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.410 Enfield SMLE Ishapore Shot Gun and Ammunition Box

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.410 Enfield SMLE Ishapore Shot Gun and Ammunition Box


The following is a review of the firearm, its ammunition, and some reloading information that is no longer on the web. I will post this in three parts.

Indian SMLE single loading .410 shot gun muskets have a smooth bore with a diameter of .42 inch and have their sight riveted in place. No SMLE magazine was utilized for rapid fire. This converted rifle was used in riot control in which a non-lethal projectile or a cartridge consisting of single lead ball could be used by Indian police forces. Over 250,000 .410 muskets were produced from 1926 to 1950. Many thousands of these riot guns were imported by Springfield Sporters and Century Arms into the United States in the mid 1980s.

Ishapore Enfield.410 Shotgun Conversion by Forgotten Weapons, a video.


The right side of the rifle’s body socket under the bolt handle has the manufacturer’s markings, date, and rifle designation of the SMLE. On the left side is the .410, RFI markings, and the Indian factory conversion date. The original SMLE rifle used in the conversions consisted of British made and Ishapore, Indian made SMLEs. All riot gun conversions were done at the RFI (the abbreviation for Ishapore Rifle Factory India-Post Independence). As stated, these RFI conversion markings are seen on the right side of the rifle.

I have seen .410 SMLE shot guns converted from rifles with British markings on the strap or Ishapore GRI markings on the strap. (GRI-Ishapore Rifle Factory-British India). Both British and Ishapore SMLE rifles were utilized in the conversions to riot shot guns. All were chambered for the Indian POF brass cartridge, a .410 lead ball ammunition. The American 2.5 inch or 3 inch .410 shells do not fit an original conversion riot gun.



Excellent photos of this shotgun are shown in the reference library on the Liberty Tree Collectors’ website. It is a fantastic source of photos documenting different rifles. Liberty Tree Collectors’ reference library has a set of nineteen photos showing details of a 1949 conversion of a GRI Ishapore 1941 SMLE rifle (RFI 410 Guard ShotGun REF). Here is their description:

Enfield RFI 410 ShotGun. In nice looking condition, these were produced at the Ishapore Arsenal in 1941 and updated to caliber .410 in 1949. This is a single shot designed for use as a "Guard Gun" for police or prison riot use. If captured by an inmate or unloyal guard they could not get far with a single shot of .410.

This one looks very nice, serial numbers all match, receiver, bolt, nosepiece, forend stock. Rear sight is pinned for close range. The smooth bore is brite and has been rechambered to 3 inch .410 from its original 2 inch brass chambering.”

Please see   https://www.libertytreecollectors.com/productcart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=658&idcategory=82








Here is an additional example showing a 1916 British SMLE sold by Liberty. It is a GR LSA (London Small Arms ) Mark III,1916 British SMLE converted in 1931. This example remains in its original conversion brass case chambering. It is not one converted by Century Arms International (CAI) to modern paper .410 shot shells. When it sold in 2017, the price was somewhat high at $525. Here is Liberty’s description:

Serial number #M14376 This offering is for the pictured Enfield No1 .410 Gauge Shotgun. Maker marked from the British LSA Arsenals in 1916 and converted into shotgun configuration by RFI India in 1931 for conscript or guard use.... Chambered in .410 Gauge (proprietary and not the modern .410 sporting) the bore is brite and smooth, slight bulge/ring 2 inches from the muzzle.”












On September 19, 2015, at the state’s largest gun show in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, I found a BSA 1916 SMLE Mk III* converted in India in 1930 to a single shot, musket/shotgun. My SMLE .410 was still covered in heavy cosomoline from 1988 when the original owner acquired it from Springfield Sporters for $69. He never cleaned or fired it.




