Gone Decorating – Back Soon

I continue to be unable to dedicate the time I would like to writing this blog and contributing to the SmallBoreShotguns website. Rest assured, the willingness to do so is great, but the time for shooting, reloading, experimentation and authorship is still sorely lacking.

In many ways, it wouldn’t be appropriate to devote lots of time to enjoyable but, ultimately, unnecessary pursuits such as these, given my current situation, though I hope that this will be the last of the “filler” posts saying – essentially – “I’ll be back soon”.

My new daughter continues to thrive, though the amount of attention she requires is, as with all babies, substantial. Her mother continues to adjust to the new family unit, though perhaps less easily than I have. As one might expect, the other children also require a huge amount of attention currently which, though expressed in many and varied ways, is presumably their desire for reassurance that their new sister isn’t here to “replace” them.

Meanwhile, the state of the house continues to improve. Work on the bathroom was finished satisfactorily by the end of March, though it was much more disruptive than we’d been led to expect. Another minor flood during that work, caused by some loose plumbing, thankfully didn’t seriously damage either the new fittings or the lounge downstairs, though I dare say some blood pressures and voices were raised, given the reason for having all of the work done in the first place…

The lounge, meanwhile, occupies almost all of my spare time (what little is left after family, work, etc.). The room was re-plastered a fortnight ago which addressed years of “bodging” on the part of the previous occupants and a small semi-structural issue which could no longer be ignored. Before and after that, I’ve been working solidly on it for weekends and workday evenings: painting, wiring, hanging doors, cutting skirting and so on.

As DIY jobs go, the lounge redecoration is the most significant I’ve ever attempted and I’m pleased to report it’s going very well. Ideally, I’d complete the work at a slightly more leisurely pace, but we’re on a timetable for having a new carpet fitted next month and the disruption it’s causing isn’t something that any of us want to live with for longer than we have to. Because of that, I’m essentially working 11-12 hour days, moonlighting from software engineering as a builder!

Since none of that really addresses the core subject for this blog of shooting, let me talk a bit about some of the things that are in the pipeline for thre remainder of 2018, when we finally get started:

More .410 Patterning & Testing

We still know of many commercially-available .410 cartridges which the SmallBoreShotguns team have not tested. We have not acquired examples of most cartridges from the Gamebore range and we are yet to acquire examples of some of the imported brands (e.g. RC, Cheddite, Viri). The search will continue and so will the patterning.

28-Gauge Patterning & Testing

It’s probably a little ambitious to say that I’ll get round to doing any 28-gauge cartridge testing this year, given my current workload and the fact that we’re 1/3 of the way through the year already, but it remains theoretically on the list.


I imagine that buckshot doesn’t get a lot of use in this country, although probably more than most people would think. I’m reasonably certain, however, that – like .410 cartridges – it’s one of those subjects about which people like to pretend they know a great deal, but without much evidence or experience to back up their claims. I hardly know anything about how it behaves (though I can certainly theorize) and I’m interested in finding out more.

Using a suitably reinforced pattern plate and with a carefully-chosen location for testing, it should be possible to explore effect of choke and range on cartridges containing much larger shot sizes (e.g. BB, AAA, SG) and draw some conclusions. However, as with any process where the behavior is expected to align closely with a real-world (i.e. Normal) distribution, confidence in the data cannot be high where the number of samples (i.e. the number of pellets) is low.

Garden Gun Restoration

Another one of those projects for which the spirit is willing but the time is absent!

Having tested the full range of commercially available 9mm Flobert cartridges (Yes, all three of them… – Ed.) and successfully employed subsonic cartridges in other gauges for the control of wood pigeons in noise-sensitive areas, it’s now possible to retire the garden gun to the cabinet, except for the occasional visit out for polishing and restoration.

When time allows, I’m intending to tidy up the Modern Arms 9mm, re-blue and possibly re-stock it. I suspect that the spring in the bolt could do with being replaced, since weak strikes have been an issue thus far, though the action is not particularly sophisticated and the wish for greater reliability must be opposed by the need for safety – I don’t want the sear in the trigger mechanism giving way unexpectedly under the extra force! I could also move the bead back round to the 12 o’ clock position, rather than the 2:30 position it’s in now.

Classic Pigeon Cartridge

Finally, there’s the 36g/#5½ low-velocity reload which I produced back in February, which really needs thorough patterning in both of my 12-gauge guns and a decent field test. Having now failed to get out for a proper (half-)day’s shooting in over 3 months, this is becoming increasingly urgent, not least so that I can swap the smell of paint fumes and sawdust for the fresh manure-tinged air of the countryside and reacquaint myself with a much more pleasant form of exercise than climbing up and down ladders.

Whatever I do, there’s plenty there to get my teeth into and document here, if and when it happens…