Cleaning Artliery at West Point

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Cleaning Artliery at West Point

Post by Kommander » Mon Oct 11, 2010 6:46 am

As I have may have mentioned in the past my brother is a Cadet as West Point. He is currently the first Sargent of the cannon crew that is at all of the home and some for the away football games. During the home games they use a special small cannon on the field, along with a battery of 75s a few hundred meters from the stadium. Recently they have been having problems with the smaller field gun. According to him it is a 37mm deck gun from WWI fired by way of a 10 gauge conversion shell. However this is only what he was told and he has been unable to make out the markings on the gun. The gun is getting quite dirty from all it's use as West Point is actually winning games this year. The carbon build up is quite bad, often jamming the breach mechanism and conversion shell, and they only "solution" anyone has is to spray more silicone stuff into the chamber.

My brother would like me to help him A) figure out the providence of the gun and B) find a good way to clean it. As of right now my brother thinks that the gun looks closest to a M3 from WWII that has had the barrel cut down and the breach mechanism "extensively modified". It is not, as I first suspected when I heard "WWI" and "37mm" a M1916 but rather something else. My brother is trying to get me some better pictures of the gun so hopefully we will soon have more to go by there. As for cleaning it I think I have found a solution, a Dewey Grenade and Gas Launcher Cleaning Kit 37mm, 40mm Caliber. However it might be a better idea to just get the mop and brush separately and find a longer handle/rod combo. Presumably since the gun is just firing a 10ga blank stand gun cleaning products should work, but I would like to be sure.


Here are some pictures of the gun, My brother is the one on the far right with the radio. That facial expression runs in our family.

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This is a better picture of the gun, but my brother was cropped out:
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Re: Cleaning Artliery at West Point

Post by Absintheur » Mon Oct 11, 2010 7:30 am

The 10 gauge blanks are often black powder, I know the ones for salute cannons are, 8 drams worth. I would suggest a good scrubbing with a black powder solvent. Lot's of boiling water as well.
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Re: Cleaning Artliery at West Point

Post by Bearcat » Mon Oct 11, 2010 9:27 am

Damn, do they sell hoppe's 9 in gallon containers?
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Re: Cleaning Artliery at West Point

Post by koolaidND » Mon Oct 11, 2010 9:38 am

If its blackpowder then I would look at products for cleaning muzzleloaders. Petroleum products and blackpowder fouling = major mess. Use a water based cleaner and elbow grease.
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Re: Cleaning Artliery at West Point

Post by raptor » Mon Oct 11, 2010 11:20 am

The signal cannon we use to start sailboat races is a bronze 10 guage black powder cannon. The way we clean it is lots of boiling water, soap and stiff brushes.

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Re: Cleaning Artliery at West Point

Post by jeep45238 » Mon Oct 11, 2010 2:00 pm

Heck with the cannon, let's find out some more about that blonde! :wink:
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Re: Cleaning Artliery at West Point

Post by AZMedic » Mon Oct 11, 2010 2:24 pm

I would think a few "new" recruits or students would be forced to clean the sucker.
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Re: Cleaning Artliery at West Point

Post by PistolPete » Mon Oct 11, 2010 2:25 pm

And jeep45238 has earned himself a new title. :roll:
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Re: Cleaning Artliery at West Point

Post by jeep45238 » Mon Oct 11, 2010 3:06 pm

Wouldn't consider it new :lol:
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Re: Cleaning Artliery at West Point

Post by Hoppy » Mon Oct 11, 2010 3:18 pm

my only suggestion would be clean the crap out of it. with West Point being even MORE about order and discipline im sure that whole cannon could be cleaned continuously 24 hours a day. :lol:

sounds like the cannon needs a good cleaning, i cant imagine that many rounds get fired in a game.

i doubt they can modify the manual of arms to maybe extract the shell, and quick swab the chamber with a brush ?
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Re: Cleaning Artliery at West Point

Post by AZMedic » Mon Oct 11, 2010 3:21 pm

New punishment.

Go clean the cannon in your class A and don't get dirty.
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Re: Cleaning Artliery at West Point

Post by Quartermaster » Mon Oct 11, 2010 3:39 pm

I have been doing ACW re-enacting since I was about 15 years old plus ECW/30 Yrs War. I have been on an artillery crew, fired a .75 matchlock, and currently a defarbed .577 Enfield. The ideal cleaning solution to get the powder residue out of the bore is made up of equal parts rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide with 1/2 part Murphy's Oil Soap. Close the breach of the gun and pour enough in to fill it 3/4 full, swish it around with a stick, and then go to work with a large bore cleaning brush on the end of a rod. Tilt the gun over to pour out the black grimy gunk Repeat until clean. Dry the bore well with cotton patches. Then run a light coat of oil down the bore. You might also have to soak the breech mechanism in the stuff to get it clean. You know if that is an old WWI naval gun, you might be able to get the manual from the Annapolis museum or from the artillery library at Ft. Sill.

The older method is to cut up some Octagon or other good hard laundry soap in a large bucket of near boiling water, stir til it dissolves, close the breech, pour the hot soapy water in the barrel, and scub-ba-dub-dub. The heat of the water causes quick evaporation. Dry the bore and oil that sucker.

