Combining the Primer and Cartridge
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Combining the Primer and Cartridge

Combining the Primer and Cartridge


Combining the Primer and Cartridge

Combining the Primer and Cartridge

For some time the idea of combining the primer and cartridge did not assert itself, but some inventions were pushed in this direction, and the rimmed cartridge was produced. In this the fulminate composition was placed in the folded head of the case. This mode of priming requires a large charge of the priming composition, which, being thrown into the fold by swiveling, the entire circumference of the head was not always primed thoroughly, and as the cartridge is exploded by striking the rim at a part of the head under the hammer, it not infrequently happened that it failed from the point struck not having any priming. The large charge required, also (about five grains against one-half grain for the center-fire), was a further objection to rim-priming; the exploding of so large a quantity of quick powder in the folded head, the weak part of the cartridge, tending to strain and open the fold to bursting, as it frequently did. Another objection to rim primed cartridges is that they are more liable to accident in handling, and in shock of transportation, and in those incident to service; in fact, a number of instances of explosion in the magazine of repeating-arms, and in patent cartridge-boxes for service of such, have been reported, by which serious injury resulted to the soldier.

Hence, efforts to produce a still more reliable and satisfactory cartridge, and the development, production and general adoption for service of what is now so well known as center-primed metallic ammunition, its advantages being sure explosion when struck by the point of the firing-pin; less of fulminate and less strain on the head of the cartridge; greater security in handling and using under all exigencies of service. These cartridges have been subjected to the severest tests to demonstrate their capability to resist all accidents, such as mashing up boxes of ammunition and even firing into them with bullets. Only the cartridges actually impinged upon exploded under such tests, their neighbors being only blackened and not otherwise damaged. The safety of handling and transporting this ammunition in comparison with that of the old-fashioned kind is vastly in its favor, and the risk attending its carriage is almost nothing. Its greatly superior quality to resist exposure of climate, moisture, etc., has also been proven by such exceedingly severe tests that it may be asserted to be practically water-proof. A central and direct blow on the point primed is an essential and highly important feature of the center-primed cartridge; its general adoption and adaptation of all breech loading service small-arms to its use, is the best proof of its acknowledged superiority. Simple modifications of the form of the head adapt it to safe use in magazine arms, even though the front of the bullet rests on the head of the preceding cartridge, while with all varieties of re-priming ammunition the central fire is a sine qua non.

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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