Any of you wild characters shoot pinfire guns?


February 6, 2014, 07:43 PM
Just watching a rerun of Pawn Stars and a guy brought a Lefechaux revolver into the shop.

I know pinfire ammo is potentially dangerous stuff in and of itself and probably not easy to come by unless you're pretty crafty (meaning Bushyhands94 probably has half a crate of it assembled), but it just set me wondering if any of you ladies and gents own or shoot any pinfire guns.

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February 8, 2014, 12:28 AM
I have a pin fire blank gun.
And enough ammo to last me the rest of my life.

But that's it for me.


February 8, 2014, 12:37 AM
manufacture wouldnt be as had as you think. the cartridges arent as dangerous as you would believe. slightly worsethen rimfire, but those get slammed awfulhardat times.

February 8, 2014, 12:57 AM
Actually they are perfectly safe to manufacture, because the explosive primer mixture would be put in wet/inert, after the pin and then the sealing lacquer.

Then they would be dried and become live primer compound again.
Just like all Rimfire and center-fire primers are made.

But they are far more dangerous to transport, handle, or carry on the person then any type of modern ammo.

All it takes to set one off is a bump or compression of the pin and it will make a very loud noise.


February 8, 2014, 02:15 AM
Dang RC, I had one of those pin fire "key ring" guns. Shot all the blanks, and lost it sometime in the '80s. Fun little thing and Loud! The pin fire blanks looked dangerous to carry around, a kaboom waiting to happen!

Skinny 1950
February 8, 2014, 04:51 AM
Here is a picture of my Pin Fire is pretty flimsy and I would not try shooting it but I thought that it should be included in my collection because it represents the transition from cap and ball to cartridge. (

February 8, 2014, 06:14 AM
Pinfire cartridges are a bit finicky to reload, but you can get tools from H&C Collection ( in France. They have cases and dies for the most common revolver cartridges, as well as shotguns

A common issue is that the modern reloadable brass cases are too thick and don't seal very well. I describe how you can reload pinfire cartridges in the book I link to in my signature.

Willie Sutton
February 8, 2014, 09:49 AM
Needlefire reloading next!



February 8, 2014, 10:47 AM
Hope I have not already posted so this doesn't get kicked back.

This old 9mm is not shot as at some point in its life someone tried to modify it to something much like (if not) .38 S&W by modifying the hammer and drilling a hole for a hammer mounted firing pin through the recoil shield. Oddly the chambers are countersunk as for the rims of a .38 S&W and I wonder if this might have been originally designed for such a modification and just hade the mod done poorly.

Naturally I have not attempted to fire this thing with any ammo. Like all such guns that one gets in these parts that might remotely be old enough this has a story including the American Civil War which is likely mostly made up. But here goes.

Supposedly this was a privately owned revolver that went off to save the South from the Invaders. At some point after its owner returned home he gave it to one of his people (former slave now underpaid worker living on the property in a boss owned house) as a means of securing status for the straw boss (the former slave now midlevel management) as a means of defending against imagined reptilian threats and such. Gun handed down among straw boss' folks until pin fire ammo was hard to get when grandson modified the gun and carried it with center fire ammo. After some sort of disturbance gun was retrieved by someone not in either family line and disabled then carried about behind the seat of a pick up several years until given to the father of a friend because "your boy likes guns and stuff" specifically for my friend. Friend kept it a while then gave it to me. Besides the recoil shield and hammer modifications the grips were replaced with what we jokingly referred to as recycled Clorox bottle material and in a feat of masterful Bubba-izing the grip screw drilling ate away more than half the thickness of the main spring and caused heat treat problems such that it broke.

I often toy with the idea of building up a fake hammer nose, polishing the puppy and reblueing it and carving a set of genuine pine grip panels to be stained and hanging it out where folks can see it.

So, no, I do not shoot a pinfire.


February 9, 2014, 05:30 PM
But they are far more dangerous to transport, handle, or carry on the person then any type of modern ammo.

All it takes to set one off is a bump or compression of the pin and it will make a very loud noise.

That's where I'd have the concern. I guess that a box could be made with some foam inserts for transporting them to the range though. It's not like I'd do anything other than shoot one at the range occasionally even if I did have one.

And thanks to everyone for the replies. I have very little knowledge of pinfire guns and just wondered if anyone was still shooting them.

Loyalist Dave
February 13, 2014, 04:46 PM
Well it looks as though you have a Lefaucheux M1858, and they were purchased by CSA and Union forces for the American CW. I think though that the only mass produced pinfire available at the time of the ACW were all in 12mm or 11.45mm. If yours is a converted 9mm it was probably a Belgian copy done in 1870.


February 14, 2014, 04:18 AM
Here's a couple of newly loaded 11mm pinfire cartridges:

Willie Sutton
February 16, 2014, 08:13 PM
^^ Beautiful!

Can you post some photos and description of the process to load these?



February 17, 2014, 03:48 AM
It is actually quite easy. I use cases and reloading equipment from H & C Collection ( in France, but they can also be obtained from Dixie.

1. To prime the case, insert a #11 or 10 percussion cap in the bottom of the shell with a primer seating tool that comes with the reloading kit. Like original pinfire cases, the H & C cases have a recess in the bottom of the case into which the cap is inserted. The firing pin should hit the inside or the cap, so make sure you insert he cap 'upside down' facing the hole for the pin. You can see a picture of the tools in my black powder book ( or at the H&C Collection homepage.

Here is a drawing showing the concept of the primer and pin:

2. The firing pin is inserted through the hole at the base of the case and into the cup of the cap. It should be a tight fit, so use a pair of pliers or similar to seat the pin. The pin should stop about 1mm (.04") from the priming compound. Since the pin now is inside the cup it efficiently locks the primer into the recess. Proceed with caution, because one blow to the pin may now set off the cartridge. Some shooters use glue or Loctite to secure the pin.

3. Next, fill the case with powder and seat a bullet on top. Finding a proper bullet heel base bullet may be challenging, but roundballs work well. As you can see on the picture above the cartridges is loaded without a crimp since the case walls are thick and hold the bullets easily, but H & C has dies for crimping and sizing pinfire cases as well.

4. After shooting, pull out the pin, remove the primer and clean the case.

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