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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Prior to the widespread use of Smokeless Powder by 1895, the standard black powder loads for Inanimate Targets were:
12g: 1 1/8 (with 3 1/4 Dr.Eq. 1255 fps) – 1 1/4 oz shot with 3 1/4 (1220 fps) – 3 1/2 Drams (1275 fps)
10g: 1 1/4 oz with 4 – 4 1/2 Drams (I could not find a listed fps)

The American Field January, 1879 Jamaica Plank Rd., L.I., New York
“Brooklyn Gun Club vs. Philadelphia Gun Club”
Only two Parker guns on the grounds. Mr. T.E. Broadway of the Brooklyners used a Parker 10 ga. with close choke weighing 9 1/2 lbs shooting 4 1/2 drachms of DuPont’s Diamond Grade and 1 1/4 oz. of Tatham's soft shot.
For the Philly club, Mr. H.A. Burroughs shot a Parker 12 bore with medium choke weighing but 7lb 14oz. He shot 4 drachms of Hazard’s Electric Powder and 1 1/4 oz. of chilled #7 in the left barrel and #8 in the right.

1883 Clay Pigeon Tournament Rules limited loads to 1 1/4 oz. with 4 1/2 Dram; no limit on gauge or weight
Forest and Stream

Chamberlin Cartridge Blue Rock Loads in the 1886-1887 catalog


$5 would be about $135 today

“What is the best gun for clay pigeon shooting?”
November 26, 1884 Sporting Life
Page 2
May we ask the opinion of your readers (in answer to numerous inquiries received by us) as to the best gun (irrespective of maker) adapted to break the Ligowsky clay pigeons? J.E. Bloom, Ligowsky Clay Pigeon Co.
Al. Bandle, of Cincinnati, writes:
In my experience at clay bird shooting, I have come to the conclusion that a 10-guage gun, weighing from 9 1/2 to 10 pounds, 30 to 32-inch barrel, full choked, is about the best gun to use. The weight and length is a matter of choice. I myself prefer a 30-inch barrel, as it is easiest to handle and just as effective as a 32-inch barrel.
E. Miller, of Cincinnati, writes:
My experience at the trap has taught me that a 12-bore is not the size to use. A trap gun ought to be 10-bore, 32-inch barrels, both barrels full choke, weight of gun 9 1/2 to 10 pounds. I do not think it necessary to have a gun weigh more than 10 pounds. I find that weight sufficiently heavy to stand the ‘racket’ as the saying is. A light gun is sure to be shaken to pieces. Again, a light 12-bore gun will not be up to the 10-bore at the trap. It has been tried, but without success, yet occasionally you will find a man who is satisfied that the 12-boro gun is plenty large enough for trap shooting.
“Anonymous” writes:
For shooting at pigeons thrown from 4th notch, (I don’t know what this means – singles were at 14 yards so possibly handicapped at 18 yards?) I prefer a No. 10 gauge gun, full taper choke, with 30 or 32 inch barrels, both bored alike. Weight of a gun anywhere from 9 to 10 1/2 pounds would suit me, the weight having little to do with the shooter provided the gun is not too heavy at muzzle or does not strain the arm in handling. The weight of the gun in choosing for purchase should be governed by the strength of the handler. Many advocates of the 12-gauge advance most excellent ideas relative to the hard-hitting of their favorite calibres, and they are justly entitled to full credit for all they advance in favor of their favorite; but all other things being equal, such as quantity of shot, skill, etc., I think it only fair to let the handler of the 12 bore ‘go in’ 1 yard ahead of the 10-bore; and even then I believe the 10-bore has an advantage over the 12-gauge gun. Occasionally we meet with an exceptionally hard-hitting 12-bore gun, but not as a rule; hence the many sticklers for the No. 10 gauge gun. Many experienced shots prefer the barrels choked nearly alike-full choke-but the barrel used as a second is required to throw closer than the 1st, and I think the idea an excellent one.
Col. J. M. Barbour, of Louisville, writes:
This is a difficult question to answer, but will give you my opinion, from what I have witnessed at our tournament. For the average shooters I would say at live birds a 9 1/2 to 10-pound gun, 10 gauge, modified choke, 30-inch barrel, is the best, but for clay pigeons the same but full choke. While 1 think this the most effective gun, 1 would like to see adopted in America a rule limiting the gauge to 12-bore and 8 1/2 pounds weight. This would put the small and weak men on a more equal footing with the giants, who handle a 12-pound gun as easily as the small men can an 8-pound, and with his 6 or 7 drams of powder (I’ve seen no 10g 6 Dram loads reported) give little show to the 8-pound gun with 4 drams. I do hope we will next year get a national convention to adopt a set of rules that will be acceptable to the clubs generally, rules for life bird shooting, also for all target wing shooting, and 1 would give my aid to any move in that direction.

