15mm Pinfire Cartridge Conservation

The only 15mm pinfire cartridge in my collection has splits in the cartridge case. I am unsure of how best to proceed with stabilizing it before it gets any worse. Any suggestions?

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I have not seen this case cracking on any of my pinfires. Quite advanced.
I think the best idea is to try to section the round and remove the cracked section and powder.
That is a nice packet too.

Your case is not as bad as the pinfire cartridges I saw on display at the Melbourne, Vic museum around 2000? All cartridges were a case and a pile of white lead oxide? projectile residue completely fallen from the case. Obviously an old display that was neglected. ONLY OLD PINFIRES.Who cares?
Same for the British big game ammo on display. I hope they are now removed or replaced with good examples.I was very disappointed. I have photos hidden somewhere at home.

I would be concerned about the whole thing disintegrating if I try to section it. I was thinking of drilling it to remove the propellant and get rid of any pressure that is pushing from inside.

Possibly the only examples they had. Museum these days seem to be more about interactive displays rather than showing actual artifacts

I would agree that drilling a hole and removing the propellant seems a good start.
I thought the cracks were on one side only and sectioning would also relieve any pressure??
Sad that a nice 15mm is disintegrating with age. Good luck.
If the case continues to destruct you can then section it after you have drilled it.

Very nice box!!! thanks for sharing it.

could you please let me know the headstamp? in any! This will help on an investigation I am doing of this manufacturer. I will really appreciate.

Regarding how to prevent it for more degradation, according to my interpretation of the pictures, the inner force are not coming form the propellant. It looks like the force is from the fiber bore that hold the cup.
Drilling a hole could be an option but please check first if the powder is not fully solid now (in fact no more powder stage). If that the case (I strongly believe this is the case) drilling a hole will not add value.

Again, really nice box and unit! congratulations!

Thanks Daniel. There is no headstamp. There are cracks going almost all the way around the cartridge and if they continue then the bottom could fall off. There are a series of vertical cracks, one of which almost reaches the top of the case. This would match you idea of the fibre in the base pushing outwards and causing the cartridge to split. If I drill the case and remove the propellant then I should be able to winkle out the fibre. From your photo it looks like there is quite a narrow band for drilling in to.

Thanks David for the information of the headstamp. For the same investigation, could you please check if your unit match with this unit:

Regarding your unit, at this stage the lead unfortunately is also expanding. I really do not think drilling a hold will add value.


My one looks to have a single line of indentations around the bullet as opposed to the two lines on yours


Did this box and cartridge come together when you got it? Do you have any history about it or reason to believe the cartridge came in the box?

Daniel and I had a similar convo on this here:

Trying to deduce if this is a S&B cartridge.

Also, that “line” on the bullet is called a cannelure:

I bought the box with the one cartridge but can’t be sure if it is original or not. The box still contains the wood dust packing. The vertical edges appear to have some sort of thin reinforcement which has rusted through in places. My camera has packed up otherwise I would take a photo. I went ahead and drilled the cartridge case. The drill bit went though the case as if there was nothing there. The case wall is so thin that I ended up enlarging the hole with a drill bit held in my fingers. Still got to remove the contents when I find my special tool - a bent paper clip