S&H 2 Bore Blackpowder Express

There is ‘big bore’ and then there is the 2 bore. Schroeder & Hetzendorfer make a cartridge called the S&H 2 Bore Blackpowder Express.

These photos are amazing

600 Img 0070
.700 nitro express next to 2 bore and 3500 grain bronze solid

600 Img 0068
.500 S&W, .45-70, .700 Nitro Express, 2 bore

The caliber equivalent of 2 bore (‘bore’ is generally interchangeable with ‘gauge’ in regard to caliber) is 1.326″ or 33.68mm! The bronze solid bullet weights 3500 grain / 1/2 pound / 226.80 grams!

While technically fired from a rifle these are more like massive shotgun slugs: a heavy projectile at a low velocity. The 2500 grain bronze solid leaves the barrel at 1500 ft/s and with 17487 ft·lb of energy.

Apart from the nerve destroying recoil, heavy rifle, heavy ammo and expense these big bullets slow down dramatically after entering the game and hitting bone. A problem when hunting elephant.

They even come bigger than this. The 1 bore has a caliber of 1.67″. The A Guage/Bore, about 2″, was used for punt guns.

More info at Schroeder & Hetzendorfer.

ACE has an interesting article on the 4 bore.


Jay Schroeder emailed me the pricing for for the brass and bullets:

Cartridge Cases are $495.00 per 10 pack shipped.

Copper FN Solids are $295.00 per 10 pack shipped.

All components are USA made by Americans from American material.

Although it may seem expensive, you are probably not going to purchase more than one set of brass.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Awesome pictures. Do you happen to know if anyone manufactures a 2-bore rifle?

    I found a photo of a 2-bore, luckily along with normal scale rifles-


    Forget the videos of the guys shooting the .577 Tyrannosaur, I want to see the 2-bore in action!

  • Jay, great find! Wow, that is one big rifle! I did not find any information on people making the 2 bore. I guess that any made now are fully custom jobs.

    The english explorer Sir Samuel Baker was keen on the 2 bore:

    “but as I rushed toward him with a shout, he turned toward the jungle, and I immediately fired a steady shot at the shoulder with the “Baby.” As usual, the fearful recoil of the rifle, with a half-pound shell and twelve drams of powder, nearly threw me backward; but I saw the mark upon the elephant’s shoulder, in an excellent line, although rather high.”

    “My second rifle was beautifully handed, and I made a quick right and left at the temples of two fine elephants, dropping them both stone dead. At this moment the “Baby” was pushed into my hand by Hadji Ali just in time to take the shoulder of the last of the herd, who had already charged headlong after his comrades and was disappearing in the jungle. Bang! went the “Baby;” round I spun like a weathercock, with the blood pouring from my nose, as the recoil had driven the sharp top of the hammer deep into the bridge. My “Baby” not only screamed, but kicked viciously. However, I knew that the elephant must be bagged, as the half-pound shell had been aimed directly behind the shoulder.”

    “I was within fifteen paces of them, and so compactly were they packed that with all their immense strength they could not at once force so extensive a front through the tough and powerful branches of the dense kittar. For about half a minute they were absolutely checked, and they bored forward with all their might in their determination to open a road through the matted thorns. The elastic boughs, bent from their position, sprang back with dangerous force, and would have fractured the skull of any one who came within their sweep. A very large elephant was on the left flank, and for an instant he turned obliquely to the left. I quickly seized the opportunity and fired the “Baby,” with an explosive shell, aimed far back in the flank, trusting that it would penetrate beneath the opposite shoulder. The recoil of the “Baby,” loaded with ten drams of the strongest powder and a half-pound shell, spun me round like a top. It was difficult to say which was staggered the more severely, the elephant or myself.”

    I love that last line “It was difficult to say which was staggered the more severely, the elephant or myself.” 😀

    (h/t sam)

  • Great stuff. That guy obviously viewed shooting as a contact sport!

  • Sir Samuel Baker’s rifle “Baby” was technically closer to a 3 bore. It was rifle #1526 made at Holland & Holland, London in 1869 London.

