This alphabetical list of terms and definitions has been assembled from the comments and contributions of cartridge collectors over a five-year inquiry period. It is hoped that the terms used herein will be accepted on a universal basis to aid in our understanding and communication of cartridge lore.
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ANIMAL GUT CARTRIDGE – A primitive combustible cartridge consisting of a tubular sheath or sack filled with black powder which is attached to the base of a conical bullet. The sheath is made from thin, treated animal gut and is reasonably moisture proof. See William Mont Storm patent #33,611 and Hotchkiss patent #34,364. Most were made by D.C.Sage and found in .36, .44, and .56 Colt caliber as well as a few others
ALLEN, ETHAN – A gunmaker in the mid- 1800s who produced a distinctive series of cartridges along with his guns. A series of rimfires from .22 short to .56-56 Spencer were made. Most are readily identified by the distinctive bullet design. See also LIPFIRE
ANNIVERSARY ROUND – A special commemorative cartridge, usually with a special headstamp which is issued to mark a particular event. A popular example is the .30-06 round issued to mark the 50th anniversary of that cartridge
ANVIL – A portion of the primer pocket or primer which provides resistance to the crushing action of the firing pin which causes the printing mixture to detonate
ANNULAR RING – A circumferential crimp or indentation around the primer. In some military rounds, a dye was used in this ring for waterproofing and often to identify some characteristic of the cartridge
ASSAULT RIFLE CARTRIDGE – Any one of a growing family of small-caliber, short-case-length cartridges which are designed for modern high rate-of-fire assault weapons. These were developed to reduce recoil, to make automatic fire more controlled and to enable personnel to carry more ammunition to support the high rate of consumption with those weapons
ATTACHED HEAD – Relatively early centerfire cartridges which were designed to have the head of the cartridge attached to the body by riveting or other means. Rounds of this design can be attributed to the late 1860s and several decades beyond. A typical example is the .577 Snider
AUXILIARY CARTRIDGE or CHAMBER – An adaptive device which may superficially resemble a cartridge but which, in reality, is a “chamber space filler” enabling a smaller round to be used in a gun chambered for a larger cartridge. Thus a .32 short centerfire pistol cartridge can be fired in a WWII German Mauser which normally would chamber a 7.92 x 57 round
BALL ROUND – Originally referring to round balls as opposed to shot or shell in early muskets or artillery. Now used in military parlance to denote the basic nonspecialized bullet type, as opposed to armor-piercing, tracer, etc.
BALLOON RIVET – A large hemispherical-headed rivet sometimes used to secure an attached head to a cartridge case. The head of the rivet is visible when looking into the mouth of an empty case having this feature. Usually ap-plied to thin-rim Maynard separate-primed cases
BAR ANVIL-PRIMED – An early type of inside-primed cartridge (patented by E.H.Martin, evolved from #48,820, 7-1-1865) in which a short bar of iron is transverse to the base of the cartridge and secured by distinctive crimps. This bar serves as an anvil, against which the firing pin can impact to cause ignition
BARTHOLOW PATENT – An early combustible cartridge (patent #32,345. 5-21-1861) in which the powder was compressed and semi-solidified, and adhered to the base of the bullet. There is a visible outer linen wrap to assist in holding the powder to the bullet firmly and to provide moisture protection
BATTERY CUP – A flanged metallic cup used in shotshell primer assemblies that provides a rigid support for the primer cup and anvil.
BELTED CASE – A case with a distinct raised ring around the head just forward of the extractor groove, used to headspace the cartridge. Found on many high velocity rifle cartridges.
BENET-PRIMED – A common style of inside-primed car-tridge developed by Col. S.V Benet commander of Frankford Arsenal in the late 1860s. It was used extensively in early U.S. military ammunition. A copper or iron cup was secured inside the head of the case by characteristic crimps. This cup served as an anvil to enable the firing pin to activate the priming mixture and also to reinforce the head of the case.
