British .410 Ammunition Crate


#1

At the local gun show this morning, I ran across something unusual - A .303 Lee-Enfield bolt-action rifle (shotgun) and a full case of .410 ammunition for it. The vendor let me take some pictures of the case with my cel phone (not the best quality). Maybe someone can provide more information about the ammunition - dating, who made it, any other interesting facts about the ammunition and Enfield shotgun and what its intended purpose was. Not sure what purpose a .410 shotgun would fill except possibly for survival. I am sure someone here should have some firsthand knowledge, as I surely do not, first time I have seen anything like this. By the way, the vendor was asking $335 for the Enfield shotgun and the case of ammunition. Deal or no deal? He did not want to open the crate, so I do not know what the packaging inside looks like. Maybe they don’t even contain shot but something else, i.e., why would a shotshell be called “Ball?”.


.410 Ball Pakistani Sealed case
#2

Both the Enfield “shotgun” and the .410 ball ammo are surplus Pakistani issue. I think my cartridge examples are all dated 1960. Pretty sure it was all used for anti-riot or other police operations, not survival.


#3

The case tells part of the story. The markings POF 22-4-60 show that it was packed by the Pakistan Ordnance Factory on 22nd April 1960. Most likely the same cartridge as mentioned by jonnc.

Cheers

John


#4

there is a back thread on this noting use & headstamps.
Indian Police gun as used / made by Pakistan. Ammo came in by the pallet load & from what I understand the guns are worth a couple of hundred & as I recall the crates were going for about $40. Have a friend in the area selling sealed 10-size packets for $10.

Also made in a shot load & also by India.


#5

Cartridge, Musket, .410" Mark I (Ball) and Cartridge, Musket, .410", Mark I (Shot);
Both “invented” in British India, following the Bloody Amritsar Massacre in 1919, where Police and Troops fired on Religious Sikh demonstrators with .303 Ball from Rifles and Two Vickers MGs (on Armoured Cars) where hundreds of demonstrators were killed or injured. Amritsar was/is the “Holy City” for the Sikh religion.

The ".410 Musket SMLE was also developed then (in the 1920s). Prior to this, British Indian Police carried Sniders and Martini-Henrys with Shot Loads, or simple Shotguns based on these actions (20 Gauge for the Sniders).

After Partition in 1947, both India and Pakistan (and Now Bangladesh) still use the .410 Musket for Crowd control and General Police use. RF Ishapore, since the 1920s, has converted thousands of
SMLE Mark III and III* rifles to .410 Musket by simply reaming the Barrel, and leaving part of the original .303 Chamber to match the “slight taper” .410 Musket case (which is a .303 Drawing, diverted before final Taper ( for the Cordite Load); Nitro Powder (either double base or Single Base) was used as the Loading. The Ball Loading had a .410 round Ball, whilst the Shot Loading had several “OO/SG type Buckshot” Loaded. The Musket was “single shot”(magazine well filled with Wood), so as to prevent Panicky Policemen from “firing multiple shots rapidly” --in any case, the Blunt Musket cartridge won’t feed from a Magazine.
The Mouth of the shell was crimped into the round Ball, and over an Over-shot wad for the Shot Loading.

Obviously the POF shells now on the Market are what is called “Life expired” (beyond its “Use By” Date for Military /Police ammo.) Having been well sealed and kept, they probably work just as well as when Made.

BEWARE: Primer .250 Berdan AND Corrosive…Use Normal .303 cleaning Methods ( Hot water wash, scrub followed by Hoppes#9 etc.)

Have Fun
Doc AV

PS, for cartridge Manufacturing data (Handloading) contact me Directly on info@avballistics.com.au


#6

Well, that’s an interesting history lesson. I just assumed that both the Enfield and the ammunition were military, not considering they could be for riot police. Obviously the ammunition would (or could) be lethal, so not a “humane” riot control round like those using rubber balls. I didn’t buy the gun or the ammo, only looked, just because it was something I hadn’t seen before. Vendor said he was selling it on consignment for someone else, so he claimed to not know anything about it.


