Original British 1858 Armstrong Breech Loading Smooth Cannon Shell
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Original Item: Nearly 150 years old these are Rare Projectiles for Armstrong Breech Loading Cannon. You probably know this already, but shell refers to a hollow iron or steel projectile, which could be filled with various materials. Common shells were filled with explosives and provided with a fuse to detonate them. Now, we call them explosive shell or, if the filling is a modern explosive instead of black powder, high explosive (HE) shell.
The 1800s saw numerous experiments in artillery to improve range and accuracy. Two factors were key: spinning the projectile and sealing the propelling gas behind it while it was in the gun tube. By the 1880s the problem had been pretty much solved with the use of driving bands, but before that various solutions were attempted. The famous Armstrong-Whitworth studded shell was a stopgap measure to allow muzzle loading cannon to fire rotating projectiles. The British called this system Rifle Muzzle Loaders, or RML.
The real key to solving the problems was loading the tube from the breech end. The Armstrong Company developed some advanced rifled breech loading guns in the 1850s, producing the most advanced artillery of the day. In 1858 Armstrong introduced a breech-loading gun with polygroove rifling, having 38 lands and grooves. Extant records indicate sales of this gun to American customers during our Civil War,…