  • Pingback: Cost of big bore ammunition | The Firearm Blog()

  • Giles Whittome

    Yes, there is a currently-made 2-bore rifle, which I have made for the Royal Armouries as an exhibition piece. It fires 3,500-grain slugs with twenty or twenty-four drams of powder, and can be seen in action on the website of the Shooting Times magazine in England. Cartridges are one hundred dollars each, and the price of the rifle will be governed mainly by the features desired, but will be measured in the tens of thousands of dollars. Using the famous Taylor Knockout values, which give a much better indication of killing power than just kinetic energy, the.600 gives 161, but the 2-bore gives over 700, so it is effectively like firing four .600s simultaneously.

  • @ Giles Whittome:

    Hi Giles, any chance you can email me some photos of the 2-bore to post on the blog. My email address is on the top of the left sidebar.

    Best Regards,


  • Nick

    If i ever go hunting in Africa that is gonna be my choice gun.That will anhialate anything in its path.

  • You should add a .357 Magnum and a .22 to that comparison photo. As I actually know how big those two rounds are.


  • Victor Krueger

    I’d like to see comparison to 12ga 2.75″ shotgun, 40mm M79/M203 launcher grenade, and 40mm Mk. 19 launcher grenade. I suspect that the Mk 19 40mm grenade cartridge would be less punishing to the shooter if someone made a rifle chambered for it.

  • Sam Mazzei

    As if a massive two bore is not impressive enough, Samuel White Baker, in one of his several books about his explorations in Africa “The Nile Tributaries of Abyssinia and The Sword Hunters of the Hamran Arabs” also mentions that he some of the projectiles that he carried for this gun that were rather similar to “grenades”. These projectiles contained, in addition, a bursting charge of black powder (with a cap at the front end) that would fire the black powder charge inside the projectile on entering the body of the target animal (usually an elephant).

    An additional interesting fact contained in this book is what may be the first mention (in print) of the “Al-Quida”.

    This book also contains an interesting account of elephant hunting by The Hamran Arabs, who would pursue an elephant on hoseback, and then as the elephant began to slow, they would dismount (during the chase) and slash the achilles tendon of the elephants rear leg with a large sharp sword (Elephant are unable to run, or even to walk, on three legs, so an elephant with one leg disabled is essentially “pinned”.

    • Sam, very interesting. Do you know of any diagrams from back in the day showing these explosive rounds?

  • Karl

    A 303 with RN solids is more of a gun than a 2 bore when it comes to big game.

    The great failing of all the bore guns(4,8 etc) is that NONE of them could be relied on to penetrate an elephants brain with the frontal skull shot.

    Reading baker once more- he only ever got the front brain shot to work ONCE on african elephant in his entire career.

    The reason the nitro expresses were infinitely superior and killed off the boreguns in a single decade is they could almost always be relied on to penetrate with this shot.

    In other words Taylor.s KO values are not useful for application or comparison using the bore guns since the guns were unreliable for the most important and dangerous shot of all.

    certainly saying a 2bore is like 4, 600 nitros is ridiculous.

    Since 4 shots from a 2 bore is less effective with this shot than a single well placed one with a 300 cal.

    Secondly Sam bakers gun was a 3 bore firing a ‘half pound shell’ , he never used the words 2 bore or 2 guage anywhere in his writings. People mistake it for a 2 bore because he use the term half pound, but he never says half pound ball, but ‘shell’.

    The gun still exists and as others have pointed out and is smaller than 2 bore,meaning the half pound shell was probably some form of conical bullet, not a ball.

  • Giles Whittome

    A .303 is better than a 2-bore? How many elephants have you shot? In all the years I spent accompanying my friends in the Tanganyika Elephant Control Department, I never saw a .303 in use, for the very good reason that the truly knowledgeable controllers (including the three thousand-elephant men I knew) had made damn sure that everything up to and including .375 Magnum was banned for elephant on the grounds of the risk of only wounding. This is not prejudice — it is informed opinion forged by more practical experience of the subject than anywhere else in the world.

