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Winchester 10 Gauge Signal Cannon
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June 21, 2023 - 1:01 am
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A very good friend of mine, a 99 year old World War 2 Marine veteran and his 90 year old wife have a neat old Winchester Signal Cannon that shoots a 10 gauge black powder blank loaded with 8 drams of black powder.

They don’t want to sell it but when asked if I could borrow it to salute our family reunion last weekend, they said I could.

When I got it, it would not chamber a shell.  The chamber was too corroded.  I cleaned that up and now it does.  And that’s why Winchester called it a signal cannon.  Its very loud bang and white smoke gets your attention and was a definite crowd pleaser at the reunion.

When asked if I can use it on the upcoming 4th of July to let the old girl do her thing in our front yard.  I got the go ahead for that too.

I live in rural upstate New York that is gun friendly and with our house being 700 feet from the road, will not have a problem with the neighbors who will, I’m sure, be pleased.

Some pictures of that sweet old thing below.  Note the serial number: “1000”.

(Correction added 06.27.23: “1000” is not the serial number.  It is an assembly number.  From Jennifer and Gary Gole’s excellent article on the Model 1898 Winchester Cannon in the Spring Issue 2019 of the Winchester Collector.)

Jolly

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June 21, 2023 - 1:18 am
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Very nice… that box of shells is a rare item as well!

WACA Historian & Board of Director Member #6571L
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June 21, 2023 - 1:37 am
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Bert H. said
Very nice… that box of shells is a rare item as well!

  

I agree.  But boy, do they work good.

To conserve them, I’ve loaded up some 10 gauge 2 7/8 inch RST hulls (Cheddites) with 2, 4 and 6 drams of black powder that are almost as good but the last BANG or two were with those Winchester factory loads that makes for a Happy Ending.

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June 21, 2023 - 1:40 am
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Bill, my BIL had a real nice one that ended our partnership in guns. Long story. I imagine he still had it when he passed a couple years ago.

WE fired that cannon off for many years on holidays. Neighbors got a kick out of it. They are quite loud.   Big Larry

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June 21, 2023 - 1:46 am
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Big Larry said
Bill, my BIL had a real nice one that ended our partnership in guns. Long story. I imagine he still had it when he passed a couple years ago.

WE fired that cannon off for many years on holidays. Neighbors got a kick out of it. They are quite loud.   Big Larry

  

I bet you’d like to have it back.

And yes, they are quite loud.  I could feel the shock wave when I pulled the trip cord to fire it from behind.  That white smoke is awesome too.

And I’m sure you noticed, it belongs to a WW2 Marine.

Semper Fi Larry.

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June 21, 2023 - 3:19 am
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jolly bill said I live in rural upstate New York that is gun friendly and with our house being 700 feet from the road, will not have a problem with the neighbors who will, I’m sure, be pleased. 

Think that’s something?  About a quarter mile down the road is a guy (never met him) who has his private range behind his house, where he sometimes shoots at 10 or 11 pm!  (Drunk?)  Has lights set up, another neighbor told me.  Not a “wilderness,” either, houses spaced quarter to half mile apart along road.  Yet this has been going on for yrs.  Hope he doesn’t pick up a cannon like yours!  I’m 10 m from Lake Placid.

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June 21, 2023 - 3:32 am
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clarence said

jolly bill said I live in rural upstate New York that is gun friendly and with our house being 700 feet from the road, will not have a problem with the neighbors who will, I’m sure, be pleased. 

Think that’s something?  About a quarter mile down the road is a guy (never met him) who has his private range behind his house, where he sometimes shoots at 10 or 11 pm!  (Drunk?)  Has lights set up, another neighbor told me.  Not a “wilderness,” either, houses spaced quarter to half mile apart along road.  Yet this has been going on for yrs.  Hope he doesn’t pick up a cannon like yours!  I’m 10 m from Lake Placid.

  

Clarence,

I’m in northwestern Wayne County (east of Rochester along Lake Ontario) which is number 2 or 3 in USA for apple production.  A lot of fruit farms.  Corn, soy beans and wheat too plus nice wooded areas.  Hen turkey in the back yard this afternoon but no young birds with her.  Fishers are a problem.

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June 27, 2023 - 4:16 am
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Correction to my original first post above.

“1000” is not the serial number.  It is an assembly number.  From Jennifer and Gary Gole’s excellent article on the Model 1898 Winchester Cannon in the Spring Issue 2019 of the Winchester Collector.

And by virtue of their great article, the cannon pictured is the early pre 1909 variety with the thin wall barrel.  After 1909, they were made with a thicker barrel.

By the way, terrific article on Winchester Cannon’s by Jennifer and Gary.

