UMC Berdan question


Recently I cleaned an 11.5 m/m M1869 Werder pistol-carbine empty case and noted it closely followed the UMC Berdan design of the 1870s except in one particular: it had 4 flash holes rather than the 3 typically seen in UMC cases. The vents also seemed smaller than UMC practice; perhaps .025 in. (.6 m/m) rather than the .040 in. (1 m/m) used by UMC. In producing this case did the Bavarians depart from UMC practice or did very early UMC cases also use 4 flash holes before adopting the usual pattern of 3? Jack


Jack…When, once upon a time, I collected UMC items exclusively, I had a .58 Berdan Musket cartridge that had 4 flash holes…



Jack, I know the guy to whom Randy sold that shell. Pics below; sorry I can’t get the focus any better.


Know that when H. Berdan has patented his different inventions in the US , he patented them also in europe : England , Italy, Austria, Belgium , Germany and France. Jules Gévelot from the Fabrique Gévelot was at the time the biggest french ammunition factory and had contacts with the different europeen patent offices to be aware of improvements in fire arms and ammunition manufacture. Strong of this , he was abble to buy the rights to manufacture in france any foreign patent . It is what he did , for instance with Berdan’s pat from 1866 to 1874, and it is the reason why slight differences are found on cases said to be UMC made and in fact Gévelot made. Note that I owned an original of the french pat 85514 dated april 30-1869 in which is included a drawing of a folded head cartridge with 4 flash holes. Note also that packets of bavarian cartridges for “fusil, carabine et pistolet” Fabrique Gévelot made; with folded heads were found in the store room at Gévelot’s some 30 years ago


I can easily understand Gévelot reproducing anything he could. But why would he go to the trouble of reproducing the external head characteristics of a UMC round rather than just the priming system?


Agree with my good friend Rich…The case he pictured is MOST DEFINITEY …UMC…No question…



My thanks to all you kind folks. These responses contain just what I needed to know. Jack


For me the problem is not resolved. What I wanted to say was that the Berdan pat 82587 sept 29 68 had been used in the US by UMC but that patent had been used also in europe in France by Gévelot and in Germany by Utendorffer mainly for sporting cartridges. At the time, when a government was ordering cartridges from a cartridge factory, official drawings and samples were usually joined, and the manufacture was made according to the government specifications. I have the proof for an order from Russia to Gévelot in the late 1870’s for 10.6 Russian Berdan with folded head . To the order were joined a blue print with measures in inches , I believe certainly from US origin and a second dwg presenting the different steps of the draw set for the Russian berdan with folding head . According to my knowledge of the Gévelot production, I am sure that Gévelot has manufactured Serbian Peabody , Russian Berdan, Spanish Remington, Bolivian Remington, Turkish Martini Henry , Bavarian Werder long, carbine , pistol , Russian Krnka and certainly others with Berdan folded head.
In conclusion, , in front of a european caliber with a folded head case, never say for sure UMC made unless you have the packet !