Gas cartridges

Who can tell me a little about gas cartridges? I have a .405 Winchester cartridge that has a flat wad in the mouth of the case which has the printing “Federal Gas” on it. Would just like to know more.


Probably this, but someone else will have to explain what it is.


Mike - unfortunatley, a question like you asked is impossible to give a comprehensive answer to. It simply covers way too much material. There is a very thick book on Tear Gas Munitions by Swearingen - wish I had a copy.
It probably only covers 35% or so of all the tear gas stuff that has been made, as it is now quite an old book and doesn’t cover, for example, the large quiantity of tear gas cartridges made in the former Soviet Bloc.

On your cartridge, the “Federal” probably refers to the Federal Laboratories, Inc., of Saltsburg, Pennsylvania (and perhaps other locations), which was organizxed in 1923. They, along with Lake Eire Chemical Company were the leading manufacturers of checmical agents, especially of the police and civilian type, in the Unites states. I cannot speak for now. I am assuming, by the way, that the “Federal Gas” is on a top wad at the case mouth, and is not the headstamp of the cartridge case? If I am wrong in that assumption, than it becomes possible that the case was made by Federal Cartridge Co., although I cannot see it have been loaded by them.

From the little information I have in this field, I cannot identify the where, when and why of your .405 cartridge, in relation to Federal products. Perhaps Pepper or someone more in to this type can. We in California are at a disadvantage to most Americans in this area, as usual, because our police state does not allow Civilians a blanket permission of tear gas cartridges. Certain tear gas dispensers are legal here (none were for the better part of my life), but no tear gas guns are, and therefore, no tear-gas cartridges of conventional firearms caliber are legal. That precludes a good study of the subject by anyone unfortunate enough to be stuck living in the State of California.

Ray, Do you have any idea about what “caliber” that Federal Gas cartridge is in the box? I’m just wondering if it uses a standard casing, perhaps suck as a .410 shell or even a .45 Auto.

And John, Yes, the “Federal Gas” appears only on the card wad at the mouth of the cartridge case. This pariticular case was made by Peters and it is headstamped for the .405 WCF.

Thanks for the info so far, I’ll take more if you dig something up.


Pepper, Thanks a bunch for all the info! I would never have thought that a .405 shell of any kind would be fired from a pen! Anyway, I am indebted to you for such info. Now I’ll have to look at the gas shell I have to see if “Tear Gas” can be seen on the side of the casing. I’ve never looked for a note like that before. I got that shell with the purchase of a bunch of old loose .405 ammo and brass, many years ago. All this time I thought it was a gas cartridge for a trapper or hunter to use to collect some creature while it was in its den or something. Okay, I know better now. Thanks again. 303mike