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Picture Page

 August 2009

A box of Amron .32 Colt New Police cartridges...... 






This box of Amron .32 Colt New Police cartridges is the first I have seen. According to the information in .30-06 by Chris Punnett, Amron started out in 1955 as Ritepoint Inc in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 1958, the name was changed to AMRON, and operations were moved to Waukesha, Wisconsin. In 1968, they were acquired by Gulf + Western Industries, and were sold four years later to Nasco International. They produced large military shells and components, and produced a line of centerfire cartridges between 1970 and 1972 for law enforcement use. That would indicate that this box was probably made between 1970 and about 1972 for police use. The cartridges in the box are headstamped AMRON  32 NP and have copper full metal jacket. The labeling indicates that the cartrdges are intended for use in the Colt Cobra revolver. 



A box of Remington-UMC .25-20 Hi-Velocity.......


Winchester introduced the high velocity loading of their .25-20 cartridge for their Model 1892 rifle around 1905; other ammunition makers would have been expected to offer their versions of this cartridge soon after. This box by Remington-UMC with its split UMC and Remington logos on the label would have been produced during the first year or so after the merger of the two companies in 1911. As early as 1913, the top label would include the combined company logo, and by 1916, the company name would appear on boxes as Remington Arms-Union Metallic Cartridge Co, Incorporated. The top label and side sealing label on this box both mention the Winchester Model 1892 and the Marlin Model 1894. These cartridges are loaded with a full metal jacketed bullet, which was much less common than the soft point bullet in the high velocity cartridges. The 'U' marked primer was used by the company for smokeless ammunition. Note that the side label indicates that the cartridges were not intended for use in pistols.



An early riveted 1.5" Hotchkiss cartridge case..........

Benjamin Berkeley Hotchkiss was born in Watertown, Connecticut in 1826. He became a skilled designer in the family's engineering business with a passion for weapons. Starting in the 1850s, he was employed as a gun maker in Hartford, Connecticut where he worked on the design of  Colt revolvers. Following the Civil War, a time when there was little employment opportunity in the United States for firearms designers, Hotchkiss moved to France where he set up a munitions factory under the name Hotchkiss et Cie near Paris, and began producing guns and munitions for the French Government. One of his developments was a 5 barrel revolving machine gun that was made in four sizes from 37 mm to 57 mm, the smaller intended for Infantry use and the larger for naval use. Those used by the US Army included the 42mm (1.65") Hotchkiss breech-loading mountain gun and the smaller and lighter 37mm (1.5") Hotchkiss revolving cannon. The Hotchkiss mountain gun was first fielded by the Army in 1877, seeing service at Wounded Knee. In 1879, four of the smaller Hotchkiss revolving cannons were purchased by the Army, along with 2000 rounds of Hotchkiss 1.5" ammunition.

This picture shows the empty shell for one of the 1.5" cartridges intended for use in the revolving cannon. The body of the shell is formed from wrapped sheet brass, strengthened at the head with shallow brass inside and outside cups. The head of the shell is a disc of sheet iron, attached by three iron rivets which extend through the head to the inside cup to hold all parts of the shell together. The only mark on the shell is 'HOTCHKISS PATENT PARIS' stamped in the side of the hull along the edge of the wrapped brass sheet. I filled in the letters with chalk to make them readily apparent in the photo. The three rivets can be easily seen at the 12, 4 and 8 o'clock positions in this photo of the head. Because these sheet brass shells are difficult to  measure accurately, due to tendency of the brass to easily dent and get out of shape, dimensions tend to be more of a matter of averaging the minimums and the maximums of each of the parts of the shell being measured. That said, the dimensions of the shell are as follows: 

neck - 1.480"

base (just above rim) - 1.645"

rim - 1.880"

length - 4.699


These dimensions appear to be close to those of the shells tested by the Army in the 1.5" Hotchkiss revolving cannon in 1876 and 1877 prior to the Army purchasing any. The results of these tests, as well as dimensions and descriptions of the cannon and its ammunition were published in the 1879 Report of  The Chief of Ordnance, Appendix I4.

The projectiles of the Hotchkiss cartridge were of two types, one being  canister shot and the other an exploding projectile. An example of a Naval exploding type is shown here, this one being about one half inch shorter than projectile used by the Army in its 1876 and 1877 tests, but pretty close to the length to the 'improved' Hotchkiss projectile that was actually purchased by them, and otherwise similar in dimensions and construction. Made of cast iron, it is hollow and is intended to hold an explosive charge and a fuse that screws in the base, as opposed to a nose fuse as used in the Army projectiles. The brass section, referred to as the 'packing' or 'coating', is intended to take the rifling of the barrel, and is made from tube brass that has been contracted under high pressure into two grooves that encircle the projectile. Dimensions are as follows:

diameter measured just above the brass 'coat' - 1.437"

diameter of brass 'coat' measured a top - 1.446"

diameter of brass 'coat' measured above bottom tapered edge - 1.490"

diameter measured just below the brass 'coat' - 1.440"

diameter measured just below the groove - 1.440"

diameter measured at the base - 1.375"

total length - 3.605"

length of brass 'coat' - 1.180"

length of projectile above brass 'coat' - 1.590"

length of projectile below brass 'coat' - 0.835"

This illustration was taken from the 1879 Report of  The Chief of Ordnance, Appendix I7, which reported on the 1.5" 'light' field model of the Hotchkiss revolving cannon that were purchased by the Army and tested in May of 1879. The opinion of the commission conducting the testing was that the cannon was superior to anything else that was available at the time. Similar opinions were reached by a commission of the Russian Imperial Marines, an extract of which was included in the report.