Cannon home page, just click link.