What is it?


#1

A friend of ours has this cartridge that we can’t identify , so any help is very appreciated. the brass case measures .437 front and rear and the overall length is 1.5. One thing we noticed from the picture is that the primer looks like it’s a Martin Primed.
Thank You Carolyn



#2

THIS IS THE MOST INTERESTING CARTRIDGE POSTED ON THIS FORUM IN SOME TIME. I DON’T KNOW EXACTLY WHAT IT IS. IT DOESN’T APPEAR TO BE SOMETHING MADE IN SOMEONE’S BASEMENT. IT DOES APPEAR TO BE SOME TYPE OF FRONT LOADING CARTRIDGE, LIKELY FOR A REVOLVER (ALTHOUGH THE CASE LENGTH IS SLIGHTLY LONGER THAN MOST OTHER FRONT LOADING REVOLVER CARTRIDGES). THE PRIMER LOOKS AS IF IT COULD BE AN ALLEN’S PATENT. IT IS NOT A MARTIN PRIMER, A MARTIN PRIMED CARTRIDGE WOULD RESULT IN THE CARTRIDGE BEING EITHER ALL BRASS OR ALL COPPER. THIS CARTRIDGE HAS A BRASS CASE AND COPPER PRIMER. AN X-RAY OF THE CARTRIDGE BY YOUR LOCAL DENTIST COULD PERHAPS HELP WITH THE PRIMER IDENTIFICATION. IDENTIFYING THE FIREARM IT WAS INTENDED TO BE USED IN STILL MAY NOT BE ACCOMPLISHED. GOOD LUCK!


#3

The cartridge shown above bears some resemblance to a series of .30 caliber front loading, front lubricated, front flanged and base primed pistol cartridges pictured and discussed by Charles Suydam in his book U.S. Cartridges and Their Handguns, 1979, pp 60-61. He shows 6 variations of this type of cartridge with cartridge #4 most closely resembling the cartridge shown above. Suydam placed these .30 front loading cartridges in his chapter on metallic cartridges developed at Frankford Arsenal (1866-1882) on the basis that a single representative .30 caliber front loading cartridge was included in the display of small arms ammunition prepared by Frankford Arsenal and displayed at the 1876 International Exposition, Philadelphia. The description of this cartridge is shown below from Small Arms and Ammunition in the United States Service 1776-1865; Berkeley R. Lewis; p. 209. (Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, Vol. 129, 1956.)

In the book Small Arms Ammunition at the International Exposition Philadelphia, 1876; Berkeley R. Lewis. (Smithsonian Studies in History and Technology, Number 11, 1972) the description for cartridge #141 is expanded on:

Suydam dismissed the Milbank primer line of thought and infers that the primer is “…the same as that used in the Ethan Allen steel shotgun case of 1865 - the one that looks similar to small rimfire blank.”

I only have a PDF copy of Small Arms Ammunition at the International Exposition Philadelphia, 1876 and from the book is a portion of a picture, shown below, of the fourth drawer from the 1876 Exposition display containing the sectioned cartridge #141 (page 51, plate 11). While the picture is poor quality you can see that #141 is a front loading cartridge and has what appears to be an external primer in the base of the cartridge:

Not an answer but a possible lead.

Brian

Note- Suydam in his book on page 39 shows an X-ray of a “Frankford Arsenal front loader with “Milbank” primer.” The bullet in the X-ray is blunt conical in shape.

In the The Gun Report July, 1978, on page 18, there is photo of a “F.A. experimental .44 Remington front loader, Kings Patent”, case length is approximately 1.25 inches. This cartridge has noticeable differences when compared to the cartridge shown in the post above, but these two examples listed here show that Frankford Arsenal was experimenting with various front loading cartridges.


#4

Thank You for all the information on this, as our friend doesn’t really collect experimentals he sent it to SOLDUSA for sale at one of the auctions.
Carolyn