BERDAN-PRIMED – A centerfire cartridge design by Hiram Berdan (patent #82,587, 9-29-1868). A primer consisting of a metal cup filled with priming mixture and sealed with foil or shellac was inserted into the primer pocket of the cartridge case. The anvil is part of the cartridge case, i.e. a raised portion of the primer pocket which was perforated to permit the ignition to set off the powder charge. Starting in the early 1870s this type of printing system was widely used for both military and sporting ammunition.
BEVELED HEAD – Describes a style of cartridge case in which a bevel is machined or formed around the outer portion of the rim of the cartridge case.
BLACK POWDER – The first type of gunpowder consisting of a mixture of charcoal, sulfur and potassium nitrate. It is characteristically graded by grain size such as Fg (coarse) or FFFFG (fine). It generates low pressures in gun chambers.
BOARD DUMMY – Usually an inert specimen cartridge which was prepared by the factory for mounting on a promotional or educational display board. These usually have holes drilled or punched through case walls for mounting wires and often have wooden rods internally. Original specimens usually bring a premium over regular equivalents.
BOAT-TAILED BULLET – A bullet whose base is tapered similar in profile to a boat’s stern. The purpose is to reduce ballistic drag. This has also been referred to as a taper-heel bullet.
BORE – The bore diameter of a weapon. For rifled weapons it is usually the land or minimum diameter. This is expressed in either inches or millimeters. Some early rifled weapons and both early and present shotguns bores use the “GAUGE” terminology, defined elsewhere.
BOTTLENECKED CASE – A cartridge case having abrupt reduction in its diameter toward its open or mouth end. This permits large case capacity without making the case overly long.
BOXER PRIMER – A priming system developed in the late 1860s by Col. E.M. Boxer of England. (U.S. Patent #91,81 of 6-29-1889) as an improvement to Daw’s Patent. The primer contained both the priming mixture and an anvil. This system is used in most modern U.S. centerfire cartridges.
BRONZE POINT (BULLET) – A separate bronze wedge was fitted to the point of the bullet of various big-game cartridges. It provided both aerodynamic streamlining and served to initiate expansion on impact.
BUCK AND BALL – A loading wherein a combination of a single ball and several smaller balls were loaded into a single cartridge to improve firepower. In larger calibers, sometimes called CANISTER rounds.
BUCKSHOT – Generally any cartridge loaded with a number of large round balls. Originally the term related to deer hunting. The term has been applied to both old and modern cartridges.
CANNELURE(S) – The circumferential swaged, machined or milled groove(s) around a bullet (for sealing; also often for identification) or cartridge case. Often used to provide visual or tactile identification of special loadings of military ammunition. They are also used to hold lead bullet lubricant.
CARTOUCHE – The French language equivalent of the word “cartridge” but also meaning “box” or enclosure, such as an “inspector’s cartouche” referring to the boxed inspectors stamp appearing on some guns and headstamps.
CASE LENGTH – The longest measurement of a cartridge case.
CASELESS CARTRIDGE – Usually refers to relatively modern cartridges wherein the “case” is molded solid propellant with an attached projectile and primer. The “case” is consumed in firing. These are basically experimental types designed to save weight and cost.
CENTENNIAL ROUND – A special-headstamped commemorative cartridge referring to special .45-70 cases and rounds made up at the U.S. Centennial Exposition in 1876. Headstamp is an entwined USC (U.S. Carbine) with the dates 1776-1876.
CENTERFIRE – A cartridge case whose peimer is located at the geometric center of its circular base. Such rounds are usually reloadable.
COAL-DUST DUMMY – A type of inert cartridge made in Britain in which coal dust has been substituted for gun powder to approximate the weight and feel of a loaded round. These are highly collectable and usually have an affixed paper label reading “COAL-DUST.”
COLLODION – A cellulose treatment applied to certain 1850-60-period combustible cartridges to help render them moisture-resistant (see Bartholow’s and Hazard’s Patents)
COMBUSTIBLE CARTRIDGE – A term applied to certain early ammunition which contained propellant in a sometimes nitrated paper casing which was affixed to or enclosed the projectile. The entire envelope was consumed in the firing of the round
COPPER WASH -A copper coating which was applied to a steel cartridge case for the purpose of corrosion resistance.
