WARNING: Loading and
firing cannons is a highly dangerous activity and can likely result in death,
dismemberment or a serious injury if caution is not observed. Structural integrity of the barrel, powder
charge preparation, premature discharge as a result of burning embers remaining
in the barrel from the previous cannon fire and other unforeseen and
unanticipated conditions may contribute to accidents, serious injury and or
DO NOT RELY ONLY ON
THE INFORMATION CONTAINED HERE TO PROTECT YOU FROM THE DANGERS OF ENGAGING IN
THE LOADING OR FIRING OF ARTILLERY. USE
USE BLACK POWDER
ONLY. NEVER USE SMOKELESS POWDER. [Smokeless powders are also black in color]
NEVER GET IN FRONT OF
THE BARREL NOR LET ANYONE PASS IN FRONT DURING LOADING AND FIRING
PROCEDURES. THIS INCLUDES ANY BODY
PARTS. IE; ARMS, LEGS, EYES OR FACE ETC.
WEAR SAFETY GLASSES,
EAR PROTECTION AND HEAVY GLOVES.
NEVER POUR POWDER DIRECTLY
INTO THE BARREL DIRECTLY FROM THE POWDER CONTAINER. SECURE LID TIGHTLY AFTER EACH USE.
RETREAT 25 FEET OR
MORE AWAY FROM CANNON AFTER LIGHTING FUSE.
WAIT AT LEAST 5
MINUTES BETWEEN RELOADING.
LOADING AND FIRING
Two bore cleaning brushes or swabs [dry & damp] .
Rammer [wood dowel]
Bucket of water
Safety glasses, ear protection and gloves.
Powder measuring device. (Scale)
a small mortar may appear like a toy; as with any firearm, treat with the
utmost of respect.
check field of range prior to loading and firing for any person(s), animals or
other objects to prevent accidental injury or damage.
THE BARREL & WET SPONGE THE BORE
the barrel to insure it’s clean, dry and empty.
If recently fired, wait several minutes before loading and firing
again. It is best to "swab” the bore and
the powder chamber with a damp swab or brush.
Clean the vent hole with a damp pipe cleaner.
SPONGE THE BORE
wet sponge, the same procedure is used with the dry sponge. The dry sponge is cleaned and dried off
periodically. The purpose of the dry
sponge is to remove excess moisture from the bore and chamber. If water is left in the bore, it may cause
incomplete burning of the powder charge, leaving dangerously glowing
residue. With the flashlight, check to
see if the bore and vent is clean and dry.
If not, repeat step 1.
want to be 100% sure no live embers are in the barrel before loading it
a 3” to 6” piece of fuse all the way into the vent hole. 3/32 American Visco or
3mm Chinese Visco works best. CAUTION:
Hot debris is apt to be blown out of the vent hole on discharge. Keep yourself and spectators clear of the vent
blast area near the mortar. A fuse
ignition is often the source of misfires and ignition delay, which may provide
opportunity for children, pets, photographers, or others to advance beyond the
safety zone. Keep control of your
area. It is recommended to test burn a
length of fuse to determine the burn rate.
the correct amount of black powder based on the size of the powder chamber or
bore of the mortar. Six to Seven Grams or 90 to 115 Grains is adequate. Eight
Grams or 125 Grains is the Maximum Load. Never use more than the maximum recommended
load. Cannon grade, Fg, FFg,or FFFG all work fine. Synthetic black powders work fine as well. SECURE LID ON CAN AFTER EACH USE AND KEEP IT
A SAFE DISTANCE FROM THE CANNON. NO
the mortar barrel vertical and with a piece of paper folded into a "v” place
powder onto the paper from the measuring device and pour powder into the powder
chamber. Tamp the powder into the powder
chamber using the appropriate sized wooden dowel. NEVER USE A STEEL RAMMER OR ANYTHING ELSE THE
MIGHT CREATE A SPARK. NEVER PUT YOUR HAND OVER THE END OF THE RAMMER.
around the mortar making certain it is clear.
ANNOUNCE that it is to be fired.
Light the fuse and retreat. A 6”
fuse gives you about 10 seconds to get away.
the fuse ignites and the mortar fails to fire, wait 3 minutes before
approaching. When 3 minutes has elapsed,
position yourself so you are away from the vent blast area and the muzzle. Clear the vent with an aluminum or brass
gimlet. (A gimlet is an aluminum or
brass wire for clearing the vent.) Re-insert fuse and follow procedure # 6
three attempts fail to fire, flood the bore and the vent with water and pour
out the contents allowing the wet powder to slide from the barrel. Then reload starting from procedure #1.
a bucket with very hot soapy water.
Dishwashing detergent works best.
water directly into the barrel and vigorously scrub the bore with a cleaning
brush. Repeat until bore is clear of any
residue. Clean vent with pipe cleaner.
with hot water. (The hot water
evaporates quickly and simplifies the drying procedure.
the bore with a dry cloth. Dry the vent
hole with a clean dry pipe cleaner.
the bore with WD-40 spray. Use
generously and spray into the vent hole.
For long term storage [longer than one week] use automotive motor oil to
coat the bore and vent hole with a generous heavy coat. Note: WD-40 or some other sprays will
evaporate over a period of time, which can allow the bore to rust.