Pomeroy Explosive Bullet

I am looking for details on this. I understand it was invented in 1902 – when was it first mass-produced? How much did it cost compared to normal ball ammunition?
In which calibres was it made? Tony Williams mentions in FLYING GUNS at least .303 British, .450 Martini-Henry, and .450 Gatling-Gardner. What about 12-bore shotguns or other rifle or even pistol calibres?
How much nitroglycerine did it actually contain? How was it prevented from blowing up while being transported or loaded? Could it only be used in manually loading weapons or did it stand the stress of cycling in a machine gun?

Many thanks!



I am on the road at present but will answer your questions at the weekend when I am at home.

The short answer is that it was never mass produced commercially, but only in British military calibres during WWI plus some experimental ammo in the US.

More details later.


Werent they also tried in 11mm Vickers cartridges against balloons or blimps? Im sure I have seen them with a bulbous shaped projectile that was explosive

[quote=“TonyE”]The short answer is that it was never mass produced commercially, but only in British military calibres during WWI plus some experimental ammo in the US.

More details later.[/quote]

Thanks Tony! Any update on this?



I will try to get a note done this evening (UK time)


Well, I have finally got round to answering the question about Pomeroy. My apologies for the long delay!

Mr.J.Pomeroy was a New Zealander who travelled to the United Kingdom on the outbreak of war in 1914. Little is known of any experiments he carried out in New Zealand with his explosive or incendiary bullets and I have no record of any work as early as 1902.

Pomeroy first submitted his designs to the British authorities on 27 Aug 1914 but was turned down by the War Office. He returned to Australia in October 1914 where he demonstrated his designs to the Australian, New Zealand and American authorities. The Us military attach

TonyE–a really GREAT rundown on the Pomeroy bullet.

I have a question about one of your statements.

“Based on the success of the .303 pomeroy, in December 1916 successful trials were held with .45 Colt bullets against Zeppelin fabric, followed by 1 inch Nordenfelt and 37mm Pom=Poms with a .303 Pomeroy warhead in the nose to act as a fuze.”

Does the reference to “.45 Colt” bullets mean .45 Colt Revolver with a Pomeroy style bullet? I have collected .45 Colt Revolver for over 40 years and have never heard of such a round. Can you post a picture or description of this round?

Well done Tony, a very informative reply. I was impressed by the notes on one drawing:

M-H solid drawn case
220 Grain bullet
MV 3000 fps
19 tons per sq. inch.

Now that is a pretty impressive load, with an explosive bullet too!


Many thanks, Tony! That was most informative. You wouldn’t happen to have similar detail on the 12-bore Chain Shot round?



Did they use the original Pomeroy at all? In .30-06? Was any explosive bullet in service with the US military during the 1920s and 1930s? Thanks!




Ron - I am afraid I can shed no more light on this.The only source is a trial report that mentions “.45 Colt” but does not say whether that is Long Colt or ACP. Bearing in mind that Pomeroy paid for most of this experimentation himself and frequently loaded his bullets in “civilian” calibres, it could well be long Colt. In the June 1916 demonstration he used .375 and .600 cartridges and had originally used .45 Winchester (.45-90?).

None of Pomeroy’s original trial rounds have survived as far as I know so we can only speculate!

HCV - I have already published quite a lot on the early 12b rounds used by the RNAS, including the Buckingham and the Chain Shot in Part 2 of my “Secondary Small Arms”, but I will put a short post together later. PM me for details of the books.

As for the US trials, Chris P can probably answer for the .30-06, but see Hackley, Woodin and Scranton for all calibres, .30, 11mm and .50.