This is the earliest version of the pinfire pepperbox revolver manufactured by Casimir Lefaucheux around 1845-1846.
Lefaucheux “borrowed” the action from Guillaume Mariette of Liège, Belgium who made a percussion pepperbox a few years prior.
Casimir’s patent modified it to make it breech-loading by adding in that middle piece and allowing the barrels to come off. He said he also added many safety features.
Mariette and Lefaucheux argued in court a few times over this but Lefaucheux ended up changing his handle and frame style and action a little bit to both appease Mariette and add newer improvements.
It is chambered for a 50 bore (based on the old French livre, making it an 11.81mm caliber) cartridge that Jules Joseph Chaudun held a patent for. This is effectively a 12mm pinfire cartridge, and most later 12mm pinfire cartridges fit it in.
Chaudun seemingly hand-made these cartridges as they all seem to be slightly different. They exist in a round-ball load, the candle-flame bullet load as shown and a shot load.
One interesting thing to note is that if you notice the little lever above the trigger, behind the hammer; when you pull it down with your other thumb (which is not extremely easy) and pull the trigger it only rotates the barrel and does not move the hammer at all.No Comments »August 16, 2015
On the barrel is inscribed:
DUMOULIN ARQer À ROUEN
Dumoulin was a gun maker (arquebusier; ARQer) and gun retailer in Rouen, Seine-Maritime, Upper Normandy, France. He must have procured a custom order from Lefaucheux of these guns to sell at his establishment.
All of the parts have part number “15 J” punched into them.
Based on the serial number and the frame design this would have been manufactured around August/September of 1861.1 Comment »July 10, 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.
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.
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.2 Comments »
Wilhelm Collath invented a shotshell variation that had a small pin that rested in a percussion cap half an inch into the case. The wider centerfire hammer would hit the pin which knocked it into the cap to set it off. The reasoning was to make the ignition travel backwards first so that it would have a little more time to burn the powder before building up the pressure to propel the shot. This allowed for less burning powder to travel down the barrel.
He also came up with his own size numbering system. They roughly equate like this:
0 -> 10g
1 -> 12g
3 -> 14g
4 -> 16g
5 -> 18g
6 -> 20g
7 -> 24g
8 -> 28g
As shown in the picture, they were also, but not commonly, made in a couple of the regular English gauges.
In March of 1938, the “Anschluss” took control of the company, Hirtenberger Patronen Zunhutchen & Metallwarenfabrik A.-G. of Hirtenberg, Austria and incorporated it into the Wilhelm Gustloff Foundation, which was a group owned by the Nazi Party.
On April 29, 1939 The company was officially renamed (from Hirtenberger) to Gustloffwerke Hirtenberger.
During this timeframe they typically used the letter “G” as a manufacturer’s mark on the headstamps, but also continued using the “H” for cartridges only produced in small numbers rather than replacing the bunters.
By April 3, 1945 the plant was mostly devastated from the war and fell into the hands of the Soviets and was quickly put under control of the USIA (Administration of Soviet Property in Austria) and the company again renamed to Hirtenberger Patronen Zunhutchen & Metallwarenfabrik and eventually started production of cartridges again in 1946.
So from 1939 to 1944 The Nazi’s made pinfire cartridges in Austria.No Comments »July 3, 2015
Here are some pinfire cartridges with explosive bullets. The two on the right are definitively made using Eugene Pertuiset’s patented formula by SFM. The rest are also thought to be.
In the late 1860s a Frenchman names Eugene Pertuiset developed an special fulminate that would be inserted into a tube inside these bullets. When the bullet hit its target the heat produced from the kinetic energy coming to a stop would ignite the explosive powder.
The Times of London, at the time reported on a demonstration at a horse slaughterhouse of these being tested and demonstrated on a beast that had “been condemned as irreclaimably vicious”. Long story short; when the horse was shot it pretty much blew out nearly all of its head and liquified its brain.
