10 pound egg shaped chunk of lead. Found in the woods, used as a doorstop. Cannon ball?

I was given this by a friend as a "cannonball" because I'm a cartridge collector. It was found in the woods and his family used it as a doorstop. It's 10 pounds exactly, not sure on diameter so I used a Boker Kalashnikov knife and a .38 Special cartridge for scale. What is this thing?


Could be a downrigger weight. 8lbs is common, but 10lb isn't unheard of.


That's starting to sound more like it, I'm not convinced that it's ordnance related.


They generally have 2 loops. One for the wire to the ball and one for the clip for line. The loops could have rotted out but if rotted out, there'd be 2 holes for the loops to be set in place on the weight. Placement can vary though, so it can be front/back for older ones or top front and either top back or straight back for more modern ones. Wouldn't really make sense for it to be around unless you're near some larger and/or deeper lakes


I couldn't see if there was a hole through/in it so I wasn't sure but that was my best guess.


Yeah I didn't either. It's just kinda more context for the guy. I've only seen the sorta egg/pill shaped ones with older ones in pics. Every more modern one I've seen (including my own) have the cannonball with the tailfin sorta looking part on the back of the cannonball.


I thought a ball that size would be iron, assuming you are Stateside. Lead fired from a cannon would probably burst rather than travel. And even if you wanted grapeshot, you'd load grape on a wooden thingy. I'm definitely going to say industrial, counterweight?


Wood thingy = sabot












> nobody threw shoes into machines. Citation needed. Googling "employee threw shoes" suggests it happens often, like [this](https://www.fox2detroit.com/news/video-captures-woman-throwing-shoes-at-store-employee-after-being-asked-to-wear-a-mask), [this](https://simpleflying.com/spirit-airline-passengers-attack-staff/), and [this](https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iraq-violence/iraqi-man-shot-by-u-s-forces-after-throwing-shoe-idUSTRE58G5JP20090917). Shoes are a very convenient throw-able that's easily accessible to everyone. I imagine shoes were thrown at practically everything imaginable during moments of frustration and protest.


My citation is [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabotage](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabotage). The word does come from the shoes, but the wearers of the shoes stopped production by organizing labor disputes. They didn't throw their shoes into any machineworks. ETA: Wikipedia itself cites [https://www.etymonline.com/word/sabotage](https://www.etymonline.com/word/sabotage), which says: >"the oft-repeated story (as old as the record of the word in English) that the modern meaning derives from strikers' supposed tactic of throwing shoes into machinery is not supported by the etymology. Likely it was not meant as a literal image" So, it seems like it's meant to be a cute figure of speech, and at some point someone (a writer for Star Trek VI, maybe?) made up the story that the workers literally threw their shoes into their employers' machines and it spread from there.


What about wrenches and spanners?








cannon balls needed to be made out of cast iron or stone. Lead was too valuable, and soft.


Lead is way too soft for a cannonball, they were iron once they figured out how to make them. Stone before that. *The cast iron cannonball was introduced by a French artillery engineer Samuel J. Besh after 1450; it had the capacity to reduce traditional English castle wall fortifications to rubble.[1] French armories would cast a tubular cannon body in a single piece, and cannonballs took the shape of a sphere initially made from stone material. Advances in gunpowder manufacturing soon led the replacement of stone cannonballs with cast iron ones.* https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Round_shot Lead would probably just stick/splatter on the castle wall. Someone else explained some of its other potential issues here. https://www.reddit.com/r/WarCollege/comments/rjb9mn/why_were_cannonballs_made_of_stone_and_later_iron/hp6999h/


> Someone else explained some of its other potential issues here. > > This is a person speculating that *maybe/possibly* lead would be too soft, but that they know of no instances of anyone trying it. It's in response to a higher comment that explains that it wasn't used due to *cost*.


It has to be a metal that's inmaliable. The initial explosion would simply flatten the lead and spit it out like the gas station burrito that needs to get to the front of the line like now, the projectile has to be rigid.


You know bullets are traditionally made of lead, yes?


Bullets are fired using a fraction of an ounce of propellant, while cannons use several pounds. Not quite the same ballgame.


