The Berdan, made in large numbers for the Russian Government, for use in the Berdan breech-loading rifle, has been most strictly and severely tested during manufacture, and has proved of great excellence. It is exceedingly ingenious; its re-enforcement simple and effective; its capacity as a reloader fully tested and demonstrated by prolonged and repeated trial, daily, during production of millions of rounds; a number of the shells being reloaded, primed, and fired ten times, and much more extended trials have been had for special test of the endurance of the cases in this particular. Its chief distinguishing feature is that its anvil is of the same continuous piece of metal as that of which the case is made. Herein there is no possible displacement or misplacement of the anvil, and it has a fixed position with respect to the primer. The cartridge is singular in this respect, and superior to its rivals that require a separate anvil. In it was a happy idea hit upon by the inventor of making his anvil by a simple return of the metal of the pocket for the primer. All other anvils are its inferiors in that they have to be handled in assembling the parts of the shell. Another advantage is, it presents a point to the primer inside, rendering it sensitive to the blow of the hammer. The use of the special Hobbs' primer is most excellent in this combination. Other varieties of an excellent re-enforcement may be referred to, as exhibited in the drawings.
These re-enforcements may be accomplished in various ways, as by a ring of expanding metal, a ring of solder, felt or papier-mâché wads, etc. When the ring of this metal is used as a re-enforcement it is best applied, and perhaps only effectually, in those cartridges having a pocket or return of the head for the priming. In these cases it should be so formed as to act by expansion against the walls of the case and of the pocket, to cut off the escape of gas to the folded head in both directions. The solder ring has been found to be a good re-enforce also, and in the wrapped-metal and some other varieties of cartridges it serves also to attach the flanged-head to the body of the case. It was first used here for this purpose, and that it acted also as a re-enforce was a resulting discovery. The felt or papier-mâché wad is not believed to be as good or to hold the head as securely, although it is extensively used in the various forms of Boxer ammunition. It is not believed that a simple ring of any soft metal of any shape, as lead or its alloys, forced into the case at the head, will act as a re-enforce, as has been claimed.
No matter how closely the metallic surfaces are in contact, if the re-enforcement does not expand more promptly and as fully as the case itself under all the pressure of the gas, it does not strengthen or re-enforce the point to which it is applied. A reinforcing ring works well, applied to a Martin cartridge, as .well, in fact, as to a Berdan, and in the same manner. An objection to the Martin is its small anvil for small-headed cartridges, and their liability to burn Use priming composition inclosing the pocket on the anvil, a difficulty met with in their manufacture, with the bar-anvil, and which can only be wholly eliminated by careful inspection of primed cases.
Farrow, Edward S. American Small Arms; a Veritable Encyclopedia of Knowledge for Sportsmen and Military Men. New York: Bradford, 1904. Print.
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