The oldest solid head cartridge


I have read somewhere that the use of chargers or clips in rifles led to the adoption of the rimless case, and in turn the rimless case led to the adoption of the solid head as an extraction cannelure must be cut on the case.

I am not sure if this chronology is true; maybe some of you know better. But it arises two questions:

Which was the first rimless cartridge? The 7,92 x 57 Mauser?

Is there any rimless cartridge with non-solid head?


Schneider: If you’re willing for me to stretch the point as far as including semi-rimmed cartridges the first was likely the .50-115 Bullard. This was introduced in the early 1880s (I think) for the Bullard lever action hunting rifle. In this situation the semi-rimmed solid-head case was probably used to keep the diameter of the round small enough to function in the Bullard rifle, also chambered for a number of smaller-caliber cartridges. Jack


Here are some of my notes on the topic giving a European perspective. Some of these dates are debateable. My info states that the 50-115 Bullard was in 1886, so these are close (parallel development ?)


Several designers experimented with rimless cases in the 1880s including Rubin (c1885) and Hebler (c1887), mainly for military use. The rimless 8x57 cartridge (DWM case #366) designed for the German military M88 rifle was the first rimless cartridge adopted by a country. This was followed by the 7.65x53 M89 Belgian Mauser (DWM case #367), 7.5x55 M89 Swiss Schmidt-Rubin (DWM case #388), 7x57 M92/93 Spanish/Romanian Mauser (DWM case #380), and 6.5x55 M94 Swedish/Norwegian Mauser/Krag-Jorgensen (DWM case #431). These cartridges all used slightly different case diameters and acted as the basis for a large range of sporting calibres commencing in the 1890s. … "


A potential reliable source for the initial date of the .50-115 Bullard would be the UMC shop log book. I’m not sure how complete the surviving copies (or photocopies?) of this document are, but if this caliber is mentioned the date of initial production and significant production variations would be discussed. I’m pretty sure the surviving specimens of this cartridge are of UMC manufacture. Jack


Thorough research done in the UMC log did not reveal any entries for the .50-115 Bullard.

John Moss


John: Thanks for checking. I appreciate your taking the trouble. Jack



7.5x55 M89 Swiss Schmidt-Rubin (DWM case #388), 7x57 M92/93 Spanish/Romanian Mauser (DWM case #380)[/quote]

Wouldn’t the 7 x 57 (DWM 380) predate the 7,5 x 55 (DWM 388)?


Not necessarily…the Code Numbers ( both DWM and George Roth) indicate when the company started making them, and set the code in their Register…The cartridges having been made before DWM ( which existed as “DM” in the early 1890s…DWM was incorporated only in November 1896, and officially commenced trading under that banner in January 1897)

Also, another cartidge not listed in the “rimless” list is the 6,5x52 Italian (Carcano), which was already in existence for factory prototype rifles in 1890-91 ( M91 Rifles began production in 92-93.).

From original documentation, the course is Kommission 88 Patrone ( 7,9) 1888, followed by Belgian M89- 7,65 ( from a copy (in French) of the original contract, design and trials acceptance reports of 1889-90), followed by the M91 Carcano ( as an option to a rimmed case , of similar chamber design, as two alternates for Tender for an Italian Trials rifle ( Mauser supplied a couple of rifles for each type of cartridge)…and Mannlicher took the Italian Rimmed 6,5 and made it into the M1892 6,5x53R For Romania, but that’s another story…the Italians had set off the Licensing of Mannlicher’s Packet clip design with Steyr, which was used, Kommision 88 style, in the Carcano.
The 7x57 (Spanish) Mauser arose from the 1892-3 Trials for Spain ( Spain initially used some 7,65 Mauser 1891s for trials).

The only standout is the M1894 6,5 Swede,& Krag which seems to be a “black sheep” in this Mauser related family, because it is not directly derived from any of the preceding cartridges ( 88 and 89 are about .470 heads, the Italian/Romanians are .448- .450 heads ( disregarding the rim) whilst the Swede ( or Norwegian Krag) was .475 head…and the Krags were made by Steyr of Austria!!

Does anybody have any docs about the early design and development of the 6,5 M94 for Norway ( at the time co-partner in the Skandinavian Crown)… Mauser originally made a M93/94 trials carbine for Sweden in 8x58R Danish, patterned on the M92 trials for Spain, and the M90/91 Trials for Italy ( single column protruding mag, like the Belgain 89, Turk 90 and Argentine 91) But Sweden then had Mauser make a definitive M94 carbine in 6,5x55 Rimless, the Norwegian Krag cartridge…

What tortuous ways in the cartridge developmenmt world???

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


The priority of Italian and Austrian developments in 6.5 m/m rifle cartridges is an interesting matter. Moetz, in v. 1 of his work on Austrian military ammunition depicts a specimen of Roth case number 393, the 6.5 m/m rimmed used by Romania and the Netherlands, produced by Roth in 1891. He also shows what amounts to a rimless variant of case 393, produced by Keller & Co. in 1892. I should point out that the case number is not found on the cartridge, but an accompanying label of early date when the cartridge was part of a display collection. The first production rifle to employ the rimmed round was the turnbolt Mannlicher model 1892; there was no use of the rimless version until the first Mannlicher Schoenauer of 1900, a sort of semi-production predecessor of the well-known model of 1903. Jack