At the show, most were priced between $300-$400. At the same show, there were three examples. One was priced at $375, but it was an Indian made, GRI stamped SMLE. The second was a CAI rifle priced at $325. This .410 SMLE was clean and had a Century import mark. It was not in its original chambering. The owner was selling original POF ammo at a dollar per round, but this ammunition was incorrect for the CAI converted musket. When I observed a third example, a British made rifle (converted in India to a .410 using a British SMLE rifle) for $150, I considered it a deal and purchased it. This SMLE was a goo stick, cosmosaurs that was unearthed out of storage after sitting 27 years. It took 6 hours to clean the cosmo-covered surplus gun. It remains in its original chambering and condition with no stock refinishing. Below are some photos showing how thick the arsenal storage cosmo was applied.





My specimen’s original rifle was made in England, but the conversion of this 1916 British rifle to a .410 shot gun was done in Ishapore, India in 1930. This .410 conversion is Indian made and stamped ".410 RFI 1930.” This SMLE escaped CAI modification because it was imported by Springfield Sporters and retained its original chambering used during the Indian conversions. The brass POF (Pakistan Ordnance Factory) musket ball ammunition fits correctly in my riot shot gun.

Two different sized chambers are found on the surplus SMLE riot gun in America. Some retain their original .410 chamber size that fires a brass case cartridge. Most have a modified chamber that allows the firearm to shoot a modern .410 cartridge. The CAI version of the riot gun does not remain in its original Indian format. The original Indian riot gun chambers the brass .410 cartridge with a single lead ball. The CAI riot gun is an American modified version that chambers a 2.5 or 3inch modern paper or plastic .410 shot shell. This CAI version was altered by the import company Century Arms International (CAI) to chamber and fire easily found ammunition in the United States. Prior to 2014, the original Pakistan POF brass .410 shot shells were hard to locate. This ammunition was collectable and difficult to obtain. If you owned an original specimen, it was generally not fired. In an effort to sell hundreds of unwanted surplus riot guns, the Century Arms Company enlarged and lengthened the chamber on their imported SMLE riot guns so they will fire the common American 2.5 inch .410 shot shell. As a result, the surplus shot gun could be easily fired and people purchased examples.



 .410 shell photos 

My specimen remains as an original Indian converted, brass cartridge, smooth bore musket. It will not chamber a modern .410 paper or plastic shot shell. I also like that it is converted from a British made rifle lacking the Ishy screw and India GRI stamp. The adjustable sight has been riveted in a locked position, the barrel is bored-out to a smooth bore rifle. The barrel was filled with cosmo which kept it mirror bright.


Rivited sight


Smooth bore .42 inch 

The metal floor plate is riveted in place, and a wood plug blocks the magazine space. There is no magazin



Fixed floor plate


Wood plug in magazine slot

It was missing a stacking swivel and the long screw on the nose piece. The bolt matches the nose piece, but not the strap serial number. Like most, the bolt is a mismatch to the rifle. Below are some photos of the British markings:







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AMMUNITION .410 Single Ball MK-1-Z POF 1960 Production


source:Dans photos: original ammo crates


POF stands for Pakistan Ordnance Factories, so this ammunition is manufactured in Pakistan. These .410 cartridges do not have the same dimensions as modern .410 shot shells. They are based on an un-necked .303 military case. The standard .410 shot shell does not chamber unless the SMLE riot gun’s chamber has been modified to fire contemporary shot shells. The headstamp on this POF ammunition is: POF 60 IZ 410

Here is a view of the headstamp.




Tony Edwards covers the .410 Inch Musket ammunition on his website “British Military Small Arms Ammo.”

Please see :


A detailed review and discussion is found here on IAA:



Photo source is above link, Tony E- IAA




Photo source is Dan''s Ammo link


In 2014/2015, original 1960’s production POF head stamped ammunition was imported into the United States. Suddenly, Midway, Dans Ammo, and Lucky Gunner all had original Pakistan, POF, brass case musket ball ammo in the green wood boxes for $49. There are 180 cartridges in a wood crate. At that time, shipping for two intact filled ammunition cases to Wisconsin from Lucky Gunner in Tennessee was only $16. The original ammo sold at only 28 cents a round and tons of it became available. Most people wanted the intact wood crate as a collector’s item. This brass ammunition fits a non Century converted riot rifle. In contrast, the chamber in a Century conversion is larger in diameter and longer. The CAI rifles are not marked to indicate the CAI conversion. You have to fit a modern .410 cartridge to see what chamber is present. A brass cartridge will fit loosely in a modified rifle, but should not be fired. Likewise, a modern, plastic .410 shot shell will not even enter the chamber, let alone slide in for a proper length fit on my original chamber .410. However, the POF brass musket cartridge slides in perfectly. In addition, some riot guns have firing pin problems because the rim/headspace is different between an Enfield cartridge and an American shot shell.