The witnesses were pretty impressed that this kind of damage could be done by something a man could carry in his pocket.
Russia actually adopted its use for a short time until the Saint Petersburg Declaration of 1868 — which succeeded the First Geneva Convention — renounced the use, in time of war, of small explosive projectiles in Russia and Europe. The United States declined to hamper themselves by any such agreement.
According to the publication, Album-Galand, Galand’s shop sold Purtuiset bullets in boxes of 25 for 32 francs for 4g and 8g, 22 francs for 10g and 22 francs for smaller sizes.
This publication also states that Galand made his own explosive bullets as well.
On August 17, 1886 Gregorio Saturnino Ortiz attempted to assassinate Máximo Santos, the president of Uruguay with one. You can click the thumbnail to see the full article. but the rough translation is as follows:
Pertuiset, the bullet that precipitated the fall of Máximo Santos
A famous photograph [detail] Maximum Santos after the attack.
Triumphant Revolution MILITARY ON Quebracho, Maximo Santos, despite its openness attempt with the Ministry of Reconciliation, began his political demise.
An attack that was subjected by Gregorio Saturnino Ortiz August 17, 1886 contributed to his departure from government and the country.
Ortiz shot him at point blank range with a revolver Lefaucheux system 12 mm Pertuisset loaded with explosive bullets.
They contain in their inner mercury fulminate, highly sensitive to percussion. A small spike acts by inertia when the bullet hit against the selected target, causing detonation fulminate and lead the projectile is opened. Projection of fragments forward causes tearing wounds, increasing the risk of infection.
The bullet entered his right cheek Santos and exploded in your mouth. The he wounded lost two teeth and suffered lacerations on his left cheek caused by fragments of explosive bullet out.
Ortiz – perhaps thinking he had killed Santos – fled down the street [for Ituzaingó] chased by police. As a last resort Ortiz fired a shot – the second day – without success to his pursuers.
He caught looking almost applied the revolver to his right temple and fired the third shot of the day. This time the result was final.
And a picture of Gregorio Saturnino Ortiz after he committed suicide with the explosive Pertuiset pinfire cartridge.No Comments »August 29, 2014
I was able to add some new Russian pinfire cartridges to my collection. These were excavated from the ground in Ukraine.
Information about these can be found on their Manufacturer’s Page
I also acquired some unknown cartridges that were excavated around Ukraine. I have no idea who made these.No Comments »June 28, 2014
I have finally updated the cartridges for sale section. There are three great new boxes. I removed the old ones that have been sold, and reduced the price on a few.
Check it out!No Comments »June 7, 2014
In this issue of my Pinfire Page in the IAA Journal I took look at some variations of auxiliary pinfire percussion adapters and a few reloadable pinfire cases. These first 2 were made for specific guns that could be easily modified to accept either cartridges or the adapters. You will notice on the 15mm pistol that a special piece fits in the slots to allow it to accept cartridges. The 15mm adapters are thought to have been made by Lepage Frères. In the middle is a 12mm adapter, followed by a 9mm adapter.
Here are 4 variations of 12mm adapters. These have a tapered “pin” to allow them to fit in an unmodified 12mm pinfire revolver. The screw on the bottom of the three, unscrews to allow cleaning by pushing something all the way through from the pin.
These next 4 are reloadable cases. They all are set up like the picture of the inside view. It allows one to easily stick any percussion cap inside and load with powder and a bullet. All of the examples on this page would be a great accessory to have when a supply of cartridges ran out.
1. Newcomer, Aaron. “The Pinfire Page.” International Ammunition Journal. 497 (2014): 52. Print.No Comments »April 29, 2014
This Delvigne Breech Loading Underhammer Deringer was Manufactured by Falisse & Trapmann in Liège, Belgium. It follows Delvigne’s French patent, 12683, which was issued on 22 January 1852. The patent image shows a percussion version, and this is the only pinfire version that has been discovered so far that I know of.No Comments »
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