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Homemade Cannon Shoots Mini Balls
Don Ramberg's family and friends get a big kick out of his homemade cannon. Bored out of an old railroad boxcar axle, the cannon's 1-in. bore is amazingly accurate.
"I can hit a 16-in. tire from 220 yds. with a 1-in. dia., 200-gram, mini cannonball," says Ramberg. "We shoot it 10 to 12 times each Fourth of July."
Ramberg has been building and shooting muzzle-loading rifles for nearly 50 years. The cannon has the biggest barrel he ever made. A friend initially drilled a hole in the barrel, leaving a "blind bottom" for an end.
"Then I put it in a lathe and drilled it out to get it smoother and then lathed the outside," explains Ramberg.
Once he had the classic cannon shape, he went to work on the carriage, making it out of oak from a century old bobsled. Wheels came from an old garden cultivator. Ramberg turned the ends of the axles to fit the wheel hub casting and used a wooden peg to hold the wheels in place.
"I drilled a touch hole in the blind bottom end for a 2-in. piece of cannon fuse," says Ramberg. "I put in about 300 grains of black powder and pack it real hard with 2 in. of newspaper. When I set it off, it jumps about a foot in the air."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Don Ramberg, 33501 155th Ave. S.E., Mentor, Minn. 56736 (ph 218 637-2595).

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2011 - Volume #35, Issue #2