Are moderm 10 ga flare shells available?

I recently acquired a Harrington & Richards M5 Very Pistol in virtually NIB condition. I’ve been looking for 10 ga flares without success. Is anyone aware of a source? I’d like some vintage WW2 flares for the collection, but some modern ones to try out in the pistol.

Thanks in Advance, R.J.

Found some at a Twin Cities gun show earlier this year. Guy had a box, only bought one. Green paper shell, high brass base, light tan wad. Head stamp marked R.L. at the 12’oclock position, No at 9 o’clock, 10 at 3’oclock. Total cartridge length 2 1/2 inches. No other markings, hope this helps you. Paid a dollar for it. Tom from MN

other solution if these exist
you can find an adapter 10 gauge that accept 12 gauge rounds
so you can fire modern 12 gauge flares more available than 10 gauge

A warning on possession of a 10 GA to 12 GA adapter. If you also possess regular 12 shotshells in addition to or instead of 12 distress flares, this could result in troubles with the BATF, even if you have no intent of using the shotshells in the adapter. It may be better to skip the adaptor unless you plan to keep it, the gun and some 12 GA flares on a boat or something. Also, if carried on a boat, it may or may not be approved by the Coast Guard as emergency equipment if you are REQUIRED to carry emergency flares which need specific approval and have specific shelf life.

Stock to the vintage collectable signals with the gun and you will be fine.

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I thought of the 10-to-12 gauge idea when I couldn’t find any 10-ga flares; but couldn’t find them either. A quick specification check tells me why… 10-ga is 0.775" in bore diameter (19.69mm) and 12-ga is 0.729" (18.53 mm). .777 - .729 = 0.046" Divided by 2, and leaving a little room for tolerances, the walls of a 10-to-12 ga adapter would be around 0.020" (0.5 mm), not much more than the neck wall for a .30-'06.

John - are you implying that if I had a 10-gauge shotgun with ammo, that also having this M5 Very Pistol would present a problem?

Thanks all… I’ll keep looking for WW2 / Korean War vintage 10 ga flares. If anyone knows / finds a source, please let me know!

To normal people this would not be a problem, but BATF agents sometimes seem to find reasons for filing charges where nothing illegal was ever intended. Even if the gun owner is right, it may take $$$$$ and lawyer hours to prove it. Better to avoid such problems whenever possible. That might include putting a tag on the flare gun “for signal flares only, do not ever shoot regular shotgun shells in this” and a tag on the ammo box “for use in hunting shotguns only. Never use in anything else even if it might chamber.”

If you are lucky, you may find Canadian 10 ga. flares of more recent manufacture. They came in plastic boxes containing 5 cartridges loaded in CIL cases with paper hull.


Can anyone show a photo of these later Canadian 10ga flares and the packet ?

Not 100% sure this is one but think it might be, & sorry no packet.

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Thanks for the pix. I’d sure like to buy some…

Hi Ron,

Here is a picture of the Red C4 variant box and label from another example:





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Interesting Fede I have the Red C4 Single star but with the below headstamp. I wondered about the case mouth crimp, but see that was the way they went out the door.
DSCN4793 DSCN4792 DSCN4791

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Thank you both for this Canadian flare information. Ron.

Pete, nice to know you have both variantions.