In 2015, Dan’s Ammo imported a hoard of Pakistani ammunition. At that time, I purchased my ammunition crates. I opened one case and saw that the ammo was dated 1960. It was wrapped in green paper packets of ten cartridges.




There were 18 packets of ten rounds each in the small wood crate. These crates are in nice condition, they are small wooden boxes with metal inserts. Each case measures 8.5 inches x 6.75 inches and are 5.25 inches high. These crates make a nice display item with lots of interesting markings, but it is difficult to open the metal tin. There is no moldy smell, but there is a lot of original dust. Each box has slightly different markings.  The crate has metal brackets and a single rope handle on one side.  Screws have to be removed to open the box. Then one gets to fight with opening the tin. The ammunition is sure fire with good primers. It shoots out to approximately 75 yards. There are no splits in the brass cases after shooting. As it fires , brass cartridge straightens out the case like there was never a crimp around the lead ball. There are no hang fires and the empty cases can be reloaded. I will photo document the ammunition crates.

Currently, this ammunition is now almost impossible to find. When available, it is drastically higher priced from the original $49 of 2014/2015. Times have changed. When found, it sells as a collectable at $140 a case. Reloading has become a feasible alternative.


Ammunition 2023 ad,  value per pack















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How to reload a shot shell (the lost information)

Most readers will not be interested in this section. Here is some lost information about reloading for these shot guns from an experienced reloader. I present this as reference material for shooters because this information has been lost on the web. This was originally posted by Rapidrob from SRF, a now gone forum. All information is his work. It is reproduced from my old files. I hope reloaders will find this informative.

Rapidrob states:

"Cases are very easy to make for the .410 musket. You can fire form .303 Britt or .30-40 Krag. This gives you re-loadable shells and a chance to play with diff loads. The barrels are very straight and will shoot .41 pistol bullets or stacked .40 cal balls in a power-piston or shot,

Any .410 load can be used. You use a large rifle primer in your .303 or .30-40 Krag fire-formed and blown out case. The case is trimmed at the mouth to make sure it is concentric. A plastic .410 wad is used and does a good job of sealing the brass case when the powder ignites.
As for sealing the case to keep the shot or bullets in place,you can use wax or tape,even RTV. I use an over-the-shot card wad made from milk carton. I place a roll crimp onto the mouth of the case using a die I made from a .45-70 die.

Your brass is either left as it is fireformed as to length, or trimmed back if you have a short chamber. None of my "shotguns" have a three inch chamber and I do not have to trim back the brass to fit.
The modified Enfields have no choke. So keeping that in mind you want to keep a target about 25 yards at the max. Pellet count is low in the .410 so patterns are very large beyond that range.

You can also use .41 pistol bullets. Either single or stacked. The .41 Magnum loads work well. The bullet will tumble of course. They do seem to fly straight for 25-30 yards. Loads are worked up by total bullet weight. Sabot loads can be made as well to launch a dart, slug or other projectiles you can think up."

End of Quote



If you are into reloading .410 here is the details in this new link.


While there are many crates of the Indian .410 loads for their converted rifle to a .410 musket, you can load for the musket. It's easy cheap after you get the brass, fun and the results on target are better than you'd expect. Several years back when components were much cheaper than today,I used .41 Magnum bullets.

Today that is not cost effective.

We will be loading “00-Buckshot. What you will need is: .30-40 Krag or .303 Britt brass. Either will work. The Krag brass will give you a longer case, not a big deal.

