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4" Canister Shells or 6" Canister Shells?

Updated: Jan 20, 2023

They say if you throw enough bait in the water, you're bound to catch some fish. Well, when it comes to canister shells their theory is absolutely correct. But the average fireworks consumer has little concept on the rules and regulations of consumer fireworks.

Example: The #1 canister shells Excalibur are the all-time favorites in artillery shells. Only 4" in size but contain the most allowed powder by law. 60 - grams in each shell is what is regulated by the CPSC or known as the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Considered one of the most reliable mortars on the market. Excalibur mortar shells will reach an estimated height of nearly 250 feet in the air (that is a 25-story tall building) before they will burst into a 200-foot widespread with its effects. Each shell makes a loud report (bang) upon the opening of its effects. Laws of physics tell us, the less weight, the farther it will travel when it comes to explosives. Now there are many variables in fireworks. Air density, the types of shooting tubes used, the length of the shooting tubes and on and on it goes. Air density is the thickness of the air, the hotter, more humid air limits the distance fireworks shells will travel in the upwards motion. The colder crisper air that has less density will allow the shells to travel farther upwards. When it comes to the breaks, the effects in shells are under the same theory. Cold winter air will produce higher heights, brighter colors but the report may not be as loud due to the added distance the shells will travel in the upwards motion.

Now comparing the 5" Excalibur Platinum artillery shells to the regular Excalibur canister shells. First is the size, yes, it is an inch longer, but is has the same amount of powder 60 - grams the legal limit for consumer fireworks shells by law. Does it travel the same distance into the air? Probably not unless the shooting tubes are a bit longer. More weight, based on additional materials means more powder is necessary to achieve the same results. Well, 60 - grams is the limit. Will the BANG be louder? Of course, the closer the shell is to the ground at ignition, the louder it will sound. The bigger the spread will look as well. The big difference are the effects in the Excalibur Platinum verse the original Excalibur. Different effects in the breaks, brighter colors (neon), same breaks, same HDPE shooting tubes just a bit longer.

IN conclusion, marketers will continue to play on the consumers to make them believe the 6 or 7 even 8" shells are bigger and better. Well, one thing for sure, they are bigger in length but contain the same amount of powder as the smaller canister shells. They may look bigger because they are hot closer to the ground and the spectators. Are they any better, only if you feel paying more for cardboard makes you feel better? Canister shells, in a class all of their own!

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