Unknown Large Blank Cartridge .40-90 BN Size

I have some blank cartridges that I have not been successful in identifying. They are similar in size to a .40-90 Sahrps Bottle Neck cartridge (see photos). They are a bit longer but I was able to resize one in my .40-90 BN die. The primer is larger than a large rifle primer and there are three flash holes. This blank was loaded with a coarse black powder probably 12 or 10 mesh. I have found no reference to these cartridges after numerous internet searches. Any help will be appreciated. Thanks.

From the case design, the head is a European “Mauser-A” head, and the primer is a common late 1900s BP diameter ( .245 to .255), with .250 being British and .254 being European. The use of three Flash holes was also not unusual in large BP cases of the time.

I would venture to say that is is a 11 mm Blank (is it crimped, or simply wadded and mouth rolled?..what is the Head Diameter? if it is .515, then it is a Mauser ( 11mm or 10,15 Serbian)…if it is .530-545 it could be for a .43 Spanish,a 11mm Gras or an 11 mm Werndl or Mannlicher; even some other “11mms” would fit this Blank ( I use WCF .40/82 cases to make 11mm Mauser Blanks (Movie use).

ON the other hand, it could be a Launching Cartridge (such as for Signal Flares or for Ship-to-Ship Line throwing. We know of British and US use of their BP cases for such use, so why not the Germans or the French, in their respective Navies?

The fact that is is “Unheadstamped” could point to any late 1900s Manufacturer…US, European, or British, for “Export orders” to most anyhwere in the world. ( yes, US Makers did make Berdan-primed shells as well as Boxer Primed ones, in the 1880s-1900), especially for Latin American orders.

Any other suggestions…Hola, Fede, Did Argentina buy any 11mm Spanish or other Blanks of this type for their Rolling Blocks or Gatlings?

Doc AV

The case lenght and shoulder location is correct for a UMC .40-90 Sharps Necked 2 5/8", and if loaded, this is not a blank but a cartridge with a missing bullet (no crimp was used) or a “loaded shell” for reloading. The “longer” .40-90 was in its original form a modern C. Sharps Arms Co. Inc. 3 1/4" umprimed basic case for making .40 Sharps bottleneck and .45 Sharps straight cases.

DocAV, thanks for asking, but Argentina didn’t bought any Gatling in .43 caliber, only Nordenfelt, and no blank was issued. The only blanks used by Remington rifles and carbines were locally made from rejected cases of standard lenght. Saludos, Fede.

I agree with Fede’s assessment that this is most probably a .40-90 Sharps BN that came as a loaded case with no bullet, or, the bullet was pulled at some point. About a 99% chance that the case was made by UMC…


Thanks to all for the input. Did you look at the photos? I reload for & shoot a .40-90 Sharps BN. The case lenght of my .40-90 BN is ~0.035" shorter than these unknown cartridges. I am reasonably sure that there were never any bullets loaded in these. The black powder charge is secured with a hard wax impregnated, very thick, paper which is secured in the case about 0.025" down with what appears to be a hard wax, white in color. The rim of these unknown cases is thicker than the .40-90 BN (.45 Basic Brass). The basic part of the rim is about the same, 0.067" on the .40-90 and 0.069" on the unknown. However these unknown cases have a rim around the primer area which adds ~0.006" to the rim thickness. I had to file that rim down on the case I sized in my .40-90 BN die in order to chamber the cartridge in my Sharps. Does this help any to further I.D. this brass/these blanks? They belong to a client who had a large firearms collection which I sold for him. His Uncle, US Army Col. Provost Marshall WWII collected them and everything passed on to him when his Father deceased. I am not an ammo/cartridge collector so if these blanks do not have any collector value I will buy them from him and make them into .40-90 BN brass if I can find primers and a primer seater that will fit my Rock Chucker. I’ll be pleased to hear more from you. Thanks again & Regards, Bill