00-Buckshot. You can find a Hornady box of two pounds or more for under 20 bucks. (.410 ammo is expensive, you will get many loads out of this box)

Unique Smokeless powder. This one pound will load a lot of .410 ammo.

Large rifle primers, any brand

A decapping tool such as the Lee universal decapping die.

Foam ear-plugs. Most ranges sell these and the trash cans are filled full of the used plugs. Wash in an old sock or your wife's old panty-hose foot. You can buy new, but free is free if you are not grossed out with used ear-plugs.

The ear plugs will become the "over-the-shot" wad and fire-forming wad.

.410 "skeet" plastic shot wads 2 1/2". Any GOOD gun shop or box store will sell them .They come in bags of 250,500 and 1,000

Here is the good news. You do not need a die set to load these shells. Once formed they will fit until they can no longer be shot due to case splits. 15-20 loads down the road.

A used .357 Magnum, non-carbide sizing die is very handy but not 100% necessary.

Cream-of-wheat dry cereal.

A razor knife.

A drift punch or dowel that will easily fit inside of a .41 caliber case by a few hundreds of an inch.

Lee powder scoop or powder measure that will give you 9 grains of Unique.
OK, lets get started.

First you will need to fire form the brass you have into a straight walled .410 shotgun “Shell"

Easy to do, follow my directions and you cannot screw it up.

De-prime the fired case and prime the case. New brass is fine as well, once fired is cheaper.Watch out for bad .303 Brass fired in a long chambered Enfield. Articles here on SRF on what they look like.

Pour in 9 grains of Unique. I've worked out the safe pressures,00 buck weight,MV and the best accuracy.

Using the same Lee powder scoop or your wife's measuring spoons, fill the rest of the case with Cream-of-Wheat up to the bottom of the neck of the case.

Take one full ear-plug, roll it up and stuff it on top the cream-of-wheat. Use the punch and make sure the plug is INSIDE of the case neck/mouth. You have now made a blank that will "iron" out the case neck, shoulder and fire-form a new cartridge. A brass .410 shell.

The blank is not a toy. At close range it will tear flesh from bone. At 25 feet it will blind. The blank is loud and throws a pretty good fire ball.

Make as many as you'd like. If a case splits, it will not hurt the musket, just your cost of a case. The cream-of-wheat will not hurt the bore.

Reprime the newly made brass .410 shell.

Dump in the same 9 grains of Unique.

Seat the .410 wad made for the 2 1/2" Skeet load, use the punch or dowel. Make sure it is on top of the powder charge with NO air gap. You will feel it stop on top of the charge.

Now seat four 00-buck, one on top of another. You do not need a filler like GREX but you can use it if you want to. I don’t.

Now take one ear plug and cut it lengthwise into THREE pieces of equal length.

Roll up one piece of ear-plug and stuff it into the mouth of the loaded case.

(You can use a paper wad, milk carton wad, or even a real .410 over the shot wad if you'd like.) I like the foam plugs, free, easy to work with fast to insert.

Let the plug expand, keep it level over the buckshot.

You can stop here if you want, or……

Run the case just into the mouth of the .357 Magnum sizing die. It will "crimp" the plug/wad into place. You only need a 1/16" of an inch, no more. Going further into the die will crush your new casing.

Your newly loaded 00-Buck round is accurate out to 25 yards. 50 yards max range on a man silhouette target.

It would make a good close range varmint round.

And you have all the materials to reload the rounds many more times.

This is my second post on the do-it-yourself .410 loads for the Enfield Musket. More to come.

Other than case length, there is no big deal on using either caliber original case.

These muskets are very strong. You can increase the powder charge if you want. I found it opens up the shot group though.

The load I posted will move the buckshot right around 1,000 fps."