COPPER-TUBED BULLET – A lead hollow-pointed bullet into which is inserted a thin, closed-ended copper tube. Its purpose was to preserve the bullet’s aerodynamic shape. Sometimes the tube was charged with fulminate to create an explosive bullet. Also called “Express Bullet”.
CORDITE – A type of smokeless nitrocellulose powder which was used widely in British military and sporting cartridges. Cordite grains usually resemble very thin strands of spaghetti but sometimes have other forms.
CORRUGATED CASE – Cartridges whose cases have been subjected to dies which form deep, usually longitudinal grooves in the case. These provide both visual and tactile identification, mostly for dummy rounds. Short corrugations at the shoulder were also used on early .30-06 guard cartridges.
CREEDMOOR – The Creedmoor Range was a famous long range shooting site on Long Island, NY, in the late 1880s. The term has come to be applied to cartridges of .44 or .45 caliber of the type used in Creedmore Rules rifles.
CRISPIN CARTRIDGE – A distinctive type of rimfire cartridge where the fulminate is contained in an annular ring nearly midway between the base and mouth of the cartridge. The most common type is the .50 caliber version intended for use in converted Civil War Smith Patent carbines. It is also known in .44 and .31 calibers. Patent #49,237, 8-08-1865.
CUPFIRE CARTRIDGE – A front-loading rimfire cartridge used in early pistols which were designed to circumvent the Rollin White bored-through cylinder design. The fulminate was distributed around the concave base of the cartridge. Known in .28, .30 and .42 calibers. Probably made by Phoenix or American Cartridge Companies. Some have raised A or P headstamps.
CUTAWAY CARTRIDGE – Any cartridge which has been sectioned to display its interior construction. Some are factory-made but most have been sectioned by collectors.
DARDICK CARTRIDGE – One of a family of experimental cartridges called “trounds” (Triangular ROUND) made for a family of patented guns and tools, starting in the mid 1950s. These are usually encased in plastic but occasionally have metallic cases.
DRAPER CARTRIDGE – Actually a misnomer, these are really Wills Patent (#45,292 of 11-29-1864). A screw-off base reveals a percussion nipple. Several dozen variations are known in various calibers, lengths and base styles. A few (rare) rifle rounds are
also known. The bases are marked “Patented Nov. 29, 1864 F.D. & Co .
DRAW SET – A series of manufacturing stages of a cartridge case, bullet or primer.
DWM NUMBER – A caliber-identifying number or nurnber/letter combination which was used by the Deutsch Waffen und Munitionsfabriken (DWM) of Germany. Additional information such as date codes were sometimes included in these headstamps.
EMBOSSED HEAD – A solid or formed-head cartridge whose base exhibits a raised circular portion of lesser diameter than the rim. Also called “Ring Base”.
EXPRESS BULLET – See “COPPER-TUBED BULLET”
EXTRACTOR CORD CARTRIDGE – A rare Maynard experimental cartridge which utilizes a short length of cord to assist in extracting a fired case.
EXTRACTOR GROOVE – An annular groove machined into the cartridge case, usually just above the rim which provides a grip for the gun’s extractor to pull the fired or unfired case from the chamber.
EXTRACTOR WIRE CARTRIDGE – A rare Maynard experimental round using a short loop of wire attached to the cartridge’s base to facilitate extraction.
FARRINGTON PRIMER – A distinctive style of primer, used primarily by the U.S. Cartridge Company in the late 1880s. Appearance is a very flat, nearly concave copper disc, flush with the cartridge base.
FIXED AMMUNITION – Ammunition containing at least propellant and projectile as opposed to semi-fixed and separate-loaded ammunition wherein the propellant and projectiles are loaded separately. Modern usage applies to artillery ammunition.
FLASH HOLE OR VENT – One or more holes through the bottom of the primer pocket to trans-mit the primer flame to the powder charge.
