I can give examples of the use of this expression. Even if I can guess what it means, I don't have any adequate ideas.
1) The shot told; the Irrepressible was silenced; and I profited by the chance to pour in a broadside of another sort.
2) The shot told: they were notoriously the closest-fisted couple in the village.
3) It was about the time that his disappointment became known to everybody, and the shot told.