Copyright International Ammunition Association, 2005. All rights reserved.
Cartridge of the Month August 2005
Specimen and photos courtesy of Paul Smith
The Karcher Cartridges
The Karcher designed cartridges represent one of the many early priming systems. It is an internally primed centerfire design.
The priming system consists of a disc crimped into the case with a distinctive knurled cannelure on the case near the base. The internal disc has 5 perforations which allow the flash from the fulminate priming compound to pass to the black powder charge. Of particular note are the short sharp finger-like protrusions created when the perforations (flash holes) are made in the disc. It may be the case that this is a deliberate feature and that these protrusions act as anvils to assist in ignition.
.The round pictured here is an example of the 7mm Karcher.
P. Karcher, who was a Parisian mechanic, patented the priming system in 1875 and used it in a variety of calibers; namely, several cane guns rounds, .320 Revolver, .380 Revolver and the 11mm Revolver (thought to be the same round as the .450) and for a subcaliber adapter for the 11mm Gras.
Apparently Karcher did not manufacture his own ammunition. Most cases were manufactured by SFM (or its predecessor), and exhibit a number of headstamp styles, the most common being:
KARCHER Bte S.G.D.G.
An 'E.L.' in the headstamp stands for E. Lecomte while a 'B.N' stands for Beaugrand & Nétré
For the sub-caliber devices, the cases were referred to as No. 1,2,3,4, etc. (as opposed to a caliber designation). The numbers referred to an incremental powder charge.
Reference: Dixon, B. European Sporting Cartridges. Vol. II. 2001. p. 297.
Copyright 2005 by the International Ammunition Association, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Revised 11 August 2005