Summertime Fun: Potato Cannon

    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.

    TFB: Potato Cannons

    TFB: Potato Cannons

    II. Materials:

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    TFB: Potato Cannons

    III. Crisco lubes the barrel and seals the chamber:

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    TFB: Potato Cannons

    IV. Pound an over-sized potato into the muzzle.

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    TFB: Potato Cannons

    V. A Tight fit is preferred.

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    VI. If you run out of potatoes, there are other options available.

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    VII. Ram the spud down to the chamber.

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    TFB: Potato Cannons

    VIII. Check for a spark on your ignition device (this one is from an old-style lantern):

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    TFB: Potato Cannons

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    TFB: Potato Cannons

    IX. “Load” your propellant by spraying while counting to five (Aqua¬†Net is best).

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    TFB: Potato Cannons

    X. Screw on the chamber cap, flick the igniter and – fire in the hole!

    TFB: Potato Cannon

    TFB: Potato Cannon

    Don’t forget the eye and ear protection as well as the adult supervision. (My Dad was supervising me the whole time…)

    Pete

    Editor In Chief- TFB
    LE – Silencers – Science
    [email protected]


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