2013 Award to David Harding

HBSA Presidents Cup 2013
Awarded for “Lead Shot of the English Civil War: A Radical Study” 
by David Harding


The Historical Breechloading Smallarms Association (HBSA) has awarded the prestigious HBSA Presidents Cup to David Harding, for his book “Lead Shot of the English Civil War: A Radical Study”. 

On behalf of the Historical Breechloading Smallarms Association (HBSA), the Adjudicating Committee for the President’s Cup commented that this is an outstanding and thorough piece of research which substantially changes the firearms community’s perception and understanding of the development and military use of alternative projectiles to the round ball.

The book is a fundamental re-examination of excavated lead shot from the English Civil War, based on a cavalry target practice site of extraordinary richness in Northamptonshire. The finds show that many more types of projectile and load were in use than has been realised hitherto, including several shapes intended to pierce plate armour, and also a variety of multi-shot loads to increase the chances of a hit. Deformation of balls and other shapes while in the bore reveals the important effects of set-up and gas erosion. Not least, the ‘signatures’ of balls fired from turn-off and screw-plug breechloaders can be described for the first time.

By integrating all sources, from archaeology, metal detecting, ballistics, military history and 17th century texts, the study radically changes our view of smallarms ammunition, cavalry training and combat in the Civil War and is a major contribution to the study of early modern firearms use and ballistics.

The HBSA Presidents Cup was instituted to recognize outstanding recent contributions to firearms research. All nominations must be proposed by persons of appropriate standing within the HBSA and the work shall contain the product of original research. All nominations are judged with weighting on originality, historical significance and clarity in presentation. Although intended to be awarded annually, it has not always been so if there are not works of sufficient weight or substance to merit the award.

The HBSA presidents Cup is a Victorian silver rosebowl of substance and weight 25cm wide and 16 cm high.

Published: Foresight Books, London. 2012.  Pp206, b&w illus, tables. ISBN 978-0-9530853-6-1.