End of Quote



Here is how to make a British .303 shell fit a normal .410. Surplusfirearm 2011

.303 British to .410 Shot shell Conversion Posted on November 16, 2011 by admin

So, I’m a little pumped about being able to reload my own .410 shot-shells without a shot-shell reloading press so I head out to the not-so-local skeet range to do some hull scavenging. I get there a day after a corporate shoot expecting to find at least a small assortment of .410 hulls – and not a single one was to be found anywhere. Disappointed in my efforts to locate some .410 hulls I resorted to the internet and searched for once-fired .410 hulls. Interestingly, during my search I found some periodic comments and rough tutorials on the internet on how to convert .303 British brass to .410 shot-shell hulls. Yes, I know – you can purchase brass hulls from MagTech – but if I can make my own .410 hulls out of some once-fired .303 British brass, now that really sparks my interest. You see – anytime I can make something myself cheaper than buying it at retail prices I get interested, even if it takes some time and experimentation. I guess its the “self-sufficiency” in me. So, here we go – .303 British Brass converted to .410 shot shells.

I had a bag full of once-fired .303 British brass given to me so I elected those cases to be the victim of experimentation over some of my brand new, unfired supply of .303 brass. Some of the cases had bulges just above the rim from an obvious head-space problem caused by it’s former firearm. After, checking the cases for preliminary case-head separation, discarding the obvious problematic cases, it was time to start depriming the salvageable cases and began the conversion by tumbling the brass to clean them up.

The first hurdle to overcome on the conversion is to resolve an obvious problem with head-space and the .303 British case incapable of chambering in the .410 shotgun. The problem being the .410 shot-shell has a rim thickness of .063′′ with a 55 degree tapered rim and the .303 British having a .060′′ untapered rim. Despite the fact that the .303 British rim is thinner than the .410’s rim, the .303 British simply cannot fit in a .410 chamber without the taper. One way to resolve the problem is to mill a taper on the underside of the.303 British rim to make it similar to the taper of a .410 shot-shell. Problem is, I don’t have a milling machine – but why not just file a few thousands off the case head of the .303 British so it seats flush with the .410 breech. Let’s do it.

I started by securing each case, one at a time, in a padded vice and began filing evenly across the case head. Initially, I was unsure as to how exactly much of the case head needed to be thinned so I started by counting the passes with the file and counted 30, 40, then 50 passes and tested the brass for a fit in the chamber until the action closed on my single shot shotgun. After an average of 50 passes with the file, and entirely removing the lettering on the case head, it was found that a rim thickness of ~.055′′ would fit flush and allow the shotgun to lock up. To the right is a comparison of a filed case and an unfiled case. Make sure that when you file the case you keep the file level, squared with the case head so as not to create an uneven surface on the face of the rim.

Next, I test fitted the .303 British case against the .410 breech to ensure a flush chambering of the brass was possible. Then, I simply closed the action of the single-shot .410 shotgun with the case in the chamber and it fit perfectly. Since I’m using a single-shot .410 it was rather simple to do; however a pump or semi-auto shotgun may involve more precise fitting and workmanship. So basically, instead of removing metal from the underside of the .303 British rim to thin (or taper) the case, we simply just removed metal from the top of the rim (see below).

One concern I read regarding the thinning of the case head by using a file was that, thinning the case head will make the primer seat above the head of the case. Well, that simply isn’t true. As you can see from the photo that removing only a few thousands of an inch that the primer stills seats well below the face of the case head where it belongs.

Now we begin to fire-form the case to make the tapered .303 British case a straight walled .410 shot-shell brass hull. Since we have to fire-form the majority of the case to get it to become a straight-walled shot-shell, we’ll do this process in no less than two separate fire-forming procedures. The first being to blow-out the neck and shoulder and the second to make the rest of the case straight. We start by annealing the cases with a propane torch, a cold pan of water and a spark-plug socket chucked into a cordless drill. Spin the case using the drill to help in uniform annealing. As it spins you can see the color change as the metal heats up and works down the body of the case – do not, nor is it necessary, for the case to turn cherry red while annealing. Once the case turns a bluish color drop the annealed case into the water. Since we’re moving a lot brass during this fire-forming I am annealing more than just the case neck and shoulder; in fact about 2/3 of the case is annealed; being certain not to over heat the lower 1/3 – that portion should not even begin to change color – and it helps to be protected by the socket and prevent over heating. After the cases are dropped in the water they become pretty soft and malleable. Place the cases aside to dry thoroughly before priming.

