Origins of semi-rimmed cartridges


In 1887 James Paris Lee filed for patents in England, France, Austro-Hungary and the United States on a “cartridge for firearms” which we would call “semi-rimmed” omitting the old full “flange” for the extractor, and retaining just large enough to keep the cartridge from slipping too deep into the chamber, with the cartridge grooved for the extractor. He also claimed credit for a beveled edge on the rear of the rim, and the combination of beveled edge and nearly rimless design would greatly improve feeding of cartridges without interference from the rims.

This resulted in U.S. Patent 378255 issued February 21, 1888, in addition to the foreign patents noted above.

What were the first “rimless” cartridges/calibers/weapons and who invented them?
What were the first cartridges/calibers/weapons to use Lee’s “semi-rimmed” design?

As I recall, some of John M. Browning’s pistol cartridges were “semi-rimmed” headspacing on the rim instead of the mouth of the case. Which calibers were these?


.25, .32 and .38 ACP are semi rimmed by JMB

I do believe the Mauser brothers did the bevel on their 1871 cartridge so nothing new there in 1887.


Here’s a link to a thread here that discusses the first rimless cartridges:

Bethel Burton invented one (known as the .50 Burton Rimless) that was very impressive. When I am able to, I’ll post the patent document and pictures.


9x20 or 9mm Browning Long is a semi rimmed cartridge.