Bullets for conical barrels

I have a uncompleted copy of a German patent from 1903 about
bullets for guns with heavy conical barrels. Does anyone have complete copy
of this patent?
I wondering which calibre is Fig 2. Could it be an 7,92/5mm???


Conical or oval profile bullets were tried by the British but the rotational imbalance destroyed fine accuracy. OK for good enough but they never caught the mood and were left behind in the muzzle loading era when the hexagonal Whitworth bullet had a degree of sucess. By the time of cartridge rounds they were going nowhere because of the need for round bullets.
As a rifling form it could have had some sucess but it never caught on. Rather a shame because it had some potential. Later resurected in 9mm pistols with hex barrels it still has merit

I’m a little confused. I’ve not heard of the term “conical barrel.” Seems what is meant is bullets which somehow have an elliptical (oval) cross-section, rather than circular, fired from a barrel with a twisted ovoid bore. Is that more or less correct?

I’d think it would not be a good idea for obvious reasons to use bullets originally manufactured with an oval cross-section, but rather to start out with circular bullets and let them be formed during their passage down the bore.

I think what this patent covers is a taper-bore barrel of the type associated with the Gerlich designs. Note that the bullets seem to have driving bands, and there’s no indication they aren’t circular in cross-section. Jack

Lancaster produced an oval bore rifle and it was trialed with the Enfield Musket and various big bore guns. Initially a great sucess it never came to service. I think he persisted with his private sales for some time before the idea faded. Whitworth stole the glory with his hex barrels but again it died with the muzzle loaders.
There was some talk of an experimental oval bored .303 I believe. I’ve never seen one or heard of one, maybe TonyE can expand. Thats not to be confused with the 2 groove rifling on the .303 which is quite common. I know they existed in a few sub calibre rifles of the Morris type. These do turn up from time to time but they are rare and sought after.

Makes sense that a tapered bore could be called a conical bore. I had just never heard of a conical barrel, but I did know about the Gerlich (Halger) barrel.

There are several patents assigned to Carl Puff starting in 1903 and the one you describe is believed to be for a 9-7,9 mm cartridge. Different cases and final caliber combinations were tried.


The projectile on the left is believed to be designed by Waldemar BORN (US patent 2,288,604 in 1942) but pre-dating the war. It is 37mm (1.45") long. At it’s widest it is 11.97 mm (0.47"). The emergent caliber is 8.3mm (0.32"). At the base is a steel core surrounded by a lead sheath.

For comparison is the the 15/11mm Janecek and the .60/.45" British for the modified Boys case.

Edited for attribution/patent number.


Wow, Paul, I’ve never seen live projectiles of that particular type. Very interesting for me, thank you for posting!


What Jack already mention these bullets are for tapered barrels.

I have in my collection a bullet that have the same design as the bullet on the
left. (7,92/5mm)

The story goes that the bullet came from the Gerlich collection but I have no proof.
When the description from the patent have some measurements from the bullets 2-9 you would
know or these where small or big calibres.


Wonderful round! Headstamp?

Over the last few days I have been going through some old issues of The Gun Report. When I read this thread I recalled a “squeeze-bore” projectile mention in Frank Wheelers column, The Cartridge Collector, (January 1971) that had a picture of a sectioned 57/40mm projectile, Jones and Lamson, and a very poor picture of the gun that fired the round. I wish the pictures were of better quality as it looks like a facinating piece of artillery history. The brief letter to Mr Wheelers column was by Dorhman Bugbee and the photos attributed to Don Skodny. Anyone having a copy of this issue might want to dig it out.

The British took a very great deal of interest in conical or tapered barrels in the 1930s, to the extent that both Gerlich and Janecek came to the UK to demonstrate and develop their designs.

It was the British hope that the Boys rifle could be designed with a tapered barrel, probably something like 15/10mm calibre, but of course it was not to be. Gerlich type rounds were also made based on the .5 Vickers and .303 cases, and probably others.

Whereas the Gerlich used a tapered barrel, the Janecek used a tapered muzzle attachment and this design, in the form of the anglisized “Littlejohn” adaptor was used for the 2 pdr., 6 pdr. and 17 pdr. guns. It was also extensively trialled in 20mm Hispano.


Would it be possible to repost this patent? The download link seems to not work anymore.

Chris, PM sent.

The first page of this patent by Carl Puff is on page 15 of Manfred Stegmuller’s book, “Von Flanschengeschossen & Wolframkern”, I do not konw if there are more pages to it or not.