Once the cases have dried they were primed with large pistol primers. Since shotgun shells have very low pressure levels, lower than pistol cartridges, it makes sense to use pistol primers versus rifle primers. I used Wolf large pistol primers as they are very reasonably priced compared to their U.S.counterparts and serve this purpose very well.

For the first fire-form, I load the .303 brass with 12 grains of Red Dot and pack it full of Cream of Wheat. Fill the case up to about 1/4′′ from the top of the case – then pack the Cream of Wheat. Then cover the last 1/4′′ of space with wax or other substance to keep the Cream of Wheat from falling out. Load and shoot.

As you can see from the first fire-form effort the upper half of the case expands to fit the .410 chamber and the shoulder is completely blown out to form a nice straight case neck. Now that the neck and shoulder is expanded to a rough .410 shot-shell we can start loading for a second fire-form to help expand the lower section of the case.

After seating new primers in the cases for the second fire-form I loaded 12 grains of Alliant 2400 powder then inserted a .410 factory wad (shown are Claybuster CB5050-410HS wads). When inserting the wad you may find that the wad does not fit entirely inside the case because the lower, unexpanded section, prevents the wad from fitting all the way in. No problem, just trim the fins on the wad and insert it into the case. Another alternative to plastic wads is to use a .410 over-shot card and a fiber cushion wad cut to the necessary diameter. I actually seen one individual stuff it with T-shirt material and shoot.

Next, I filled the case with approximately 1/2 ounce of lead shot. Then, using either a .45 diameter punch or a .45 ACP empty case with the edge sharpened I cut an over-shot card to place over the shot. I then pressed the card in place with a dowel and then covered the over-shot card with Elmer’s glue to hold the card in place. After the glue dried I loaded them up and fired away.

You can create a nice roll crimp on the shell using a .308 Winchester bullet seating die as an alternative to gluing the card in place. I chose not to do this since I don’t want to work the brass anymore than necessary – but it is an option.

To the right we see the results of the second fire-form. Not too bad if I say so myself. Might need one more 1/2 ounce load to get the final needed expansion at the base but most certainly loadable.

I need to note that the brass case is thinner walled than the plastic cases. That said, you may need to modify your choice of wad column diameter. What I’ve done is to cut a 1/8′′ over-powder card the diameter of .460′′ to place over the powder charge to ensure a seal, then place a plastic Claybuster wad on top of that, fill with 1/2 ounce shot, then cut an over-shot card out of cereal boxes at .460′′ and seal it with Elmer’s Glue. The punch I use is the same one used to cut wads for my .44 black powder pistol. Punches are available at Harbor Freight for about $8. And finally, if you find your brass sticking in your chamber and need to resize the cases you can place the shell in a .303 British shell-holder and run it up into a .45 ACP sizing die and size about 5/8 of the case for a smooth chambering.

Wrapping up I wanted to comment that I read in an older reloading manual that when it comes to brass shot-shell cases that, “Not going on much here. If you have any of these, put them up on a mantle and think up a good “Grandpa told me” story to tell people when they ask, “What’s that?”. I got a better idea – why not show those people how to make, load and shoot these old brass cases and carry on the legacy of our Great Grandparents...I bet you’ll have more fun actually doing it than talking about it.

Safe Shooting! 

End of Quote

End of Reloading Reference

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 One more video, 




 Springfield sporters had some nice rifles in the late 1980s, but buy the time the owner got sick (2016) and sold the company there were generally pallets full of parts only surplus junk inside and out side the buildings. All of the reaiming stock  was sold to Apex (parts) and CAI (junk fireams). What is left on the market is really in sad condition. If someone wanted a project??? Why?

 They had the largest hoard of surplus stuff in the U.S. other than back in the past when F. Bannerman was in business. 

Listed for historical reference;  no longer being sold.


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I would reconvert that back to its original appearance

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