Calibers and ammunition
Muzzle loading cannon comes in many different calibers.
The caliber of a muzzle loading cannon indicates the weight of its projectiles, for example 1/4-pounder, 1/2-pounder, 1-pounder, 6-pounder, 8-pounder, 12-poinder, 18- pounder, 24-pounder, 30-pounder, to name but a few.
Initially muzzle loading cannon used a charge of the same weight as the projectiles it fired, but eventually it was found that a charge of one-third of the weight of the projectile is sufficient.
Smooth-bore cannon used a variaty of ammunition.
The most well known ammunition formuzzle loading cannon is the cannon ball, which was used to shoot a hole into the enemy's ship or fortress.
Sometimes two cannon balls with an iron rod in between was used. This ammunition, called " bar shot" was usually used to break the rigging and masts of the enemy ship, without which the ship would lose its capability to manuever. With that the enemy ship also lost its capability to aim its cannon, as the cannon on those ships could only be aimed by turning the ships
Another form of ammunition that was used in muzzle loading cannon was resembled modern day shot gun ammunition and was called " grape shot". It consisted of smaller balls, which were loaded in a small sack or a canister. This type of ammunition was used against soldiers.
SOUTH AFRICAN CANNON ASSOCIATION