Gunnery Subjects in the 1830s

  • Allowance of Shot and Powder for each Gun
  • Allowance of Powder for Exercise
  • Painting Guns, &c. 1834
  • Firing Salutes by Small Vessels Armed with less than 10 Guns.
  • Shells issued to steam-vessels

  • Memorandum
    Admiralty, 27 March 1833,

    The Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty have directed that the establishment of powder and round shot for HM ships shall be 100 rounds of each for each gun, single shotted.

    If a ship can conveniently take more than this proportion of powder and shot, the additional quantity will be supplied on application of the captain to the Ordnance department ; but if she cannot stow the quantity above stated, the captain is to explain in writing, to the Ordnance department, his reasons for not receiving the proportion he may be desirous should be withheld. It is however their Lordships positive direction that every ship shall receive her full proportion where it can possibly be done ; and with a view to checking any irregularity on this point, the officers of the dock-yards have been instructed to communicate to the Ordnance department what number of cases and barrels each ship’s magazine is capable of stowing, when she is ordered to be put in commission.

    All the cartridges supplied to HM ships will be of the same colour (white) ; but for the purpose of more easily distinguishing each description of cartridge, the words "Distant," "Full," or "Reduced Charge," will be stamped upon them, as also the nature and weight of the guns with which they are intended to be used ; and balls of different and distinct colours for full and reduced charges will also be marked thereon, as will be more particularly shown by a drawing which will be supplied by the Ordnance department to every ship at the time her powder is put on board, which drawing is to be carefully deposited in some conspicuous part of the magazine.

    The cases containing the several descriptions of charges will be marked with balls, coloured to correspond with those on the cartridges.

    The cartridge boxes will be painted with the name of the deck for which they are appropriated, as well as the nature of the guns they are to supply, in order that there may be no mistake in sending the proper charges out of the magazine.

    The captains of HM ships are to be careful that in all their communications relative to the naval guns and cartridges, the weights of the guns are to be specified, (as they stand in the table of charges in page 118 of the Naval Instructions,) as the practice of designating guns and carriages by the name of the Inventor leads to uncertainty and mistake.

    By Command of their Lordships.

    George Elliot.

    To all Captains, Commanding Officers, and Gunners of HM Ships and Vessels.

    No. 78.- Orders by the Commissioners for executing the Office of Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, &c.

    Allowance of Powder for Exercise.

    Whereas, we have had under our consideration the scale of powder and shot allowed by Art. 10, Sec. 4, Chap. 6, of the Naval Instructions, to be used on board HM ships for exercise ; and also our circular Memorandum, No. 62, of the 22d of June last, on the same subject, We hereby desire and direct that the allowance of powder for exercise shall in future be issued according to the following scale, viz.

      Single shotted for each gun
    In the first 6 months after being commissioned. 12 rounds
    In the second 6 months after being commissioned. 9 rounds
    In every other 6 months 7 rounds

    Musket Cartridges, as many as will furnish one half of the seamen, and all the marines of the complement, half blank, and half with ball, for each man, &c.

    In the first six months after being commissioned 10 rounds.
    In the second six months after being commissioned 20 rounds.
    In every subsequent six months. 20 rounds.

    The whole, or any part of this quantity, to be fired without shot, should be the situation of the ship, or other circumstances, require it.

    The cartridges used in this exercise are never to be filled with more than the reduced charge of powder.

    In addition to the above allowance for exercise, all ships are to be allowed for each of their two lightest guns on the forecastle, or for each of their two bow guns, where there is no forecastle, the following quantities to be used for "short practice," that is, for exercising at a target hung from the fore-yard-arm or fore-rigging, viz.

    1st and 2d rates 85 rounds
    3d rates 70 do
    4th rates 60 do
    5th rates 30 do
    All other vessels 10 do

    And for this practice the scaling allowance of powder only is to be used.

    During the first 6 months a ship is in commission, four rounds of blank cartridges for each gun, in addition to the above quantities, filled with the allowance for scaling, may also be expended in exercise.

    The powder and shot allowed for exercise, are not to be fired away at one or two exercises, but the expenditure is to be divided during the six months into such proportions as may keep the men in constant practice, not exceeding two rounds and a half per week, unless by permission, in writing, of the senior officer.

    Given under out hands this first day of June 1832.

    S. J. Brooke Pechell,
    G. Barrington.

    To all Commanders-in-Chief, Captains, and Commanding Officers of HM Ships and Vessels.

    By Command of their Lordships.
    John Barrow.

    Painting Guns, &c. 1834-

    The Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty have ordered, that the third or last coat of paint shall be given to guns and gun-carriages after they have been received on board his Majesty's ships, and that the work shall be performed by the respective ships' companies ; and, that when guns and carriages arc shipped in the first instance, or landed, for examination or repair, they will be painted with two coats of paint by the Ordnance Department, leaving the third coat to be given on board from the ship's store, for which purpose the established quantity of paint will be increased.

    Firing Salutes by Small Vessels Armed with less than 10 Guns.

    A memorandum has been issued from the Admiralty, directing that in future none of His Majesty's ships with less than 10 guns are to fire salutes that require the guns to be re-loaded, unless in a case where such as omission could not be explained sway without giving offence to a foreign power or flag. This has arisen out of the many accidents that have occurred during the firing of salutes in small vessels, by the haste with which the guns have been re-loaded. July 1834.

    Circa Feb 1834.

    Shells issued to steam-vessels.- An order has been issued, that all steam-vessels supplied with filled shells, are in future to return them into store while on the home station, but to receive them again when ordered for foreign service. The Nautical Magazine.

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