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…….
Looks like a bit of a joke cartridge beside a 12 bore?
But who is the joke on? I do love my Rat Gun…………..