Help on dating early .22 cartridges- BB, CB, flobert


Of course !
Totaly different !

Martin-The 6mm Flobert and the .22 B.B. Cap are close in size, but they are different dimensions and construction. U.M.C., for many years did not list the B.B. Caps or C.B. Caps with the regular .22 Rimfires. They were listed in the catalogs with the primers or by themselves.

How much detail do you want on them? I can provide quite abit of information about them as they were loaded and sold by U.M.C.

Email me with what you want.

Thanks Jean Pierre and Ron.
I need to know the order of development of the BBCap, CBCap and .22 Short.
Do S&W developed the ,22 Short after seeing Floberts 6mm at London?
When was the BBCap and CBCap introduced?


I would like to rewrite my question:
What was the introduction dates of the BBCap and CBCap?
I asumed that was created before the .22 Short abut according to Mr Rains article was:
BB Cap(1879)
CB Cap(1885)

Am I wrong?


Martin: I think the BB and CB as U.S. cartridges would postdate the .22 Short since the Short was introduced at the same time as the Smith and Wesson no. 1 revolver, 1857 or thereabouts. Before the S&W hit the market there was nothing of U.S. origin that would have used a .22 caliber rimfire cartridge, and the little revolver needed as big (relatively speaking) a cartridge as it could chamber. The foregoing is based on the assumption the BB and CB can be regarded as true .22 calibers and not approximations of European Flobert-type rounds. JG


All I can speak for is Winchester. The .22 BB Cap was first shown in the 1879 Winchester catalog. That would seem to confirm what Rains said.

However, I searched from the lst Winchester catalog thru 1899, and found no mention of the .22 CB. There was, after the standard BB was catalogued, what Winchester refers to as .22 BB conical. I don’t know the terminology of rimfires enough to know if this actually was eventially given the designation “CB” so I have no real answer for the CB Cap.

What was the actual use for the .22 BB cap (meaning why was it manufactured for such a long time)? I can understand it as a proof of concept for a self-contained metallic cartridge, but surely they produce so little energy that their actual use for anything that people would want to buy them for would be very little.

Thanks for the answers.
So IMHO the BBCap and CBCap (or BB conical) was developed independent of the .22 Short-Long-LR line.
the Flobert, and BB ammo was used in gallery and garden guns for short range shoting and hunting.
In Argentina BBCaps was called " matagatos" ( cat killers) and was used instead of air guns by kids for hunting before 1960.


I wouldn’t have thought one of those would kill a cat that easily, even at close range. Were gun laws in Argentina tightened up in 1960?

Martin–Here is the history of the B.B. Cap and the C.B. Cap as told by the U.M.C. catalogs.

The first two pictures are cropped images from the 1865 Union Metallic Cartridge and Cap Co., predecessor to tthe Union Metallic Cartridge Co., illustrated price sheet.

It shows that the .22 Short and what was to evolve into the .22 B.B. Cap were both sold at the same time. Note that they were called “French Bullet Breech Caps” even at this early date. But also notice the difference in shape with the flared head instead of a true rim. Another thing is that these are NOT shown with the other Rimfire cartridges, but, rather, are illustrated at the bottom of the sheet after the Pinfire’s

From the 1871 U.M.C. Price List: They have dropped the term “French” and just call them the “No.1 B.B. Cap” (equivalent to the 6mm Flobert) and the “No.2 B.B. Cap” (equivalent to the 9mm Flobert). However the text part of the list still says “French Bullet Breech Cap No. 1 (and No. 2) Adopted to Flobert’s Saloon Rifles and Pistols”

From the 1873 U.M.C. Price List. All use of the term French has been dropped.

From the 1880 U.M.C. Catalog. Only the B.B. Cap No. 1 is listed. Note that they are listed with the primers, not the Rimfires.

From the 1883 U.M/C. Co. Catalog

From the 1884 U.M.C. Catalog. This is the first mention of a Conical Bullet (C.B.) Cap.

From the 1887 U.M.C. Catalog. We now have what we think of as the B.B. Cap, instead of a Flobert style case.

From the 1889 Hartley & Graham Export Catalog. For the first time the B.B. Cap is listed with the other Rimfires. But, in the U.M.C. Catalog, they are still listed by themselves.

From the 1910 U.M.C. Catalog. At last, the first time U.M.C. listed the B.B. Cap and C.B. Cap as a Rimfire.

They were still called just “B.B” or “C.B.” Caps in the 1917 catalog, but by 1923 (my next catalog) they had changed to “.22 B.B Caps” and “.22 C.B. Caps”

The last listing by Remington Arms Co., Inc. was in the 1952 catalog for the C.B. Cap and the 1954 catalog for the B.B. Cap.

The BBCap is not a toy! It can kill very well at close range and with a very low report.
In 1960 laws begin to get tight but, more important, national industry began to offergood quality airguns.


What can I say… Thank you very much foreducate me.
It looks like it was a paralell developmant.
Very interesting the difference between the Flobert case and the rimfire case.

Thank you all!

Ron- Very informative. Thank you for taking the time to provide that info, complete with catalog references.

I agree with John S. Great job Ron!! That’s alot of good information. Thanks for taking the time!


Martin–If you need the information I can go into a lot more detail such as the changes in bullet style, addition of black powder instead of just priming compound, change to smokeless powder, etc.

Thats more than I spect to find.

After digging into my files I found an old article about August Flobert (The Gun Digest 1974). According to this article: “
Flobert guns there were first handled by Schuyler, Hartley and Graham of New York City” (you posted a page from Hartley and Graham Catalog) very interesting I think.

Do anyone know where can I found the original Flobert patant?
I did some searchs and found some very interesting S&W patants that I will post soon.


Martin–The original Flobert patents are going to be in France. Perhaps JP can help you there. I am sure they were also patented in the U.S. but I have no idea when. It would have been late 1850’s or early 1860’s. I’ll see what I can dig up.

I have never seen the Flobert patent on the cartridge. Chuck Suydam mentions in The American Cartridge an 1845 date for the Flobert bulleted breech cap, but I have not been able to find it listed in Bartlett & Gallatin’s Cartridge Manual: An Illustrated Digest, which purports to list every cartridge patent issued in the US, England and France prior to 1878. Roy Jinks gives a 1846 date to the Flobert patent in his History of Smith & Wesson, and states that it was protected by two French patents issued in 1846 and 1849. This second patent may have been for the pistol that was intended to use the Flobert cartridge.

It is interesting to note that Flobert and Daniel B Wesson both started with percussion caps and lead shot when they were developing their cartridges.

Thank you very much, I forgot I have Barlett & Gallatin book.
There is no mention about any Flobert patent.
According to Caranta article, Flobert patented it on July 21, 1849.
There is a picture on the article showing some pistols and rifles, atwo loading tools and chamber draws. That can be the reason why there is no reference on B&G book.
Smith and Wesson patent 08-08-1854:


I believe that 1849 patent covers the guns. Perhaps J-P has copies of both patents he can share?

The S&W patent apparently covered improvements in the metallic cartridge, and not the ‘rim fire’ cartridge itself, since it was covered by Floberts patent. These improvements included a metal disc that sandwiched the fulminate against the head, as well as the addition of tallow inside the case behind the ball.