Ballistite use in Shotshells


#1

When did they stop using Ballistite in Shotshells? Does anyone have pictures of the powder or was it made in different styles like Nitro?

Michael


#2

glassparman:

BALLISTITE WAS A DOUBLE-BASED POWDER INVENTED IN EUROPE CIRCA 1896 BY ALFRED NOBEL. IMPORTS OF THE POWDER TO THE UNITED STATES CEASED PRIOR TO 1965. DUPONT MANUFACTURED THE POWDER IN THIS COUNTRY FROM CIRCA 1908-1926. THE POWDER APPEARS AS SMALL SQUARE SHINNY FLAKES. IF YOUR FRIEND G.M. IS AT ST. LOUIS IN APRIL I’LL SEND A SAMPLE OF THE POWDER HOME WITH HIM. THE ACTUAL DESIGNATION OF THE POWDER DISCONTINUED PRIOR TO 1965 WAS, “BALLISTITE-M.” SEVERAL EUROPEAN POWDERS, TROISDORF AS AN EXAMPLE, ARE REALLY BALLISTITE. NOBEL HAD A POWDER FACTORY IN GERMANY AT TROISDORF AND THE POWDER PRODUCED THERE WAS BRANDED TROISDORF. I SHOULD ALSO POINT OUT THAT ALTHOUGH BALLISTITE, IN SOME FORM, WAS BEING IMPORTED TO THE UNITED STATES AFTER 1926, I DON’T KNOW IF AMERICAN SHOTSHELL COMPANIES WERE STILL USING IT TO LOAD FACTORY PRODUCED SHELLS.


#3

Thanks for the great info. Actually, my oldest son and I are talking “road trip” so we just might make it to SLICS this year. I have been threatening my wife for two years that I would go and just last week she said “It sounds like a good father-son road trip”. Yahoo! She said it first so its on now!!!

My powder collection in test tubes is growing rapidly. I have some that I can’t identify but most are labeled. I’m thinking about creating an identification page on the web for powder. Maybe IAA could move it here once they see it and like it.

Michael


#4

glassparman:

THE ST. LOUIS CARTRIDGE SHOW IS THE BEST AND OF COURSE THE LARGEST OF THE VARIOUS SHOWS AROUND THE COUNTRY. THAT BY NO MEANS IS AN INDICATION THAT THE OTHERS ARE NOT WORTHWHILE BECAUSE THEY ARE. I’LL BE THERE, IF G.M. IS THERE HE CAN POINT ME OUT TO YOU, IF HE’S NOT, JUST ASK VIC ENGEL (HE RUNS THE SHOW) TO POINT ME OUT. FEEL FREE TO BRING YOUR UNIDENTIFIED POWDER SAMPLES WITH YOU AND PERHAPS I CAN ASSIST IN THEIR IDENTIFICATION (IF THEY ARE EASY) MORE OFTEN THAN NOT UNIDENTIFIED POWDER REMAINS JUST THAT AS SO MUCH OF IT LOOKS ALIKE AND ONLY A TRAINED CHEMIST COULD POSSIBLY BE ABLE TO TELL YOU WHAT YOU HAVE. I MYSELF HAVE THIS SAMPLE THAT IS DARK BLACK STAR SHAPED FLAKES THAT I HAVE BEEN UNABLE TO IDENTIFY FOR YEARS. IF IT WEREN’T FOR THE UNUSUAL SHAPE OF THE FLAKES I WOULD HAVE TRASHED IT YEARS AGO.

SEE YOU IN ST. LOUIS IN APRIL!!


#5

I guess I’m not the only one that keeps powder samples, although mine are limited to cartridges that I collect. I find them useful in identifying old cartridges and in spotting fakes. Most fakes will often have the correct case, primer, and bullet but the fakers are either unaware of, or ignore, the correct powder.

Ray


#6

Hey Ray! Yep, I think they are cool looking and just as much a part of the history as the case!

Michael


#7

George, from your description it seems that you have a sample of “Du Pont Dense” smokeless powder. This, coincidentally, was also a Ballistite type powder that this company made for export. Regards, Fede.


#8

Fede:

YOU ARE A WONDER!! THE POWDER YOU DEPICT IS EXACTLY WHAT I HAVE AS UNIDENTIFIED - THANK YOU FOR COMING UP WITH THE IDENTIFICATION. I AND 1 OTHER COLLECTOR ARE HAPPY YOU HAVE SOLVED THE MYSTERY.


#9

Nobel was still making “Ballistite” in the 1960s for the Australian and British Markets ( I still have a part Can of it); it was excellent for use in .310 Cadet and other small capacity rifle cartridges, especially with Cast lead Bullets.

AS an Aside, Italy made Ballistite under Licence at the Avigliana Powder Plant ( near Turin, NW Italy) for use in the M1891 Rifle Cartridge (“Carcano”), but its erosive qualities due to the double base nature and the Licence Fee to Nobel caused the Italian Artillery Service to develop a New Powder, Solenite ( a Chopped Macaroni Tube form Single Base Powder, uncoated) which was gradually introduced into the 6,5 Cartridge from the early 1900s until full replacement before 1910. Ballistite was still used for some Blanks, and special Reduced charge Loads, as well as the Factory Proofing Loads.

The Avigliana Plant was originally owned and established by Nobel, but sometime in the 1890s, Control changed. Nobel did continue Manufacture of Other (Commercial) Explosives in Italy.

Doc AV


#10

Michael,

Found some more bits of info on Ballistite for you from a 1932 Eley Catalogue that I have, plus some pictures of cartridge head stamps that may be of interest and some cutaway cartridges. Also added a few pictures of a tin I have.
I know it was used in cartridges in the UK till into the sixty’s for sure (as that is the date that I stop collecting from I am not 100% sure thereafter). The Head Stamps with the Eley Shield on are the oldest there.

I know I have pictures of the grain structure somewhere but can’t seem to lay my hand on it at the moment, let me know if you want me to dig further for you.

I hope they are of some interest/use.

Mike.


#11

An 8" tall, 6 1/4"wide and 4" deep can of deep yellow and black color in our last sale - lot 793, slightly different than Mike shows, but appears close to the catalog illustration.
Won for 170.00.


#12

Well spotted Pete, I was that busy looking for the powder pictures I missed the obvious.

Your picture of the tin has the 30’s screw top, where are mine is from a slightly earlier 1900’s tin with the slide top (see picture).

At that time the US agent was a J. H. Lau & Co. of 75 Chambers Street, New York.

For reference the picture is of a 1lb tin so it would have filled circa 86 normal load cartridges (i.e. 3 dr of black powder this being the basic standard load for that period).

Mike.


#13

Hi Mike,

Pictures of such headstamps are always good to see.

regards rené


#14

This article was published by du Pont in 1927:


#15

I, too, keep powder samples. I have proposed creating a new collectors category for powder and containers, but haven’t heard anything back regarding in. I’d be glad to correspond. theron_1@charter.net