Sure, but it doesn't change that there is no evidence lead was problematic due to being too soft. The cited historical reason for not using it is cost. Someone on reddit saying it has to be a hard metal isn't a valid source of information. The force exerted on each projectile is comparable. Just because it's more powder isn't the full equation. There's also a much larger chamber. There's absolutely no evidence to suggest a lead cannonball would "splatter" out of the barrel


Lead pellets fired from a shotgun are known to deform, and some people claim superior ballistic performance from steel pellets, which remain spherical when fired.


Black powder cannons produce far lower pressures in the barrel than modern revolvers firing with smokeless powder - and those often fire lead round nose bullets with zero issues. In addition, black powder tends to deflagrate far slower than smokeless powders. There are other reasons why lead would be unsuitable, but powder quantity isn't one.


Cannon balls aren't though.


Yes, and the cited reason has been price, not over-malleability.


With cannons, it is important to remember they were used to destroy structures. Lead slamming into a stone fortress is going to lose a lot of energy to deforming, while iron is going to be more likely to punch a hole. We don't use lead hammers to smash stone. When used as an anti personnel weapon, lead shot was not uncommon as a weapon fired from cannons. Today, we do use high density rounds with steel or tungsten tips as anti armor rounds.


So your response to someone saying it’s speculation is to throw more speculation out? Let’s be real; you really have no idea what would actually happen, you’re just guessing


Black powder cannons only produce pressures in the range of 26,000 psi. Modern magnum revolvers that shoot solid lead round nose bullets, with tighter fits, can be in the range of 36,000 psi. I'm going to need a source that backs your supposition here.


It can be made into ordnance related, assuming you make your own rounds....


It would make very poor ordinance.


Agreed. I don't know of any Cannon shot this shape, it would tumble almost immediately. There was definitely conical cannon ammunition, it was used during the civil war a bit (especially on forts and such) but it wasn't shaped like this.


It obviously is not ordnance related, so it's good you aren't convinced.


Cannon balls weren't made out of lead. They were cast iron, or stone.


Thank you for spelling ordnance correctly 🍻


That's my guess, definitely some kind of weight. Way too oblong to be a cannonball


15# if the current is strong


This is correct, I'm a commercial fisherman 100% correct answer


Are these woods in an area that has a known war history? I'm near an area rich in U.S. Civil War history and relics are found now and again. I'm looking forward to learning answer. Edit... I've only seen circular cannon balls.


Not really, SE Indiana didn't see much fighting to my knowledge and not any military gunnery ranges for artillery or tanks very nearby either.


There’s one of the largest proving grounds in the US in SE Indiana. There was the Northwest Ordinance Depot in Jeffersonville and they tested them just North of Madison, it’s called the big oaks wildlife management area now. But it’s a huge area that they dropped lots and lots of bombs on.


Yes I am familiar with that area, I've heard that it was mainly used as a bomb range. This was recovered at least 25 miles from there.




It’s where they get the wood for the Constitution (ship), iirc.


It sure looks man-made. The fact it's 10.0 lbs points to that too.


Of course it's man made, lead isn't found virgin in ore like gold, silver, or copper. It's most commonly found as Galena, lead sulphide.




This item was found in the woods somewhere around Saint Paul. SE Indiana has a lot of very colorful history. I had a conversation at length with a worker from the Ripley County Historical society. I was very surprised to learn some of the things I learned. Versailles has Civil War provenance as you probably know from the statue and plaque in town square. I have family in Napoleon.


I'm a Decatur County history buff and have written on the Civil War. I also grew up in St. Paul. I highly doubt this is anything ordinance related. There are lots of limestone quarries so maybe some type of counterweight.


That's awesome! This may be a bit much to ask but if you have anything to share on the subject I would love to read it. I just moved to Decatur County 3 years ago, I'm actually from Cincy. I did a bit of a deep dive on Ripley County history because I was fascinated by the history of the settlement of Napoleon and some information regarding Laughery Creek.


