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Ordnance RML 7 pounder Mk IV Mountain Gun
No. 4 (Hazara) Mountain Battery with RML 7 pounder circa. 1895
Type Mountain gun
Place of origin  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Service history
In service 1873 - 19?
Used by  British Empire
Wars Anglo-Zulu War
First Boer War
Second Boer War
Anglo-Aro War
Weight 200 pounds (90.72 kg) barrel
Barrel length 3 feet (914 mm)

Shell 7lb 11 oz (Shrapnel)
7lb 4oz (Common)
12lb 4oz (Double)[1]
Calibre 3 inches (76.2 mm)[1]
Traverse nil
Muzzle velocity 968 ft/s (295 m/s)
Maximum range 3,000 yd (2,700 m)[1]

The Ordnance RML 7 pounder Mk IV "Steel Gun" was a rifled muzzle-loading mountain gun primarily used by the Indian Army. 7 pounder referred to the approximate weight of the shell it fired.


Development began in 1864 to replace the RBL 6 pounder 2.5-inch (64 mm) gun of 3cwt, which had proved too heavy for a mountain gun. Several Mks of 7 pounder RML of 2 cwt were tried in 1865 by boring out and rifling old SBML bronze guns, but were still too heavy.[2]

Several Mks of new steel barrels (the first British all-steel gun, hence the name "Steel Gun") were then produced of 190 lb (86 kg) and 150 lb (68 kg) but were not considered powerful enough.[2]

Mk IV of 200 lb (91 kg) with a longer bore was settled on for production in 1873.

It was superseded by the RML 2.5 inch Mountain Gun from 1879.

Combat Use

It could be assembled and a round loaded in 20 seconds. Its Common shell was considered ineffective. To give it a high angle capability, a Double shell was produced of increased length and containing a larger bursting charge. This was fired with a reduced charge, but the low muzzle velocity did not always arm the fuze, or prevent the over-long projectile from somersaulting. Shell rotation was effected by studs on the body of the shell. Elevation was by quoin or wedge and by screw.[3]

Anglo-Zulu War 1879

Britain deployed several guns mounted on Colonial (or "Kaffraria") carriages : light field gun type carriages with larger wider-spaced wheels suited for being horse-drawn across long grass.

First Boer War 1880-1881

Britain deployed 4 guns mounted on standard small mountain carriages during the war.

Second Boer War 1899-1902

Boers with guns on mountain carriages captured at Kraaipan at the beginning of the war

Gun on field carriage at Mafeking

The gun was employed mounted on armoured trains and used by local militia forces early in the war.

It was also employed mounted on normal field carriages with larger wheels which increased mobility in the long grass and allowed it to be towed by horses.[3]

Anglo-Aro War

Column No. 4 of The British assembled Aro Field Force deployed one 7 pounder gun during the battles in and around Arochukwu.

See also

Surviving examples

An example from 1885, at Royal Armoury, Fort Nelson, UK

Today, several examples of the guns still exist around the world :

Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Hall, December 1972
  2. 2.0 2.1 Ruffell
  3. 3.0 3.1 Hall, June 1971


Further reading

External links

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