Eley 12 bore Spherical Ball cartridges

Hello ,
Does anyone here know until how long Eley / Kynoch manufactured 12 bore Spherical Ball cartridges ? Also , were these made with 2 1/2 inch shells , 2 3/4 inch shells or 3 inch shells ?
I also heard that the ball was actually a 16 bore , so that it would go through a fully choked 12 bore barrel. Is this true ?
Appreciate the help.

The wartime 12 bore British military issue spherical ball cartridges intended for the LDV and Home Guard, are 2 1/2” and yes the ball was 16 bore.

I don’t know if the Grand Prix spherical ball cartridges were the same.

Thank you so much for your help.
I wonder if the Grand Prix cartridges were also using 16 bore ball ?
Also , were any 12 bore 2 3/4 inch or 3 inch Cartridges made by ICI , which used Spherical Ball ? Or were they all 2 1/2 inch ?

In the post WW2 Eley-Kynoch catalogues that I have just had a quick look in, they only list 2 1/2" G.P. cartridges with Spherical Ball loads or Lethal Ball loads. The price difference from one to the other is quite scary, Lethal ball cartridges were about five (5) times dearer than spherical ball loads per 100.
My understanding was the war time issue spherical ball loads were only made in 2 1/2" cases with the (for the time) standard powder charge, the logic behind this was that the cartridge could be safely used in “any” 12 bore shotgun that came to hand.
Personally I have never bothered to strip one and measure it, next time I come across an odd one I will do just for the understanding of the size. Logically based on it being smaller on diameter than the tightest choke in a 12 bore it should be just a bit larger than a 16 bore at nominal diameter.

Edit 1; Sizes added.
Picked up a couple and cut them up, major diameter found on;
Sample 1 = 0.688"
Sample 2 = 0.689"

So working on a “Standard” 12 bore…= 0.729"
And extra full choke……………………= 0.040"
You get a minimum diameter of………= 0.689"

Standard 16 bore diameter……………= 0.662"

Edit 2;
Just had the sense to weigh it out of interest.

Weight = 29 g Approximately 1 oz.

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Thank you so much for your help.
I have one last question . Do you have any idea by what year the Eley GP 12 bore spherical ball cartridges got discontinued ? 1960s ? 1970s ?


Spherical Ball loads are in the 1948 catalogue as 12, 16 and 20 bore all in 2 1/2" cases.
All three bores sizes were again listed in the 1952 catalogue also only in 2 1/2" cases
and that is the last Eley-Kynoch catalogue I can find in book case at the moment but I would be inclined to suggest they carried on at least until the 1960’s and possibly longer.

Eight bore
Thank you .
I can’t imagine that they were being produced all the way into the era of plastic shells . I wonder if they died off before 1970


You need somebody with some newer catalogues than me, I don’t tend to go past 1962 (the end of the ICI era) with any information.

PS. added the weight as a second Edit above; both are identical to 0.1g


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Eight bore
Thank you so much. At a time of your convenience b, could you please see if the 1962 catalog still lists them ?

Buck, the 12 ga. Grand Prix 2 1/2" loaded with spherical ball is still listed in the Eley (IMI) April 1970 catalog.



Thanks , Fede . That’s all l needed to know.

For info, here’s an image of a plastic cased Grand Prix Spherical Ball, both partially sectioned & complete, Pete.

I see that the Eley GP Spherical Ball 12 bore cartridges , all have low brass. Does this mean that they were all low velocity loads , using small charges of powder ?
Most Eley cartridges have a brass length of 16mm. These appear to have a brass length of only 10 mm .
I don’t imagine that any of these were used for dangerous game ?

Technically it is a standard cartridge case with 5/16" brass (8 mm.),(so a normal load not a low velocity), designed to be used in any 12 bore gun that has a 2 1/2" chamber and was not proofed for “light loads” (obviously NOT suitable for 2 1/4" or 2" chambered guns which were and some still are about).
As to dangerous game, these cartridges were designed more as a stop gap to fit in between carrying two weapons or when needed one that worked for both and depending on range a piece of lead at slightly more than 1 oz traveling at over 1,000 ft/sec would stop most things.
I.C.I. supplied a host of different types so you could pick what you wanted (see below page from the 1935 catalogue)


Thanks guys. I have one last question. Was the lethal ball load ever produced by Eley in a 2 3/4 inch shell ?

Lethal Ball yes, Spherical Ball no (based on war issue usage and catalogue listing).

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Thanks , guys . Does anyone know when the last catalog listing is for the Lethal Ball cartridges ?
Is it also until 1970 ?

My latest reference for the “Lethal” and “Destructor” loads in 12, 16 and 20 gauge is the March 1936 price list. Couldn’t find them in any post-war publications.

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Thanks , man . So it definitely wasn’t listed in the 1950s , 60s and 70s ?


Extract from the 1952 catalogue showing the Lethal Ball still listed, I didn’t search out any other catalogues but from memory I am “reasonably” sure it was still about in the 1960’s.
What I had forgotten was the Spherical Ball was still being manufactured in .410 at that time too.

Hope that helps.

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