Conventional pinfire case with a cardboard tube with roll crimp at the top functioning as a shot capsule.
One of a series of pinfire revolver cartridges (5 mm, 7 mm, 9 mm, 12 mm and 15 mm) of French origin, but widely distributed in Europe. Lefaucheux patented the pinfire system in 1835, and production began in 1836. The pinfire was the earliest of the self-contained cartridges to attain widespread distribution in shotgun and pistol form, and remained a popular system until the appearance of rimfire cartridges in quantity in the late 1850s and the centrefire in the late 1860s, but thereafter its use was increasingly focussed at the cheaper end of the market, and manufacture of new pinfire arms effectively ceased with the outbreak of the First World War. Given the manufacturing processes of the time, the pinfire system was unsuited to high pressure cartridges, so never made a significant impact on the development of military rifles. Given that 'saloon' or 'garden' guns were very rarely chambered for pinfire pistol cartridges, the most likely employment of a shot load in a revolver was either as a non-lethal self defence load, or, more likely, an anti-dog load. Early bicyclists appear to have considered themselves particularly vulnerable to attack by canines (with the added fear, in continental Europe, of rabies), and a variety of lethal and less-than-lethal weapons were marketed for their protection, including centrefire revolvers for which a special cartridge, the 5.5mm Velo Dog, introduced in France in 1894 by Galand, with both bulleted and shot loadings.