A canister SHOULD NOT burst inside the barrel. Iron balls upon the softer bronze would do considerable damage. This was the complaint upon the use of the 7YW French Cannister. Hence the introduction of the "Gribeauval" that was of tin as described by De Scheel (1777 and 1795) quoting Du Coudray (1772). If cannister burst in the barrel it would be little better than hail shot which was only fired from iron guns up to the 17th century.
Light 6-pdr canister at a 6 by 90 foot long target [Adye (1806) 158]
Light Canister [34x 3oz balls with 20oz charge]
• 300 yards PB 11/32 hits, ½˚ 12/32 hits and 1˚ 7/32 hits
• 400 yards PB 10/32 hits, ½˚ 9/32 hits and 1˚ 6/32 hits
Heavy Canister [12x 8oz balls with 20oz charge]
• 300 yards ½˚ 6/12 hits, 1˚ 3/12 hits and 1½˚ 4/12 hits
• 400 yards 1˚ 6/12 hits, 1½˚ 4/12 hits and 2˚ 4/12 hits
• 300 yards 1˚ 3/12 hits, 1½˚ 3/12 hits and 2˚ 3/12 hits
The Bengal Artillery tests of the 1820s [Table 33] shows that the 9-pdr had a 33 ball and 41 ball advantage at 150 and 250 yards respectively. [Straith (1833) 61] Experiment by Bengal Artillery firing two rounds of canister from their Light 6-pdr and 9-pft canister at a 10 by 120 foot long target [Straith (1833) 60-1]
Light 6-pdr [48x 2oz balls with 20oz charge]
• 150 yards 103 hits out of 192 [4 rounds] = 54% hits
• 250 yards 35 hits out of 96 [2 rounds] = 36% hits
9-pdr [52x 3oz balls with 20oz charge]
• 150 yards 136 hits out of 208 [4 rounds ] = 65% hits
• 250 yards 76 hits out of 104 [2 rounds ] = 73% hits
Yes the Russians and Saxons had a form of Shrapnell from 1750 and 1768 respectively. The Russians used it for their Unicorns and the Saxons in the
Now damage would be caused by the shell or cannister to the object before the contents split open. Not all cannister split when fired and did as described. This was a complaint against the French Cannister. The problem with cannister was that it was not reliable when the dispersion of the contents occurred. Ballistically a container that is less than four diameters long is unstable and is likely to rotate in the air so distributing the contents. The introduction of a bursting charge solved the problem.
There are a number of tables in Spearman (1828), Griffiths (1839) and Duncan (1828/1855) that give details upon the range and effect. Shrapnel was not reliable until the introduction of Boxer fuses and diaphrahm to remove the chance of premature detonation.
"Certainly it makes no sense to make canister out of steel or iron with solid wooden bases if it was intended to burst in the barrel. In such a case a light wooden base with a canvas (or similar) bag to hold the balls seems a better option. In effect the least amount of resistance to the dispersal of the balls."
This is grape as used by the Royal Navy. British cannister was constructed to punch the balls so was good at close range.
"One the other hand if the canister is so strong then why can canister not be fired out to longer ranges. Just as a cannon ball could eb fired to a first graze at say 800m then why not a canister?"
Cannister is a cylinder and does not have the ballistic shape like a ball and so does not have the range. Also lower charges were used when firing cannister otherwise the cannister would burst in the barrel.
This is a complex area and so many differences in design. I hope that I have clarrified it better.