Sunday, 3 April 2016

More on Small Shot for Smoothbores.

5.7mm - 5.8mm diameter (o/all length of strip is 78mm)." River Thames find.

The above I suspect is swan shot. It is about the same size that I make myself for use in my fusil & pistol, about 5/16 th of an inch.
Author's pouch of swan shot.

Shot was the term used for any made ammunition fired from a muzzle-loading gun or cannon. What we are concerned with in this article is the shot commonly known as "swan-shot" & "goose-shot". During my research I have come across much misinformation, & other information that I think is suspect & which has no references to back up the claim.
The first "shot tower" was invented & patented by William Watts in 1782, so before that date, there must have been other method/s of producing shot for fowling purposes. All evidence so far points to the use of moulds, as sprues have been found, & only moulding produces such sprues. However, this is not to say that rough shot was not made from hammering out lead ball & cutting pieces of lead from the resulting small sheet of lead. This method certainly works as I have done it myself & would be a suitable method to use in the wilderness if there were a need.

I must also make it clear that the terms "swan shot" & "goose shot" refer to the size of the shot, not the appearance, or the method of production. The shot available at the time recieved the name of the particular animal for which it was best suited.

During the early years of the colony each Englishman who planned to
emigrate to Virginia was advised to supply himself with the following

    "One Armour compleat, light.
    One long Peece, five foot or five and a halfe, neere
      Musket bore.
    One sword.
    One bandaleere [a bandoleer was a belt worn to carry the
      cases which held the powder charges].
    Twenty pound of powder.
    Sixty pound of shot or lead, Pistoll and Goose shot."

Contemporary records indicate that hunting game birds and animals was a
popular New World diversion. Such sport served a twofold purpose, as it
offered recreation to the settler and helped provide food for his table.
Parts of early fowling pieces and numerous lead birdshot (called goose
or swan shot during the early years of the 17th century) have been
In the ash and burned soil of this hearth area, lead casting sprues for swan shot were found,
“every one shall be completely furnished with arms, a musket, a sword, bandoleers, a rest, a pound of powder, 20 bullets fitted to their musket, or 4 pound of pistol shot or swan shot at least.”101
Charles J. Hoadly, The Public records of the Colony of Connecticut (Hartford, 1857) V. 25, 26.

A box of goose shot, 1-2 a box of swan shot.
New York merchant 1731.
History of New Paltz, New York and Its Old Families (from 1678 to 1820 

Hammered Slug Probably the most common slug is that created from normal lead balls, which were modified by hammering to substantially reduce their caliber. The final shape, whether square, hexagonal or round in section depends on the number of times they were hammered. The length of a slug is irrelevant to the function of the bullet, being determined simply by the caliber of the original ball and the intended final caliber. The caliber of the original bullet can be determined by the weight.
Location: St. Augustine
Site: Fountain of Youth
Period: 1560 - 1570
Group: Military items
Description: Lead shot
"They [the Indians] have also their moulds to make shotte, of all sorts, as Musket bullets, pistoll bullets, swane and gose shotte, and smaler sorts;....."
Bradford, 1648. Plymouth plantation.
“with some flints, lead, swan-shot, and a barrel of gunpowder”.
Benjamin Franklin 1755. The Writings of Benjamin Franklin, Volume 4

The dropped shot ranged from 0.22 to 0.71 inches (5.54 to 17.94mm). The cast shot ranged from 0.22 to 0.71 inches (5.54 to 17.94mm).

The presence of handfuls of casting sprues and lead fragments from making swan shot….
Archaeological Pathways to Historic Site Development By Stanley South

Lead shot from the 'Bronze Bell' wreck, early 18th century

I have been unable to define the term "drop shot", as these lists pre date the use of William Watts shot tower.

From an English civil war site.

This is possibly a swan shot gang mould.

Various types of round shot made from stone, iron and lead found on board the 16th century carrack Mary Rose.

Lead shot assemblage from the 1650 attack on Castledonovan Castle, Co. Cork .

Lead shot from the 1601 English Lord Deputy's Siege Camp at Kinsale, Co. Cork. 

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