Danish, Dutch, American, French & Italian MILITARY Pinfires

Here are some 12mm pinfire cartridges that were made by arsenals or specifically for an arsenal.

[color=red]You can click any picture for one twice as large.[/color]

First up are ones made at Københavns Tøjhus. In English this would be “Copenhagen Arsenal.” These were made for their pinfire revolvers that they named as Danish M/1861, M/1865 and M/1871 revolvers.

The headstamp, KT, is for Københavns Tøjhus.

This is the unheadstamped variation of the previous cartridge.

This next one is also attributed as being from the Danish arsenal, but I have absolutely no documentation about this, so who knows.

This next one is attributed as being made at the Armamentarium (“arsenal”) in Delft, Netherlands. I would love any documentation or info on this. It is a shot load.

Up next are French ones. I have a lot of other ones that I suspect were military but I have no way of knowing for sure.

This first one was made for the French Navy by SFM.

The next two were earlier ones by Gevelot. I have no specifics on who exactly they were made for.

Here are some Italian ones.

These first two are made by Arsenale Pirotecnico Di Capua.

The next two are made by Laboratorio Pirotecnico Di Torino.

Any more info on any of these?

And last, but certainly not least, ones made for the Frankford Arsenal during the American Civil War. I have talked about some of these before, and go into much more detail on my article on my website here, but here is an overview again with some new pictures.

In the late 1850s the Frankford Arsenal tested a lot of weapons systems including pinfire revolvers. In September of 1861 they bought 10,000 Lefaucheux model 1854 revolvers from Eugene Lefaucheux’s company. They also purchased 200,000 cartridges. After using these they noticed that sometimes the thin copper case on the cartridges would blow out on the base when detonating. This would sometimes cause issues with the revolvers cycling. The soldier would then have an extra step removing that cartridge before the gun was once again usable. Other than this the revolver got pretty favorable reviews. But the Arsenal strove for perfection so at the beginning of January 1862 Lieutenant Treadwell of the Frankford Arsenal met with Christian Sharps to talk about fixing this blowout problem and manufacturing pinfire cartridges to a more powerful specification.

Christian Sharps came up with the idea to make the base thicker. and the case a little longer so it would hold more power. It was actually a pretty great idea, but Sharps had a problem of overengineering things. His design can be seen below in the sectioned image. He made the copper case thicker at the bottom with a hole though it for the pin and a spot for the primer. Since this was all built as part of the actual case it was complicated to produce.

The issues of the complicated case, as well as other bureaucratic issues such as Philadelphia’s laws on limited amount of powder he could have on his premises caused him to not meet the demands of the Frankford Arsenal. Lieutenant Treadwell then asked his superior, Captain Crispin, who in turned received permission from General Ripley to acquire some of these pinfire cartridges from different manufacturers.

C.D. Leet was the first to answer the call. They manufactured their cartridge to the same specifications as Christian Sharps had laid out, except for one detail; they made it simpler. Rather than the complicated case they manufactured a separate piece of lead with the holes needed for the pin and cap, and simply dropped it down into the copper case.

Allen & Wheelock did the same.

As usual - an inspiration to us all to offer more informative posts, and with best photos possible. Thanks Aaron


Excellent work!!!

Great information and superb photography here on the forum and on your website.

Even if you do not collect pinfires you should still visit Aaron’s website just for the great photographic images let alone the information presented there.


Great work… again.

Thanks to Aaron’s obsession with all things pinfire, they are starting to seem almost respectable, maybe even an attractive collecting specialty, where once they were mostly ignored.

By all means, visit Aaron’s great site. And, he is the webmaster for the IAA site as well. We are lucky to have such a talented person doing this.

Great work
this is the original box for six rounds from Pirotecnico di Torino


Think I will stop posting pictures here in the forum. :-)
I am still in the last century with my photographic knowledge.



Welcome to the forum! That is a great box. Is there anything on the front?

There is a collector that lives near me who has the box for the similar cartridge by Arsenale Pirotecnico Di Capua. I will post it as soon as I am able to get a picture of it.

unfortunately no!

The Dutch shot load pinfire was being used by Dutch Customs officials at the borders. These officials were called ‘grenscommiezen’ (= border servants).
There is also a shot load cartridge with a copper case and no ‘bottle neck’.
This round is shown in a picture of a bullet board made by the Dutch Artillerie Inrichtingen, dated around 1920. The bullet board is now in the collection of the digital Dutch Police Museum.

Also a pinfire round with a lead bullet excists in three variants: 1. copper case, no headstamp, no bottle neck, 2. copper case with faint ‘H’ headstamp (Hirtenberger), 3. brass case, no headstamp. The latter two have the strange bottle neck case.

No documentation has yet been found about this extremely rare cartridges.
As far as I know these are the only pinfire rounds ever been adopted by a Dutch goverment agency.

I guess that the ‘o’ in the bottom of this round means ‘onschadelijk’ (=inert).

That is some great information! Any pictures of that board or measurements of that or any of the other cartridges? Any documentation on that info?

Please try this link: collectie.politiemuseum.nl/photo … axphotos=1


  • go to politiemuseum.nl ;
  • type ‘munition’ in the search box (‘zoeken’);
  • checkmark ‘in the collectie’;
  • Enter.

You’ll find some Dutch police ammo related object, including a picture of the bullet board with the Dutch pinfires.


This took me awhile to figure out. I actually had to search for “munitie” not “munition.”

Here is a direct link for anyone else who is interested:
collectie.politiemuseum.nl/dispa … iref=55416

And here is the image:

Today I acquired another great cartridge. This is the super-rare carbine length version made by the same Danish arsenal, Københavns Tøjhus, as shown in the first post in this topic.

Aaron, very nice round, thanks for sharing.

The shot loading attributed to Delf is very similar to this unknown round found in Argentina which is certainly not a Dutch military load. Do you know its dimensions?


[quote=“Fede”]Aaron, very nice round, thanks for sharing.

The shot loading attributed to Delf is very similar to this unknown round found in Argentina which is certainly not a Dutch military load. Do you know its dimensions?



Here are some that are pretty similar. The one you have I believe is the same as this one on the left. Then comes the Dutch one, early Gevelot one, SFM one, and Marcel Gaupillat one.

I have no idea who made the first one and yours.

Aaron, thanks a lot for the picture. Yes, it looks the same as the one on the left, including having a beveled mouth.