A few years back the Campbell County Wyoming police, up here in Gillette, were called about some loud explosions being heard out by somebody's ranch.

When they got there they found some happy cowboys, something that looked like a make-shift cannon, and beer.

"It's a bowling ball cannon," one tipsy cowboy told an officer. "We're fifing bowling balls out into the prairie."

Being good Wyoming police officers, and cowboys themselves, they wanted to see a demonstration.

B O O M ! The bowling ball flew far out into the sage brush.

Well, no good police office cold let this go without firing the cannon himself, just to make sure it was safe, of course.

Several cannonballed bowling balls later the officers were happy with the results and left the beer-drinking cowboys to it.

It just takes some engineering skills, a few old bowling balls, and some beer, and anyone can make a homemade bowling ball cannon. Like the ones you see in these videos.

The fellows in this next video are a bit more sophisticated.

Let's see how far we can launch a bowling ball using the cannon at Spur Ranch in Wyoming.

Some people like to build what looks a bit more like a traditional cannon, wheels and all.

That's the case in the next video, below.

But not everyone is willing to put that much work into it.

Down a little further, you'll see more of a homemade design that just about anyone can make from what they find at the hardware store, and bowling alley.

Let's watch, in this next video, a more simple cannon fire into an old mine.

You'll see that part of the problem with this smaller design is that the cannon itself wants to fly away in who knows what direction.


But why just fire into the prairie or down into a hole?

These folks are not in Wyoming, but so what, welcome to the club.


What better target than a TOILET BOWL!? From the back of an old Army Jeep!

attachment-YouTube screen grab Beals Science

I mean come on, that's just funny.

From the Youtube page Beals Science Craig Beals and the crew at Beals Science build a massive bowling ball cannon in an old Postal Delivery Jeep.

Watch as the cannon launches bowling balls more than two miles and see what happens when a bowling ball fired from the cannon meets a toilet!

Just a bunch of stupid cowboys having fun? Or SCIENCE?

They will quickly find out that adding more and more black powder does not make the ball go farther.

In fact, there is a point where the more powder that is added the less distance the ball will go.

It's all about aerodynamics and how big of an air envelope the ball make when leaving the cannon.

attachment-YouTube screen grab Beals Science 2

The more velocity leaving the cannon the bigger the air envelope and so the faster the ball slows down.

There is a sweet spot for distance, and a maximum distance.

That is why golf balls have dimples, It helps them go farther.

attachment-YouTube screen grab Beals Science 3

SO THERE YOU GO! You go to watch some stupid videos and learned something at the same time. DO YOU FEEL SMART NOW?


Not until we've GONE BIG!

Here is a video of the firing of the Bowling Ball Cannon in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada in 2011.

Remember, it's not pointless, IT'S SCIENCE!

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