Ancient Iron Hand Cannon
Original Item: Only one available. Possibly the oldest item recovered by IMA from the Palace of Lagan Silekhana, in Katmandu, Nepal is this very early Matchlock Cannon also referred to as a "Hand Cannon because of the rear spike extension. A hand cannon (also called a gonne) is a very early form of firearm. It is possibly the oldest type of portable firearm, as well as the simplest type of early firearm, as most examples, like this one, require direct manual external ignition through a touchhole without any form of firing mechanism. The hand cannon was widely used until at least the 1520s in Europe and Asia, where matchlock firearms mostly supplanted it. Early engravings of the Battle of Crecy between the English and the French in 1346 show foot soldiers holding the very first firearms ever adopted and this hand cannon is a very similar form.
The hand cannon was a simple weapon, effectively consisting of a barrel with some sort of handle, though it came in many different shapes and sizes. Although surviving examples are all completely constructed of metal, evidence suggests that many were attached to some kind of stock, usually wooden. Other examples, like this one, show a simple metal extension, or spike, which extends from the barrel acting as the handle or base.
For firing, the hand cannon could be held in two hands while an assistant applied the means of ignition. These could range from smoldering wood or coal, red-hot iron rods, to slow-burning matches (glowing taper). Alternately, the hand cannon could be placed on a rest and held by one hand while the gunner applied the means of ignition himself. Projectiles used in these weapons were varied, with many utilizing a variety of different ammunition. Some fired pebbles found on the ground, while others fired more sophisticated ammunition such as shaped balls of stone or iron or arrows. Later hand cannons, such as this one, were made with a flash pan attached to the barrel, and a touchhole drilled through the sidewall of the gun instead of the top of the barrel. The flash pan would have had a leather cover to keep the priming powder dry until the moment of firing and to prevent premature firing.
This small Cannon has 1 3/8 bore and is just under 38" in overall length with 26 barrel. This very hand cannon is featured in our DVD documentary, "Treasure is where you find it" and was discovered in lowest basement of the old palace. This cannon is real and it is very old, possibly the late 16th, 17th or the early 18th century. This is a one of a kind opportunity and belongs in a museum.
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IMA considers all of our antique guns and cannons as non-firing, inoperable and/or inert. Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 921(a)(16) defines antique firearms as all guns made prior to 1899. This law exempts antique firearms from any form of gun control or special engineering because they are not legally considered firearms. No FFL, C&R or any license is required to posses, transport, sell or trade Antique guns. All rifles and muskets sold by IMA that were manufactured prior to 1899 are considered Antiques by the US BATF (United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms). Therefore, all of IMA's Antique guns may be shipped to all US States and most nations around the world. These antique guns are not sold in live condition. They are sold as collectors items or as wall hangers. Any attempt at restoring an antique gun to be operational is strongly discouraged and is done so at the risk of the customer. By purchasing an antique gun from IMA you thereby release IMA, its employees and corporate officers from any and all liability associated with use of our Antique guns.
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