WW2 Iowa Class Battleship 16" Gun Barrel Slice


Frame it inside a table top. It would be most rad.


I always wondered about that, Roundsworth! I also have been wondering how people handled being on the deck of an Iowa Class Battleship in a full on fight with all of the 16" , 5", 40mm and other weapons firing. What kinda of hearing protection does it take? Even at the gun range it gets load with just small arms ammunition going off. It must be insanely loud.

As far as the display goes, I am making some progress. Still waiting on the welding job from the machine shop. I am trying to incorporate and honor all 4 Iowa Class ships into the display and have a good friend trying to acquire a few old teak deck boards that were removed and replaced from one of these ships for me.




Have you ever wondered why the #1 medical affliction of veterans is - LOSS OF HEARING. When I was a Sailor Boy there was no such thing as hearing protection. There were many situations where being able to hear everything that was going on around you was critical.

I’m sure that in today’s politically correct world, hearing protection is a #1 priority.



That’s funny, Ray and probably so true! All I can say is that you guys are tuff!

I was reading that these Navy guns used some type of primer cartridge to ignite the powder bags that could be initiated by both percussion and an electrical charge. Would love to find a picture of what that is. I bet that is rare in collections and museums.


The primers we used were ‘combination lock’ or ‘lock combination’ and could be fired electrically or percussion. In 5-1/2 years, I only recall one misfire. We waited for a spell before pulling the lanyard to attempt percussion fire, which did not produce the desired results. The Gun Captain had to use his repriming tool to eject the primer and chamber a new one. It was a very tense learning experience for all of us, to say the least! The primers were also used during pre-fire checks to ensure the firing circuits were functioning properly.



Both Lock Combination and Case Combination primers have been discussed and shown several times on the Forum. A quick search is in order. They are actually very commonly found in collections.

Lock Combination primers were also used in a special brass case for testing firing circuits in the smaller caliber guns and mounts.



I remember reading somewhere (it may have been on this forum) a series of calculations someone had done. They worked out the weight and acceleration of the projectile and compared it with the weight of the ship. Even with all the guns fired simultaneously, there was little or no measurable sideways force applied to the ship.


Thanks, Ray!

Just saw a great diagram on another thread of the Combination Primer. I should have done a search 1st.



Roundsworth, does this Firing Key look familiar to you? I have been told contrasting ideas that this was the firing key used to fire 16" projectiles on US NAVY Battleships and also that it was used to fire torpedoes. Pretty heavy duty trigger.

Thank you so much for your help.



The FCs had firing keys similar to that. They were hard mounted on the analog computer. The firing key I used was hand-held. I used it for pre-fire checks when we fired primers. We would fire remotely (FCs), locally and percussion. I may be wrong about the local turret key…cripes, 25 years really fogs the memory, even after 5-1/2 years in Turret 1. Uff Da!

You know, I really am in a time warp! I might be thinking of the firing key I used when cycling the loaders on my 3"/50 MK33 MOD 13 when I was on the San Diego. Mom always told me, the first thing you lose is your mind. I am beginning to think she was right!


Cannot thank you enough for your help and most importantly, your Service, Roundsworth!

I may have to incorporate this in my display somehow :-) I bought 3 of these Firing Keys the other day and am amazed at how well they are built and beyond heavy duty. Inside the cloth bag is mounting hardware parts and a heavy rubber gasket part.



An update on the progress I made with displaying this specimen. Still not 100% done yet. I am hoping to ad a barrel slice from each gun system used on a WW2 fitted Iowa Class Battleship as well has to have each of the four ships crests 3D printed in color attached to the front face. From what I have learned, in WW2 these ships were fitted with the 16"/50 Cal Mark 7, 5"/38 Cal, 40mm and 20mm guns. As of now, I have a slice from each gun system except from the 5"/38. If I ever find it I will be busy for the next year nerding on this. As of today, the 16"/50 slice and stand weigh about 225 pounds.


This is the armature of the stand made out of armor plate

Stand brass plated with chromed carriage bolt heads / rivets

Armature clade in 1" thick Burmese Teak wood, same wood I learned the ships deck boards were made from

More or less done until I get the ships crests made and or find a 5"/38 Barrel Slice

I copied the factory stamp on the guns breach for the ID plate

While I cannot confirm that Gun #357 was used on the USS MISSOURI BB-63, I really wanted ad a reproduction of the Japanese Surrender Spot installed on her deck to commemorate the end of WW2. This was actually an old belt buckle I found on EBAY and grinded off the “Buckle Part”.

I hope to do something with 3D printed versions of these patches taped on for giggles down the road and ad some 5"/38 inert projectiles I have next to it.


A super, fantastic & very attractive display.
Thanks for sharing.


Wow, stunning display. Well done! -Ger



Beautiful display! Thanks for showing us the results of your efforts.



Re flight time:

Project HARP used these guns. The record:
On November 18, 1966 the Yuma gun fired a 400 lb (180 kg) Martlet 2 projectile at 7,000 ft/s (2,100 m/s)[1] sending it briefly into space and setting an altitude record of 180 km (590,000 ft; 110 mi)

First shot was a wooden slug at 1000m/s that lasted 58 seconds and went to an alt of 3000m.


Thank you all so much for your kind words.

This artifact hit me hard when I started contemplating in my head the intense amounts history that took place in its development. I cannot help to think about all the brave men like, Roundsworth, who operated it and all the men who served on these ships. The history that took place under these barrels blows my mind and I wanted to try and honor those men by doing something special with it. I bought a table-saw and practiced for months making cheap mock ups out of pine so I could cut the teak ultra precisely. I really admire all the woodworkers that make their craft look easy. I spent hours on youtube watching master woodworkers that offer video lessons for novices :-) Anyhow, I hope to ad to it down the road. It weighs over 200 pounds now and I want to make it heavier with the other barrel slices one day and add all the ships crests.

Jester, I did not realize that these 16"/50 Cal Mark 7’s were used in the HARP Project! Too cool, thank you!




Jester, I did not realize that these 16"/50 Cal Mark 7’s were used in the HARP Project! Too cool, thank you!


Just to clarify, I think their largest gun was basically 100 calibers in length, by joining two barrels.


Thank you so much for the additional information and great photo! What a major engineering feat it must have been to join those barrels to make it 100 Calibers and to be able to get it almost vertical. HEAVY HEAVY HEAVY!



Jason you have created a museum quality display of not only the gun but the history very nicely done.