Secondary guns on pre-dreadnoughts and armored cruisers of the 1890s and early 1900s. Used as railway guns during World War I and as coastal artillery during World War II.

Built-up construction with an interrupted screw breech. Model 1891 was a trunnioned gun, the others did not have trunnions. Models 1891 and 1893 had all propellant in a cartridge case while Models 1893-1896 and 1893-1896M had a larger chamber to allow larger charges and used both the earlier cartridge case and a separate powder bag.

Gun Characteristics

Designation 164.7 mm/45 (6.5") Models 1893, 1893-1896, 1893-1896M
Ship Class Used On Model 1891: Cruisers of the Friant and Descartes classes
Model 1893: Cruisers of the D'Assas, Catinat, Guichen, Châteaurenault and Jurien de la Gravière classes
Model 1893-1896: Battleships of the Iéna and Suffren, Cruisers Jeanne d' Arc, Gueydon, Dupleix and Gloire classes
Model 1893-1896M: Battleships of the République class, Cruisers of the Jules Michelet, Ernest Renan and Léon Gambetta classes
Date Of Design 1893 / 1896
Date In Service about 1894 / 1900
Gun Weight 15,520 lbs. (7,040 kg)
Gun Length oa 302 in (7.672 m)
Bore Length 292 in (7.412 m)
Rifling Length 248 in (6.300 m)
Grooves (50) 1.2 mm (D) x 3 mm (W)
Lands N/A
Twist N/A (angle of rifling was 7 degrees left)
Chamber Volume Models 1891 and 1893: 1,619 in3 (26.544 dm3)
Model 1893-1896: 2,240 in3 (36.722 dm3)
Model 1893-1896M: 2,241 in3 (36.735 dm3)
Rate Of Fire about 3 rounds per minute


Type Cartidge - Bag
Projectile Types and Weights 1890s
   APC: 121.0 lbs. (54.9 kg)
   SAPC: 115.3 lbs. (52.3 kg)
   CI: 99.2 lbs. (45 kg)

   APC: 115.3 lbs. (52.3 kg)
   HE: 111.3 lbs. (50.5 kg)

Bursting Charge 1890s
   APC: 2.1 lbs. (0.97 kg) Mélinite
   SAPC: 6.8 lbs. (3.10 kg) Mélinite
   CI: 4.6 lbs. (2.10 kg) Gunpowder


Projectile Length 1890s
   APC: 17.1 in (43.5 cm)
   SAPC: 19.1 in (48.5 cm)
   CI: 20.3 in (51.5 cm)


Cartridge Case Type, Size and Empty Weight Brass, 164.7 x 690 mm, N/A
Propellant Charge Models 1891 and 1893
   Cartridge: 21.2 lbs. (9.60 kg) BM9

Models 1893-1896 and 1893-1896M
   Cartridge: 28.9 lbs. (13.10 kg) BM10 or BM11
   Bag: 14.8 lbs. (6.70 kg) BM10 or BM11

Muzzle Velocity Models 1891 and 1893
   APC and SAPC: 2,526 fps (770 mps)
   CI: 2625 fps (800 mps)

Models 1893-1896 and 1893-1896M
   APC and SAPC: 2,838 fps (865 mps)
   CI: 2,953 fps (900 mps)

Working Pressure N/A
Approximate Barrel Life N/A
Ammunition stowage per gun N/A


Maximum range
Model 114.6 lbs. (52 kg) AP Shell 111.3 lbs. (50.5 kg) HE Shell
Models 1891 and 1893 16,840 yards (15,400 m) 19,690 yards (18,000 m)
Models 1893-1896 and 1893-1896M 16,840 yards (15,400 m) 20,780 yards (19,000 m)

As in most ships of this era, long range gunfire was nearly impossible and for that reason the maximum range figures seen in secondary and even primary sources should be viewed with a degree of skepticism. Instead, designers were more concerned about performance at a range where most combats would take place. For these ships, the French considered that 2,000 m (2,100 yards) would be the most likely combat range.

Mount/Turret Data

Designation Single Mounts: République (18), Sufferen (10), Iéna (8), Léon Gambetta (4)
Twin Turrets: République (6), Léon Gambetta (6)
Weight N/A
Elevation about -10 / +25 degrees
Elevation Rate Manually operated, only
Train about +150 / -150 degrees
Train Rate Manually operated, only
Gun recoil N/A
Loading Angle Any


"French Warships of World War I" by Jean Labayle Couhat - Ian Allan Series
"Les Materiels de l'armée de Terre Française 1940, pt2" by Stephane Ferrard
"Naval Weapons of World War One" by Norman Friedman
"French Armoured Cruisers: 1887 - 1932" by John Jordan and Philippe Caresse
"Eisenbahngeschütze der Welt" by Franz Kosar
"Armored Cruiser Dupuy de Lôme" by D.B. Yakimovich and A.S. Alexandrov (Marine Campaign 2007, No 5)
Special help from Alex Baumans and Michal Derela

Page History

16 May 2006 - Benchmark
28 March 2012 - Updated to latest template
28 August 2013 - Added use on Armored Cruisers
01 April 2021 - Updated to HTML 5, added details on guns and ammunition