    As to penetration, I would like you to see the film of the 2-bore being fired at a two-foot by two-foot section of oaktree trunk, seasoned so long that big axes bounced off it; the result was instant kindling, with total penetration.

    The Baker rifle was referred to as a 2-bore because of the half-pound bullet weight, and it is correct that it was actually nearer to a three-bore. It of course fired a conical shell to get the desired weight, and the lack of penetration was because the shell was hollowed out to take the powder charge and thus lacked sectional density, and also because the rifle was built far too light, with consequent recoil problems.

    If you don’t believe me and if you are brave enough, come and fire it! Baker admitted to being spun round like a weathercock when firing with ten drams; I have fired my 2-bore with twenty-four drams with no problems, and I leave to your imagination the improvement in velocity and penetration from increasing the charge by over twice.

    Giles Whittome

  • Macifej

    Of course Giles is quite correct. Even a 2-Bore patched round ball is plenty adequate for Elephant. We’ll have some comparative penetration data shortly. 3500 Grain brass FN solid @ 1500 FPS versus lumber, wetpack, wet sand, and likely a real live Elephant.

    The idea that Ele are only taken with frontal brain shots is also false. Seems to me that a great deal of ivory hunting in the day and modern culling is executed via body shot where the target is larger and a charge is undesireable. Either way I’ll stand toe-to-toe with any elephant armed with a modern 2-Bore.

  • Alan

    Actually Samuel´s Baker rifle was mor like a 4 bore…I have made a percussion muzzleloader gun after this “baby” which in fact was very similar in external shape to that used by Frederick Couteney Selous. I made it in 1989 and got the barrel and counter lock engraved. Today I could do a better job of it because of more knolege in machining, I was 26 then. Still, I fired it quite a lot for amusement. A 1772 grain round ball and 273 grains of fffg gunpowder (blackpowder is a modern term).
    The 4 bore internal barrel diameter is 26 to 28 mm (must refresh, long time..) the 3 bore was 28 to 30 something and the 2 bore was up to 33mm if I remember well. One must provide for the patch thickness.
    It took me 9 months to build…It was trully a baby…of course attending it when time was available. Hand made all over except the barrel which was intially a tube for hydraulic use and the lock which is a Springfield original with the hammer lenghened. I could shoot some digital pictures of it and post them somewhere…Havent shot it in more than 10 years…

  • Jim Skladany

    _Where_ can one purchase a 2-bore and a 4-bore shell(s) for display? And their cost? I live in the “Democrapic Peoples Republick of Kalifornia” unfortunately. Thanks for the response in advance.

  • The idea that Ele are only taken with frontal brain shots is also false. Seems to me that a great deal of ivory hunting in the day and modern culling is executed via body shot where the target is larger and a charge is undesireable. Either way I’ll stand toe-to-toe with any elephant armed with a modern 2-Bore.

  • ken

    I know of two guys that have made black powder 2 bore guns with in the last couple of years. Steve Zihn from Colorado and Colin Stolzer from Kansas both make them. Colin also makes a 2 bore cartridge gun that handles the 2 bore metallic shells. There is an artical in the May 2011 Guns and Ammo magazine written by Craig Boddington on the 2 bore under lever cartridge gun. Colin is planning on building only 5 of these guns. They are large heavy guns and are certainly not for those afraid of recoil. The guns weigh appx. 24 lbs with a 28″ barrel. They are a real blast to shoot! I currently have one black powder 2 bore guns, one each from Steve and Colin. Colin is also going to build a double rifle for the 2 bore cartridge this coming summer. It will weigh appx. 30 lbs.

  • NormB

    For the well-equipped Jurassic time traveler, nothing says Allosaur takedown quite like a 2-bore. Gone are the days of .50 cal Raufoss rounds and shooting from a fixed position with a heavy Barrett or other rifle when you can field a shoulder-launched projectile like this. Get one while they’re still legal.

  • This seems to be a bit excessive for Whitetail.