Friday, January 09, 2015

Early metallic cartridges

were often two-piece construction: a solid base, with the rest of the body made of thin sheet brass wrapped around a mandrel, then the seam soldered closed and this trimmed and soldered to the base(sometimes brass, sometimes cast iron).  For instance,

this is an early .577/.450 cartridge for the Martini-Henry rifle.  You can see the wrinkles in the sheet-brass body from the forming process; ugly, but it worked.

Which gave rise to a common problem, primarily when a lot of shots had to be fired in short order: the barrel, especially in the chamber area, would get hot.  Really hot.  Enough so that, if you didn't space your shots enough, it could cause the solder to soften, which meant next time you worked the action the extractor could rip the base off.  This is Bad, as you couldn't load until you managed to dig the body of the case out of the chamber.

When they figured out how to economically and cost-effectively form cases from solid brass(and later from steel) it ended the problem.

And yes, that's a paper-patched bullet.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Didn't really "end the problem" when one piece brass cases came out, but it helped a great deal. Brass still stuck, moreso in Gatling and Maxim guns though when the chambers got hot. The British in Africa used to grease the cartridges in pigfat to keep them from sticking. (not because they were shooting Muslims).