4 Gauge Powder transport "shell"

Her from Köln-Rottweiler Powder factory a 4 Gauge “Shell” which has only a mockup primer, and the front of the paper hull is closed by a cork.disk. It contains only powder (about 100grams)…and was made for

  1. countries where a big tax on powder occured, but not on “ammunition”,
  2. in Germany (or elsewhere too), where Transportation of powder in trucks or Trains where forbidden, but not so, for packed “ammunition”

Have fun
4 gauge pulvertransporthülse und bs

Very interesting. Just goes to show there’s always ways around laws like this.

Thanks for sharing.

Here is a British example of the same idea. These were reportedly filled with propellant also to get round import/export rules. The case is an empty Four Bore / One Inch brass berdan case with an upturned inert copper primer. There’s remains of shellac type material around the case-mouth internally where it appears to have originally been sealed shut.

That is a 25mm / 26mm flare shell you show.

Interesting it was used a powder transport.

Various countries did this & case types used go from 10ga to 4ga


Thanks very much for the info, much appreciated,


I’ve had this 8 Bore empty primed case for a while, which appears to have been sealed closed at the mouth at some stage. Do you think it could have been a Powder Shipper at some stage, or is it more probably some kind of industrial cartridge? Thanks, Pete.


Pete, a new one to me.
However my 2 pence is that you may be correct as 99% of the industrial shells in 8 bore that I know of as all paper hulls for kiln guns. Not that I’ve seen everything, andthe tape residue does extend far down the case.
That looks like it has a steel primer pocket and primer cup. And it appears to be turned brass.
Is it a live primer? Does the case have a flash vent-hole? Sometimes dummy or inert cases were used.
Perhaps some kind of a flare but those are most often not marked with a gage designation and are not really interchangeable with a a shot shell.

Thanks Pete. Yep, seems a bit of a mystery. The primer is a battery cup style, with a ferrous steel cup and cap, which appears to be copper washed on the inside. There’s no obvious flash hole, but it’s indented & darkened in the centre, so could just have varnish over the flash hole. I’ve attempted to take an internal photograph that shows a bit more of the machining marks. Pete.

Hi Pete
I was thinking if a Boxer primer it would have a single central vent & Berdan most likely two vents. A shot shell battery cup has built-in invent holes, so it most likely is a live primer.
The head looks polished or burnished after the primer was installed as the marks on the head appear to be the sale all over the head & primer cap / cup.
Still no clue as to an ID here. Sorry.

Hi Pete. It’s a strange one. The head appears to have been ground/rubbed smooth with the primer cup in-situ, taking off the copper wash, then the ‘8’ impressed afterwards. Looks like this one’s going to remain a mystery! Pete.

I knew I had some of these but only just managed to get to them. They were in a cardboard box, plain with nothing on the outside. There was about 20 when I got them down to 7 now and the box has long been thrown out. What intrigued me was that I remembered that some had milled heads and some didn’t, I could not remember the caps.

With caps reversed;

With caps correct;

Any thoughts on why some have caps the correct way and why some are milled and some not (there were more milled ones than just the one you now see).

Might be able to help with the 8 bore case, it looks very similar to mine (lathe turned). The No. 8 is stamped on the case and “why is it rubbed” because it was a tight fit on closing the gun. I found very often that when a brass case was machined to fit one gun and then used in another the head clearance was just too tight so rubbing the back of the head on wet & dry or emery cloth was enough to get a good fit. And rather than use bath sealant to close the OSC some people used sellotape to effect the closure when the case was very full.

Sorry meant to add that I thought milled heads were used to signify a flare cartridge?

Mike, not sure what you mean by “milled”?

If you are talking about the edge of the rim being corrugated it was to identify the flare color in the dark.

Flares were usually red, green or white and the amount / length (1/4, 1/2 or full) of the rim-edge ribbing was standardized in the services for each color. Usually the top wad was colour coded and on some, it also had a tactile ID method of raised dots or ribs. So both day & night use was easily facilitated.

A British military pyrotechnics booklet / manual should tell which was what. Might even be on the web, someplace.

Re, the caps, no idea. Sorry

Pete, the British manuals will not tell as these are 26.5mm cases and not 1".

These here were for export. If I remember correctly the 1927 ones were for Estonia.

Hi Mike,

Thanks for the info on the 8 Bore case, much appreciated,



Yes I mean the serrated flange on the rim of the head (milled/fluted/serrated/knurled). Learned something there didn’t know it was the colour, I only knew it as a means of saying it was a flare. Going to go and have a look at some others now.
Yeah, the caps strikes me as odd and potentially dangerous if they were being used as powder carriers?

Pete (2),

Your welcome.


In the UK it is known as a ‘milled’ edge, in the U.S. I believe it is known as a ‘reeded’ edge.

It is/was British practice (except during WWII, wartime concession) to mark the the cartridges as follows -

Star, Illuminating - half the circumference of rim milled.
Signal, Green - plain rim
Signal, Red - whole circumference of rim milled.

It was also the practice to have a raised symbol on the closing wad. One was a triangle and I can’t recall the others.

To illustrate Tim’s post above, here are the three types he mentioned above in the order described on 1” signalling & illuminating British cartridges. The tactile markings on the sealing cap, in order, are ‘dot’, ‘triangle’, & ‘cross’. Notice how the same tactile designation is reproduced on the top of the packing tins. Pete.

Very nice

I just found this old posting on brass flare cases. I cannot help with the original question on powder shells but can add the following information. The K 27 Ltd cases are an export contract as stated and will not chamber in a British flare pistol. They only chamber in my Russian, Italian and German pistols since the rim is too large for a British pistol.
My K 34 has a full rim knurl and a white Lac. wad with W 7 ?? visible. Looks more like a white flare rather than a red one. Any comments are welcome .I collect flares.