Explosive Pinfire Cartridges

Here are some pinfire cartridges with explosive bullets. The two on the right are definitively made using Eugene Pertuiset’s patented formula by SFM. The rest are also thought to be, but I am not positive. They could use some other explosive formula.

In the late 1860s a Frenchman names Eugene Pertuiset developed an special fulminate that would be inserted into a tube inside these bullets. When the bullet hit its target the heat produced from the kinetic energy coming to a stop would ignite the explosive powder.

The Times of London, at the time reported on a demonstration at a horse slaughterhouse of these being tested and demonstrated on a beast that had “been condemned as irreclaimably vicious”. Long story short; when the horse was shot it pretty much blew out nearly all of its head and liquified its brain.
The witnesses were pretty impressed that this kind of damage could be done by something a man could carry in his pocket.

Russia actually adopted its use for a short time until the Saint Petersburg Declaration of 1868 – which succeeded the First Geneva Convention – renounced the use, in time of war, of small explosive projectiles in Russia and Europe. The United States declined to hamper themselves by any such agreement.

On August 17, 1886 Gregorio Saturnino Ortiz attempted to assassinate Máximo Santos, the president of Uruguay with one.

According to the publication, Album-Galand, Galand’s shop sold Purtuiset bullets in boxes of 25 for 32 francs for 4g and 8g, 22 francs for 10g and 22 francs for smaller sizes.

This publication also states that Galand made his own explosive bullets as well:

Does anyone have any more information about Pertuiset, Galand or Devisme explosive bullets?

here is an article about Máximo Santos

and a rough translation:

Pertuiset, the bullet that precipitated the fall of Máximo Santos

A famous photograph [detail] Maximum Santos after the attack.

Triumphant Revolution MILITARY ON Quebracho, Maximo Santos, despite its openness attempt with the Ministry of Reconciliation, began his political demise.
An attack that was subjected by Gregorio Saturnino Ortiz August 17, 1886 contributed to his departure from government and the country.

Ortiz shot him at point blank range with a revolver Lefaucheux system 12 mm Pertuisset loaded with explosive bullets.
They contain in their inner mercury fulminate, highly sensitive to percussion. A small spike acts by inertia when the bullet hit against the selected target, causing detonation fulminate and lead the projectile is opened. Projection of fragments forward causes tearing wounds, increasing the risk of infection.
The bullet entered his right cheek Santos and exploded in your mouth. The he wounded lost two teeth and suffered lacerations on his left cheek caused by fragments of explosive bullet out.
Ortiz - perhaps thinking he had killed Santos - fled down the street [for Ituzaingó] chased by police. As a last resort Ortiz fired a shot - the second day - without success to his pursuers.
He caught looking almost applied the revolver to his right temple and fired the third shot of the day. This time the result was final.

And a picture of Gregorio Saturnino Ortiz after he committed suicide:

Here is the US patent he filed: (link to US patent)

I would like a copy of the French patents as well.

Also, here is text from the London Times article. If anyone has access to the archives online, I would like an actual copy of the article in the August 3rd, 1870 edition.

The Pertuiset powder was first employed for small bullets only and its adoption by Russia led to the Congress at St Petersburg where the principal military Powers of Europe decided not to use it in small arm ammunition against men The United States declined to hamper themselves by any such agreement The inventor claims for his powder absolute safety in use but we should like to see it well tried before handling it heedlessly If it be true that the Prussians are about to use it in projectiles fired from the Gatling its moral effect when employed against villages houses and walls must be greater than that of the mitrailleuse

The experiments yesterday in London were made for the information of Surgeon Major Wyatt and were conducted in a shed attached to the yard of Messrs Winkley and Shaw horse slaughterers of 35 Green Street Blackfriars Road Mr Adams was present with one of his revolvers and fired all the shots A small group of officers and others assembled at two o clock in the afternoon Mr Shaw a partner in the firm made all the arrangements.

As soon as the party were fairly assembled a horse was led into the shed a beast with wicked eyes and hind legs showing unmistakable marks of contact with splinter bars He had been condemned as irreclaimably vicious As he faced Mr Adams he stood quietly enough watching the tiny weapon The pistol is aimed at the forehead right between the eyes There is a tiny report only one The effect of the shock is shown to check every vital function in the frame of the animal he sinks instantly upon his knees and then comes lumbering down to the ground in a heap A thin wreath of grey smoke curls from his forehead Three or four convulsive kicks and then complete stillness The whole appears simple enough and nothing more than would have happened with any bullet sent into the brain Wait a little That head must be examined The grey smoke still curls from the wound as skin and muscle are removed from the skull and then it becomes apparent that the skull is split On handling it large pieces of bone come away easily The surface bones are removed and the brain beneath is found to be utterly destroyed a mass of grey and white matter devoid of consistency When the loose material is lifted out there is a hole like the crater of a mine seven inches long by six broad Part of the bullet had been driven up to the back of the head And this was done by a weapon that a man can carry in his pocket

MOST Excellent information & variation photographs Aaron. Well done!

I agree with Pete 100%! Excellent information and photography! (Quite Journal worthy i’de say!)

I would suspect that these explosive pinfires aren’t commonly found?



Does anyone have any more information about Pertuiset, Galand or Devisme explosive bullets?[/quote]

Here is a Devisme bullet (drawing from a 1863 book)
The hole is filled with powder and a cap is fitted on the top