Occasionally a gun case, containing the gun and its original accessories turns-up in tact. Even better, if it has the original ticket from the maker showing how the gun was regulated and for what charges.
Gunmakers of yesteryear regulated every quality gun to the requirements of the customer.
This unusually high quality and well finished boxlock by C.G. Bonehill is just such a find. Gun No.5366 is accompanied by detailled data pertaining to the regulation of the gun and the loading of the cartridges.
It was, then, the practice to order your cartridges from your gunmaker, who would load them as directed in whatever quantity you wanted.
Rather than tell the gunmaker you wanted 'Half Choke' or 'Improved Cylinder', it would be more helpful to tell him how many pellets you wanted to land in a thirty inch circle at forty yards. He would then experiment at the pattern plate until he had a choke constriction and a load that delivered what you wanted.
In this case, the performance was specified as 132 pellets from the right barrel and 168 from the left, using 1 1/8oz (32g) of No.6 shot.
Because both nitro and black powders were then in common use, a recipe for each is provided. Those being; 42 grains of Schultze nitro powder or, if black powder was to be used, it should be 3 drams of Curtis & Harvey's No.4. Directions as to wadding and over-shot card are also specified.
This was a much more involved and precise method of regulating than is carried out today, even by the best makers. We have to buy off-the-shelf cartridges and experiment to see what they do in our guns, while our chokes are specified in standard increments, rather than delivery of pellets into an even pattern.
Published by Vintage Guns Ltd on