37-85 Hotchkiss


#1

Now that the cold, dark AZ nights are upon us, it’s time to look for indoor projects.

I know that there are 2 or 3 of you out there who can answer my questions, so here goes.

I want to restore a 37-85 (37x93R) Hotchkiss projectile. At least I think it’s a Hotchkiss. I can post photographs if you need them but it’s really pretty ordinary looking.

Brass case - HS= 37-85 P.D.P.s 298 1.18 ord bomb

Projectile is steel with 2 copper rotating bands, slight “dome” on base.

Brass fuze marked L72 18 anchor

I’m pretty sure it’s French. What gun? And what for?

What color should projectile be painted. I’d like a bright color if that would be appropriate.

Nose of fuse is simply a round hole, 3/8" x .900" +/- with a small vent at the end. What goes into this hole? Anybody have a photo of what it should look like?

I have a lathe and can make any parts that are missing.

TIA

Ray


#2

Ray, check this link histavia21.net/Old-Munavia-2 … v37Fr1.htm
Its in French and gives you lots of information about Hotchkiss types. I don’t think the shells were painted, so better not make it pink :).

Rien


#3

Ray: If you get carried away with authenticity there’s a thin lead washer between the fuze holder and the body of the shell you can make and install. JG


#4

Thanks guys. Keep the info coming.

I wasn’t going to paint it pink (maybe) but I seem to remember that some were painted in bright colors like yellow? There are a lot of little “speckles” of something on the projectile that look like white or silver paint. I don’t know if they’re original or not.

I noticed that the fuse doesn’t quite match up with the projectile body so now I know why - a lead washer. And if I’m anything, I’m authentic, so it will have one when I’m done.


#5

BTT

Thanks to Rien’s link I’ve managed to learn a lot more about 37mm Hotchkiss cartridges that I even knew existed. It took a lot of jumping back and forth between the French site and Bablefish but all the information is certainly there if you’re interested.

Rein was correct. That particular projectile is non peint (not painted).

I also found a drawing of the Fusee showing the internal construction. The only thing I haven’t learned is the material the fuze is made from. If anybody knows that I’d like to hear from them.

A BIG thanks Rein. :) :)

Ain’t the Internet wonderful? 5 years ago I would not have had the slightest idea how to rebuild that projectile.

Ray


#6

The guy to talk to about 37mm’s is Robert Mellichamp, here in Houston. He’s an IAA member (I think) but I don’t have an email address for him…if pressed I could probably come up with one. He’s forgotten more about 37mm’s than most of us will ever know in our lifetimes…he’s been working on a book for all the years I’ve known him (nearly thirty) and last I knew it was up to 9 volumes!!!

Anyway, look him up in the IAA member list first, otherwise shoot me a PM and I can pass you what contact info I have.


#7

My pleasure Ray, but the ones you realy have to thank are the builders of this great website. They are doing a wonderful job.

Rien


#8

cyber

Thanks for that lead. His e-mail address is in the directory and I’ll contact him.

Rien

Thanks again and yes, that is a great site.

All

Maybe you got the impression that the French site is only about the 37mm Hotchkiss. But it’s not. It is certainly worth bookmarking. Here’s a link to the home page.

histavia21.net/index.htm

Ray


#9

Hi Ray!

your fuse is made of brass.

Cheers

Philippe


#10

Philippe,

The nose cap is made of brass and I have it. The plug, firing pin, and percussion primer are missing and those are the parts I was asking about. I’ve heard that the plug may have been made of wood. Some of the drawings on the Web Site illustrate what looks like wood. The part of the plug that shows is painted red so I’d need somebody who has taken one apart to know what is under the paint.

Thanks for your post.

Ray


#11

Could this be of interest for you ?
JP


#12

JP

The bottom one is it. I have a similar drawing . It is labeled “Fusee perculante Demarest” which I think means Demarest percussion fuse?

The plug has the firing pin screwed into it. The primer is in the very bottom. On my drawing the plug shows a “grain” as though it is made out of wood and one other artillery collector told me that he thinks it is wood. The four little pins coming in from each side are shear pins. When the projectile hits the target these pins are sheared which allows the plug to collapse, the pin striking the primer. A very simple arrangement.

Here’s another drawing of it, on the left.

Thanks JP.

Ray


#13

[quote=“Ray Meketa”]JP

The bottom one is it. I have a similar drawing . It is labeled “Fusee perculante Demarest” which I think means Demarest percussion fuse?

[/quote]
Ray
when you have drawings like that, give also the number.
It is easier to sort by number than by name.
JP


#14

Ray, the plug IS wood and the firing pin is a cut and sharpened wood screw. the filler on top is magnesia putty (hope it is the right term).
The shear wires I do not remember, I think they were copper or brass.


#15

EOD

Thanks for that information. That pretty well tells me most of what I need to know to restore the projectile.

The shear pins were brass. They are very small diameter, about the size of a sewing needle. The broken half of one of them was still in place in the nose cap.

While that fuze was simple it was actually too simple because it had no safety features built into it. It could explode from being dropped or in the barrel from the shock of firing. Not much fun for the poor Gunner.

JP

I’m not sure what you mean by numbers? That drawing is from the French Web Site that Rein linked me to.

Ray


#16

[quote=“Ray Meketa”]EOD

Thanks for that information. That pretty well tells me most of what I need to know to restore the projectile.

The shear pins were brass. They are very small diameter, about the size of a sewing needle. The broken half of one of them was still in place in the nose cap.

While that fuze was simple it was actually too simple because it had no safety features built into it. It could explode from being dropped or in the barrel from the shock of firing. Not much fun for the poor Gunner.

JP

I’m not sure what you mean by numbers? That drawing is from the French Web Site that Rein linked me to.

Ray[/quote]

J-P means the drawing numbers given by SFM.


#17

Thanks to everyone who helped with information. I’m still waiting for more tips from a couple of collectors but I think I have a good idea of what the cartridge should look like.

With the bad weather over the weekend, and being cooped up indoors, I got most of the restoration done. Maybe a few details will be changed later, but here is what it looks like now. As the copper and brass ages it will look even better, I’m sure.

Ray


#18

Looks like you did a nice job. How did you crimp the case onto the projectile? I would like to know how to do that to restore some of my 20mm+ items. I also learned from this thread why the fuses on all the inert 37mm Hotchkiss rounds I have seen do not match to projectile, as the lead washer has been missing. Before this I didn’t know about the lead washer.


#19

Falcon

You’ve been gone a while. School must be taking priority over cartridge collecting. That’s the way it should be.

I have a lathe so I make a sizing bushing to resize the neck area of the case back to its original size. I don’t try to resize the entire case, just the neck. I have made bushings as large as 3". It makes all the difference to have the projectile a snug fit. The bushing has to be matched to the case since all cases are not the same. The bushing I used for a US Navy 1pdr would not work for the Hotchkiss. If you know someone with a lathe he should be able to make a bushing for you. Brass works fine and does not scratch the case. I suppose they could even be made from plastic or hard wood since they are only used once.

Yes, that lead washer was the missing piece that had me puzzled. Some of the photos on the link that Rein provided showed a cartridge with both a copper and lead washer. I don’t know if that is original or not. I’d like to find an original cartridge to see exactly how they were assembled.

Ray


#20

I have left school and am doing a course in engineering at college, if I saw a drawing I may well be able to turn the bushing myself.