May 282015


The Rat Gun in action – Arthur busting another clay with a whole 9 grams of No 6 shot!


At some point in their shooting life I guess most people have had one, or at least have shot one – a very basic single barrelled .410 – like my old bolt action Webley that I bought for a song years ago.  I have a great affection for mine, and it gets an occasional outing when I feel nostalgic, or have a beginner to introduce to shooting in a totally non threatening way.  Today I took a friend’s son Arthur to the Cambridge Gun Club for his second go at shooting – he has started with muzzle loaders, which is unusual, and managed to hit quite a few with my little percussion 16 bore Henry Nock.  After a mid morning break I thought we had done enough poking things in from the muzzle for one day, so out came the ‘Rat Gun’.  I’d found a box of 2 1/2 inch Eley cardboard cartridges among my father’s old junk so Arthur fired them off at clays with a very good success for a beginner, but 25 cartridges don’t last long and the club only had 3 inch which the Webley won’t take, so I broke open a box of 2 inch No 6 shot cartridges I’d also found, thinking that it was really a waste of time firing such dinky cartridges at clays, but wanting to give Arthur a few more shots.  Much to my surprise he did as well with them as with the 2 1/2 inch and with the muzzle loader shooting 1 oz of No 8 shot!  To finish  the morning off I had half a dozen shots and managed to break four clays, which is above my usual incompetent rate.   I think that is amazing when you look at the difference in the loads  – the muzzle loader is shooting 28 grams of No 8, that is around 360 pellets, whereas the  2 inch cartridge in the.410 is shooting 9 grams of bigger shot – I counted a total of 80 pellets  – that is a difference of a factor 3 in shot load and 4 1/2 in number of pellets. When I came to clean the Webley I could feel that it has a pretty hefty choke – maybe that is  the secret although that implies that we were shooting very accurately – be interesting to pattern it – there is always another question to answer…….

cartridge comparison1

Looks like a bit of a joke cartridge beside a 12 bore?

But who is the joke on?   I do love my Rat Gun…………..

  4 Responses to “Shooting the Rat Gun!”

  1. Amazing and informatic blog regarding firearms! we have decided to purchase some arms . Before purchasing these arms , we consult with SH Guns about the arms and we bought some tools of arms from them. We got some information from some blogs and it was a great experience for us.

  2. Seeing that I wondered if you ever see any parlour rifles, I remember funfair ones in the seventies.

    • Hi Mike,
      I haven’t come across any, but I do have a percussion saloon pistol by Caron of Paris, with about a .22 bore. I suspect that the cap was the only propellent – early caps were pretty potent.

      • Yes , the funfair rifles in Southsea, in the seventies were probably using just the cap . As kids we used to collect the cartridges off the ground. Thank you for the reply.

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