FLASH TUBE – A tube from the flash hole extended into the powder chamber, for more uniform ignition.
FLECHETTE CARTRIDGE – A cartridge loaded with one or multiple finned steel dartlike projectiles. Many experimental varieties were made in the 1960s to increase firepower.
FLOBERT – A small-caliber (9mm or smaller) rimfire cartridge, usually used for indoor shooting in Europe. Shot versions were used for collecting bird specimens. They often have elaborate raised headstarnps and many contained only primer compound.
FOLDED HEAD – An early method of case construction in which the base is folded to form the rim and primer pocket.
FRANGIBLE BULLET – A bullet made of various powdered and compressed materials which was designed to break up on impact rather than penetrate. During World War II, .30-06 frangible bullets were used for firing practice against specially armored aircraft. This type of bullet is made currently in various calibers.
FUNCTIONING DUMMY – Usually a factory-produced inert round intended to demonstrate or test the action of a weapon without risk to the parties involved. They were often constructed more ruggedly than were conventional rounds and normally have visible identifying characteristics such as holes or cannelures in the case or the coloring of the case.
GAUGE – A method of describing bore diameter of shotguns (usually), the number of balls of bore diameter which can be cast from a pound of lead. Thus a 12 Gauge” bore.
GERLICH – Hermann Thorismund Gerlich was a German experimenter in the late 1920s and early’30s whose investigations were largely oriented toward producing high velocities resulting from tapering the diameter of the bore from larger at the breech to smaller at the muzzle, thus giving a greater initial surface area and maintaining high pressure through a more efficient gas seal. Cartridges thus designed were distinctive and although success was sparse, the concept continued into recent times and examples are highly sought-after.
GILDING METAL – A metal alloy of 90 or 95 per cent copper and the remainder zinc.
GR NUMBER – A case type identification system used by the Austrian manufacturer, Georg Roth for their cartridges. These numerical designations were often incorporated into the cartridge’s headstarnp.
GRAVITY-FEED CARTRIDGE – Lead, self-contained cartridges used by the Loron, Gaupillat and other gravity-feed weapons. They are of the “volcanic” type, consisting of a pointed, hollow-based lead slug with priming compound located in the base. As they were strictly indoor “salon” guns, there is no propellant other than that in the priming mixture.
GREASE GROOVE – The circumferential groove(s) cut or cast around the body of a bullet to contain grease or other bore lubricant. These grooves are sometimes visible and sometimes located beneath the mouth of the case.
GUNCOTTON – A cellulose material which has been treated with appropriate chemicals to produce nitrocellulose, an extremely combustible material. Used as a bullet propellant.
GYROJET CARTRIDGE – One of a series of relatively modern “rocket projectiles” developed and produced by the firm of M.B. Associates of San Ramon, CA, for use in their specialized guns. Consisting of a hollow metallic case which is filled with a propellant and with a percussion primer in the center of a base which contains slightly angled discharge orifices. Once fired the angled orifices cause the cartridge/projectile to rotate and accelerate. Although never particularly successful, a great variety of cartridge variations exist in various calibers and include flare rounds.
HALGER – A brief partnership formed by GERlich and his bother-in-law, HALbe to com-mercialize high velocity weapons. A series of special HALGER cartridges resulted from this partnership. All were produced in the 1920s and early’30s time frame.
HART’S PATENT(S) – Metallic shotshells produced under Hart’s various patents. Involved mainly in variations of head construction (#142,924 of 9-16-73; #151,121 of 5-19-74 (with Logan); 169,806 and 807 of 11-09-75).
HAYES’ PATENT – British-made combustible cartridges for Colt, Tranter, Adams and other percussion revolvers. A delicate colloid-encased powder charge was attached to the base of the bullet and the whole encased in a paper tube for durability. A cloth tear tab assisted removal. Paper cases are often printed with Hayes’ name and various legends.
HAZARD PATENT – See Collodion
HEAD – The base portion of the case, including that part next to the rim or extractor groove.
