Issue 15 September 2020

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Match your Vintage Gun to Non-Toxic Shot

Exactly what can you put in your gun?

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Gunsmithing & Technical|March 2020

In brief, we guide you through the options for using non-toxic ammunition in your vintage guns.

Your vintage gun will have been proof tested long before the idea of steel shot was considered worthy of discussion. Here, we examine the most common proof status combinations and explain what your non-toxic alternatives are.


I have an 1875 Damascus barrelled hammer gun with 2 1/2” black powder proof only and no choke. What non-toxic ammunition can I currently buy and use?1868 black powder proof marks.

There is no approved steel load for use in this gun. Gamebore and Eley produce black powder cartridges but none containing non-toxic shot. You can buy non-toxic shot in bulk and load your own cartridges, using tungsten or bismuth in place of lead.

No non-toxic loads are commercially made for this gun. These Gamebore blac powder cartridges will serve it for the next five years, then you may have to load your own bismuth.


I have an 1875 Damascus barrelled hammer gun that has been re-proofed for 70mm nitro it has slight choke constrictions, equating to Improved Cylinder. What non toxic ammunition can I currently buy and use?

You can buy and shoot any ‘Standard Steel’ load in cases 70mm in length.

You can also use bismuth or tungsten matrix cartridges in 65mm or 70mm cases.

Eley VIP steel with 'eco wad' is a standard 70mm cased steel load suitable for any nitro proof stamped gun with 70mm chambers.


I have a 1957 steel barrelled boxlock with 2 3/4” nitro proof and 1/4 and 3/4 choke. What non toxic ammunition can I currently buy and use?The 2 3/4 nitro proof marks on this boxlock mean it can be used with 'Standard Steel' loads in 70mm cases.

You can buy and shoot any ‘Standard Steel’ load in cases 70mm in length. Do not use shot larger than No.4.

You can also use bismuth or tungsten matrix cartridges in 65mm or 70mm cases.


I have a William Ford 12-bore with 2 1/2” nitro proof and choked 1/4 and 1/2 choke.. What non toxic ammunition can I currently buy and use?These 65mm re-proof stamps mean that you should only use bismuth today, as there are no steel loads in 65mm cases yet available in the UK.

There are currently no steel loads that are approved for 2 1/2” chambers. You will have to choose 65mm cased bismuth or (if you can find them) tungsten matrix cartridges.

Gamebore bismuth in 65mm cases can be used in any nitro proof stamped gun with 2 1/2

 

Published by Vintage Guns Ltd on

Gunsmithing & Technical|March 2020

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