history of ELEY

ELEY is a British company who have manufactured ammunition since 1828.

William and Charles Eley established the company originally in London and later moved the company to Birmingham, beginning a long and proud tradition in the manufacture of rimfire ammunition. Specialising in .22LR calibre cartridges, ELEY is widely regarded as the world leader with tenex, its flagship cartridge, sold in more than 130 countries.

The name Charles Eley first gained public attention through an advertisement in the London Morning Chronicle on 10th July 1828. The advert promoted the opening of an extensive factory that supplied patented cartridges hailed as the greatest ever improvement in gunnery. The proprietors were two brothers, William and Charles Eley, whose adventurous and courageous spirit greatly influenced this developing industry.

William Eley had three sons who inherited the business from him in 1842. They greatly expanded the business in the second half of the nineteenth century, which included a major expansion in 1874 supported by the sale of shares to the public. During this period ELEY won many awards for the quality of our products throughout the world. The most prestigious of these was the Grand Prix, bestowed on the company at the Paris Exhibitions of 1898 and 1900. The early 1900s saw a major development when ELEY became one of the founding members of Nobel Industries alongside the world renowned Kynoch Company. In 1928 the business moved to the Witton site in Birmingham as a subsidiary of what is now Imperial Metal Industries, a major multinational engineering conglomerate.

Major ammunition developments from ELEY include: a joint patent with Samuel Colt for revolver cartridges in 1855, Britain's first center-fire cartridge in 1857, the development of the Boxer primer system, development of the first bottleneck rifle cartridges in 1869, and thin-brass totally waterproof shotshell cartridges in 1882.

During the American Civil War ELEY was a major supplier of ammunition to the Confederacy. Our first .22LR rimfire cartridges were produced in 1860, but our current rimfire domination began in earnest in 1951 with the introduction of the first generation of ELEY tenex.

ELEY’s goal behind the initial tenex development was to provide British made .22LR ammunition built to extremely fine manufacturing tolerances to support British competition shooters. This was borne out at the 1951 British Championship and the Grand Aggregate events at Bisley, won by ELEY team shooters using ELEY tenex.

A key example of the company's technological innovation is the ELEY Autoprime System developed by the company in the early 1980s. It remains to this day the only fully automated dry priming system in the world. Such investment in technology inevitably reflects the high levels of product and systems quality, features which are acknowledged by the company's accreditation to the ISO 9002 European standard.

In 2000 and 2001 ELEY’s considerable investment in the new and revolutionary ELEY tenex Ultimate EPS and ELEY match EPS ranges took target shooting to a new level.

In May of 2003 ELEY completed a huge investment in a historically significant relocation of ELEY to a purpose built factory a few miles from Witton in the West Midlands. Not only does this demonstrate ELEY’s long term commitment as the world's leading supplier of quality cartridges, but it provides the modern facilities vital for future product research and development to remain the best in our field.


  1. ELEY high velocity hollow is launched.

  2. ELEY shooter Snjezana Pejcic is named “2015 ISSF Shooter of the Year”.

  3. More 2016 Rio Olympic Quota places were won with ELEY ammunition over any other brand.

  4. ELEY set up new state-of-the-art cold test range facility in Norway.

  5. Sergey Kamenskiy sets new World Record and new European World Record at the European Shooting Championships with ELEY tenex.

  6. ELEY sponsored shooter Snjezana Pejcic sets new ISSF Finals World Record in Women's 3P with ELEY tenex.

  7. ELEY shooters Petra Zublasing and Jin Jongoh are named as “2014 ISSF Shooters of the Year”.

  8. ELEY sponsored shooter Snjezana Pejcic sets new ISSF Finals World Record in Women's 3P with ELEY tenex.

  9. ELEY Management team and LDC buyout from IMI takes place. ELEY group Limited is set up.

  10. At the 51st World Championships in Granada, Spain, every Gold medal was won with ELEY ammunition.

  11. At the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, 90.4% of medals were won with ELEY tenex.

  12. ELEY edge was shortlisted for the Shooting Industry Awards Best Rifle Cartridge category.

  13. ELEY tenex biathlon – a cartridge for use down to -20°C - was launched specifically for Biathlon shooters.

  14. ELEY launched edge - a new cutting edge cartridge produced with a unique surface treatment.

  15. ELEY won the prestigious Made in the Midlands Export Award 2013.

  16. Brand new ELEY test ranges were opened in Germany and USA allowing shooters to barrel match their firearm to ELEY tenex across the world.

  17. At the London 2012 Olympics 14 of a possible 18 medals were won with ELEY ammunition.

  18. More 2012 quota places were won with ELEY ammunition than any other brand.

  19. 70% of World Cup and European medals were won with ELEY ammunition.

  20. ELEY ammunition won 100% of the Gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

  21. Warren Potent equalled the World Record for Prone in the Sydney World Cup.

  22. Warren Potent claimed three Gold medals in Prone using ELEY tenex at the Word Cup.

  23. Andrew Lane joined as new Managing Director for ELEY.

  24. Chen Ying and Du Li both set new Olympic Records shooting with ELEY ammunition.

  25. The Olympic Games in Beijing was a great example of ELEY's consistent ammunition where ELEY shooters won 12 out of 18 medals.

  26. ELEY celebrated 180 years of manufacturing high quality ammunition.

  27. ELEY dominated at ISSF World Cup events, which included winning 14 podium positions in the Prone competition.

  28. At the Athens Olympic Games, nine medals out of 15 were won with shooters using ELEY ammunition. Medal winners included USA Shooter Matt Emmons in Prone, Chinese shooter Jia Zhanbo in 3 Positions and Bulgarian shooter Maria Grozdeva in Sport Pistol who took the Gold.

  29. ELEY completed a huge investment with a historically significant relocation of the ammunition factory from Witton to our current production site in Sutton Coldfield.

  30. ELEY received worldwide success at ISSF World Cup events in Sydney, Shanghai, Atlanta and Milan where 37 out of 60 medals were won by ELEY shooters. This included 15 Gold medals.

  31. ELEY received the Queen’s Award for Technological Achievement for developing Eley Prime, a fully automated dry priming system.

  32. ELEY triumphed at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games winning three Gold, three Silver and two Bronze medals. A new world record was also set using ELEY ammunition at the Games.

  33. Five World Records were set by competitors using ELEY tenex at the first Championships of the American Shoot in Mexico.

  34. ELEY tenex won all of the Gold and Silver medals in the .22LR events at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

  35. ELEY was a sweeping success at the NSRA Bisley meeting as ELEY tenex was first introduced and for the first time the British Championships were won by users of British ammunition.

  36. The manufacturing of both metallic ammunition and shotgun cartridges were transferred to a factory at Witton, when ELEY merged with Kynoch.

  37. ELEY received the award of the Grand Prix at the Paris Exhibitions of 1898 and 1900.

  38. To continue ELEY’s growth and further expansion, the Eley brothers decided on the brave step to make ELEY go public on the UK Stock Exchange.

  39. ELEY products received public recognition and were displayed at the Great Exhibition in London.

  40. After the death of William Eley in 1841, the newly styled firm ELEY Bros. enjoyed a prosperous decade with the sons of William driving the business forward.

  41. ELEY delighted sportsmen by marketing the first waterproof percussion cap.

  42. First historic record of ELEY’s existence as Charles Eley appeared on an advertisement launching Eley Patent Cartridges described as “The greatest improvement ever produced in gunnery”.