Coaches Club Cannons: Flying Bowling Balls

Growing up watching Magnum P.I. probably had a major influence in both my career choice and my interest in firearms. Thomas Magnum was a suave private detective that drove a Ferrari, carried a 1911 and solved complex problems with calculated precision. He and his ex-special forces Vietnam Veteran buddies would often team up to fight crime with camouflage, helicopters and always threw in a bit of humor.

But I digress. In the opening credits of Magnum, Higgins, the English “caretaker” of Robin Masters Hawaiian estate (Robin’s Nest), is seen firing a small cannon on a wooden carriage. In the full episode, Higgins is seen using the same cannon, a 1890’s vintage Signal Cannon built by the Strong Fire Arms Company of New Haven, Connecticut.  Although Strong only makes replica and yachting cannons these days, I’ve always wanted my own replica black powder cannon that could fire standard (affordable) ammunition and would not require the tax stamps and storage regulations necessary to own Destructive Devices.


Enter Coaches Club Cannons, a Utah-based business specializing in the manufacture and sales of real black powder cannons. Because the cannons are patterned after devices used in the 19th century, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) classifies them as ‘primitive’ and do not fall within the scope of the National Firearms Act (NFA). However, you should always check your state and local laws before buying any type of artillery.


My favorite model is the Mountain Howitzer that is capable of firing billiard balls.


But if you have the space, the bowling ball mortar also looks like it would be a riot at birthday parties, Fourth of July celebrations, funerals and any other time you want to launch a 10 pound ball 3000 yards.


Of course, for those of you that have given up golf for good, the smaller mortars could be a good fit. It definitely gives new meaning to the term “let’s grab a bucket of balls and head out to the range”.

Coaches Club was founded in 2006 by Rick Anderson. Rick has spent his career as a teacher, motivational speaker, entrepreneur, award winning historical model builder and strength coach for the Utah Jazz. His experience also includes 35 years of designing, manufacturing and innovating commercial strength and endurance equipment. Rick has always had a tremendous interest in military history and artillery. Rick has always enjoyed sharing his knowledge and expertise as an entrepreneur and a coach.  Remembering how much fun he had as a boy, “blowing things up” he created Coaches Club Cannons.

At Coaches Club Cannons we love creating both replica and custom cannons for our clients. Our cannon styles include 20th Century style artillery and an extensive line of more traditional 18th and 19th century designs. Our team of skilled and dedicated craftsmen ensures that our high quality products are fun and safe. Coaches Club creates products that last a lifetime.

Coaches Club Cannons –

MSRP: $350 to $1,500 (est)

 574 East 6870 South Midvale, UT 84047
 (385) 312-0811


LE – Science – OSINT.
On a mission to make all of my guns as quiet as possible.
Twitter: @gunboxready
Instagram: @tfb_pete


  • Darrell

    One thing never conveyed when watchinig bowling ball mortar vids–the finger holes in the balls produce a rapid whiffling whistling noise as the balls fly away.

    • Swarf

      “Great whiffling balls!” is going to get said by me from here on out.

  • Phil Hsueh

    I’d love to get one of the golf ball cannons, not as neat as the bowling ball ones but they’d a whole lot cheaper to shoot.

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      No kidding have you priced thirty rounds of bowling balls lately?
      Thanks Obama.

      • Pete M

        Haha. “Thanks Bin Laden”

    • Tassiebush

      Unless you used it like grapeshot in a big one which would be awesome!

  • politicsbyothermeans

    Man, that’s great. And how often do you get to read an article with the phrase “yachting cannon” in it?

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    I want one that fires washing machines.

    • Edeco

      …car batteries.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Ex girlfriends.

    • Joe

      If we’re going to return Kal-El to sender we need a baby sabot.

    • Core

      I’m thinking about a cannon that fires a cluster of hungry honey badgers in the rut..

  • gunsandrockets

    Watch out for bowling ball mortars. Cool as hell, but can also be terrifying.

    I remember watching a homemade mortar crafted from an old tank (propane?) and the first couple of shots were amazing, those bowling balls whistling up and up and disappearing into the blue sky. Then the terrifying moment when the bowling ball split in half before it disappeared, with the pieces veering off in unpredictable directions. As the angle of launch was nearly vertical no telling where those pieces would land! The next minute was one long minute indeed.

