2 Pdr 1".65 Mountain Rifle question


I have had the FA 1903 headstamped case for many years.
I picked up the Frankford Arsenal headstamped case today.
This is a non magnetic 2 or 3 piece case. Case is tinned?
As far as the projectile, what do I have?
Appears to be correct except for paint.
Can our forum experts tell me more about this case and projectile.
Thank you in advance.
Bob R


Some information:



General description of the multi piece built up cartridge cases from Hotchkiss 1889 catalog:

Bob’s cartridge case head picture from above, the blue arrows point to the 3 rivets holding the head on the case:


Fuze, Chief of Ordnance Report, Appendix 38, 1895:



Great information.
What was the time frame for this case materiel?
I do not recall seeing tinned(?) cases for any artillery shells from late 1800s to early 1900s.
45-70s were tinned in the 1890s.
Nor do I recall seeing a on a Frankford Arsenal headstamp like this one.
Bob R


I have seen a number of these cartridges, both drawn and “made up case” types with Frankford Arsenal headstamps as shown.
Reportedly, a lot of these came off Bannerman’s Island in the late 1950s when Val Forgett cleaned all the live ordnance up prior to sale of the island. I believe that Fred Burt had a case of these at SLICS last year.

A friend who owns one of the cannons stated both his gun and a large supply of ammo came from Bannerman, and the cartridges shoot quite reliably! He had a bunch, including the nose fuzed HE as shown here, common (based fuzed HE) and canister rounds. (HE projectiles had been unloaded)



It’s worth mentioning that this cartridge is either designated 2 Pounder, 1.65 Inch, or 42 mm, and that its case length may vary between 150 and 154 mm. Also, it was used with three different type of primers: friction primer (early primerless case with vent hole, see drawing below), short percussion primer (battery cup), and 20 grain percussion primer (with flash tube).

The substitution of the friction primer mechanism for the one using cases with percussion primer was recommended during 1895.

Frankford Arsenal completed the manufacture of the first lot of cartridges between 1893 and 1894. These have Hotchkiss patent tinned cases and percussion primers.

FA draw stages:

FA cartridges (case, canister, explosive shell [old model], explosive shell [new model], sectioned case):

Reloading tools:

The first gun in this caliber was procured in 1877 and later purchases were issued by the Army in 1878, but they were not recommended for adoption until 1881. By 1908, they were considered obsolete and/or unserviceable and disposed for sale.

John, you are right about Bannerman, he offered both army and navy guns and its cartridges in several of his catalogs. Below you can see scans from the 1927 and 1945 catalogs, respectively.




Is Bob’s 1903 dated case made for use with the friction primer?


The original case shown uses a percussion primer in the case. The friction primer cases held the friction primer in the breech block with the flash hole lined up with the center of the case. The base of the case had a small hole (approx 1/8") in the center which I think had some sort of paper or cloth covering on the inside of the case. When the friction primer fired, the flash passed through the hole in the breechblock, and into the case through the hole in the base to ignite the powder charge.


Thanks for the reply.

Should the hole in the centre of the head of Bob’s 1903 case have a primer cap present?


Falcon- I believe the primer has been removed in that one, either by drilling or replacing the primer with a bushing drilled out, probably for use as a lamp. The second case (with the arrows added) clearly shows the primer. I should have noted that as the second, not the first one shown.


Thanks for the reply John. That would make sense. I have removed various added parts from cases in my time collecting.