30 Jul 2015

.321 Greener Multiball

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This a multiball loading of the .321 Greener. It was developed by W.W. Greener and was made from a modified .450-31/4” Nitro case. It dates from the mid-to-late 1920’s and was not a commercial success.

The distinctive longitudinal flutes retain the 3 projectiles. Note the top 2 bullets have a coned hollow base to accept the nose of the next projectile. The rearmost projectile is retained by a stab crimp at the bottom of each flute.

Note the use of cordite powder, and a Berdan primer.

This round was not headstamped.

A single ball loading was also made. This was a 155 gr. softpoint loading.

Reference: Hoyem, George, 1991, The History and Development of small arms Ammunition. Volume 3. Page 135.

Hat tip to Cartridge Collectors via Ratak Monodosico.

One Feedback on ".321 Greener Multiball"


I can only suppose this fancy cartridge was tested prior release on the civilian market, but I wouldn’t dare firin even a single one anyways since it is highly likely that one at least of its three bullets could expand and get stuck in the barrel, thus creating a very dangerous overpressure. This happened accidentally in submachine guns sometimes, though under exceptional circumstances (a cartridge with a primer but no powder in the case, for example). When it happened, the barrel didn’t necessarily explode; but it was definitively damaged and unable to work properly again afterwards. This could be another story with a much more powerful rifle cartridge!

It is true that, in the early 20th century, some gunsmiths and companies attempted to make a success with the idea of shotguns and rifles firing several bullets at a single time. Thus, circa 1914, French gun manufacture Manufrance attempted to introduce 22 LR triple bore bolt action carbines that could fire three cartridges simultaneously. Manufrance’s ad for this kind of carbine read (from recollection), that “farmers could tremendously increase their odds to hit and kill crows at long ranges in their crop fields with it” (don’t laugh, I swear it’s a true story). I once had the opportunity to see one of those Manufrance carbines, very rare today since they sold badly.

Around the same year, a European ammunition manufacture (whose name I don’t remember) attempted to launch on the civilian market 12 shotgun shells loaded with 6 lead projectiles tied each with others with thin steel wires (quite expensive to produce, as you can imagine). The expectation was about the same as with the aforesaid triple bore carbine: improving the odds to hit and kill crows in fields, by limiting natural dispersion at long ranges this time.

In the same vein and at the same period, but in the German Army this time, military engineers invented a special cartridge for the Mauser 98a infantry rifle, whose bullet was a 3 inches long 8mm steel rod. Its purpose was to improve the odds to cut barbed wires from trenches. It was then assumed that the rod could revolve in the air soon after it got out of the barrel, and that thus the odds were great that it could hit the barbed wire crosswise perchance. Those very long and heavy 8 mm Mauser cartridges had to be fired one by one, each time with the obligation for the shooter to unmount and mount the rifle’s bolt.
One can assume that this experiment proved to be disappointing since the production of those anti-barbed wires cartridges stopped shortly during WW1.

Of course, specimens of those cartridges are very rare and highly prized collectibles today.

This special .321. Greener is a strange ammunition for daring (or crazy) shooters, anyways.


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