Needle fire cartridge help


Can anyone please tell me, or give me a link on how I can make needle fire cartridges to use in my rifle?

Thank You, John


Do you mean pinfire or needle fire? Two different cartridge types. What rifle do you have?


Hello DennisK,

I have a Swedish Hagström tändnålsgevär ( needle fire ) rifle.


That’s a rifle I’ve never heard of. I know there are some European sources that supply kits for making needle-fire cartridges, but I doubt there is one available for your rifle. If you knew the dimensions of your cartridge (which someone on this site probably knows, and may even have a drawing or picture) you might be able to duplicate it.

Why don’t you post a picture of your needle fire rifle, along with any historical information. A lot of us would be interested.

PS - I found this on the internet, but there is not too much information about the rifle in it. Obviously, you have a very rare and unusual piece. If I had one, I don’t believe I would want to shoot it. … -gun-stuff


Although this topic borders on reloading data, a prohibited topic on this forum. a bit more discussion on the topic of expedient substitutes for early ammunition types and obsolete calibers may be helpful to collectors who might encounter oddball things. (Of course, it may even open up a collecting field to specialize in!)

There is a interesting book by Steve Frey “Imported Military Firearms 1866-1899: Identification; shooting tips, making ammunition; parts and supplies; values; trivia.” The focus is on arms from the Dreyse and Chassepot needle guns, various pinfires, and rimfire and centerfire handguns and longarms basically of the black powder era. These had traditionally been of little interest to most gun collectors, with scant information, and low prices and weak demand. Shooters had equally low enthusiasm due to the lack of cheap surplus ammo for most of them. Frey’s book (self published in 1995, 100 pages- spiral bound) remains one of the most useful books for collectors or shooters interested in that field not just for the brief historical informaion, but also for his “down and dirty” recommendations on how to create ammo for these old guns. [Note- neither I nor the IAA endorse the recomemndations in his book as being safe or suitable for use. They are mentioned here for academic interest only.]

Frey discusses fairly common and obvious cartridge loading and case reforming from readily available cases to fit (more or less) in the obsolete arms, and recommends loads and types of bullets which can be used, and discusses paper patching techniques as well. This is a reminder that the headstamp may not always accurately identify a cartridge in its present configuration.

For the Dreyse and Chassepot, Frey recommends attaching a small pistol primer to the base of a suitable size bullet, (open end facing out) and inserting that into the chamber, then pouring in a suitable charge of black powder, and that will suffice. He helpfully cautions that these early guns leak a lot of gas around the bolt when fired. But, it is probably about the same as was the case when the powder charge was contained in a paper cartridge instead of being thrown in loose. He also advises replacing the “needle” firing pin with a longer one which was suitable for the original cartirdges but seem to be short (if still there at all) if attempting to use his improvised method.

He also discusses making ammo for pinfire revolvers and shotguns, including making 11mm or 12mm pinfire ammo from .45 ACP cases with a hole drilled from the extractor groove into the primer pocket and inserting a piece of a nail to strike the side of the primer (carefully installed so one of the anvil “wings” is aligned with the hole/pin. Again, not high tech or very professional, but probably adequate to satisfy the amateur collector who insists on firing every gun the get, even if only a few times.

So, when you come across some oddball stuff, it may be “ammunition” made as an expedient substitute using methods described by Frey or other collector/shooter people. But, it is still “ammunition.”

Again, this is not an endorsement of any of these ideas, but mere confirmation that others have tried such things, and we may encounter ther “cartridges” or hear stories about them.


Regarding the prohibition of reloading discussions on this site. I understand that there are certain valid reasons for the prohibition. First is the possibility of legal consequences (probably slight) if someone is injured during reloading or if a gun blows up in his face as a result of data published herein. Second is that if reloading data, etc. is published, this site could easily become a reloading site cluttered with hundreds of postings about “pet loads,” pressures, velocities, accuracy, which-is-the-best-bullet, etc. for every caliber imaginable. There are many other internet sites that deal in such reloading information, and it is not needed nor desirable here. Therefore, I am in agreement with a prohibition to the extent that reloading data and some other reloading-related topics should not be discussed.

However, it is undeniable that reloading, as a hobby, is a subset of ammunition, as a hobby, and has a long and interesting history, many cartridges originating as “Wildcats” in some reloader’s imagination. I would also bet that many IAA members are also long-time reloaders, as I am. As such, I see no reason to have a broad prohibition on all topics associated with or bordering upon reloading, especially those having some historical significance, as in this particular posting. Can we agree on specifically what is/is not a prohibited reloading topic? My take is that discussions including reloading data, exterior, interior, and terminal ballistics associated with reloading, and reloading equipment are inappropriate, but anything else which is both reloading and ammunition-related should be fair game. For example, should discussions of the development of propellants, primers, or bullets be prohibited simply because they are reloading components? Other opinions?


Basic data, such as factory charges of black powder and bullet weight are wonderful tidbits for the owners of 19th century firearms wishing to duplicate BP loads or work up ‘Nitro for Black’ loads. Would that be a serious infraction of the forum policy?


I am very sorry for any possible infractions of the rules, and it will not happen again.

For 95% of my rifles the ammunition is obsolete and has to be made. I shoot very few of these rifles. However I do like having a few examples of useable ammunition on hand to display with the rifle. I enjoy the history of the gun but I also like them in a well maintained and useable condition. Otherwise it is like someone collecting old guns that all have the bores welded shut or are in relic condition…just not my cup of tea.



There are needlefire cartridges around that are relatively easy to come by starting around $35 and up (way up!). I am sure you could find some that were made years and years ago to go with your gun.

I personally find it much more satisfying to have the period cartridges to display with my antique guns anyway.


Am I wrong in thinking that old loading tools are an ok topic on here too? The IAA journal has pictures and info on old loading tools so I assume that would cross over to here as well?


Here is a footage about how to make Chassepot cartridges. Very simple.
Your cartridge is very similar to the Chassepot.
If you have the dimensions and a suitable bullet.

The winder and other tools are simple to make and the rest is trial and error.


Amazing what you can find on youtube. There are also some other Chassepot clips there showing firing of the needle fire cartridges.