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.577 inch Buckshot

Almost from the beginning of the long service of the Snider conversions, buckshot rounds were made for a variety of uses. They were used by Coastguards, prison warders and the army, the latter using them both in case of civil unrest and in the field.

Buckshot Mark I

"Cartridge S.A. Ball Breech-loading Boxer for Snider Rifle Buckshot Mark I" was approved in 1868 but not shown in Lists of Changes.

The case was based on a shorter version of the Pattern V ball case with a white paper covering. 

Sixteen shot (220 to the pound) were packed in Plaster of Paris and contained in a cloth bag that protruded from the case mouth. The total weight of shot was 509 grains.

Propellant was about 63 grains of RFG blackpowder and unlike other Snider cartridges, it was compressed into a pellet.

The Buckshot Mark I was issued in 1867/68, 1869/70 and 1873/74. 

No example of the Buckshot Mark I is known to survive.

Buckshot Mark II

IThe .577 inch Buckshot Mark II was introduced to incorporate the latest changes to the Snider cartridge case as well as changes to the weight of shot and charge.

"Cartridge S.A. Ball Breech-loading Boxer for Snider Rifle Buckshot Mark II" was approved in November 1873 and shown in LoC Paragraph 2546 dated January 1874. 

The cartridge case was that of the Ball Mark IX or X and was covered with brown paper, normally without the red band printed around the case. The shot load was 13 shot (220 to the pound) packed in bone dust and fitted into a paper bag gathered at the nose and secured with twine. The whole was sealed with shellac.

The propellant charge was 52 - 56 grains of RFG blackpowder with a paper disc and a felt wad.

Indian made Buckshot Mark II made using a Ball Mark X case.

Later, once production had ceased at military arsenals, contracts were placed with the Trade for Buckshot Mark II and these differed by having the shot enclosed in a flat topped paper bag coated in shellac.

Trade made contract Buckshot Mark II on a Ball Mark IX case.

Special Mark I

One further type of buckshot was approved for British service. This was the "Cartridge S.A. Shot Snider Special Mark I (AAA Shot, for Warders of Convict Prisons)". This was approved to design RL 9887 in July 1898 and shown in LoC Paragraph 9343 dated January 1899.

It consisted of a coiled brass case without paper covering with an iron base disc and closed with a rosette crimp. The shot load was originally 300 grains, but this was subsequently reduced to 200 grains by LoC Paragraph 13043 dated December 1905. The propellant charge was 50 grains of RFG2 blackpowder.

 In July 1922 the specification for this cartridge (L.2891) was amended to allow for drawn brass cases, but no such example is known. It does however give an indication of how long this round remained in Prison service.

Left: Box label for late Kynoch contract AAA shot Special Mark I with drawn cases.                                        Right: Rolled case AAA Shot Special Mark I

Prior to this another cartridge for prison service appears to have existed although it is not documented anywhere. 

A small wooden box exists with a label stating "60 Cartridges S.A. Small Shot AAA Snider S.B. Special 1898" and addressed to the Governor of H.M. Prison Cardiff and bearing the Royal Laboratory stamp in the wood. The cartridges are similar in all respects to the Special Mark I so it may simply be that this was an alternative title for that round.
Sealed Pattern for Special AAA Shot (Courtesy National Firearms Centre)

Buckshot India Pattern Mark I and II

Little is known of these rounds other than their description in Indian Lists of Changes.

The "Cartridge S.A. Buckshot Snider India Pattern Mark I" was not introduced in Lists of Changes but is shown as being superseded by the Mark II in Indian LoC Paragraph 3362 dated December 1898.

It is thought to have had a plain rolled brass case without paper covering and with a shot load of thirteen shot (220 to the pound).

The "Cartridge S.A. Buckshot Snider India Pattern Mark II" was approved in 1898 and shown in Indian LoC Paragraph 3362 dated December 1898.

It was similar to the Mark I but had the case lined with tissue paper and held twelve shot (220 to the pound). The propellant chargse was about 54 grains of RFG blackpowder with one felt wad soaked in beeswax.