Crimean War Small Arms Ammunition

I have some bullets and primers in my collection which belongs to period of Crimean War (1853—1856).
Hope it will be interesting to somebody.
Regards, Mechanik



P.S.I’m not sure that all bullets was identified correctly ,and hope that my friends from Ukraine and Russia will help me and support this topic!


How did you get them (if it is not a secret)? When I was young I aspired to be an archeologist, so anything dug out of soil or sea is dear to my heart.

Mechanik: These are all very interesting. From my own perspective I suppose the “headstamped” British primers (percussion caps) are the most interesting. Who knew? Thanks! Jack

I share your views, Vladimir! For me, too, are more interesting relic items that they are an history. All of these bullets have been unearthed in the Crimea.


Very nice collection of old ammunition items, especially the musket caps. Thanks for sharing.

I have a question about the musket cap with the broad raised “X”. I always thought that was the Swiss Cross as seen as headstamps on rim fires and other Swiss government marked items. A symbol used much like the broad arrow on the English caps.

So please, why do you think it is Sardinian?


That is a very interesting post on these recovered bullets. I find it especially interesting to see two bullets with the government property broad arrow cast on the outer base of the lead bullet, I nave never heard of that before.


Mechanik, I know that you have many caps. You will exchange?
I think that the Ukrainian customs won’t have claims to caps

Pete: The flag of the Kingdom of Sardinia at the time of the Crimean War featured such a cross. Jack

Jack already answered.
I’ve also seen evidence of this on several Russian-language sites.

Thank you Mechanik & Jack. Just googled it, & see a flag.

I collect caps & wonder if Sardinian manufacture would the four Moors not also be on the cap.

There were over the years, some very fancy and very intricate caps manufactured.

However shows a flag very similar to the Swiss Cross but at a later date if I understand it correctly?

Still I wonder if Sardinia was manufacturing musket caps then. The Swiss were, as I have a 1848 dated packet with the same raised wide cross.

some quick photos (not to size but all large 4-wing musket caps) from my collection which I attribute to Swiss manufacture. But perhaps some of that attribution could be wrong?

top row impressed on left , circle around the large raised cross on the right.

bottom row on the left circle around the smaller raised cross & on right outlined raised & impressed cross.

So is there any record of Sardinia’s cap manufacture.

If it is possible could you please translate or link these specific mentions on the Russian-language sites.

Royalty isn’t my subject, but if you look up House of Savoy (the ruling dynasty in the Kingdom of Sardinia during the Crimean War) on the Wikipedia it says that house originated in Switzerland, of all places. I’d image they omitted the moors because there wasn’t much space on the top of the cap. It would likely take someone steeped in royalty and heraldry to state whether or not marking that cross on percussion caps made in (or for) Sardinia would be plausible. If Sardinia bought them from Switzerland it would really get to be a tricky matter. Jack

Mechanik, great post, thanks.

The only identified Sardinian military musket caps from this era should have a cross inside a ring.

Fede, I am sorry, but that’s not quite correct. A short while ago, I viewed a military magazine from Sardinia from the late 1850’s to about 1864 (there was a significant stack of them). In there they showed percussion caps with the crown mark (headstamp) that Mechanik showed, without the circle around the cross. I will attempt to get a copy. If so, I will put it on the forum. It will show this, OR it will show that I have a faulty memory and that you were indeed right. Either way, I will try to get a copy to post.


I’m not going to ask what those various letters of the alphabet signify in conjunction with the broad arrow on the British percussion caps pictured above, but I am going to ask what sort of information were they intended to convey. Are they makers’ initials? forming machine designators? contract identifiers? Surely someone knows. Jack

BO is Board of Ordnance
W is Woolwich
A is ???
J is Jamaica (they also loaded complete Pattern '53 cartridges)


Tony: Thanks much. Jack

Will, I’ve stated that the only identified Sardinian musket caps should have a cross inside a ring because they are certainly illustrated in Sardinian military manuals from the 1860’s. You could be right too, and maybe in that case there is no way to distinguish them from the Swiss made.

Tony, I thought that the identification of the letters was:

BO: Board of Ordnance
W: Richard Walker
A: Maybe early manufacture with “A” compression
J: Frederick Joyce

Am I wrong?

Hi Fede.
I suspect you may be right, but I’ll know for sure if I can get my hands on one of aforementioned magazines. The A is much too late to be a compressed priming composition since they only started using that about 1864, which was a decade after the Chrimean War. My Guess is that it was probably Charles Armstrong of Birmingham ca. 1854-1856 (who later became Pursall & Phillips ca. 1856-1860, who later became W.Pusall 1860-1861, then Pusall & Co ca. 1864, who later became Kynoch ca. 1864). I just can’t prove it yet. I didn’t do the research on Armstrong and any contracts he might have had to the Board of Ordnance at the time, but someone who did the research (Adrian Rhodes) didn’t find any contracts for Armstrong. The only other possibility might be John Abraham who supplied Percussion Cap Machinery during this period. I have not been able to find any other cap makers during this period with a first name starting with an A who would have had the capacity and resources to make these in the quanities required.
Armstrong may have been in business making caps earlier, but I have not been able to find any references prior to 1854, or when in 1854.


Tony, Fede, Will: Thanks to all of you. Even if there are questions about the exact identifications your thoughts and efforts are appreciated. Jack