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Community Member
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎11-20-2003

Real Civil War cannon.

Any ideas of what a real Civil War cannon would cost a person? All I see are replicas.
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springfld.arsenal
Community Member
Posts: 3,832
Registered: ‎07-05-2004

Re: Real Civil War cannon.

in reply to watsonscoins
It depends greatly on what kind you want, Union, CSA, big, small,etc. Generally people buy the barrel since that's about the only original part that survives. Then they pay a carriagewright skilled in making CW cannon carriages, to build an authentic carriage to fit the barrel.

When you can find an original barrel, prices for one in very good condition can be anywhere in the 5-figure range. If there is some serious problem with it, it may be in the high 4-figures. Iron pieces normally cost less than bronze ones. Condition of the bore affects value since people like to shoot them at targets.

If you've studied the various types and know what type you want, I can get more specific. But they are hard to find. The people who have them usually sell them in private sales and a lot of folks who want them never hear about the transaction.
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I collect fine cannon models, full-size antique cannons and artillery accouterments.
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springfld.arsenal
Community Member
Posts: 3,832
Registered: ‎07-05-2004

Re: Real Civil War cannon.

in reply to watsonscoins
Now I can tell you about one big pitfall to avoid in buying an antique cannon. I fell for it and if I had not been very careful about how I paid, I would have lost money.

There are a couple of business names that advertise widely on the web and gun auction sites.


"Antique Cannon Superstore" aka "bronzecannon" aka "Tony Wells" aka "Dennis Standifer" aks "Chuck Wright." Watch out they are all scammers and tried to scam me. They sold me a Spanish cannon using pictures of a small, corroded but quite real cannon, there was no mistaking it.

I sent them nearly $6K using Paypal from my credit card. That's all that saved me. They said the cannon wasn't available when they got my money and sent me about half of it back, that's all. I made a Paypal claim and only got about $300. more since that's all that was left in their account. I then contested my credit card charge and got the remaining $1900. back this week.
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I collect fine cannon models, full-size antique cannons and artillery accouterments.
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renomarvinm
Community Member
Posts: 3,719
Registered: ‎08-24-2006

Real Civil War cannon.

in reply to watsonscoins
Be careful! If you're thinking of shooting it, a real Civil War cannon is extremely dangerous! Metalurgy was primitive back then, and a lot of the old canons exploded. Having them blow up was almost expected in some cases.

If it's real, don't shoot it, ever!
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springfld.arsenal
Community Member
Posts: 3,832
Registered: ‎07-05-2004

Real Civil War cannon.

in reply to watsonscoins
>If it's real, don't shoot it, ever!

I only shoot real cannons, I don't even own any replicas. We've made about 60 videos of us shooting old cannons, many with projectiles, and they are on you-tube under "cannonmn." Whether we will risk shooting an antique cannon basically depends on what metal the barrel is made of, then what condition the weapon is in, and how "robustly" it was designed to begin with. We only use black powder of the proper granulation for the particular weapon, the default being "cannon" grade which is relatively slow-burning.

Bronze: I usually only shoot original bronze cannons with projectiles. The bronze does not deteriorate at all over time if kept in a stable environment indoors. I keep the powder charge moderate and the projectile relatively lightweight, to keep internal pressures down. The weapons are too expensive to replace so I'm as concerned about damaging one of them as anything.

Cast Iron: I usually only shoot cast iron cannons using blanks, since blank loads don't build up high pressure like a projectile load does. Cast iron was somewhat brittle and can certainly fail in a way that is dangerous to people around it.

Steel: Antique steel cannons, both muzzleloading and breechloading: We shoot those with projectiles also and have never had a problem.

Wrought Iron: I haven't had an opportunity to shoot any of those but a lot of Civil War artillery crews shoot original 3-inch Ordnance Rifles made during the Civil War. There's no record of any failures of that model weapon. I'd probably avoid shooting pre-Civil War wrought iron cannons using projectiles, since the forging/welding technology for cannons was not as well developed then.

There are thousands of folks who shoot antique cannons without any problems, but like anything you have to obey the rules and use common sense.
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I collect fine cannon models, full-size antique cannons and artillery accouterments.
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