HEADSTAMP – The markings imprinted on the base of the cartridge case, usually containing information on the caliber and manufacturer or his logo; on military ammunition, the date of manufacture.
HEEL-TYPE BULLET – A bullet with rear section of reduced diameter; so when loaded, the front portion is flush with the case.
HIGH BRASS – Refers to the shotshells where the brass head extends 3/4 of an inch, more or less, up the case measured from the base of the head. Contrast to LOW BRASS or MEDIUM BRASS.
HOLLOW DUMMY – Inert cartridge consisting of empty case and bullet jacket. Often one-piece construction. Can be identified by its unexpectedly low weight. See FUNCTIONINGDUMMY.
HOLLOW-POINT BULLET – Bullet with a recessed open cavity at its tip. The intention is to assist in expansion and shocking power when impacting on flesh.
HORIZONTAL PINFIRE – Cartridge using a horizontal internal pin to impact upon the primer which is usually located at the base of the bullet. In such an instance, ignition starts at the bullet and progresses rearward, unlike most conventional cartridges. This was perceived to be an improvement in design at the time of development.
HOXIE BULLET – Produced by the Hoxie Ammunition Company of Chicago from 1907 to the ’30s. Their bullets were characterized by a small steel ball embedded in the tip to aid in expansion on contact Mostly used for centerfire rifle calibers, they were also used in .22 Winchester Automatic rimfires, and often require a magnet to detect.
HUNT ROCKET BALL – Walter Hunt, on August 10, 1848 secured a patent (# 5,70 1) for… “a ball for firearms, with a cavity to contain the charge of powder for propelling said ball, in which cavity the powder is secured by means of a cap enclos-ing the back end.”
INSIDE-LUBRICATED BULLET – A patented bullet manufactured by UMC which was hollow and filled with grease. Upon firing, a piston was driven for- ward which forced the grease through tiny holes in the side of the bullet, greasing the bore. Identified by (usually) four tiny holes in the lead bullet.
INSIDE PINFIRE – A few types of extremely rare cartridges were ignited by the impact of the weapon’s hammer on the wall of the cartridge case, causing ignition because of an internal mechanism including a rod or pin and priming compound. The classic Schubarth “egg” is an example of this type.
INSIDE-PRIMED CARTRIDGE – A generic term relating to a large family of non-reloadable, mostly centerfire cartridges where the primer was more or less integral with the case. The act of firing usually deformed the case to cause ignition. Many examples exist, most common of which are the BENET, MARTIN and BAR ANVIL rounds found in.50-70 Govt and.45-70 Govt.
LACQUERED CASE – Usually a steel case which has been coated with lacquer for corrosion protection. Most frequently found with German WWII or Soviet bloc military rounds. Also found in shotshells to improve waterproofing.
LAWS PATENT – Albert Law’s patent shotshell #131,104 of 9-3-1872 has a series of circumferential corrugations near the mouth of the brass case to retain the cardboard wad.
LESMOK POWDER – Developed by duPont in 1911 and used by WRA, Rem-UMC and USC. It was a type of semismokeless powder and was used until the 1930s.
LINEN CARTRIDGE – Combustible cartridges, usually for Civil War breechloading longarms such as the Sharps and Starr carbines and rifles. The powder was contained in a starched linen sack with a nitrated paper base, which was fastened to me bottom of the lead bullet.
LIPFIRE CARTRIDGE – A form of rimfire cartridge patented by Ethan Allen (#30,109 9-25-1860) for use in his line of guns. A small fulminate-filled lip projects from the base rather than a full circumferential rim as found on common rimfires These were made in .25,32,36 and .44 calibers. The contention was that they were safer than conventional rimfires
LOOSE PACK – Cartridges provided loosely packaged in cartons rather than being tightly and neatly organized. Usually found in small, difficult-to-package calibers such as .22 BB Caps.
LOW BRASS – Shotshells whose brass head extends only 1/4 inch or less up the case from the base.
MAGNUM – A family of high-powered or high-velocity cartridges which often have larger cases than usual for their caliber. They often use a belted case.
