15.43 von Dreyse


I picked up in a recent auction several of the paper wads or cylinders that hold the bullet and priming compound in place inside the 15.43 Dreyse Prussian needle cartridge. I have included pictures, including one of the complete cartridge and a loose bullet, and two variations of the wads with a second slightly different bullet. These wads appear to be constructed very much like the rolled paper in the head of a paper-hulled shotgun shell. I assume these wads are original rather than repros.


Guy - nice photos. I need an illustration of the Dreyse for my book, if you don’t mind? Also, can you post weights & measurements?

Cheers - Dan


Feel free to use the pictures. I’ll try to remember to get the weights this evening.


The complete von Dreyse needle cartridge in the picture weighs 471 grains; dimensions are 2.267" overall, .643" at the base, and .660" just below where the paper starts its bend to cover the bullet. The light gray bullet weighs 488 grains, and is 1.086" long and has a diameter of .545 at its widest point. The dark bullet shown in the picture above was not available to weigh and get measurements from. I was surprised that the loose bullet weighed more than the complete cartridge. Seating the loose bullet in any of the cylindrical wads and comparing it with the complete cartridge, it appears that that the cartridge would be about 3/32" longer if it were loaded with the loose bullet. Does anyone have any of these loose bullets that they can weigh and measure to provide some idea of the variety of bullets that can be found in these cartridge? The three cylindrical wads varried in diameter from .627" to .665", and in length, .790" to .911". Weights were 25.5 grains for the light colored one, and 53.0 and 58.9 grains for the other two.