The home of Shooting Times and Sporting Gun

Where can I get 12-bore black powder cartridges?

A new black powder fan is on the lookout

Black powder cartridges

Black powder cartridges

Q: I have been left an old side-by-side shotgun which was part of a collection and has not been shot for many years. A blacksmith tells me that it is only black powder proof.

I’m keen to use it but realise I can’t use standard cartridges so can you give me some advice on buying black powder cartridges that are suitable for the gun?

Buying black powder cartridges

A lot will depend on whether the gun is a centre-fire and not a pinfire.

Just Cartridges stocks black powder cartridges. Contact the company and give details of your gun and they may well be able to help you with a specific load.

If your local gunsmith does not stock black powder cartridges, he should be able to get them for you. The downside is that black powder cartridges are quite expensive, with an on-line price of over £500 per 1000.

You could also try contacting a specialist supplier such as Peter Dyson, who have advertised these cartridges in both centre-fire and pin fire.

Another route is to research black powder clubs near you, get in touch and see how they obtain their ammunition. In fact, if you’re going to shoot a black powder gun you may want to join a club like this anyway, so you can shoot with like-minded individuals.

Finally you could also consider making your own . You will need a special licence for this, secure storage and it’s also useful to have a machine built for the task.


I tested 12-bore black powder cartridges at my local shooting ground a few years ago and found they had a very gentle performance, as befits cartridges made for guns which are much older than their owners.

black powder cartridges

Testing out some black powder

Some black powder cartridges can be quite noisy, and some sensitive souls don’t like the volumes of sulphur-smelling grey smoke they produce. Others like the retro aspect of it all.