Hoffer-Thompson cartridge holder (similar to dotter)


I recently came across a nice complete 30-06 Hollyfield Dotter set. Along with the (5) 30-06 Dotter cartridges that were with it was the pictured (between a 30-06 and 7.65 Mauser round) blackend steel training device. It has the same type of push rod primer that the Hollyfield Dotters have. The long tubular neck measures exctly 0.300" in diameter, and the interal plunger does not extend up into the neck at all.

Anyone have any ideas what this device goes with?


The black item is the cartridge holder used in the Hoffer-Thompson .22 caliber version of the Model 1903 Springfield rifle. These were basically standard M1903 rifles, but with a .22 caliber bore. For the most benefit as training rifles for indoor gallery practice, they used these cartridge holders so the soldiers would be able to load the magazine from a stripper clip, and everything would be done exactly as with the service rifle and cartridge.

The spring and plunger/firing pin would be pushed back and a .22 short rimfire cartridge inserted into the slot in the holder, and then the holders would be loaded in the stripper clip and everything was ready for use. There was a special tool for ejecting the fired .22 short cases (basically a short rod with a wooden handle).

About 15,525 of the “Hoffer-Thompson” rifles were made at Springfield Armory between 1907 and 1918. They are fairly scarce, and the cartridge holders are getting much harder to find, with prices in the $35+ range on the few I have seen in recent years.

Thompson was John T. Thompson, an Army ordnance officer, best known for his later submachine guns.

The Hoffer-Thompson rifles were replaced, beginning in 1922 with a series of .22 caliber training rifles with sporter style stocks, and using a five round magazine and chambered for .22 long rifle caliber ammunition. Apparently there was greater desire to emphasize marksmanship and less need to duplicate the exact bolt manipulation and loading.


Thanks very much! I appreciate the detailed response.


The Hoffer-Thompson adapters did not perform well. They were hard to clean (the .22 ammunition used was corrosive and it had a shorter RN lead bullet than a standard .22 short). In addition the adapter would sometimes land nose first on the concrete floor of the shooting stations when it was ejected which impaired their accuracy after a few uses. Bill


There were actually 3 models of the “Hoffer” and “Hoffer-Thompson” Adaptor. They were originally designed by J.E. Hoffer in about 1906. The ORIGINAL one had a smooth (ie: no slot) body where the .22 Long cartridge was inserted through the base. The SECOND model of about 1907 incorporated changes suggested by Major Thompson which included the slot in the side for the 22 – and resulted in the name “Hoffer-Thompson.” NOTE: this first slotted Hoffer Thompson adaptor was chambered for the .22 Long Rifle. These first two adaptors were not rifled.

Shortly after production of the .22LR (second model) version started it was decided to change it to chamber for the .22 Short and the slot on the side was shortened. This THIRD model is the most common one existing today and can be found at cartridge shows in the $20-35 range (costs more at gunshows). The original, smooth “Hoffer” adaptor and the 22 Long Rifle version of the Hoffer Thompson adaptor will cost a lot more IF the seller knows what he’s got.


Note that the Hoffer Thompson holder (and thus its chamber) is shorter than the .30-06 cartridge shown beneath it. This was to avoid the possibility of someone chambering the larger round in a Hoffer Thompson training rifle and producing unintended serious mischief. Jack


Jack…Don’t collect these…but wondered why the .30-06 Hoffer-Thompson shown is shorter than a standard .30-06…and you have explained it…Thanks !!