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Re: Cleaning Artliery at West Point

Post by HurricaneDad » Mon Oct 11, 2010 3:47 pm

Quartermaster wrote:I have been doing ACW re-enacting since I was about 15 years old plus ECW/30 Yrs War.
See, and here I was going to suggest talking to a friendly ACW or WWI reenactor, especially if it was black powder. Now, I don't have to. Spot on, QM!
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Re: Cleaning Artliery at West Point

Post by Vicarious_Lee » Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:14 pm

This is an interesting thread.

Here's the question: Is this gun getting dirty enough to not fire between games, or is it misfiring during games?

Would a dish brush cut off and placed in a cordless drill help clean the 10 gauge chamber?
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Re: Cleaning Artliery at West Point

Post by Stercutus » Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:22 pm

There are such thing as Howitzer cleaning kits in the Army supply system. I ordered a couple when I was an instructor at VMI. They had some kind of little howitzer that they fired at the games. The real guns were used for the evening guns. They have a whole battery of 105s.

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Re: Cleaning Artliery at West Point

Post by TheLastRifleMan » Mon Oct 11, 2010 6:25 pm

Windex with Ammonia D works wonders, after a good flushing out with hot, soapy water, followed by the barest amount of oil. And for a gun that size, a toilet brush would probably be the best thing to scrub the bore clean.
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Re: Cleaning Artliery at West Point

Post by Phoenix David » Mon Oct 11, 2010 7:15 pm

AZMedic wrote:I would think a few "new" recruits or students would be forced to clean the sucker.
That's why they issue toothbrushes so the *&^%*# plebes can learn to do something right gatdamit!!
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Re: Cleaning Artliery at West Point

Post by Chris@MTCT » Mon Oct 11, 2010 7:36 pm

I have no idea about the gun but I know a few people with some west point pull so let me know if your brother doesn't get you what you want for christmas.
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Re: Cleaning Artliery at West Point

Post by Impus » Mon Oct 11, 2010 9:19 pm

TheLastRifleMan wrote:Windex with Ammonia D works wonders, after a good flushing out with hot, soapy water, followed by the barest amount of oil. And for a gun that size, a toilet brush would probably be the best thing to scrub the bore clean.
For black powder residue, this. I might consider a brass cylinder bore on a power drill as my agitator, but YMMV.
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Re: Cleaning Artliery at West Point

Post by Kommander » Mon Oct 11, 2010 10:21 pm

I asked about the powder type and the blanks are standard smokeless 10 gauge, not black powder. The primary problem is carbon build up which is causing the subcaliber adapter to get stuck after firing and making it hard to reinsert the adapter after reloading. The current "solution" of spraying more silicone crap into the chamber is not helping. Since it's not blackpowder I think that the best bet would be normal gun cleaning chemicals (M-Pro 7, etc.) along with the brush and mop set I linked and a rod that is both thicker and longer than a stand cleaning rod as normal ones might get all bendy in the barrel.

Also we still have no idea who made the gun. I sent my brother some links to the Hotchkiss 1-pounders and he said it didn't look like that, but rather an M3 if "some of the top sides of the breech area had been cut down". Pictures will apparently be forthcoming later this week.
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Re: Cleaning Artliery at West Point

Post by Quartermaster » Mon Oct 11, 2010 10:54 pm

I looked at the photos and the gun could be M3 but there are a couple of other possibilities. The M1916 was a WWI French gun for cleaning out machine gun nests. The U.S. army ended up with a lot of them after the war and designated them as the M1916. There is mention of the flash suppressor being removed and the gun altered for sub-calibre firing. It is a pity there are no available markings because it could also be a Russian 37mm gun from WWI. Our country ended up with some of those following the 1919 Siberian Intervention.

I still think that either boiling hot water w/laundry soap or the home made mixture I mentioned might be the cheapest way to go.

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Re: Cleaning Artliery at West Point

Post by Absintheur » Mon Oct 11, 2010 11:32 pm

They use smokeless blanks? Thing must sound like a popgun going off...lol. At St John's we used a Winchester Signal Cannon with the 8 dram black powder loads at retreat...you could hear that in the next county over. If carbon build up is the problem then clean that sucker...I can't believe the Arms Room NCO can't help out with that.
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Re: Cleaning Artliery at West Point

Post by Vicarious_Lee » Mon Oct 11, 2010 11:36 pm

Kommander wrote:I asked about the powder type and the blanks are standard smokeless 10 gauge, not black powder. The primary problem is carbon build up which is causing the subcaliber adapter to get stuck after firing and making it hard to reinsert the adapter after reloading. The current "solution" of spraying more silicone crap into the chamber is not helping. Since it's not blackpowder I think that the best bet would be normal gun cleaning chemicals (M-Pro 7, etc.) along with the brush and mop set I linked and a rod that is both thicker and longer than a stand cleaning rod as normal ones might get all bendy in the barrel.

Also we still have no idea who made the gun. I sent my brother some links to the Hotchkiss 1-pounders and he said it didn't look like that, but rather an M3 if "some of the top sides of the breech area had been cut down". Pictures will apparently be forthcoming later this week.
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Re: Cleaning Artliery at West Point

Post by Kommander » Mon Oct 11, 2010 11:44 pm

I thought it might be an M1916 at first too, but the M1916 has a very distinctive breach and the gun is definitely not one of those.
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