10 things you didn't know about Eley Hawk

eley premisesWe take a look at the heritage and history of one of the UK's leading cartridge manufacturers.

1) The first record in history of the Eley brand as a cartridge manufacturer dates back to 1828. Brothers William and Charles Eley founded the company and they were based at a factory in Old Bond Street where they worked together to develop new cartridge patents.

2) The first cartridge to be produced by the company was the Jenour wire cartridge, after the brothers purchased the patent in 1828. The cartridge incorporated a wire cage designed to help hold the shot together during the first stages of its flight, but the demand for this was a lot lower than anticipated.

William Eley3) Whilst developing and testing new designs for a percussion cap, founding brother William Eley tragically blew himself up at the age of just 47. His sons William, Charles and Henry later took over the running of the business.

4) Eley has been hugely influential in the world of cartridge manufacturing. For example, they were the first company to produce cartridges specifically for trap shooting, the first to develop and produce plastic cartridge casings, and they also designed a fibre wad that cleaned the barrels when fired. 

eley cartridges5) In 1905, Eley introduced machines to automate many of the cartridge-making processes. These machines would still be manually operated until the 1960s, but allowed an impressive 1,500 cartridges to be completed per hour. The downside to this was that there was a high spoilage rate.

6) In 1931 a severe outbreak of the disease Stronglylosis in grey partridges led Major H. G. Eley (Eley was part of the ICI group at the time) to start research on the causes of disease and fluctuations in partridge numbers. After the Second World War they founded the Eley Game Advisory Service, which later evolved into its own organisation, The Game Conservancy Trust. The latter of which is now called the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) and continues to record bag counts and other data vital to gamebird management and survival.

7) Today, Eley produces approximately 100 million cartridges per year, and it is estimated that since inception the total figure would sit over the one-billion mark.

eley grand prix8) To meet demand and adapt to the needs of modern guns, the company estimates that almost 80 different cartridge types have been designed since inception, with sub brands bringing the total to over 120.

eley cartridge testing9) To ensure that every cartridge is produced to the optimum standard, every 30–40 minutes a batch of 50 cartridges are taken from the production line to test thoroughly. Speeds, ignition rates on primers, pressures etc. are checked and meticulously recorded.

eley zenith10) The best-selling clay cartridges are the Selects, due to the reengineered cases and wads which have allowed for less recoil and cleaner burning. And for game shooting, the Eley Zenith – with copper-coated lead shot in 12 and 20 bore – is making strides and selling rapidly.

For more information visit www.eleyhawkltd.com


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