The Snider Cartridge

The Snider Cartridge is a standard center fire rimmed cartridge. Its standard length is 2 inches long. Some "Cadet" ammunition found is only 1 and 5/8 inches long but this can still be fired in any safe to fire Snider rifle.

The Snider cartridge started out its life as a coiled brass concoction that was prone to deformation and other damage. Luckily for us we do not need to worry about such archaic things. Standard solid cases were soon in use.

The basic cartridge schematic never changed too much throughout its life. Black powder filled the roomy case. The powder was separated from the bullet by a small tuft (about half a grain) of carded wool.
The wool kept the powder from being contaminated from any bullet lubrication that may melt and migrate in that direction. It would also protect the bullet base from the flame cutting action of the burning powder.

Carded wool is simply sheep's wool that has been sheared and then "combed" into more separated strands. It is the process done to wool before it is spun into thread. It can be found at some craft stores or from small sheep farms that supply traditional wool shops. I believe it can also be found through some online shopping venues.


The bullet was the component that did change a bit through the Sniders Military history.
Remember that the Snider was originally a conversion from muzzle loading firearms that shot the same .577 Caliber bullet as was to be used in the Snider. Why use the same bullet? Because the stores in the Commonwealth held millions of them and cost was a very large factor in deciding to convert these still viable muzzle stuffers to breech loading design!
Now most folks that would be reading this would know enough about muzzle loaders that the bullet used in them has to be quite undersized...Remember that the bullet has to be hand pushed down the barrel, even when fouled with powder from previous shots. Try pushing a modern jacketed bullet into a rifle barrel these days and you quickly learn the different strategies used in muzzle loaders versus breech loaders!

What all this means is that the military history of the Snider cartridge was mainly a series of changes to existing undersized bullets in order that they would obdurate reliably enough in the bore from the pressures exerted on them when fired, to be grasped by the bores rifling and flung at a target with the required accuracy of the day.
Surprisingly, the engineers succeeded with these tasks and the Snider was well known for being a reliable and accurate rifle.

But luckily for us, like coiled brass cases, today's Snider shooter does not need to restrict himself ONLY to undersized bullets. Read on to find out more what today's Snider shooter can do to keep his rifle on target.