As the summer winds down to a close, we here at TFB hope that you have had the chance to enjoy some quality outdoors time with family and friends. One of my family’s summer traditions involves launching spuds at ~500fps to distances up to 200 yards. The pictured potato cannon, made by my dad, has been going strong for the past 15 summers, launching buckets of potatoes in to the lower fields. It’s strangely satisfying, but ringing the old family dinner bell with a russet is the pinnacle of cannon skill.
If you have never had the pleasure of shooting a potato cannon, most setups involve a muzzle loaded barrel and a blast chamber usually powered by ignited hair spray. There are plenty of plans available online if you are interested in building your own. Just make sure to check your local and state regulations involving potato cannons. Even though most setups don’t fall under the purview of the NFA (just shoot potatoes) some cities and towns have their own ordinances.
I. The Cannon:
For durability, this one was made with threaded pipe rather than traditional PVC. Lawn cart wheels add maneuverability.
III. Crisco lubes the barrel and seals the chamber:
IV. Pound an over-sized potato into the muzzle.
V. A Tight fit is preferred.
VI. If you run out of potatoes, there are other options available.
VII. Ram the spud down to the chamber.
VIII. Check for a spark on your ignition device (this one is from an old-style lantern):
IX. “Load” your propellant by spraying while counting to five (Aqua Net is best).
X. Screw on the chamber cap, flick the igniter and – fire in the hole!
Don’t forget the eye and ear protection as well as the adult supervision. (My Dad was supervising me the whole time…)