    • Shawn

      That’s why you make sure you have a person free impact area in front of you before firing it.

    • Pete M

      7-10 Split…

      Kidding. That’s pretty freaky.

      • Tassiebush

        I’d be worried about it striking someone or something but at least if there were three strikes you’d get a turkey.

  • Alex Agius

    Another silly nfa category the “destructive device”, for bombs and the like i can sort of understand (though they are covered by federal explosive legislation anyway) but DDs (the non sporting > .50 kind) are the firearm least likely to be used by criminals or terrorists.

    • Twilight sparkle

      Only terrorist without an imagination. There’s plenty of things a terrorist could do with a larger than 50 DD.

      • Alex Agius

        such as what? They are extremely expensive and heavy, for much less money they could use something far more effective

        • Bill

          Like all that stuff ISIS does with tanks and car bombs?

          • Alex Agius

            Firstly bombs are already covered under additional federal explosive legislation and secondly you do realise that if ISIS somehow got a tank into a western nation it would easily be spotted before they could do any real harm.

          • Bill

            Armored vehicles have been used on at least two occasions in the CONUS for criminal/extremist attacks. Yeah, harm was done.

  • Shawn

    Those people are having waaaaaay too much fun 😀

  • Swarf

    So… can I legally build a cannon if it’s based on a “primitive” design? Like, without having to involve the feds?

    Because… that sounds like fun.

    • Pete M

      Pretty sure yes, if you have the skills and materials.

      • Rob

        …And Balls.

        • Pete M

          Ha. Well done.

        • Swarf

          — dammit.

      • Swarf

        I do have the skills and the materials, I’m just not sure I have the ba—

        • Pete M

          If you end up making one, I’ll get you some air time. Just be safe and legal.

          • Swarf

            I… don’t know who you are. Should I?

    • marathag

      I’ve heard of a number made out of old cut down 80 lb gas cylinders

  • Marcus D.

    Believe it or not, even after yesterdays Gunmageddon, black powder cannons are actually legal in the state of California. The reason they are not DDs is because the powder and the projectile are not encased in a casing, but separate. I have long wanted a reproduction Civil War cannon in half or three-quarters scale, but the really really nice ones are $20,000 or so.

    • Phillip Cooper

      ‘yesterday’s gunmageddon”??

      • Marcus D.

        Last Thursday, the California Senate passed ten anti-gun bills, which are now headed to the Assembly, where they are assured of passage, probably with little or no debate. Three are various AR/bullet button bans, one is an ammo law that requires a background check at the time of a (face to face) purchase (good by interstate sales) with an added $10 fee for the check, one is the “Ghost Gun” bill that will require serialization and registration of all 80% builds, both proactively and retroactively, one bans the lending of firearms except to close family relatives, and so forth and so on. Every piece of anti-gun legislation that they could propose was proposed, and the only question is which ones will the Governor veto.

        • Phillip Cooper

          Time to exit that crappy state, post haste.

  • Marcus D.

    How many of us would like to see the Ghost busters episode with the cannon (and a little too much elevation)? A “four pounder” can too a shell a mile and a half, much to their surprise (and chagrin),

  • Sulaco

    Laugh all you want but we responded to a call once where an engineer working for a local air craft manufacture had some spare time on his hands. So he took some brass bar stock and bored himself out a small cannon, bore about the same diameter as a fifty cent piece. He finished it with flourishes like match touch hole and truncheons etc. Mounted it on a beautiful wooden stand and took her home. Come his birthday he took the thing out onto the back porch and touched it off with a metal ball loaded over, a lot, of black powder. We got the call from a neighbor’s house nearly ½ mile away that was surprised when a large metal ball flew through the front wall of their house, through the middle hallway and stairs and exited out the back wall into the back yard some place never to be recovered. Long story short the proud owner “donated” the cannon to the Sheriff for disposal. Broke my heart to melt it down it really was a work of art.

  • BudHall

    As a kid, “me and this other fool” discovered that a 1 1/2″ drain pipe made a great mortar for shooting golf balls with cherry bombs as the launching charge. Was never quite sure but a 65 to 70 degree launch angle and we figured they were landing somewhere down town, about 3-4 blocks away.