MARTIN PRIMER – A patented U.S. inside-primed cartridge (patents #88,191, 3-23-1869; #111,856,2-14-1871) with a relatively complex folded case design. Its principal identifying feature is a large, circular primer-like disc in its head. Mostly found in copper-cased.50-70 cartridges, .44,.45 and .50 caliber pistol cartridges. Rarely found in brass, or other calibers.
MAUSER “A-BASE” – A case whose base has a raised central portion; an early Euro-pean design. Often found with raised headstamps
MEIGS CARTRIDGE – A series of unique and mostly experimental cartridges by J.V. Meigs (patents #87,352, 4-021869; #175,293, 3-28-1876). They took a wide variety of forms and are Sometimes found in partial stages of completion. Those few types which were produced in quantity were probably made by the U.S. Cartridge Company. The most common is for a.50-cali-ber magazine rifle.
MILBANK-PRIMED CARTRIDGE – A scarce centerfire cartridge primed with a unique-appearing primer – one which looks like a struck primer. It functions like a rimfire cartridge. These were the subject of one of thirteen cartridge patents awarded to Isaac Milbank. Found in a variety of calibers, most commonly in .58 Musket, .42 Russian, .43 Spanish and .45-75. Rarely in a few other calibers such as .50-70.
MORSE CARTRIDGE – Early self-contained cartridges by George Morse (patents # 15,996, 10-28-1856; #20,214, 511-1858;#20,727,6-29-1858). Considering the state-of-theart at the time, these metallic, self-contained, reloadable cartridges were remarkably far sighted. Several types were produced in a variety of calibers. The best known variety used a rubber base ring to retain a percussion-cap primer and to provide a gas seal. Much later, a type was introduced in .45-70 to facilitate reloading of cases.
MOUTH – The open end of the cartridge case into which the bullet is seated. The “mouth diameter” is the internal measurement of this feature.
MULE EAR CARTRIDGE – The projecting extractor “ear” is similar in purpose to the Maynard
“Flop Ear” case except this term is usually applied to .36-caliber cartridges for the Sharps droppings block pistol and pistol-carbine.
NECK – The front portion of the cartridge case into which the bullet is seated. The “neck diameter” is the external measure of this feature.
NEEDLEFIRE – A type of cartridge designed for use in a gun whose firing pin is a long needlelike device which penetrates the base of the cartridge and impacts upon a primer at the base of the bullet.
NICKEL-PLATED – Cartridge cases, bullets or primers which have been electroplated with nickel and which have a characteristic bright silvery appearance.
OGIVE – The curved forward part of a bullet.
ONE-PIECE BOX – Cartridge boxes formed from one piece of cardboard with flap ends Usually refers to collectible .22caliber rimfire or shotshell boxes.
ORCUTT PRIMER – A patented type of primer used for a short time by UMC. They are unusually long and require a deep primer pocket.
OUTSIDE-LUBRICATED BULLET– Bullets with exposed annular grease grooves, or other applied lubricants, often heel-type.
PAPER CARTRIDGE – An early class of cartridge usually consisting of a bullet and measured powder charge wrapped in a tubular paper envelope. In use, the container was torn open, the powder poured down the muzzle of the weapon and the paper used as a wad or discarded. Other types, using treated paper envelopes, are sometimes termed “paper cartridges” but these are more properly classified as “combustible cartridges.”
PAPER-CASED SHOT CARTRIDGES –
1. Metallic cartridges which have a paper-encased shot load instead of the metallic projectile
2. Shotshells where the major material of the case is paper, usually with a brass, steel or zinc head.
PAPER-PATCHED BULLET – Bullets which have their bearing surface and base wrapped with paper. The paper is intended to engage the bore’s rifling and strip off as the bullet exits. The purpose is to minimize distortion of the bullet and reduce wear on the bore. Most often used with target rifles and European military rifles in the late 1800s.