#7

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=16281


#8

I think the emphasis on “riot” is a bit over stressed. The Enfield shotgun was issued to ‘native’ troops (who also carried out a police function) simply because, in truth, their British masters could not fully trust them. Maybe thats a non PC answer these days.

The history of the British rule in India (which included what is now Pakistan) was peppered with mutiny and uprising and they didn’t want the locals armed with real rifles. Evidence more recently in Afghanistan and Iraq shows the dangers of arming so called friendly locals.

As DocAV says they weren’t really a true .410 as we know it, they are an un necked .303 case with a lead ball usually. When we left it appears we left the shotguns behind.


#9

Independence for both Pakistan and India came in 1947. Why would they continue production and issue to at least 1960; for what purpose?


#10

I beg to differ, Vince Green. The Indian Army was as fuilly equipped with British current equipment as the British Army ( SMLEs, Vickers guns, Lewis/Hotchkiss/Vickers Berthier and then Brens.)
at the time of WW I ( and before, since the 1870s, after the Problems of the Indian Mutiny (1857) had been Politically resolved.)

The Loyalty shown by these So-called Native Troops in the siege of Kut (Mesopotamia), The “War of the Bees” (Tanganyika) and on the Western front, places them on a Par with the French Senegalese Troops, the US 359th Regiment (“coloured”) and the US 9th and 10th Cavalry (“Buffalo Soldiers”:). The Initial reason for the Local Police to be issued with “nonstandard” firearms before 1920, was the problem of “Theft” by Bandits…if the ammo was not available, a firearm was of no use. This was the Principle of the 1907 Decree banning all civilian use of “military Bores” (ie, .303, .45 (as in MH) and .577 ( as in Snider)…but the British/Indian Gun trade overcame this, by introducing BSA “8mm Lee” rifles (8x50R Austrian) the .465 and 470 and 577/500 cartridges, and of course the 450/400 etc…all for Civilian Use. India (after Partition) continued this British regulation, and Introduced (re-introduced) the .315 Indian cartridge, (Clone of the 8x50R Austrian) as the Major “Indian Hunting Cartridge,” with Ishapore-made Lee Enfield sporting rifles. India Made M93 8x50R during WW II, to supply the thousands of M95 Mannlicher rifles captured in Italian East Africa in 1941, and shipped to India as training Rifles. Khirkee even made 6,5mm Carcano and 8mm Breda ammo as well during WW II. See Labbett.

The Use of .303 at Amritsar caused quite a stir. An official Inquiry led to the Cashiering of several (British) Officers, as well as a change in “Crowd Control” Policies. Hence the Ball and shot loads (ie, the Ball load for real criminals, and the shot load for “crowd control”. And the word “Riot” is not an understatement…In India, when a crowd riots, it is something…we are not talking of a Western style demonstration fracas ( several dozen or even a Hundred People)…we are talking Thousands and more, often armed with sticks (Big uns) and stones and maybe rudimentary Firearms,. swords, etc. The Crowd at Amritsar was estimated at between Ten and Twenty Thousand…not a pretty sight facing a couple of companies of Police and soldiers, and a couple of Armoured cars with a couple of British Officers, fresh from WW I… And armed with a limited amount of .303 Ball…what were they to do, fire over their heads???.There is nothing like challenging one’s religion to raise a storm…( Don’t we know it???).

Doc AV

PS, it is not a “nonPC” answer, just an ill-informed one.


#11

These .410 Shotguns were apparently still in use as late as the Mumbai terrorist attacks in 2008. The local police were armed with these, and were hopelessly outgunned by the terrorists armed with AK type rifles.


#12

[quote=“DocAV”]I beg to differ, Vince Green. The Indian Army was as fuilly equipped with British current equipment as the British Army ( SMLEs, Vickers guns, Lewis/Hotchkiss/Vickers Berthier and then Brens.)
at the time of WW I ( and before, since the 1870s, after the Problems of the Indian Mutiny (1857) had been Politically resolved.)

