On the Casting of Small Arms

I've been researching and practicing medieval casting techniques for some time, and have recently been following Biringuccio's (Pyrotechnia) prescribed methods for casting cannons, etc and have a few questions that I cannot seem to solve without seeing some original pieces or xrays thereof, the main one being:

- for smaller barrels (wall gonnes, harquebus's, etc), were the core supports simple pins or were they armed rings (like Biringuccio uses for the cannon)?

I think this has a lot to do with how the moulds were formed and when the core was added. I'm trying to determine if they were built around the core (like a bell or vase) or if the core was added afterwards (as was done with larger cannon).

I would love to discuss cannon casting in detail with anyone else who has researched it.

In the meantime, here is a video of the first hand gonne casting I did using period materials and methods. I have bellows that we normally run the cupola with but since I was by myself I used a blower.


Depending a bit on the period, most of the smaller medieval pieces were forged out of iron staves and hoops,similar to a wooden barrel construction. The earliest cannons (14th century) were tiny cast bronze things. I saw a swedish one in a museum once, and don't recall seeing any trace of an iron support structure.

These early pieces had a rather short barrel when compared to the ones de Biringuccio describes, so a support may not be needed.
Sure, but there were a huge number that were cast, and with that come the necessity of a bore core and chaplettes. Most had a foot or more worth of bore, so that has to have some sort of support. Some makers in the later periods would drill out the steel chaplets and plug them to hide them.

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