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Picture Page

June 2005

 An assortment of Gaupillat-Collette cartridges....

In 1854, a Frenchman named Gaupillat received a patent for a cartridge that consisted of a hollow bullet with an inverted percussion cap inserted in the hollow. I believe this is the same Gaupillat who was a partner in the French ammunition company Gevelot &   Gaupillat that used the back-to-back 'GG' monogram headstamp. Like the Volcanic cartridge, the hollowed bullet of the Gaupillat cartridge acted as the case, but unlike the Volcanic, there was no powder charge used; the explosion of the primer was all that propelled the bullet. It was a very simple design, as is obvious from the patent drawing shown here, and likely met with little enthusiasm due to its lack of stopping power. The cartridges were produced in the four sizes shown in the picture: 6mm, 8mm, 10mm and 11.2mm. The second and fourth examples in the picture closely match the cartridge in the patent drawing, and the latter of the two appears to be fitted with a common military top hat style musket cap. I would assume that the percussion caps used for all of these not specially made, but were nothing more than the standard caps in production at that time. With that empty space in the cartridge, you can bet that it didn't take long for some creative shooter, in search of a little excitement, to add a few grains of powder, seal the base with wax, and proceed to blow up his pistol with the resulting magnum load. I've included a couple of pictures of one of the pistols that used the Gaupillat cartridge; this is a Colette patent pistol made in Leige, Belgium. These pictures are from Horst Held's superb web site at The pistol is loaded by dropping the lever which raises the breechblock up to the magazine that is located on top of the barrel. Tipping the pistol back drops one of the cartridges into the chamber that is on the front side of the breechblock. Lowering the breechblock brings the cartridge in line with the barrel, ready to be ignited by the long, pointed firing pin attached to the hammer. 






Another 5.56 x 45mm to add to the collection .......

Federal Cartridge Company, part of the ATK Ammunition Group, produced this box of frangible ammunition at its manufacturing facility in Anoka, Minn. ATK (Alliant Techsystems), the largest manufacturer of ammunition in the country, was awarded a contract from the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, Crane, Ind., to produce 5.56mm frangible ammunition to meet U. S. Air Force and U. S. Marine Corps training requirements. Federal Cartridge Company is one of five businesses that form the Ammunition and Related Products operating unit within the ATK Ammunition Group, and produces small caliber ammunition and related products for military, law enforcement, and commercial markets. Frangible ammunition is designed to break apart into small pieces upon contact with hard targets to reduce ricochets and limit penetration. It is non - toxic and lead - free, eliminating hazardous exposure for the user and reducing environmental cleanup costs for training ranges. The tip of the bullet is composed of a powdered copper material. The headstamp is FC  04, indicating production on 2004.



 A variety of loads in a common headstamp.....


Even among the commonest of headstamps, there is a variety of  desirable examples to be on the lookout for. Such is the case with REM-UMC headstamped .45 automatic cartridges. Shown here, beginning on the left in the first picture is a blackened case proof load. This is followed by a tracer load, with its red-nosed bullet, and a couple of dummies, the first with a blackened bullet and the second with a tinned case. The first cartridge in the second picture is a riot load. The bullet on this one consists of a round lead ball on top of three lead discs which fit into the copper jacket; these are supposed to break apart on firing, making it less lethal. While this bullet has a slightly more blunt profile, it is still difficult to tell that it is anything unusual from its outward appearance. However, it is easily identified by the rattle the ball makes in the jacket when the cartridge is shaken. The second cartridge has a semi-pointed 175 grain metal piercing bullet, sold by Remington under the brand name Hi-Way Master, and intended for law enforcement use. The third cartridge is a shot load with a paper wad at the case mouth. The last cartridge is the Remington-Thompson .45 with a longer than standard case, intended for use by the military in Thompson sum-machine guns that have been fitted with a special box magazine.