The Last Experiments With the 80-Ton Gun


    THE last experiments with the 80-ton gun at Woolwich deserve to be recorded, if only for the sake of showing that our scientific artillerists appear to be working in the proper channel. The last shot fired from the monster piece of ordnance was. with the unprecedented charge of 460 lbs. of powder, and yet there was not so much strain upon the gun as that formerly exerted, by charges one hundred lbs. less. The reason of this is in the main due to a change having been made in the character of the gunpowder employed; for whenever the former powder was used, even in lesser quantity, the pressure of the gas inside the gun rose at once. This would not so much matter if it could be shown that with the increase of strain, the work of the shot increased also. But such is not the case. For instance, in the case of two shots fired last week, one was sent on its way by 460 IDS. of prismatic powder, recording a velocity, we are told, of 1,626 per second, and a strain, inside the gun of 191/2 tons, while the other, with but 425 lbs. of cube powder, had a speed of only 1,600 feet, while it exerted a strain upon the weapon of 21 tons per square inch. The gun has been chambered—or in other words the cartridge cavity enlarged—to permit the introduction of heavier charges, as also to allow of a certain amount of air-space in the cartridge; but this modification in the weapon, beneficial as it may be, does not account, as we have shown, for the decrease upon the strain of the gun. This is due to the change in the powder.

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