A very notable cartridge is the Boxer, as made at the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, for the Snider and Martini-Henry rifles. A perusal of the English reports of their small-arm ordnance board will show the most casual reader that the failures of these cartridges, from all causes, have been what would be considered in our trials of the best American cartridges as a very large percentage, sufficient to warrant the abandonment of a cartridge that failed so often. Unlike its American prototype, from which it was originally taken, its parts are more numerous, and the steps of operations in its production more than double those in that simple cartridge. Its cost, hence, is also large, considering the low prices of labor and materials, and the very large numbers fabricated in the country of its adoption; a cost very much in excess, it is believed, of that of any other of the most approved American varieties of metal large production. It does not appear to be well adapted to stand the shocks of transportation or exigencies of service, is easily indented and disfigured, so much so as seriously to interfere, with ease of loading. Per contra, it is beautifully expanded and brought into shape of the exact walls of the chamber in firing, and extracts readily if the head holds, which, from the reports, seems not always to be the case.
It is not suitable in its present state and form for use as a reloader, whatever may be claimed for it in this respect, and it is doubtful if it could be made so. The idea of such a use does not seem to receive encouragement from recent reports. Its attachable heads, from the peculiar and awkward mode of fixing them, are not exact or even, and may not always be firmly put on. Made of iron, it is believed they never should be for cartridges subjected to all varieties of climate. The use of this metal for a cartridge, otherwise so costly, is the poorest kind of economy. There are several varieties of solid heads, as the Hotchkiss, the Dutch, the United States Cartridge Company's, etc. The head, here, is re-enforced by using a thick sheet-metal strip to form the case, and leaving sufficient stock in the head, in drawing the case, to flow out and form the flange solidly. That this is effective in making a very strong case is unquestionable; its manufacture requires some heavier plant for operations; its cost in metal and production is somewhat greater; and it is believed that the head is unnecessarily strong for the present work required by well-constructed breech-loading small-arms.
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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