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During the investigation a number of measuring devices other than those discussed were noted. The commonest of these was the charge expressed as a proportion of the shot. A powder column as a multiple of the bore diameter is mentioned by Colonel Mark Beaufoy in Scloppetaria (1808) and J. R. Chapman in The Improved American Rifle (New York 1848) speaks of "charged with 2 inches of the bore of coarse powder."

An unusual variation occurs with George Edie's The Art of English Shooting, an undated work which appeared in a number of editions around 1770 to 1786. He refers to the 'the common charge of a pipe of powder' and is referring to the bowl of a tobacco pipe. In our tests we found that the typical clay pipe bowl of the period held around 60 to 70 grains.

Three authors, J. G. Leutmann (1729), Colonel Mark Beaufoy (1808) and Major Henry Shakespear (1862) speak of the charge as 'moulds full' referring to mould for the rifle. Leutmann recommends three moulds full as the correct charge, a figure reduced by subsequent authors. To see what the results would be we took four original bullet moulds, filled them with No. 4 grain powder (probably the most common size in the 19th Century) and weighed the results. An average of five weighings was taken. Maximum spread was two grains. Measures were taken as poured without tapping to settle the powder. Both the standard patterns of ball mould were used, that is the ordinary pincer mould and the so-called 'Improved' design with a long tapering pouring neck. These are usually marked IMPROVED with the bore size and WD for William Davis, mould and implement maker of Weaman Street in Birmingham.

12 bore plain mould 50.9 grains
12 bore Improved mould 65.6 grains
14 bore belted ball Improved 58.6 grains
16 bore Improved mould 50.8 grains

Notice that the difference between the Improved and the plain is about 15 grains. These moulds represent the most popular sporting calibres of the first half of the 19th Century. The average of those tested was 56.6 grains or 1½ grains over 2 drams which, given the contemporary recommendations is about right and two moulds full would have been a heavy charge for the rapid pitch patched ball rifles of the pre-Minié era.

This is a subject that we believe has not been examined in any depth by other researchers and it will, we hope, help to establish a clearer idea of the intentions of our forefathers and throw some light on a hitherto little understood field. For the practical muzzle loading shooter consulting original source material on powder charges it is always advisable to equate the suggestions with modern practice and do some rapid maths to see whether they do not, in fact, mean either twice what they say - or perhaps half!