The Loyalty shown by these So-called Native Troops in the siege of Kut (Mesopotamia), The “War of the Bees” (Tanganyika) and on the Western front, places them on a Par with the French Senegalese Troops, the US 359th Regiment (“coloured”) and the US 9th and 10th Cavalry (“Buffalo Soldiers”:). The Initial reason for the Local Police to be issued with “nonstandard” firearms before 1920, was the problem of “Theft” by Bandits…if the ammo was not available, a firearm was of no use. This was the Principle of the 1907 Decree banning all civilian use of “military Bores” (ie, .303, .45 (as in MH) and .577 ( as in Snider)…but the British/Indian Gun trade overcame this, by introducing BSA “8mm Lee” rifles (8x50R Austrian) the .465 and 470 and 577/500 cartridges, and of course the 450/400 etc…all for Civilian Use. India (after Partition) continued this British regulation, and Introduced (re-introduced) the .315 Indian cartridge, (Clone of the 8x50R Austrian) as the Major “Indian Hunting Cartridge,” with Ishapore-made Lee Enfield sporting rifles. India Made M93 8x50R during WW II, to supply the thousands of M95 Mannlicher rifles captured in Italian East Africa in 1941, and shipped to India as training Rifles. Khirkee even made 6,5mm Carcano and 8mm Breda ammo as well during WW II. See Labbett.

The Use of .303 at Amritsar caused quite a stir. An official Inquiry led to the Cashiering of several (British) Officers, as well as a change in “Crowd Control” Policies. Hence the Ball and shot loads (ie, the Ball load for real criminals, and the shot load for “crowd control”. And the word “Riot” is not an understatement…In India, when a crowd riots, it is something…we are not talking of a Western style demonstration fracas ( several dozen or even a Hundred People)…we are talking Thousands and more, often armed with sticks (Big uns) and stones and maybe rudimentary Firearms,. swords, etc. The Crowd at Amritsar was estimated at between Ten and Twenty Thousand…not a pretty sight facing a couple of companies of Police and soldiers, and a couple of Armoured cars with a couple of British Officers, fresh from WW I… And armed with a limited amount of .303 Ball…what were they to do, fire over their heads???.There is nothing like challenging one’s religion to raise a storm…( Don’t we know it???).

Doc AV

PS, it is not a “nonPC” answer, just an ill-informed one.[/quote]

You may beg to differ by all means. The point you make is correct but not really relevent to the subject of the thread. The Indian Regiments, as you say, were fully armed and fully trained regiments. They formed a very important part of the British standing army and were highly respected professionals. The most highly regarded and respected of the Commonwealth troops, they were used extensively all over the Empire. Everywhere that is except India. You talk about the Indian army but the ‘Army of India’ was the British Army in India not an army of Indians.

Britain followed the example of the Romans before them and didn’t deploy native troops on their home ground, for obvious reasons. The British also followed the example of the Romans in leaving most of the local administration to local Maharajas so there was no need for a big military presence most of the time.
That explains why there are so many mint Martini rifles still coming out of India today, we armed the Maharajas with the Martinis but only when the Martinis were obsolete, thereby being careful to keep them undergunned, and we still controlled the supply of ammunition.

You mention the Massacre at Amritsar but that was not carried out by Indian troops, it was men of the Gurkha Rifles (mostly) under the command of British officers but yes they did have .303s. That illustrates the point fairly clearly, the Indian regiments consisted largely of Sikhs. There is no possibility that a Sikh detachment would have fired upon a crowd of Sikhs at the Sikhs’ most holy temple on a holy day.

There is also a lot of debate about whether the crowd was even behaving agressively at all. The majority of the victims were shot in the back trying to get out of the exit gate and the British were pouring fire at the exit in a classic crossfire. The crowd was there for a religious festival, it wasn’t a riot ‘per se’ although there was some ill feeling about a few local arrests earlier that week. There were a lot of women present which mean to me that the riot part of the story was grossly exagerated later in mitigation. I have been there and seen it. When my father and I went it was virtually unknown here in Britain

The sort of people who had these converted SMLEs were the guys who stood around in the railway stations wearing ill fitting uniforms keeping the beggers and pickpockets out. The ‘rifles’ were for show more than anything.

The grandsons of these guards are still there today and as Falcon says still carrying the same SMLEs

photo today
google.co.uk/search?q=india … B569%3B390


#13

Still in use today, see picture in my reply to DocAV