Some of my fondest shooting memories happened at a small, restored slave cabin in Flint Hill, VA, where the Technical Editor of American Rifleman, Pete Dickey, and I would find creative ways to do things with guns that we could never put in print. Frequently, our shenanigans involved a blank-firing cannon he had with a bore big enough to take a tennis ball. That’s also the right size bore for beer cans, large summer sausage and other things we shot out of it. Unfortunately, the 10-gauge blanks his cannon took generated so much pressure that shooting a can of beer resulted in a misty cloud that smelled like many frat houses, and I won’t repeat what happens to summer sausage.
At SHOT Show, I came across something I wish Pete and I had known about. It’s the Can Cannon from X-Products and it’s a launching device set up for launching full un-opened 12-oz. soda cans. When used with M200 mil spec blanks, it can reach an average distance of 105 yards!
Unlike Pete’s cannon, the Can Cannon uses a proprietary gas ported barrel and pressure tube to launch heavy, thin wall objects without blowing them up, burning a hole in them or directing hot gas directly into them.
It’s sold as an assembled AR upper with receiver with headspaced and mounted ported barrel and pressure tube. It works with any AR-15 mil standard bolt and most piston bolts and the BATFE approved design is not considered a Destructive Device or firearm–HOWEVER if you put it on a rifle lower, BATFE does consider it a SBR, and if you put it on a handgun lower, it’s an AOW.
Why would you go through the SBR or AOW paperwork to launch a soda can? Because as Pete and I learned, it’s a hell of a lot of fun, and there are better things to do with beer.
“Shooting Guns & Having Fun”
In 2008, Mayer returned to the editorial side of publishing, this time in the digital field, as Editorial Director for Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Handguns and Rifleshooter online magazines. After a brief stint in 2011 as the Digital Media Director for an ABC TV affiliate, Mayer returned to the outdoors industry and Safari Club International where he is currently Assistant Publisher and Multi-Media Communications Editor.