H. M. Royal Artillery
"Artillery lends dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl"

Our Big Guns

Sir Robert's 1-pound field gun. This is a scale replica of the 24 pound
guns on "Old Ironsides" and
was custom machined from a solid
 bar of metal instead of being cast. Since 2007 it's been the
"Official Faire Cannon" that's fired to
open and close
FlaRF, Camelot Days and other festivals.
It has a 1.75 inch bore and can shoot golf balls.

"Cannon On A Stick" (C.O.S.) is a
replica of a 13th century handgonne.
 The original firearms, they were in use from the early
1200's to the mid 1500's.
With a 1 inch bore, it's every bit as loud as some of our
cannons and it never fails to impress the crowd.

Lady Triskelia's "Noisy Cricket"
Don't let the 5 inch long barrel fool you, it's loud for its size!

It's lashed to the decking so it won't do a back flip when fired.

Mounted on a naval carriage, 'Dutchess' is Captain Drake's
iron gun. It has a
1.75 inch bore

Named for his daughter, 'Melissa' is Mr. Avery's beautiful bronze gun.  
Custom cast with a 1.5 inch bore, this is it's original naval carriage
It takes a lot of polishing to keep it looking this good.

The Daniel King howitzer on it's original field carriage. 
This gun was used to open and close FlaRF from 2004 thru 2006.
It's a full sized replica of a piece that was in service from 1790 to 1815

Our 3 pound Dutch Verbruggen mounted on a field carriage.

Our other 3 pounder on a naval carriage. Original guns were bronze.

The 218mm Bowling Ball Mortar with a pair of 16 pound shot.

One of Capt. Drake's two swivel guns. These have a 1" bore.

'El Gato' is a one pound naval gun that belongs to Lady Triss.
With a 1.75" bore, it can shoot golf balls.
Sir Robert custom built the carriage.

Our 1.75" bronze golf ball mortar.
While not quite as impressive as it's big brother,
it's really fun to shoot and a whole lot easier to move around.

We also have available two additional swivel guns, a one pound naval gun and three .50 caliber hand cannons

This diagram shows the parts of a typical cannon. Keep in mind that this is only a generalization and very often there were differences between guns.
For example, most guns had the trunnions centered on the bore instead of having them below it as illustrated. Also, very few long guns
had a powder chamber as is shown here. Instead they were bored full diameter from the muzzle to the breech. Howitzers and mortars
however, almost always had sub-caliber powder chambers. Additionally, around the mid 1600's, powder bags were introduced
and the use of loose powder and wadding ceased. This made the guns much quicker and easier to load.

Early cannon were very elaborate with royal seals, coats of arms or other designs cast into them. However, as the years passed, in order to reduce
cost and make production faster and easier, cannon became less and less elaborate. By the late 1700's, cast in designs had virtually vanished
and by the 19th century, astragals, fillets and reinforce rings had completely disappeared leaving just a simple plain barrel.

In naval cannons, wadding would be placed in front of the projectile to prevent it from sliding out as the ship rolled from side to side.

Very early in the development of artillery, the different sized guns were given names such as Falcon, Minion, Saker, Demi-Culverin etc. However,
for each particular name, there was no set standard for the actual size of that gun. For example, a Saker could have a bore diameter  of 3.50,
3.75 or 4.00 inches which would throw a round shot weighing 4.75, 6.00 or 7.50 pounds respectively. This made the logistics of supplying
ammunition to the guns very complicated.

In 1722, the British military did away with the historic names for the types of cannons and standardized the sizes. Each type was specified by
the weight of the round shot (cannonball) it fired. They further limited the number of cannonball weights to a strict set of values.
These were 4, 6, 9, 12, 18, 24, 32 and 42 pounds.

From the very beginning, the bore of a cannon was made slightly larger to allow for the rough casting and rusting of the cannonballs, as well as the irregularities in the casting and boring of the gun. This difference in diameter is termed "windage". The final bore diameter and hence the
windage of earlier 16th and 17th century guns was a matter for the skill of the gunfounder. A value of 0.20 to 0.25 inches was typical.

 When the British standardized the weight of the shot, they also standardized the windage of the guns. It was determined that the
most efficient bore diameter was 25/24th of the gun's round shot diameter.

The following table shows the 1722 standardized sizes for cannons, shot and windage. These values remained in use with both the
British and American military until muzzleloading cannon were replaced by modern breech loading artillery in the late 1800's.
Notice that as the shot diameter and gun caliber increases, so does the amount of windage.

Round Shot Weight

Round Shot Diameter

Cannon Caliber



































There is a widely believed urban legend about cannons that needs to be corrected and put to rest. The belief is that if they ran out of cannon balls, gun crews would load anything that happened to be at hand down the barrel. Rocks, broken glass, nails, and other such junk were
supposed to have been used. In one recent well known and very popular movie, a cannon was loaded with silverware from the ships
galley and fired at the enemy. This is nothing more than made up Hollywood garbage. Loading a cannon with debris like this could
easily cause a barrel obstruction and firing the weapon in this condition would result in the cannon blowing up and probably killing
the gun crew. Even if a cannon could have been was successfully fired after being loaded with this kind of junk, it would have
had no effect on an enemy ship. The fact is that cannon were never loaded with anything except a proper projectile.
If a ship actually ran out of ammunition during a fight, it would be forced to either withdraw or surrender.
The same would be true for land artillery.

For excellent in-depth information about the history, development, specifications and use of cannons from
the beginning of the 14th century to the mid 19th century go to our 'Links' page and click on
 "Artillery Through the Ages" from the National Park Service.

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