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 Martini Henry cartridges

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SRB1965

SRB1965

Posts : 869
Join date : 2017-05-13
Age : 55
Location : Uttoxeter - the last place God made and he couldn't be bothered to finish it.....

Martini Henry cartridges Empty
PostSubject: Martini Henry cartridges   Martini Henry cartridges EmptySat Jan 04, 2020 5:31 pm

Ok, I will start 2020 off as I mean to go on – with a gormless question.

I have a Martini Henry rifle, when I do wargames displays, I take it along to let people ‘play with it’ (feel the weight, try the action, fix & unfix the Lunger etc) - I have a modern (drawn) Kynoch brass inert bullet that I use for them to load and eject etc.

I also have an original rolled brass (inert) bullet – I don’t know if it is the age of it but the cartridge case is misshapen and flattened and though I haven’t tried it – I’m sure it would not fit in the MH block.

All the original cartridges I have seen on the internet all seem to be like this, so originally in the 1870s etc were MH cartridges more uniform in shape?

Ta

Gormless of Staffordshire
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GrantRCanada

GrantRCanada

Posts : 4
Join date : 2013-05-29

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PostSubject: Re: Martini Henry cartridges   Martini Henry cartridges EmptyFri Jan 10, 2020 3:04 am

The original coiled brass foil Boxer cartridge cases were not at all uniform, but will chamber quite well as a rule ... being actually fairly "undersize" relative to the actual chamber dimensions and also, being fairly "soft" compared to a solid drawn-brass case, they would push readily into the chamber with the closing of the breechblock serving to push the cartridge fully into the chamber against any slight resistance which the lack of uniformity might cause. (However, if a cartridge case were truly "flattened" to the point of being well out-ot-round it might not chamber.)  These cartridge cases were formed as the bullet was being seated and crimped in place (look closely and you'll see that the "bottleneck" of the case is actually formed by folding and crimping the rolled brass case mouth down around the paper-patched bullet) with the mandrels used for this operation actually producing a case the dimensions of which was under size compared to the rifle chamber.  Only the base disk (rim) was a consistent size.  The normal dents and dimples usually present in the case body wouldn't interfere with chambering of the cartridge unless so severe that they squash the case body out-of-round, as already mentioned.  

Here is a very interesting composite photograph showing four different typical rolled brass Boxer Martini-Henry cartridges on the left, while on the right is just such a rolled brass case photographed after the cartridge was fired in a Martini-Henry rifle and then extracted from the chamber.  Note how it has been "fire-formed" to completely fill out the chamber profile so that it is virtually indistinguishable from a modern solid drawn-brass case!

Martini Henry cartridges We5zmy10
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SRB1965

SRB1965

Posts : 869
Join date : 2017-05-13
Age : 55
Location : Uttoxeter - the last place God made and he couldn't be bothered to finish it.....

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PostSubject: Re: Martini Henry cartridges   Martini Henry cartridges EmptyFri Jan 10, 2020 7:39 pm

Thanks a lot, so the way they appear today is similar to what they looked like at the time - I've often wondered.

Cheers

Sime
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GrantRCanada

GrantRCanada

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Join date : 2013-05-29

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PostSubject: Re: Martini Henry cartridges   Martini Henry cartridges EmptySat Jan 11, 2020 2:52 am

I think a lot of surviving rolled cartridges have probably been knocked about quite a bit over the past century or so, with the result that many of them are somewhat more dented than they were when manufactured.  I expect most probably looked about like the third one from the left in the above image, when they were manufactured, but I don't think any of the four rolled cartridges in that photo would present any real difficulty in fully chambering ...
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