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Cannon Breech Failure

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Date: September 16, 2014
Contact: Mike Litterst, 410-962-4290 ext. 886

Media Statement: Cannon Breech Failure at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine on September 16

BALTIMORE –During the firing of a reproduction historic cannon at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine on September 16, 2014, the breech of the gun failed, according to the National Park Service.
At approximately 11:30 a.m. on September 16, the park's living history gun crew used black powder to fire a salute to a passing ship as part of the weeklong series of events celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Star-Spangled Banner. The firing of black powder in the reproduction cannon caused the breech to dislodge. The breech is the mass of metal at the rear end of the cannon.
There were no spectator injuries;one of the members of the cannon crew suffered minor flash burns on one hand.The cause of the accident is under investigation.
The NPS has suspended the black powder historic weapons firing program at Fort McHenry. The immediate area around the Water Battery remains closed but the rest of the park remains open.
The cannon crew was saluting the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Eagle and The Pride of Baltimore II.
About Fort McHenry National Monument &Historic Shrine
During the Battle of Baltimore, September 13–14, 1814, the valiant defense of the star-shaped Fort McHenry against the might of the British navy inspired Francis Scott Key to write "The Star-Spangled Banner." The 15 broad stripes and 15 bright stars still fly over the fort 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Most famous as the birthplace of our National Anthem, the fort was used continuously in a variety of ways through World War II. Follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/FtMcHenryNPS and on Twitter, @FtMcHenryNPS.

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Unfortunately, I expect to see more and more of this sort of thing. Cannons are becoming more popular, and many people opt for a low price, rather than high quality. Same as in small arms, which are a lot less devastating if there is a failure. The larger the weapon, the worse the damage can be. Ya need to know what you are getting !!!

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I wonder what the rest of the story is.....

How old was the gun in question? How many times has it been fired? Bore size? Amount of Powder used, and was it indeed Black Powder? Thankfully the injuries were not life threatening

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Found this on another site: https://markerhunter.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/cannon-failure-at-fort-mchenry/

Photos of the burst gun reveal very poor design, seemingly not intended to be fired. The bore goes way too far “aft” toward the breech. The cascabel blew clean off, as if you had removed it with a hacksaw. And right there is the back of the bore, WAY closer than it should be. There was said to be a liner in the bore, but apparently either no plug or cap on that liner or it was very poorly welded.

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finally found some more information on the Cannon Breech failure at Ft. McHenry, shows two pictures of the Cannon also supposedly lists "Cannons on line" as the supplier of the cannon in question to the Park Service. Post is put up by another cannon company i.e. Steen Cannons

https://www.facebook.com/Steencannons/posts/10201626970154776

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http://www.kansas.com/news/nation-world/article2232823.html article confirms the manufacturer of the cannon which lost it's breech in an firing at Ft. McHenry, was "Cannons online" excerpts from the above listed article below.... good thing no one was in the line of backfire, a 100lb chunk of iron could really spoil someones day.

""The National Park Service said in a release that an iron reproduction historic cannon exploded during a celebratory firing Sept. 16 at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, launching a 100-pound mound of metal on the cannon's rear more than 300 feet afield and sending some other debris even further.""

""In a Sept. 19 internal safety alert sent to all parks with historic weapons demonstrations and obtained by The Associated Press, the parks service announced that all makes and models of cannons from the manufacturer Cannons Online will be taken out of service until further notice.""

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