Naval Gunnery. A Book Review.
Naval Gunnery. A Description. by Captain H. Garbett. R.N. 360 pages.
Was originally published in 1897, and is a book which has been considered by academicians and scholars as being of great significance and value to literature. As such, it has been reproduced by Alpha Editions in an inexpensive, facsimile, paper back edition.
I came across an article about rifled muzzle loading cannons which referenced the book, and led me to purchase it from the Book Depository for $AUD20.
It, the book, is fascinating. 1897 English, is beautiful to read, non ambiguous, and unusually, does not provoke the grammar Nazi in me.
And the book has answered my questions about cannon construction. Not completely, mind you. I still do not know how they managed blind rifling. But most of the first 78 pages are about muzzle loaders, particularly Armstrong muzzle loaders. With diagrams.
One question which was answered was about the “recoil tube” located below the barrel of the Port Fairy 80 lb RML’s. I wondered whether it was like a gas shock absorber. The book explains that these long cylinders had a piston, and were filled with “Rangoon Oil”, (look it up. It is in Wikipedia), and they were indeed designed to moderate the rate of recoil of the cannon.
Another fact about rifled cannons… the rifling causes the projectile to emerge from the cannon slightly to the left or the right of the cannon axis, depending on whether the rifling is clockwise or anti-clockwise.
The book has chapters on breech loaders, naval mountings, quick firing guns, magazines, shell rooms, loading arrangements, sights, powder, cordite, projectiles fuzes, battleship development (up to 1897), battleship organisation and manning.
360 pages, 12 plates (black and white), 113 text illustrations.
If you have an interest in pre-dreadnought naval guns, this book is highly recommended.
>I still do not know how they managed blind rifling
Two of the guys on the cannon forum I mentioned the other day rifled some muzzle loaders without boring the barrel all the way through and eventually plugging it.
Basically you ream the barrel to the diameter of the lands. Then at the bottom of the bore, bore it out to the groove diameter for the length of the powder charge. The rifling cutter is spring loaded with a button on the end of the cutter holder so that when the holder hits the bottom of the bore, the cutter pops up to a preset depth and locks into place. You withdraw the cutter making the cut, then adjust the height for the next cut, lower it and set the catch, and then push it back to the bottom again where it pops up ready to repeate the process.
I would imagine it would be possible to make a simpler version with some sort of an adjustment screw on the muzzle side of the cutter holder. The bar with the helical guide would probably need to be hollow with the adjustment rod running through it. Perhaps a setscrew that pushes a wedge underneath the cutter with a suitably shaped bottom.
Thanks for the plug to my cannon page!
No. Thank you!
In my model I have decided to bore the barrel right through, open out the powder chamber from the breech end, do the rifling, make a threaded permanent plug which will be silver soldered into position, then make the threaded cascabel. Not decided whether to make an asymmetric thread like on the originals, or use conventional 17 or 18mm x 1 or 1.5mm metric.