RML 7 pounder Mountain Gun

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Ordnance RML 7 pounder Mk IV Mountain Gun
No. 4 (Hazara) Mountain Battery with RML 7 pounder circa. 1895
TypeMountain gun
Place of originUnited Kingdom
Service history
In service1873 - 19?
Used by British Empire
WarsAnglo-Zulu War
First Boer War
Second Boer War
Anglo-Aro War
Weight200 pounds (90.72 kg) barrel
Barrel length3 feet (914 mm)

Shell7lb 11 oz (Shrapnel)
7lb 4oz (Common)
12lb 4oz (Double)[1]
Calibre3 inches (76.2 mm)[1]
Muzzle velocity968 ft/s (295 m/s)
Maximum firing range3,000 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It was superseded by the RML 2.5 inch Mountain Gun from 1879.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[edit]

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[edit]

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.[4][5]

Second Anglo-Afghan War[edit]

Titled "Dignity & Impudence" for stereotypic personality traits of elephants and mules respectively, this photograph by John Burke (photographer) shows an elephant and mule battery during the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The mule team would have hauled supplies or towed the small field gun, while the elephants towed the larger gun. The gun appears to be an Rifled Muzzle Loader (RML) 7-pounder mountain gun. The men in the photograph are a mix of British soldiers and Indian sepoys. The group kneeling around the smaller, muzzle-loaded field gun is preparing to fire after the soldier at front left has used the ramrod to jam the charge down into the gun. The gun at right, towed by elephants, appears to be an Rifled breech loader (RBL) 40-pounder Armstrong (RBL 40 pounder Armstrong gun)

An RML 7 pounder Mountain Gun appears to be present in a photograph by John Burke (photographer) from the Second Anglo-Afghan War (November 1878 - September 1880). The war began when Great Britain, fearful of what it saw as growing Russian influence in Afghanistan, invaded the country from British India. The first phase of the war ended in May 1879 with the Treaty of Gandamak, which permitted the Afghans to maintain internal sovereignty but forced them to cede control over their foreign policy to the British. Fighting resumed in September 1879, after an anti-British uprising in Kabul, and finally concluded in September 1880 with the decisive Battle of Kandahar.[6]

First Boer War 1880-1881[edit]

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

Second Boer War 1899-1902[edit]

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[edit]

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

See also[edit]

Surviving examples[edit]

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

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

Notes and references[edit]


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]