QF 3-pounder Vickers

The Ordnance QF 3-pounder Vickers (47 mm / L50) was a British artillery piece first tested in Britain in 1903. It was used on Royal Navy warships. It was more powerful than and unrelated to the older QF 3-pounder Hotchkiss, with a propellant charge approximately twice as large, but it initially fired the same Lyddite and steel shells as the Hotchkiss.[1]

Ordnance QF 3-pounder Vickers
On a Royal Navy monitor circa. 1918
TypeNaval gun, Anti-aircraft gun
Place of originUnited Kingdom
Service history
In service1905–1940
WarsWorld War I, World War II
Production history
No. built600
VariantsMk I Mk II
Mass1,323 lb (600 kg) in total
Barrel length8 ft 8 in (2.64 m) bore (50 calibres)

Shell47×360mmR 3.3 lb (1.50 kg) shell.
Calibre47 mm (1.85 in)
Breechsemi-automatic vertical block
Carriagethree-leg platform
Elevation-5° to +12°
Rate of fire20 rounds per minute
Muzzle velocity2,575 ft/s (785 m/s) (HE)
Effective firing range2,000 yd (1,829 m)(AA)
Maximum firing range5,600 yd (5,100 m) at 12° elevation;
15,000 ft (4,600 m) (AA ceiling)


Starting in 1904, the Royal Navy bought over 154 of these for use as anti-torpedo boat weapons on capital ships and to arm smaller ships. British production of these guns started in 1905 at Vickers and by the time production stopped in 1936 a total of 600 weapons had been made.

Royal Navy use

By 1911 about 193 guns of this type were in service, and they became standard equipment in the Royal Navy until 1915. In that year, service during the First World War proved these weapons to be ineffective and they were quickly removed from most of the larger ships. During the interwar years they were widely used to arm light ships and river craft. A number of them were converted into anti-aircraft guns and by 1927 at least 62 guns had been converted.

See also


  1. Treatise on ammunition 10th Edition 1915. War Office, UK. Page 404
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