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Boxer Cartridge

transcribed from an article in The Technical Educator Weapons of War V  

by An Officer of the Royal Artillery

Boxer cartridge for Snider

The Boxer cartridge for the Snider rifle consists of a case of thin brass .005inch thick, rolled into a cylinder, and covered with paper, by which the coil is cemented together, The coiled brass is fitted into a double base-cup of  brass, with an iron disc  forming the end of the cartridge  which abuts against  the  breech block of the rifle. The case is secured in its position by means of a rolled paper wad inside, which is squeezed out with great force against the sides of the case. The iron base is attached to the cartridge by means of the copper “cap-chamber”, which contains the detonating arrangement; the cap-chamber, being riveted over at each end, holds the base tightly to the cartridge. 

The ignition is effected by means of a percussion cap, resting on a shouldered brass anvil.  To explode the cap, it is necessary that the crown of the cap should be indented  ( by the striker of  the rifle, for example), when the detonating composition  is brought into contact  the anvil, and the flash  passes through  the fire-hole at the bottom of the cap-chamber  to the powder in the case. 

The top of the cartridge is closed by means of a small quantity of wool, over which is fitted the bullet. This bullet has four grooves or cannelures round it, which serve to carry the wax lubricant, which in this ammunition is distributed in a thin film around the bullet. The construction of the bullet is peculiar, the head as well as the base being hollowed out.  The base is hollowed out for the same reason  as in the muzzle-loading  Enfield – viz., for the insertion  of a clay plug, by which  the bullet will be expanded into the  grooves of the rifling, The head of the bullet  is made hollow, in order  to give the necessary length to the  bullet  without increasing the  weight. 

The following are the details:
  • Length of the bullet 1.065 “
  • Diameter (without lubrication) 0.573”
  • Weight 480 grains
  • Length of cartridge 2.445”
  • Weight 1 oz.10drs 20grs.
  • Charge 70 grains. 

This bullet, although an ingenious contrivance for overcoming  the difficulties  inherent in a large bore  slow-twist rifle, is the least  satisfactory part  of this ammunition; and repeated changes  have been made, and innumerable  experiments, with a view to the adoption of  another bullet for this arm. Hitherto the results  have been attended with little marked success , and all that can be said  is that the present bullet  gives an accuracy  and general shooting power  about  equal  to that  of the old Enfield,  and superior  to it in one respect – viz ., that the wounds inflicted  by the hollow-headed  bullet are much more severe  than those  inflicted by a solid-headed bullet.