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#620237 10/05/22 07:51 PM
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Sidelock
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Many people question if there were ever any 3" 16 ga shotguns and cartridges ever made. I have a 3" cartridge, British made, and here's a shotgun that sold awhile back at Gavin Gardiner's auction with their description. "ARTHUR TURNER
A FINE 16-BORE (3-INCH) SIDELOCK EJECTOR GUN, NO. 12145
27-inch barrels with 3-inch chambers, about 1/2 and 3/4 choke borings, file-cut Churchill rib, mid extension, the frame, locks and gold numbered top lever with fine scroll engraving and retaining virtually all of its original hardening colour, the maker's name signed within a scrolling banner, gold lined cocking indicators, rolled edge trigger guard, 14 1/4-inch highly figured stock including chequered butt plate, 7lb. 4oz., nitro re-proof, in its canvas case with maker's label". Estimate was 5000-7000 pounds.



[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

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Sidelock
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I looked at this a little closer and the top lever number looks like a 5 to me. Doubt that but maybe a 3?

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Sidelock
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A search of the A.H. Fox production cards has shown nine graded 16-gauge guns ordered chambered for 3-inch shells and one lone gun ordered chambered for 2 7/8-inch shells.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Back in the day, these longer shells didn't carry a heavier payload than one could get in a 2 3/4-inch shell, but more/better wadding, which many gun cranks considered an advantage.

Last edited by Researcher; 10/06/22 11:20 AM.
1 member likes this: Stanton Hillis
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I'd truly like to find a box like those.

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Sidelock
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Me too, Mike. Heck, I'd be proud just to get my hands on a couple shells in good condition!


May God bless America and those who defend her.
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Those are auction pictures I saved. While I've gotten a nice pile of boxes of vintage 3-inch 20-gauge shells to go with my 3-inch chambered 2-Frame Parker Bros. 20-gauge, the bidding on long 16-gauge shells/boxes has always shot way beyond my comfort level.

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Super collectors' items. I have never come across a British 3" box but I do have some 3" 16 bore cartridges. The cases are plain pale lilac and only the shot size on the top wad, being roll crimp, and made by Eley-Kynoch. Seems odd those American 3" cartridges only containing 1 ounce of shot. 15/16th. ounce and 1 ounce are about standard for the 2 1/2" with 1 1/8th. ounce being the standard for the 2 3/4". I don't know the 3" load but would suspect it to go to around 1 1/4 ounce. I have a 1936 Eley catalogue that lists 3" empty cases for reloading. In front of me at the moment I have a box of Eley 'Maximum' brand cartridges; the existence of which I have never found in Eley catalogues nor Bill Harding's book on Eley. These are for 2 1/2" chambers and contain 1 1/16th. ounce. I can't say I have ever seen a 3" chamber 16 bore gun but they must be out there in small numbers. Lagopus.....

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Sidelock
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You can always buy 3in brass from Rocky Mountain Cartridge Co, however finding data for 3in 16 RMC is likely impossible and you would have to derive something of a gamble.


Michael Dittamo
Topeka, KS
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In North America, the "standard" 16-gauge shell was a 2 9/16-inch case with a maximum load of 2 3/4-drams of bulk smokeless powder or 22-grains of dense smokeless powder pushing 1-ounce of shot. From the 1905 Union Metallic Cartridge Co. catalog --

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Our ammunition manufacturers would put these loads up in longer cases of 2 3/4-, 2 7/8- and 3-inch, with more/better wadding.

The progressive burning smokeless powder, high velocity, loads in 12-gauge 1 1/4-ounce and 20-gauge 1-ounce were introduced by Western Cartridge Co. in 1922 as their Super-X load put up in their 2 3/4-inch FIELD shell.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

In late 1922, Western added the 16-gauge Super-X load of 1 1/8-ounce, but put it up in the 2 9/16-inch shell.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

The other ammo manufacturers followed suite, Peters with their High Velocity and Remington with their Heavy Duck Load (which soon morphed into Nitro Express).

The 2 ¾-inch 16-gauge shell really began to get some traction when Remington Arms Co., Inc. introduced their Model 11 and "Sportsman" autoloaders in 16-gauge in 1931, chambered for 2 ¾-inch shells. While Remington's regular Nitro Express 16-gauge progressive burning powder load was put up in a 2 9/16-inch hull with a load of 3 drams equiv. pushing 1 1/8 ounce of shot, for their new 16-gauge autoloaders they introduced the slightly faster Auto-Express with a 3 1/4 drams equiv. charge pushing 1 1/8 ounce of shot --

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

The 2 ¾-inch Magnum shells with 1 1/2 ounce in 12-gauge, 1 1/4 ounce in 16-gauge and 1 1/8 ounce in 20-gauge first appear in the December 15, 1954, Western Cartridge Co. catalogues.

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Sidelock
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There were three different loadings in British tables : high velocity with 1 oz, standard velocity with 1& 1/16 oz, and low velocity with 1& 1/4 oz loaded with nitro powders. However the Black powder standard velocity was a 1& 1/8 oz load. Having said that - if memory serves - the Eley Alphamax 3" load (smokeless powder) was a 1& 1/8 oz load.

Interestingly, Burrard shows each of the three velocity loadings with either 33 , 36 and 42 grain powders - as well as with condensed nitro (Ballistite).

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