12 GA. Propeller Loads

I have been digging through a box of things I stashed away 40 years ago. Among them was a envelope with 2 12 ga. shells. I had written on the envelope “Propeller Loads”. I am sure I knew what they were for at the time, but I no longer remember what they were to propel. They are headstamped “WINCHESTER No. 12 RANGER” and are red paper with no markings on the side and are pie crimp. They sound like they are completely filled with powder. They are much too light to contain shot. My best guess is that they may have been for propelling tear gas? Any other ideas.

A line launching load maybe?

IIRC, didn’t some WWII and prior Navy radial engines use a starter cartridge? Perhaps they are literally “propeller loads”…

I believe a black powder starter cartridge was used to turn over the engine…

Just a SWAG on my part…

pzjgr–I am familiar with the engine starter cartridges. I have 4 or 5 of them, but all the ones I have are 4 ga. I have seen 8 ga loads for diesel tractors. But all of the engine starters I have seen have large (1/4 to 1/2 inch) diameter powder grains. My “Propeller” loads have fine powder, from the sounds of it.

Pdrice–I doubt if they are line throwing loads, but could be.

Ron…can you post a photo ?..I am far from a Tear Gas expert…but been dabbling real hard in the subject for 3-4 years…maybe it will ring a bell (or I can cross a reference)


Pepper–Sorry, but I don’t have a digital camera and my scanner does a really bad job on 3-dimensional objects. It doesn’t really matter in this case as they look like any Winchester Ranger red 12 ga. shotshell. Nothing unusual to show on the outside. The headstamp is the normal headstamp also.

I have a copy of Swearengen and while I did not go through it page by page, I did not see these listed in it.
I think these may have been made after the 1966 date of that book. Based on other things in the box I found these in, I would guess they date from about 1980-1985.

If anyone recalls the movie Flight of the Phoenix, they used some of these starter cartridges to get the engine started on the plane they assembled from parts of their crashed plane. As might be expected, the engine was started with their the last cartridge - I believe there was also a large group of gun shooting, camel riding Middle Easterners of some persuasion bearing down on them just to add to the suspense.

Guy–Yes I remember that scean. As I recall the cartridges were used in a 5-shot revolver machinsm.

Great movie! One of my favorites. Not to ruin it for everybody but it starred Jimmy Stewart and they made it out OK. You would not expect them to kill off Mr Stewart would you??

I can’t let the day go by without mentioning one of the greats and one of the most ardent supporters of gun (and ammunition) rights, Charlton Heston. One of the few really good guys that was left.


Unfortunately, I was referring to the version made a couple of years ago - can’t recall who was in it. I believe the older version was better.

I have 2 diffent types of these shells one as you describe that some one wrote Propeller Shell on the side of.

The other is a Western Xpert (red) with a very large primer, with a black center. I was told that this one propelled the Bouncing Betty land mine up out of the ground.

It seems that I have seen engins starting shells in a museum in the past and that they were of an odd length and gauge to prevent the use of a shot shell in the chambers. Don’t take this comment to the bank as I could very well be mistaken.

The shells used to start the Field Mashall tractor look like a basic 12 guage shell. Came with a metal cap to protect the crimp until use.

Ah…the potential for an interesting thread…as I love special purpose cartridges…first and foremost, if they have a

Here are photos of the MARSHALL DIESEL ENGINE POWER START CARTRIDGE. Headstamp is ELEY-KYNOCK 12. Top of cap says “REMOVE THIS CAP BEFORE USE”[/img]

Here you can download the US Army manual for the BREEZE cartridge starter

Interesting …

ahecwebdds.carlisle.army.mil/awa … 1&awdid=13

What you have is a test for propeller damage circa WW II. These are loaded with Quartz chips, (clear white and also clear {2 variations) and fired at the propellor to simulate sand damage.
Nothing to do with starting, igniting or propelling anything.
Info is in the S.C.H.S. Shotshell Review, but I don’t have an issue or page # in front of me. Just box Xeroxes & Windy’s drawing of the shells with this information.
hope this is of help