Bandle Tournament, Cincinnati, Ohio July 1887



Al was still using a 10g in 1888
Outing: Sport, Adventure, Travel, Fiction, 1889
Al Bandle, of Cincinnati, on Christmas Day, 1888 defeated the famous shot, Captain A. H. Bogardus, by killing 100 live birds straight to the Captain's equally remarkable record of 95.
Bogardus shot a 12-gauge L.C. Smith gun, hammerless, 7 lbs. 12 oz. weight and shot 4 drams American Wood powder in his first barrel, 1 1/4 oz. No. 8 shot in first and 1 1/4 oz. No. 7 in second, backed up with 3 1/4 drams Laflin and Rand Orange Lightning powder.
Bandle shot the same make of gun, 10 gauge, and used, first barrel, 4 drams Wood powder, second, 4 drams Laflin and Rand “F.F.F. extra” powder, No. 7 shot.

1889 American Shooting Association Live Bird Rules – load limited to 1 1/4 oz. without limit on powder or gauge
Forest & Stream March 28, 1889
Forest and Stream
Sporting Life, April 17, 1889
The Sporting Life, April 17, 1889 - Page 11

1890 American Shooting Association Rules had oz. limits and handicaps for gauge
Field, cover, and trap shooting
No limit on powder
In single bird (target) shooting the rise shall be:
Eighteen yards for ten-bore guns; limit 1 1/4 oz.
Sixteen yards for twelve-bore guns; limit 1 1/8 oz.
Fourteen yards for fourteen and sixteen bore guns; limit 1 oz.
Thirteen yards for twenty-bore guns; limit 7/8 oz.
In double-target shooting the rise shall be:
Sixteen yards for ten-bore guns.
Fourteen yards for twelve-bore guns.
Twelve yards for fourteen and sixteen bore guns.
Eleven yards for twenty-bore guns.
Rules for Live Bird Shooting - same load limitations
The rise shall be:
Thirty yards for ten-bore guns.
Twenty-eight yards for twelve-bore guns.
Twenty-six yards for fourteen and sixteen bore guns.
Twenty-five yards for twenty-bore guns.

Guns used for Live Birds had to weigh less than 8 pounds at the 1894 GAH.
I have not seen a specific rule prohibiting 10g guns, but they were effectively disallowed at that point.


Riverton Handicap March 8, 1895
The Sporting Life, March 16, 1895 - Page 15
“All the guns were 12 gauge (and less than 8 pounds), and it was noticeable that not a full pistol-grip stock was among the number, and most of them were the straight-grip ‘pigeon gun’ model, nine being of this description, and six of the half-grip style. All were of the hammerless pattern excepting two; Mr. Welch and Mr. Robbing using hammer guns.”

At the First DuPont Grand Smokeless Championship Handicap Live-bird Tournament October 1895 all guns were 8 pounds or less, and the usual load was 1 1/4 oz. shot with 3 1/2 Dr.Eq. Bulk Smokeless powder. Gauge was not listed but it is assumed all were 12g.
The Sporting Life, November 02, 1895 - Page 12
 

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That's funny. I don't see a single load used back then, that had 7 1/2 shot!!!! They all appear to have used #8 shot for all there shooting. Mmm break em all Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Shot size varied by maker. This is a chart from 1890
U.S. No. 7 = .100" = 300/oz.
English No. 7 = .095"; which became today's U.S. No. 7 1/2 = 350 pellets/oz.
Note Tatham No. 8 is 399 pellets/oz. Modern U.S. No. 8 is 410/oz.
 

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Thank you for this info.
Interesting reading. We are more recoil averse these days.
I shoot black powder cartridge Trap with 80 grains FFg, 1 1/8 ounce #8.
Any misses are not the cartridges fault.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
June 24, 1883 Sporting Life
Page 6
Dr. Carver predicts that within the next two years the English rules regarding weights and gauges of guns for trap-shooting will be adopted by the leading gun clubs in this country. That means that no guns will be allowed in matches weighing more than eight pounds and larger than twelve gauge in size of bore.
 
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