Jolly

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September 16, 2023 - 2:00 am
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is it possible to use black powder and a fuse/percussion cap/etc in one of these old Winchester 10 gauge signal cannons? We used to be able to find shells for them, but they have dried up…

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September 16, 2023 - 3:48 am
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alongwaysgone said
is it possible to use black powder and a fuse/percussion cap/etc in one of these old Winchester 10 gauge signal cannons? We used to be able to find shells for them, but they have dried up…

  

I originally couldn’t find those 10 gauge, 2 7/8 black powder blanks so I loaded my own using black powder, nitro card wads and fiber wads as mentioned above.  They work fine.

Then I got some black powder substitute and that worked fine too.

Then I found a couple boxes of Winchester 10 gauge black powder blanks so I should be in good shape for a while.

So, reloading may be your solution.

By the way, do you have one of those Winchester Signal Cannons?

Bill

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September 16, 2023 - 4:13 pm
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alongwaysgone said
is it possible to use black powder and a fuse/percussion cap/etc in one of these old Winchester 10 gauge signal cannons? We used to be able to find shells for them, but they have dried up…

  

You’re right about these getting hard to find.  I bought a couple boxes of these 10 gauge blanks awhile back but haven’t had a chance to try them out yet.  I called them to clarify the powder type and they are loaded with a black powder substitute and they assured me they were safe to use in the Winchester cannons.  There is also a short video included in the below link of them firing a round in a Winchester cannon.  According to the reviews, they are every bit as good as the Winchester brand and claim to be even louder.

https://bolandfx-com.3dcartstores.com/10gaugeblank.html

Don

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September 21, 2023 - 12:14 pm
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Yes, we have one and used to shoot it all the time. We used to find the shells pretty reliably locally… then they suddenly dried up 🙁 We never thought to save any of the shells. If/when we ever find another box we absolutely will.

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September 22, 2023 - 2:47 am
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Someday I hope to add a Winchester signal cannon to my little collection. I’ve passed on a few and when the next one comes along it costs (at least) a little bit more. My neighbors are huge fans of fireworks so I figure one more big boom now and then won’t offend anyone.

 

Mike

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October 2, 2023 - 1:31 am
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Bill,

These cannons are literally a blast! I first saw one as a young boy in an old local gun shop and immediately knew I had to have one. They’ve becoming a bit expensive but in my opinion worth owning.  I touch one off every 4th of July and any other time I want to “feel” the boom.

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October 2, 2023 - 1:44 am
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jsgwoodsman said
Bill,

These cannons are literally a blast! I first saw one as a young boy in an old local gun shop and immediately knew I had to have one. They’ve becoming a bit expensive but in my opinion worth owning.  I touch one off every 4th of July and any other time I want to “feel” the boom.

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Yes, they are a literally a BLAST.

Yep, 4th of July Independence Day I do the same.

And depending on the weather on this coming Veteran’s Day, Saturday November 11th at 11:11 AM I’ll make some noise.  I have enough factory and hand loaded 10 gauge black powder blanks to make some noise.

11 shells should be about right.

Good for you on celebrating the 4th.

Bill Laugh

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May 9, 2024 - 4:50 pm
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Hi All,

I’ve gotten a Winchester 10 Gauge Signal Cannon.. But its missing the Breach.

Has there been Drawings or Blueprints of this cannon over the years? Whould be easier machining parts from a drawing vs guess the sizes, machine and custom fit each part. Which one will have do in the end to fit that parts.

If a kind soul could do a pencil rough drawing with measurements from a working unit would go a long way

Cheers

https://patents.google.com/patent/US681021A/en

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May 10, 2024 - 2:40 am
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Tuner said
Hi All,

I’ve gotten a Winchester 10 Gauge Signal Cannon.. But its missing the Breach.

Has there been Drawings or Blueprints of this cannon over the years? Whould be easier machining parts from a drawing vs guess the sizes, machine and custom fit each part. Which one will have do in the end to fit that parts.

If a kind soul could do a pencil rough drawing with measurements from a working unit would go a long way

Cheers

https://patents.google.com/patent/US681021A/en  

Tuner,

I started this thread almost a year ago and I borrowed that Winchester Signal Cannon from my old friend and WW2 Marine Vet who has since, sadly, passed. His wife has the cannon and said that someday, I might be able to get it.

Luckily tho, I found and bought one about 2 weeks ago and have used it twice.  The old girl works fine.

I would be happy to sketch out and provide dimensions of mine but am asking specifically what you need.  I’m thinking the breech is everything except the barrel, ie, both sides, wheels, axle and shaft holding the sides together.  The firing pin flat spring too.

Could you provide a picture to see what you need? That would help.

Jolly

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May 10, 2024 - 3:18 am
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Will take a picture in the AM

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May 10, 2024 - 3:23 am
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Tuner said
Will take a picture in the AM  

Thanks Tuner.  That would be great.

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May 14, 2024 - 4:20 pm
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Thanks so much for the help ~ Jolly Bill!

Cheers 

Joe B

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