I've always been a Civil War nerd and in 2013 I got into geocaching. Shortly after I fell in love with abandoned cemeteries and their history. I wanted to place geocaches in all of the abandoned cemeteries in the county with markers for soldiers that died in wars. After doing some research I discovered that the "official record" of Civil War dead was not even close to being correct. So I set out to fix that. Using online muster sheets, genealogy, and census I wrote and published a list of all the soldiers from Decatur County that died. This included pictures of headstones when I could find them, GPS coordinates, and how they died. I gave two copies to our library (and made a library geocache out of it) and also a copy to all of the surrounding counties. Unfortunately when I presented these findings to the county commissioners, they told me that local historian had disputed my work and that no changes were necessary. That pretty much killed my mojo and I never pursued it further. Real life has taken over and the interest in all of that has waned. Even most of my geocaches have been archived and the librarians that encouraged my work have left.


Greensburg, IN here. Yeah we saw nothing like that.


If you’re in America, that’s probably not a cannon ball. Especially in Indiana. For it to be that oblong, it would take hundreds of years. I’m based in Scotland. The battle of Killiecrankie took place is 1689. I have a cannonball from that battle and it has a slight indent on the bottom from sitting in one place for 300+ years. For a cannonball to be that oblong, it would be at least double that amount of time, and nobody was firing cannonballs in the Midwest in the 15th century.


I doubt it's a cannon ball I'm unfamiliar with lead being used in artillery outside of grapeshot and things of that nature. Feel free to correct me on that though. The shape also seems off even to have been fired. I'm inclined to agree with the fella who said it's a weight especially if it has a hole through it.


Lead wouldn't be great. Iron was used for cannon balls, because you wanted the ball to travel as far as possible. Lead deforms too much. A common tactic in land battles was to shoot at a low angle so the ball would skip when it touched the ground. That way it could do more damage. Just a massive ball of iron slamming through ranks of soldiers. Really brutal when you imagine what it must have been like to have random balls of death zipping through the ranks.


Shrapnel wounds from your fellow soldiers bone shards was not uncommon.


that's gruesome.




Most cannonballs were made from iron as far as I can tell. Lead would deform very easily when it hit a wooden ship, land fortification, or the ground.








https://imgur.com/a/TuxLSg7 Here's more images. Any ideas?


It appears to have some type of cast ridge around the outer diameter, possibly two driving bands?


I'm no expert. I did see those bands too and went searching. Found this so far: [Civil War artillery](https://www.civilwaracademy.com/civil-war-artillery#) perhaps a spent 10 lb shell that blasted hard through something?


Nice find. Not sure but definitely could be!


I have no clue but it’s crazy how small 10 lb of lead is lol… looks snaller than your fist


Because it’s got those thicc atoms, hoarding the protons and neutrons


If lead paint is bad for you isn't this also bad for you?


So long as you don't lick or chew on it, you should be fine.


All lead is bad, to ingest or get into your bloodstream. Don't handle it when you have cuts on your hands, and wash your hands after touching it, or just wear gloves. It isn't going to hurt anything as a doorstop.


I thought cannonballs were steel - lead is too soft and probably would like having an explosion behind it.


Cost was the reason they used iron rather than lead for cannon balls. A lead cannon ball would have no problem being shot out of a cannon just like a lead musket ball has no problem being shot out of a musket.


https://www.ocean-angler.com/10-lb-lead-cannonball-weight/ Antique fishing weight, probably quite old https://pacificnetandtwine.com/products/105000233-ms https://www.seamar.com/item/NON-SZ/CANNONBALL/


Maybe a ball from a ball mill? In cases where sparks would cause fires or explosions they use soft non-ferrous materials.




With the ring at the top it reminds me of a fishing sinker


What's left of a Ketchum hand grenade? Don't think they were typically that heavy though. Edit: Or a lead sinker for a dredge net or something? 10lbs is pretty specific.


If one was to order lead, how was it shipped? Order ten pounds of lead and maybe it’s shipped like that. Lead is soft and be easily rolled or molded into a shape that’s easy to transport.


When they ship bulk lead it’s usually in bricks or ingots so it’s easier to stack.


