As you will find out, firing the Kennesaw Cannon can be one of the most exciting and rewarding types of recreation. In order to be safe while shooting, one must follow rules in order to prevent injury and/or death. There is no way to list all of the possible do's and don'ts, but these guidelines for handling your Kennesaw Cannon should keep you safe and allow you to have a good time for years to come.
Black powder is classified as an explosive which at anytime can be ignited by static electricity. Black powder should always be stored in its original container. Never use a glass, plastic or static-prone container. Always ground yourself to dissipate any static charge before handling black powder.
All persons, pets, livestock or other living animals should be a minimum of 25 feet behind the cannon when firing. This area is known as the "Safe Zone". Never allow anyone or anything to stand in front of the muzzle. Automobiles or other motorized vehicles, dwellings, buildings, fuel tanks or fuel lines should be a minimum of 200 feet away from the firing position of your black powder Kennesaw Cannon, and never in front of your muzzle. The muzzle is the front of the barrel where your black powder is loaded and where the explosion exits. Cannon shooter and spectators should always wear ear and eye protection designed for firearm use. Ignition of black powder cannon is to be by a twelve-inch long slow burning "1/8th inch cannon fuse" only. For safety purposes do not use any other fuse.
Each time you buy new cannon fuse, cut a 12-inch length, then measure the time it takes to burn the entire 12 inches. This should take approximately 30 seconds. If it takes less than 30 seconds to burn completely end-to-end, DO NOT use it. This test assures that you will know how much time you have to get to your safe zone. Not all fuses are the same. Burn times will vary between manufacturers; never trust the burn times established by the packaging. Never use homemade fuse or fuse that is bent or damaged. USE BLACK POWDER ONLY! Do not mix different grades of black powder, and do not mix foreign matter (flour, chalk etc.) with your black powder. Never use "Smokeless Powder" in an instrument designed and intended to use black powder. Smokeless powder is designed to burn faster with a higher explosive energy than black powder instruments are designed for. Pyrodex is the only substitute that can be allowed for black powder. Before the loading and firing of your black powder Kennesaw Cannon, always inspect the cannon to
be sure that it is safe and fully functional. Check the barrel, insure that there are no cracks or damage. Check the mechanical properties of the carriage and insure that there are no loose parts or stresses to the welds. If you find any damage, cracks or stress to any area of the black powder cannon, then STOP! DO NOT FIRE OR LOAD THE CANNON.
Never pour the black powder directly from a flask or can. There are many types of scales or dispensers available at sporting goods stores that are designed to accurately measure black powder, please follow their directions accordingly. At a minimum distance of 25 feet behind the cannon, pour the pre-measured black powder into a small piece of folded paper or funnel. Close the black powder container and keep it out of the firing area (25 feet minimum behind the cannon). Do not use more than 25 grains of black powder. Black powder canister/supply must be kept 25 feet to the rear of cannon, in the Safe Zone, with an adult in attendance at all times.
Always have thumbs pointing away from muzzle when ramming the black powder or wadding. We have posted an industry standard for black powder cannon loads in the rear of this manual. You can always use less. The object is to have fun without injury. Ignition of cannon is the responsibility of the cannon owner, with safety as the prime concern. NEVER drink alcohol or be impaired by drugs/medication while using or handling black powder! NEVER smoke while handling black powder, fuse, or cannon. NEVER leave loaded cannon unattended. NEVER store cannon loaded. NEVER get in front of, or allow others in front of the cannon! NEVER approach a black powder cannon that did not ignite and fire! If the black powder cannon does not fire, you must wait five minutes before you approach the cannon. Treat a misfire or failure to fire as though it can go off at any moment.
Remaining fire and embers in your black powder Kennesaw Cannon will ignite your new load of black powder. Wait five minutes after you fire the black powder Cannon before you load it to fire again. This will ensure that all fire and embers are extinguished. A wire brush or wet swab used inside the barrel of the black powder cannon after firing can help eliminate any remaining burning embers. Make sure you read and follow all of the above safety guidelines before you prepare and load your black powder cannon. If you do not understand, or you don't feel comfortable with handling and firing your
black powder cannon, STOP and seek help or advice from an experienced black powder enthusiast.
Make sure you are in a safe and legal area to fire your black powder cannon. Check your surroundings and verify that you are within the guidelines listed above. Make sure that the area you have selected is flat and clear of obstructions that would hinder your egress and your ability to get to the safe zone. While in the firing zone, insert your 12-inch length of fuse into the 1/8th inch hole in the rear of the barrel approximately 1 inch. Pour your pre-measured amount of Fg or FFg black powder into the muzzle and use a small rod or dowel to ensure that the black powder is pushed all the way to the rear of the barrel. Arrange the black powder cannon on the ground so that it is pointed away from your safe zone and follows the above guidelines.
Announce that the black powder cannon is ready and will be fired. Ignite the fuse and carefully but quickly walk to your safe zone. Boom! That was fun. Now you must wait 5 minutes or until you are sure that all burning embers are extinguished before you enter the firing zone to load the cannon again. It is best to swab the bore with a damp sponge. You want to be 100% certain no live embers are in the barrel before loading it again. The black powder Kennesaw Cannon is designed and intended to be used for salute purposes only; projectiles are not recommended to be used in the Kennesaw Cannon and we strongly suggest that they are not used.
CLEANING AND STORAGE:
You should always store your cannon unloaded and clean. Black powder fouling is extremely corrosive and can rust the metal parts in a short period of time. All muzzle loading cannons must be thoroughly cleaned after each session is completed. Storage of your cannon without cleaning will cause in the metal parts to rust and deteriorate, which can present future danger.
Black powder solvent can be purchased from most gun stores or black powder dealers. Follow the manufacturers' instructions that come with the solvent.
If you don't have access to commercial solvents, this is something that works and is less expensive than the specific made solvents. Take a bucket of hot water and add some standard "Sudsy Ammonia". Sudsy ammonia can be found at most grocery stores. Usually the amount that is recommended by the manufacturer is fine, but it never hurts to add a little more. Follow all recommended directions and safety tips written by the manufacturer, which should be found on the container. The soap in this solution helps wash off the residue while the ammonia kills the corrosive agent remaining from the burned black powder and fuse.
Make sure you scrub and rinse the outside as well as the inside barrel and fuse hole with a swab or brush. All residues must be removed. Then thoroughly rinse with hot water and dry the cannon. Some people even like to use their home dishwasher at this point and let it heat dry. An air compressor is also useful to blow out any remaining water, but is not required. Usually a good swabbing will take care of this. Now that your cannon is clean and dry, it is very important that you oil all metal parts. Some household lubricants contain alcohol that will speed up the evaporation of the oil, therefore leaving the metal unprotected. It is recommended that you use oil that is made for guns or even standard motor oil. Just make sure you wipe off any excess or dripping oil. Please review and familiarize yourself with these instructions. For additional information you may want to use the Internet and search for "black powder cannons". Safety must always be your number one concern. You can have fun but you also have to keep the dangers in perspective and never let your guard down.