View Full Version : Breech loading cannon

12-28-2004, 01:00 PM
I have been wanting to machine a breech loading cannon to fire with 12 guage blanks like the ones sold by cannon-mania for use in the Winchester blank cannons they sell. My design work is done, and I feel confident that it is as strong or stronger than the Winchester breech mechanism. My concern is that I want to make sure that I don't stray into producing a "firearm" which might violate the law.
I have sent a few emails to cannon-mania to inquire as to the design of the Winchester cannon that allows it to be produced as a non-firearm, but I have not heard back from them. I was hoping someone out there could provide me with the info I need.
I have made several muzzle loading cannon, but really want to graduate to the next level of realistic and more modern artillery pieces. Any help in understanding the laws regarding "salute" type cannons would be well received, and I thank you in advance for your information.

12-28-2004, 02:42 PM
I Think it would fall under the same category as hollywood type guns that only shoot blanks.

It is best that youy write a letter to the ATF about it, and ask them, show them your design.

[This message has been edited by BillH (edited 12-28-2004).]

12-28-2004, 03:41 PM
Not even the police understand gun laws.

There was a local (Atlanta) atf agent bragging he could use a special oil on semi auto guns and make them fire full auto. NOW, When they start acting like that you know they don't have YOUR best interests at heart.

You have to be a millionaire to get out of trouble these days and "prove" your innocence. If they come a knockin, you better have a big bank account to satisfy the attorneys. You lose, if you are doing something wrong or not, you lose. Read that, bail money, attorney money, more bail money, more attorney money and then if you are guilty, everything from court costs to fines and personal attachments to all your property read that RICO act in effect.. If they take a liking to your streetrod or harley, it is thiers.. If you drink and drive, it is thiers.. I have "NO Faith" in corrupt and crooked police down the the deals made on the golf course for the judges.

In other words if there is any doubt about a gun, DON'T build it. If it is a NON shooter you had better put a big red cap on the end of the weapon. I have been approached to build illegal items and I loudly refuse.

On the other side, Brent Marsh, of Marsh creamatorium , you know the poor black man who stacked all the corpses he was paid to creamate? He probably won't serve 2 years for putting my friends granny out for the possums to chew on. (it was discovered when a neighborhood dog brought out human remains to a jogger)
His poor wife, she was verbally assaulted and now the people responsible will probably spend more time in prison/jail then he will.

Welcome to America. It was founded on ideological and sound Biblical principles. Washington needs a enema to get it back like it was. Too many attorneys, Don't they make the politicians out of crooked successful attorneys?
We all need laws to live by, but they need to be just and defineable, not different laws for different people.

(okay I am taking one of the lil blue pills) Off my soapbox.. No, I don't think I'd build any kind of gun, weapon or knife, or ....


12-28-2004, 04:00 PM
I would either underbore or better yet overbore the barrel... then about 1" from the end of it place 2 cross pins through the bore. That should cover it to comply with non-firearm reg's. Oh and clearly mark BLANKS ONLY on the working end.


12-28-2004, 04:48 PM
I doubt that it would be any different than building a shotgun for personal use. The barrel length might be a problem area.

I would definitely NOT put any obstructions in the bore.

The Winchester cannon fires a 10 ga. black powder blank shell. It may be a special shell that has no room for a projectile, and a short chamber that will not accept a standard length shell. They also make a deal about being fired by a lanyard.

My faith in the ATF is about the same as others. They have a distinct advantage as they can make up the rules as they go, and entrapment is standard method of operation.

12-28-2004, 05:03 PM
When you shoot blanks in semi auto firearms, your required to put a blank firing device on the gun so the action cycles. The device is just an obstruction that creates some back pressure for gas operated firearms.
Putting an obstruction in the barrel is probably required for atf regulations. Just dont obstruct more than you need to or you'll make a pipebomb.

12-28-2004, 05:27 PM
All commercially produced blank / starter pistols have crosses wedged into the end of the barrels... allowing the gases to discharge without obstruction or causing a pressure rise. Placing two 1/8" pins through the muzzle end of the barrel of a blank only canon would be the same principle and would also make muzzle loading it a none issue... if in fear of being question or look at by the authorities... that's the route I'd take.


12-28-2004, 05:29 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by ibewgypsie:
Not even the police understand gun laws.

There was a local (Atlanta) atf agent bragging he could use a special oil on semi auto guns and make them fire full auto.

The oil has/is Molybdenum disulfide in it. On some weapons if it is on
the sear, it will not always stay cocked.

Be safe, keep safe http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//tongue.gif

12-28-2004, 06:41 PM
What a truly pathetic state of affairs, when a man even has to take these absurd regulations into consideration. The land of the free....

[This message has been edited by x39 (edited 12-28-2004).]

12-28-2004, 08:33 PM
"and the home of the slave"...jim

12-28-2004, 11:17 PM
It should be nothing more than a really heavy shotgun. Just make sure the barrel is of legal length for a shotgun, 18 inches right? I believe all you have left to do is make sure it has a smooth bore it its a 'destructive device'.

3 Phase Lightbulb
12-28-2004, 11:27 PM
You can safely place a 50% obstruction at the &gt;&gt;end&lt;&lt; of the barrel. The entire length of the barrel will allow the gas to expand. Also, because you're firing a "blank" there is far less backpressure compaired to pushing a "slug". The pressure with a real slug is much more.


kap pullen
12-29-2004, 07:46 AM
I believe any weapon over 100 years old, or reproduction of, is considered a curio.
Curio's fall into a non gun catagory.