PATENT IGNITION – Any cartridge with an unusual patented ignition system. Usually refers to early, developmental types. Common primer types such as Berdan or Boxer, although patented, are not included in this category. See, for example, Martin, Benet, Morse, etc.
PEABODY CARTRIDGE – A family of cartridges designed for use in guns of the Peabody-Martini design. Peabody cartridges include the distinctive “What Cheer” series and a variety of rare rimfires as well as some more common centerfires.
PEGGED BULLET – Usually a lead, hollow-point bullet into which a wooden peg has been inserted to assist expansion or preserve the shape of the cavity.
PERCUSSION CARTRIDGE – Although most cartridges are technically percussion cartridges since detonation is a result of a percussive blow to the primer, percussion cartridges are usually thought of as separate-primed cartridges used in early breechloading guns where ignition is the result of use of a percussion cap on a nipple which is a part of the gun.
PINFIRE – A cartridge having a protruding pin, usually at right angles to the base of the cartridge and projecting through the side of the case. Impact of the ham-mer on this pin causes internal ignition. Mostly made by European firms except for a few made by E. Allen, UMC and C.D. Leet. See also Horizontal Pinfire and Inside Pinfire.
PRIMER – The ignition component of a cartridge.
PRIMER ANNULUS – The circular joint around the primers. Colored lacquer is sometimes introduced into this area to provide a visual seal and often to indicate type of loading.
REDUCED (or “REBATED”) RIM – A centerfire cartridge case whose rim diameter is smaller than the diameter of the body of the case.
RIMFIRE – A major class of metal-cased cartridges which have the priming compound distributed in a ring, usually at the base of the case. The firing pin crushes the rim, igniting the primer.
RIMLESS CARTRIDGE – Cartridges with extractor grooves, whose rims are approximately the same diameter as the rest of the head. In a very few cases, true rimless cartridges such as certain of the Bergmann series, have no extractor groove whatsoever.
RIMMED CARTRIDGE – Cartridges with rims which are larger in diameter than the rest of the head.
ROLL CRIMP – A type of crimp whereby the entire mouth end of the case is turned in to secure the bullet in place. This is the standard method used for many modern cartridges.
SABOT – A lightweight carrier in which a sub-caliber projectile(s) is centered to permit firing. An enclosure to facilitate the firing of shot usually in a rifled barrel.
SEMI-RIMMED (OR SEMI-RIMLESS CARTRIDGE) – Cartridges with extractor grooves whose rims are larger in diameter than the rest of the head.
SEMI-SMOKELESS GUNPOWDER – A transitional relatively low-pressure propellant which bridged the gap between black and smokeless powder. “LESMOK” was a typical brand name.
SEPARATE-PRIMED – Early cartridges where only the bullet and propellant were contained within the cartridge case. The priming system was typically a percussion cap on a nipple with the flame conducted to the base of the cartridge by internal channeling within the gun.
SHOULDER – That part of a bottlenecked case which connects the body and the neck.
SINTERED BULLET – A solid bullet formed by the high-pressure consolidation of powdered metal into a bullet form. Such bullets were made experimentally and loaded into .30-06 cases just prior to WWII also adopted by Germany in 9mm during the war.
SKIN CARTRIDGE – A combustible cartridge whose case was formed by nitrating natural animal gut or a substitute material.
SMOKELESS POWDER – Any of a vast variety of modern nitrocellulose, or other composition, high-pressure propellants used in cartridges.
SOFT-NOSED BULLET – A jacketed bullet with exposed lead tip, usually intended for hunting, whose purpose was to expand upon impact with flesh.
SOLID-DRAWN CASE – A cartridge case formed from a metallic disc which has been subjected to an alternating series of progressive draws and anneals, resulting in a finished cartridge case. (see Draw Set)
SOLID HEAD – The modern type of case construction where the head is formed from comparatively thick metal for reinforcement, to withstand the higher pressures of modern loads. Nearly all modern cartridges are made in this manner.
SOLID DUMMY – A dummy or exercise cartridge of solid turned or cast construction.