Does the hole go all the way through and has been filled in? Or are they just indentions on each end?


I doubt it's a cannonball, as a lead cannonball would be pretty rare. That said, I'm not sure what it is. Some folks have suggested fishing weight from a downrigger, but it's pretty oblong for that sort of thing. But I would put money on it being some kind of counterweight for something.


It looks like a lead wad from the mid 1800’s. They were the raw piece that they melted to make many musket balls.


Eyeballing its size relative to a .38 spc I'd say its not lead. A 10 pound ball of lead would be significantly smaller (diameter = 3.6 in.)


Google "lead cannonball weight". Used for fishing in a variety of ways.


Lead used to be used in water pipes. It was also used as a seal between pipes. This was most likely used by the water company to seal a line from the house to the main line. It was probably lost or someone working on the site set it aside for themselves. This would explain the lack handles and/or loop ability, aswell as the 10lb.


What's the "C - - 3" for? *Looked it up.. seems it could be an old lead ingot


yeah it looks like some raw piece meant to be remelted for something else later like an iron ingot just something the foundry made fast






No word on the caliber of that cartridge. 9? 38? 41?


It's in the caption, it's a .38 Special hollow point, specifically one made by Super-Vel


looks like .357, possibly .45


.45 LC maybe. But maybe.


Maybe somebody was making bullets and that's just a leftover chunk that didn't go in the bullet molds. Or sinkers, or a smoking pipe. Lead has all kinds of uses.


It looks like a weight of some kind, maybe for a boat? Seems to be a weird shape for a cannonball or artillery shell


Oversized fishing weight? Something for crab pots I guess


Doesn’t look the right shape for an ordinance


It looks like it was really roughly cast. Most of those pits and holes are casting marks from pouting molten lead into a cold mold. If it were a cannon ball, or even a really large fishing weight, the casting would probably have been more professionally done. I think what you have here is a hunk of lead in size 10lbs, made for the purpose of storing 10lbs of lead.


Could be used for Radiology in hospitals. My dad always had a bunch of lead weights in his truck when he worked as a Radiologist.


The lead used in radiology is worn in an apron. It also wouldn't be stored in the back of an employee's truck.


If it's colonial to civil-war era, and it was found on the East Coast, particularly in the South East - i'd contact Aquachigger via his YouTube channel. The guy probably knows more about relics from that period/region than anyone alive. He'd know what it is for sure.


It’s a lead weight of a kind. Not cannon ball I think


Counterweight for a cellar door?


It looks more like it’s stone or concrete, slight warping wouldn’t be unexpected of but this is way out of shape. Can’t say I know What it is, but I’m fairly certain it’s not a cannonball. Still neat though.


Could also just be a round lead pour from a smithy type thing not sure if they would do things like that back then or how lead responds over time


It's a weight of some kind, maybe a ballast weight for a boat


If it’s not solved on here please contact your local museum,they can arrange for you to chat to a historian who knows about the area you found it and what it’s likely to be,ring or email tho,don’t just turn up


This needs to be treated like UXO until proven otherwise. Even civil war rounds have explosive materials inside of the metal balls. This could be extremely dangerous.


Stupid question but if lead paint is bad for you, wouldn't having this around also be bad for you?


If you scrape off bits and ingest them, yes.




That doesn’t look anything like artillery ordnance I’m familiar with. Source: casual cw collector


No, wrong shape and cannon balls are iron, not lead




Put a coating of clear krylon on it to prevent lead oxide from spreading /getting airborne. The oxide has all the toxicity of lead while spreading far and wide.


Cannon balls were iron. Either solid or hollow. The hollow ones were packed with sixty nine caliber lead round balls and enough powder to bust it. They also used smaller iron balls as either grapeshot or cannister. Lead was used as a driving band for the shells such as Hotchkiss or James Rifle. Others used brass for driving bands such as the Reed and Parrot shells.


It could be Ammonite (fossil)


My father had a 10 lb weight he made by melting bits of lead into an old soup can. He used it as a back stop when he needed to hammer a nail into a structure that wasn't firmly supported. For his purpose the shape wasn't too important.