An Historical Curiosity

Prompted by a “colleague” in the shooting fraternity, I was just looking at the new Lyalvale Express website and discovered something rather interesting.

I now wonder if the ground is starting to shift as far as appropriate shot sizes for the .410 goes. It was the usual story: #6, #6, #6, #6, #5, #7, #6…. #9.


Well – perhaps it wasn’t entirely a surprise, since I already knew that Lyalvale have for a long time produced a 2½” .410 cartridge containing ½oz of #9 shot. I used it to shoot some clays, back in the days when I owned the Baikal single I’ve written about elsewhere. I have also known that Fiocchi – in spite of the apparent difficulty of obtaining them – produce a 9g load in a 2″ case in a wide range of Italian shot sizes from #10-#4 (#4!!! – Ed.).

What I didn’t know, is that Lyalvale also apparently offer a 2″ cartridge loaded with #9 shot in their older .410 range, which is – if my inference from the pictures shown here is correct  – apparently soon to be re-branded as “Supreme Game” as most of the rest of their range has been.

This seems to be an eminently sensible choice and – although I have been observing the cartridge market for some time now – this is the first time I’ve heard of this particular loading.

Kudos Lyalvale.

Of course, this isn’t going to be the .410 hunting cartridge of the century. I’ve never shot #9 at anything living and I don’t plan to, but I have it on good authority that American #9 shot will do for small vermin (rats, etc.) at 20 yards (or 25 yards at a push) and there’s not much difference between that and a UK #9 pellet.

Of course, performance isn’t going to be amazing. With such tiny pellets, easily deformed, the best one could probably hope for is probably a nominal Improved Cylinder performance (and I would think it would probably fall far short of that), but if it were achievable, you might get something that looks like this (computer-generated) pattern:

A computer-generated image displaying the kind of pattern which might be thrown at 25 yards if 9 grams of #9 shot were fired through a gun giving a nominal “Improved Cylinder” performance at 40 yards.

It might do for rats.

At this point, I’m having trouble finding any corroboratory evidence – i.e. from suppliers – that this is a real offering and isn’t just a typo, but assuming it isn’t, it returns the .410 to it’s roots as an ultra-short range small pest / vermin gun.

I doubt they’ll be loaded with black powder, but I’ll see if I can get hold of some nonetheless.