The .58 Schubarth is one of the strangest looking rifle cartridges you have ever seen.
The rifle round known as the .58 Schubarth is a type of ammunition known as a pinfire cartridge. Pinfire cartridges were invented in the 1830s by Casimir Lefaucheux of France and were one of the first practical designs for a metallic rifle cartridge.
The most popular type of rifles in those days were of the muzzle-loading variety. The pinfire cartridge was incredibly convenient in comparison to the loading process of a muzzle-loading rifle.
Instead of a firing pin striking the round from behind as with modern rifle cartridges, the pinfire, including the .58 Schubarth, featured a small pin protruding from the side of the cartridge.
Upon being struck, the pin would strike the primer which would then ignite the powder charge.
Another innovative feature of pinfire cartridges was their increased likelihood of firing when wet. A wet blackpowder charge in a muzzleloader is essentially useless.
Pinfire cartridges were made in a wide variety of sizes, including the .58 Schubarth, for many different guns.
The .58 Schubarth was fired from a breech-loading rifle designed by C.D. Schubarth and patented in 1861.
According to FreeMyCollection.com, “The whole idea of the cartridge and rifle is based on a modification and improvement of Gallager & Gladding’s cartridge and rifle that was created a couple years prior.”
As for the ballistics of the .58 Schubarth, C.D. Schubarth was once quoted as saying, “It will be seen that the powder is fired in the middle of the charge thus causing a rapid combustion [and] that this causes so great force be generated that 60 grains of powder has driven bullet through 15 one inch boards at a distance one hundred yards.”
The .58 Schubarth is a very rare cartridge these days and it is coveted by collectors. According to International Ammunition Association Inc.’s forum user Aaron, there may only be around a dozen or so of the .58 Schubarth left.
Aaron is one of the few people who owns one of these pinfire cartridges.
These types of strange looking and interesting firearm technologies really go to show just how much experimentation happened as guns and weapons developed.
It is pretty remarkable to think that we have gone from blackpowder in a metal cylinder to the types of firearm technology that we enjoy today. I, for one, am glad that the pinfire cartridge didn’t stay popular for long!