SPITZER BULLET – A pointed bullet; from the German word “‘Spitz” meaning pointed. Most modern military bullets are of this type.
STAKE CRIMP – A rectangular crimp on the case neck or primer pocket.
STAB CRIMP – A crimp on the case neck which appears as a point or dot. Also called “Point Crimp”.
STAR CRIMP – A crimp used for blank or shot cartridges whereby the mouth of the case is closed by starlike folds. Also called “Rose Crimp”.
STRAIGHT CASE – A cartridge case having little or no taper along its length and no abrupt change in diameter as would a “Bottlenecked” case.
STURTEVANT PATENT – A type of shotshell (patent #54,038, 4-17-1866) having a combination depriming pin and anvil built into the primer pocket, serving dual purposes.
SUB-CALIBER CARTRIDGE or CHAMBER – A hollow device of cartridge dimensions, often rifled , to enable the use of a smaller caliber bullet
SWAGE CRIMP – A type of crimp whereby the entire mouth end of the case is reduced in diameter by a swaging die to secure the bullet in place. Swage crimping is the standard method of manufacturing many modern cartridges.
TAPER BORE – A experimental design of gun whereby the bore tapers to smaller diameter at the muzzle end. The objective is to create higher velocities (see Gerlich).
TAPERED CASE – Cartridges with cases tapered in diameter from base to mouth or base to shoulder. The purpose is to assist extraction.
TEATFIRE CARTRIDGE – Cartridges designed for use in front-loading revolvers (Williamson Patent #41,183, 1-051864) as a circumvention of the Rollin White patent owned by Smith and Wesson. They are characterized by a small round or flat teat in the base containing the fulminate and are known in.32 and.45 caliber.
TEFLON-COATED – Refers to cartridge cases or bullets which have been coated with Teflon to reduce friction.
THUER’S CARTRIDGE – An early type of centerfire cartridge designed for use in Thuer Conversions of the Colt percussion revolvers. They taper from the mouth to a smaller base and were front-loaded into the cylinders. They are found in .3 1, .3 6 and .44 caliber and an extremely rare version is known in inside-primed (Benetlike) .44 caliber.
TIE-BASE CARTRIDGES – Usually Shaips combustible paper cartridges where the paper powder-carrying envelope is tied to a projection on the base of the bullet.
TINNED/NICKEL CASE – Cartridge cases which have been tin or nickel plated for corrosion reduction, or identification.
TOP WAD – The paper closure at the mouth of a shotshell. It often contains data about the loading, propellant or loader.
TWO-PIECE BOX – A relatively early type of cartridge box where the upper and lower sections were made to nest together. Two types are noted – the liftoff cover and the match box types.
VOLCANIC CARTRIDGE – Cartridges designed for early Smith and Wesson (later Volcanic Arms) guns. They are deeply concave-based lead cartridges containing powder and primer within their bases. They are an evolution of the Hunt Rocket Ball.
WESSON CARTRIDGES – An enigmatic family of car-tridges, many of which are rare and/or difficult to identify, designed for use in Wesson tip-up and other Wesson arms. A .55-caliber shotshell is also known.
WHAT CHEER CARTRIDGES – A series of distinctive long-range sporting cartridges for the Peabody-Martini target rifles. The name “What Cheer” refers to a famous shooting range in Rhode Island. The term goes back to early R.I. settlers who used it as a greeting, equivalent to “how goes it”. Three calibers are known: .40-70, .40-90 and .44-95.
WILDCAT CARTRIDGE – A nonstandard cartridge usually made by a private experimenter and often based upon modifications of an existing commercial cartridge case.
WILLS PATENT – See Draper. The so-called Drapers are, in fact, made to the Wills Patent (#45,292, 11-29-1864)
WINDOW SHELL – A manufacturer’s sample cartridge, cut away and provided with a transparent window in the side to show interior construction.
WOOD-CASED SHOT CARTRIDGE – A cartridge which has a hollow wooden shot-filled projectile. Usually found in calibers not ordinarily associated with shot cartridges, E.g.: .45-70.