An interesting one - How many original cartridges?

nun_hunter

Well-Known Member
After a lot of reading about ballistics and different ammunition before settling on the rifles I chose I got to thinking "how many original cartridges are there?" as it appeared that a great many popular chamberings started off as something else.

Not having the massive knowledge of some of the guys on here I tried looking but was proving too complicated so thought it'd be interesting to ask.

What I was after was the number of completely original cartridges not ones that were necked down (or up) versions or ones in existance, ie not a .243 Win as it is derived from a .308 Win or most of the magnum chamberings being necked down.
 

MARCBO

Account Suspended
You will have a pretty good idea if you limit your research to those introduced before 1900.

SS
 

Dalua

Well-Known Member
May I add .250-300 Savage, .280 Ross and .375H&H belted rimless to the 20th Century list?
 

Southern

Well-Known Member
Between the Mexican War and the War Between the States in the USA, there were cartridges developed for pistols, then rifles. The first ones used a "pin fire" mechanism to ingnite the black powder inside a brass case. Rifles and shotguns had made the transition from flintlock to percussion cap, so the next step was to put the percussion cap in the base of the brass case and strike it with a firing pin. So during the war, 1860 to 1865, there was a mix of muzzle loaders, cap-and-ball revolvers by Colt, and cartridge repeating rifles like the Spencer.

The .22 Rimfire had been invented in France in 1845, and there were soon after .32 and other calibers. In 1886, Winchester brought out a good, lever action rifle which used a tube magazine holding a .44 caliber rimfire cartridge. At the same time, Remington brought out their No. 1 Rolling Block Rifle in several rimfires, and sold them to European armies.

The 1873 Winchester used the perfected primer-fired brass cartridge, in a .44-40. Colt chambered their 1873 Single Action "Peacemaker" in the same cartridge, a real boon to sales, especially in the West, for a man on a horse. Remington brought out their No.1 Rolling Block in 1873 for the rimmed .45-70, which was adopted by the U.S. Army. Sharps brought out a strong rifle to fire larger cartridges modeled on the .45-70.

The French and Swiss were perfecting bolt action rifles and cartridges in the 1870s. John Browning had perfected his 1885 Single Shot, a very strong action, and licensed it to Winchester, and began work on a repeating version of it, a lever action, the 1886, to fire the .45-70.

These first European cartridges were rimmed, like the Mannlichers, the 6.5 Krag, Lebel, and .303 Enfield. By the late 1880s, Enfield, DuPont, and others had developed smokesless cordite sticks, then chopped into small sticks (still called "powder"). The Germans developed a flake smokeless powder, which had very uniform burning characteristics, and could be coated to control combustion. So .303 Enfield switched to those, and the .30-30 Winchester was released in smokeless powder. The US Army adopted the Krag rifle in smokeless .30-40. The Germans designed the 1888 Commission Rifle to use Mauser's rimless 8x57mm cartridge.

Mauser produced a much stronger rifle, the 1893 bolt action, which could handle this 8x57I (.318 bore) cartridge, and a smaller 7x57mm for it. The Swedish came to them for a 6.5x55mm rifle with more power than the one they were sharing with the Norwegians, and Mauser produced it in the 1893 and 1894 while designing the 1896 Mauser for Sweden and building a factory for them in Sweden. In 1898, Mauser perfected a better action with more strength, better gas porting, better lugs, trigger, everything, and deepened the 8x57 rifling to .323. These three cartridges, the 7x57, 8x57 and 6.5x55, were the basis of all since. A great many cartridges use the .473 inch case head of the 8x57 Mauser. The US War Department even had to pay Mauser royalties for using patented features of the 98 Mauser action and the 8x57IS cartridge in their .30-03 and 1903 rifle, and the later .30-06, during World War I.

The .308 is just a shortened .30-06, same head, same bullets, higher pressures.

There are variations of the bottleneck rimless cartridge, such as the .375 H&H belted magnum, from which we get the other belted magnums like the .300 H&H, .338 Win Mag, .300 WM, 7mm Rem Mag, etc.

There are the long tapered cases like the .404 Jeffery, from which the Dakota cartridges and many others are formed.

There are the Weatherby magnums, which were developed after a lot of experimentation, to have "blown out" shoulders like the Ackley variations of Mauser-sized cartridges.

There are the short magnums, which go back to Charles Newton's .30 Newton and his others, developed in the 1920s.

The only real innovation is the caseless cartridge, where a solid block of fuel is glued to the base of a bullet and totally consumed. Less weight, no ejection port, soldier can carry more ammo. Heckler & Koch did a lot of work on these.
 
Last edited:

Klenchblaize

Well-Known Member
After a lot of reading about ballistics and different ammunition before settling on the rifles I chose I got to thinking "how many original cartridges are there?" as it appeared that a great many popular chamberings started off as something else.

Not having the massive knowledge of some of the guys on here I tried looking but was proving too complicated so thought it'd be interesting to ask.

What I was after was the number of completely original cartridges not ones that were necked down (or up) versions or ones in existance, ie not a .243 Win as it is derived from a .308 Win or most of the magnum chamberings being necked down.
Given you're clearly of an enquiring mind I'm pretty sure this will be of interest:

http://rifleman.org.uk/MINIATURE_RIFLES.htm

Cheers

K
 

Yorric

Well-Known Member
.577 Snider - developed in 1867 was probably one of the first ones made of brass in British use. (previously was made of paper walled & brass based style - like a shotgun cartridge) Preceeds the 577/450 Martini Henry.

Ian
 

Top