I recently bought a .30 cupfire unmentionable which has provoked me to become even more interested in the cartridges for it.

My question is what variations of cupfire ammo are there?
I currently have a:
.28 with no hs
.30 with no hs
.30 with raised P hs
.42 with no hs

I am pretty sure that people collect these based on obviously different HSs, but also different depths of the dish in the base, as well as different locations of the case crimp.

I know these were made by Phoenix, American, Fitch, Van Vechten. Who else is known to have made them? I have seen cartridges boxes that say made by Plants Manufacturing Co. Did they actually make cartridges or contract them out? I know they made the unmentionables but am not sure if they actually made the cartridges or not.

I know there is a .30 cupfire with a raised A which I do not have, are there any other headstamps for any of these sizes other than the A and the P that I have?


Aaron–First of all the “Unmentionable” is not necessary. A gun may be mentioned as long as it is connected to the discussion of the cartridge used in it. It is when only the gun is discussed with no connection to the cartridge that it is unacceptable.

Now, for the variations of the Cup Fire cartridges. There are several you have not mentioned.

.28 Cup-Fire (Round Cup)
.30 Cup-Fire (NHS) (Flange)
.30 Cup-Fire (Rs. P) (Flange)
.30 Cup-Fire (NHS) (No Flange)
.30 Cup-Fire (Rs. A) (No Flange)
.42 Cup-Fire (Deep Cann.)(Pointed Bullet)
.42 Cup-Fire (Round Ball)

The Flange or No Flange refers to the mouth of the cartridge. The first guns needed a small flange to position the cartridge correctly in the cylinder. Later the guns were modified so no flange was needed. So, you have cartridges that have a slight flaring of the mouth and those that are perfectly straight with no flare.

There is also another cartridge often miss-identified as a Cup Fire. It is the Moffat’s Side Fire. It looks a lot like a .28 Cup Fire. See page 52 in Suydam’s book “U.S. Cartridges and their Handguns”