I did some research into this when making muzzle loading cannons some years ago.

Check the ATF website.


[This message has been edited by kap pullen (edited 12-29-2004).]

[This message has been edited by kap pullen (edited 12-29-2004).]

12-29-2004, 09:11 AM
Yes, Non gun..

Lets see, pipe nipples + endcaps + black powder + lathe = pipe bomb = Arrest, bail money, attorney fees, court fees. This happened to a friend. He also had pipe wrenches, pipe tape, paste, and a cap and ball pistol.

Isn't a replica black powder pistol also a non-gun.

I think it depends on interpetation of the law, the policeman, the judge and the person's ability to defend his own rights financially in court.

And it is going to get worse.

Before it does, I'd like to build a cannon, a gatling gun, a few more black powder weapons. I love things that go bang, boom or swish boom. I just am not going to build them for anyone else.

Breechloader? why stop with a 12 ga. A 50 caliber would make more sense and more boom for the buck. Where did I see them aircraft barrels? Turn this nice casing to resemble a cannon.

3 Phase Lightbulb
12-29-2004, 11:42 AM
What's the real issue with building a gun? Is this just a permit issue? (I.E: you need a gun/firearm permit), or are there laws in place preventing people from "making" them regardless if they have a gun/firearm permit?


12-31-2004, 04:15 AM
"I believe any weapon over 100 years old, or reproduction of, is considered a curio.
Curio's fall into a non gun catagory."

No, a gun manufactured before 1898 is an "antique". A replica of an antique muzzleloader which has not been modified to accept "modern" ammunition is also an "antique" even if it was made last week. A more modern gun made from the receiver or frame of a pre-1898 gun is not an "antique," although many people mistakenly think it is. Antiques are "non-guns" in the sense that they can be moved in interstate commerce by non-licensees (that is, people who don't hold Federal Firearms Licenses). This is per the Gun Control Act of 1968. State laws are entirely different.

A gun more than 50 years old is a "relic." A gun of some particular noteworthy interest, such as one which once belonged to someone famous, can be determined (by ATF, not by you!) to be a "curio." "Curios" and "relics" have the same status under Federal law. Neither are non-guns. Again, state laws are entirely different. Most states don't recognize any special status for "antiques," "curios" or "relics."

All this rubbish is in the Gun Control Act, The National Firearms Act, and the Firearms Owner's Protection Act. Texts are indexed at


(though not the FOPA, oddly enough - can't let those gun owners know about protections!)

Not much specifically about cannons in there, I'm afraid.

12-31-2004, 06:08 PM
Laws, smaws, what I wanna know; Kap is that a picture of your work? How cool! Looks like a hoot.

12-31-2004, 07:40 PM
Thanks for all your feedback!

12-31-2004, 08:02 PM
I want to thank everyone for their input and suggestions.

sauer38h offered good info on the Gun Control Act of 1968, and while I was aware of this info, I'm sure a lot others can benefit from it. Unfortunately for me, the info I need is a little more obscure. I think the info from both Tinkerer and
3 Phase Lightbulb are probably close. There are lots of blank firing pieces out there, and perminant barrel obstructions seem to be the standard feature shared by all of them.
kap pullen seems to have the right idea. Stay with muzzle loaders and you can make them as big as you want. The pic he posted was a beauty, one of the nicest pieces I have seen, both for authenticity and quality of finish.
One thing is for sure. He isn't likely to stick up a 7-11 store with it.
Anyway, I want to thank you all again for your respective viewpoints and information. As a new guy on the block, it is much appreciated. I look forward to gaining new insights into machine shop projects, and hope to one day be able to help some of you with information I gain in persuit of my hobby. Happy New Year!

kap pullen
large cannon

kap pullen
01-03-2005, 12:06 AM

Yep, she's my work.

But curio, gizmo, antique, or what ever it is, when we fire it, the police come QUICK.

Works best when we let the police know ahead that we're gonna play.

Those park rangers get really crappy when interupted from their Christmas dinner to find the boomer in the park.

Ranger said he had complaints, and they weren't from anywhere close.

We (me and Andy that appears here at times) used to fire on a site surounded by park land.

Andy saved our butts once because he had turned some poachers in shortly before Christmas.

We strayed over the line a couple yards that day.

Pretty much gave it up now. New wives are scared of the whole thing.


01-03-2005, 11:04 AM
Yeah, I know. I used to live on a mountain in Vermont, and I had a 1/3rd scale Naval cannon with a 1.5" bore that I used to shoot blank loads all the time. My nearest neighbor was a half mile away and he didn't mind at all. Where I am now I could touch my neighbor's house from my kitchen window, so I'll just have to wait for the 4th of July.

01-03-2005, 11:24 AM
My other piece of land here in North Georgia. I was awakened by the lights shining in through my back window. Two poachers riding 4wd Atvs were spotlighting in my back acreage.
I was not too concerned till a 30/06 whistled by and boomed by myself and my kids. I put my kids in the bathtub, I got a Mini-14 and four mags and returned about twenty in thier direction then they turned all the lights out and tried to slip off.

The game warden showed up, took thier truck, took thier ATV's took thier rifles and took them to jail. They put a "robot" deer in my back yard for about two weeks. It got shot at but never hit. Sorry shots them poachers. I think drinking and stupidity has a lot to do with it.
Each of us make our own mistakes I guess. I am just glad I didn't hit one of them sorry devils. I would probably be still paying his grocery bill.


[This message has been edited by ibewgypsie (edited 01-03-2005).]