.58 Schubarth

Posted on July 10th, 2015

I have finally acquired a .58 Schubarth! It is one of the more desirable American cartridges and seems to trade for insane prices. There are only around a dozen known to exist. It was patented and made in 1861 by Casper D. Schubarth who resided at 6 North Main street Providence, RI.

This particular example was once owned by Colonel Berkeley R. Lewis of the United States Army Ordnance Corps. He acquired it from the Smithsonian Institution.

schubarth

The whole idea of the cartridge and rifle is based on a modification and improvement of Gallager & Gladding’s cartridge and rifle that was created a couple years prior. I have new pictures of the Gallager & Gladding cartridge that I will feature in my Journal column (which is currently detailing the relationship of pinfire cartridges and the United States) sometime in the next few months. Schubarth’s improvement was essentially to make it waterproof.

It is an inside-primed pinfire. I believe his intentions were to make it easily reloadable with Minié balls and was offered to the government which did not decided to purchase it.

58schubarthThe dimensions of it are as follows:

Bullet Diameter: 0.61 inches
Bullet Weight: 551 grains
Powder Charge: 70 grains

Total Weight: 764 grains
Case Length: 1.13 inches
Total Length: 2 inches

While I do not have ballistic info on it, in 1861 Mr. Schubarth said that “It will be seen that the powder is fired in the middle of the charge thus causing a rapid combustion [and] that this causes so great force be generated that 60 grains of powder has driven bullet through 15 one inch boards at a distance one hundred yards ”

Also, here is the patent, and an image of it beside a .223 for scale.

US Patent: 23,895.58 Schubarth beside a .223Inside of .58 Schubarth owned by my friend, Gene SpicerScientific America image of .58 Schubarth.58 Schubarth owned by friend, Paul molansNotecard written by Berkeley R. Lewis from when he owned the cartridge. During this timeframe it was thought that this was a similar cartridge made by Gallager & Gladding. That is why he references G&G in the note.