Rim Fire Pistol Ammunition
Rim-fire Cartridges.—These are primed with a fulminate of mercury mixture around the outer edge of the rim, or base of the shell, and are generally loaded with Lesmok, semi-smokeless, or black powder.
The smallest and lightest charged ammunition in general use is the .22 caliber. In this caliber the " C. B." or Conical Ball Cap loaded with black powder is the smallest practicable cartridge.
An excellent cartridge in this caliber is the .22 short. This cartridge fouls very little and is almost equal in accuracy to the .22 " long rifle " up to 50 yards. On account of its lighter report it is preferred by many for gallery shooting.
The .22 caliber " long rifle " cartridge is more extensively used for pistol shooting than any other. It is the most accurate of the .22- caliber cartridges, being well proportioned, the bullet well lubricated, and the shell un-crimped. In addition to this, the ammunition is inexpensive and has very clean shooting qualities. It is, therefore, particularly well adapted for pistol shooting. This cartridge, fired from a lo-inch barrel, will shoot regularly inside of a2-inch circle, at 50 yards, and inside a 5-inch circle at 100 yards.
The .22-caliber Long Rifle "Armory" and the .22-caliber Smith & Wesson Long are special makes of the long rifle cartridge that are furnished with a crimped shell, preventing the bullet from becoming dislodged and thus adapting this popular cartridge for use in revolvers of this caliber.
In all of the foregoing cartridges only the surface of the bullet outside the shell is lubricated. Exposed in this way, the lubricant is easily rubbed off, or melted if allowed to stand in the sunlight on a warm day. Great care should be taken to prevent this, as, without lubrication, the bullets will lead the barrel and cause inaccurate shooting.
The .22-caliber Winchester is a cartridge with inside lubrication. It is more powerful than the .22 long rifle, and gives good results in the pistol. The bullet has a flat point, making it suitable for game shooting, and the lubrication being within the shell, these cartridges may be carried loose in the pocket.
All of the .22 caliber cartridges can be had with hollow-pointed bullets, which are to be preferred for game shooting. They are also furnished loaded with smokeless powder. When this powder was first used in .22-caliber ammunition the results were far from satisfactory, but as now manufactured the smokeless ammunition approximates very closely in uniformity and accuracy to that loaded with black powder.
There still remains, however, considerable difficulty with the rim-fire smokeless cartridges on account of their liability to rust the inside of the barrel. The novice is therefore cautioned not to use this ammunition until the difficulty of rusting is overcome. (this is no longer the case)
The difficulty is probably caused by the priming composition used at the present time in smokeless rim-fire ammunition. These compositions vary with different manufacturers, but most of them contain fulminate of mercury, chlorate of potash, powdered glass, etc. The trouble is probably caused principally by the chlorate of potash and perhaps by the fulminate of mercury. At any rate, a corrosive residue is left which attacks the barrel and causes it to rust. A priming composition free from deleterious substances, and which will not leave a corrosive residue, is urgently needed for both rim-fire and centerfire ammunition.
Rim-fire cartridges in larger caliber than .25 are used for derringers (large-bore, single-shot pocket pistols now seldom used) and inferior grades of revolvers. These cartridges sometimes lack uniformity in caliber when made by different manufacturers, are frequently defective, and discharge occasionally in closing the action of the arm in which they are loaded. They consequently lack the safety, reliability, and accuracy of the corresponding calibers in central-fire ammunition. Rim-fire cartridges cannot be reloaded.
Himmelwright, A.L.A.. Pistol and Revolver Shooting. New York: MacMillan, 1922.
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