I am trying to identify the cartridge that was used in a single shot rifle of 1870 vintage. The action appears to be an 1871 Mauser, but dimensionally larger. The bore is rifled and measures approximately 0.7 inches in diameter. A brass 2 1/2" 16 gauge shotgun shell fits the chamber just about perfectly, but is too thin-walled to handle such a large projectile. There are no manufacturer’s name or obvious caliber markings on the gun.
Possibly a Chinese Jingal. ((“Wall or Rampart Gun”)
These were enlarged copies of European Rifles, firing a .65 or larger Calibre ( Gatling or Nordenfeldt) cartridge.
Types known include( Rem.) Lee and Mauser action designs.
Made in Imperial Chinese Arsenals
( prob. TIENTSIN) in 1880s. Several found at Boxer Rebellion Peking 1900.
Not Chinese (original) with that stock.
IIRC there were a series of large calibre German rifle ctgs based on shotgun shells for use in a sport which was won by cutting a wood block in two, cats head comes to mind.
Neither the rifle or round looks anything like a Jingal.
Get a chamber casting made and give measurements.
That is a Vogelschiessen rifle, used to fire at a target on top of a tall pole. There is a Wikipedia entry under Vogelschiessen which will do better far better than I in describing the history of this sport. Ludwig Olson once wrote of these arms in the Dope Bag section of the American Rifleman. Jack
Vogelschiessen has always been done at a wooden “eagle” about 30 yards away. A caliber .70 rifle to me looks a little oversized for this purpose, because the very first shooter would automatically become “Schützenkönig”. Let alone the cost to purchase a special, oversized M/71 action and its ammunition for an annual event that usually requires dozens of shots to determine the Schützenkönig. Gun and ammunition are supplied by the shooting fraternity, not the individual shooter. Do you know the issue of American Rifleman where Olson published his contribution?
In the Wikipedia entry there is no mention of .70 caliber rifles for this purpose.
To me, it looks like a rifle intended for big game by a central European owner (hair trigger). The “size is all that matters” type of person that would buy a .454 Casull handgun today and after 5 shots would ask for softer target loads. But I never heard of a cartridge that large, unless its a special cartridge for this rifle.
I fully support what jestertoo wrote: get a chamber casting.
Just to illustrate the “tradition” here a short clip on what is being done there.
Really not my thing but “a man’s will is his kingdom” as Friedrich the Great once said.
Lower is a H. Utendoerffer 20 ga brass shell loaded with a lead bullet. (dia. 671") The upper is a 24 ga by G. Egestorff. Both are 2.5" cases & I would assume the same exists with a 16 ga.
There was / is a ,75 Jingal and it also has a straight, rimmed brass case but the case length is 2 13/16ths inches long and the bullet dia. is .765"
It looks like a sporting rifle, especially with the set triggers and sort of a “Jaeger” style trigger guard/grip, a little like what we would call a “Running Boar” rifle.
My thought is something a step above, (or along the lines of), some of the 12 bore double shotguns that were loaded with heavy ball and Paradox rifled at the choke to use on big and/or dangerous game in Africa around the turn of the last century.
16 gauge is nominally .663", 12 gauge is nominally .729", and it could be 16 gauge depending on the depth of the rifling… is that .70" the groove diameter?
In addition to a chamber cast, I would slug the bore and get a good measurement of both the land and groove diameters.
Edit: Have you pulled the barreled action out of the stock to see if there is anything marked where you cannot see it?
For example, I have a sporterized Military Mauser in .30-06, which came out of Germany between 1950~1960, and the only known identifier marking on it is “F.W. Hyem” on the bottom of the barrel, beneath the chamber.
Why is a brass 16 ga she’ll not capable to have a heavy lead bullet??
There are many brass shells, both solid drawn and the thinner ejector cases loaded with heavy slugs.
Please enlighten me.
I did the casting and it is a 16 Ga 2 1/2" length chamber. But the barrel is deeply rifled, so it is not a shotgun.
I can not adequately thank all of you who have replied to my quandary. This is the first time I have used this communication tool. WOW!
The brass shotgun case wall is very thin near the rim, as it is for the full length. I believe the case would separate near the rim from the pressure of a powder charge expelling a projectile of that weight, 70 cal. through a rifled barrel. Most cartridge cases have more thickness near the rim, lessening as the case wall moves away from the rim.
Here is a photo of the markings under the barrel. I have made of casting of the chamber but I have not slugged the bore. I believe the measurement I took was land to land.
German proof: B with crown (proof of the complete weapon) and U with crown (“Untersuchung”, examination after proof). G with crown (gezogen) for a rifled barrel. I am not sure how to interpret the numbers.
Edit: I now assume the proof house considered the rifle barrel to be caliber 16. It may be hard to believe, but the shotgun caliber system was at first also used for bore diameter of rifled barrels. If correct, the proof load was 6.29 grams of gunpowder (black powder).
proof load is likely correct @ 6.29gm of black as that would be 3 1/2 dram load. I suspect the 544 is the proof record number. A round ball or conical would not be a problem as far as pressure. Paradox and other fully rifled bore doubles and single shot black powder rifles and guns of the period shot similar or heavier loads. The service load would have been less.
You both have contributed answers to my mystery. Thank you very much. But what cartridge was in use then that would look like a 16 Ga.? A previous respondent - PetedeCoux suggested an answer. And if one looks at the thickness of the rim of both cartridges shown in his photo, the rims are thicker, more solid, than a shotgun shell. I would guess the wall of the shells are thicker as well.
Great information for me to use to better understand this rifle.
under the proof law of 1891, the “16” refers to the bore alone. It does not necessarily mean that the cartridge case had the dimensions of a 16 ga shotgun cartridge. The proof house had no authority to check rifle chamber dimensions.
I could not make out the proofs under the chamber, but the number markings on the barrel I have seen before in a photo, and similar numbers on a fully rifled 12 bore hunting rifle, both of which were in the hands of a member of a German Rifle Collector Club who was at one of the VGCA gun shows.