Big Cannon Project

Gun Database

The database allows individual recorders to upload their gun records, to improve them over time and to view all the other guns that have been recorded around the world. The project database is linked to a world map so that gun records can be viewed in geographical context.

Explore the Guns


Our recording system allows you to record as little or as much data as you like. For Bronze level records, Observers only need to upload a picture and a location. Recorders can create Silver level records by identifying key physical features of the gun. At the Surveyor level, you can provide full dimensions to achieve Gold and be a Surveyor. Our world map of guns allows you to see where guns are and how much information about each one has been documented.

How to Record Guns

About the Project

The Ultima Ratio Project aims to develop a centralised database of historical muzzle-loading artillery guns.

Launched in June 2018, the Project seeks to engage with scholars, curators, arms specialists, historical preservation organisations, individual researchers, and other key stakeholders in recording the history of important muzzle-loading ‘big guns’, and making such data publicly available.

In addition to the ongoing database development, the Project produces short articles highlighting interesting or noteworthy historical guns.

The name of the project is derived from the Latin phrase ‘Ultima Ratio Regum’, often translated as ‘the final argument of kings’. This phrase adorned some French cannon, initially by order of Louis XIV (1638–1715), but has come to be synonymous with artillery more generally.

The Ultima Ratio Project is administered by Armament Research Services (ARES), a specialist intelligence consultancy. ARES also provides financial assistance to the Project.

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