Cartridge Loading Data

Smokeless and black powder loads for British guns by Thomas Bland.

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Gunsmithing & Technical|October 2019

Enthusiasts for replicating original loads for their British guns often have to guess what is appropriate. Many load to very low pressures, which is sensible and cautious but not always necessary. Loading data from the era in which the guns were made can be helpful in calculating the optimal combination of powder and shot for the type of gun being catered for.

Thomas Bland, gun-maker of the Strand, in London, offered this useful table to customers in his 1950s catalogue. It links bore size and chamber length to the commonly loaded standards of the day. It provides equivalent loads for using smokeless powders and black powder, with corresponding shot loads.

He explains ‘Although some of the powders and cartridges are no longer available, we think the table of loads given below will be of interest to the hand loader.'

Many American readers do hand-load for their vintage guns, though the practice is less popular in the UK, except for unusually large or rare bore sizes.

Having a reference table of powder and shot charges for different bores and case lengths, based on standard British loading criteria of the time, which covers the popular ‘smokeless’ powders, like Schultze and Smokeless Diamond, as well as black powder equivalents should be of interest to those attempting to replicate these characteristics in home-loads today.

We re-produce the table unadulterated below:

Published by Vintage Guns Ltd on

Gunsmithing & Technical|October 2019

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