9mm Flobert Shotgun

Old guns with eroded chambers may be repaired to shoot again. Here’s how I brought an old Flobert shotgun back.

by Sergey Lyalko

The first rimfire metallic cartridge appeared in 1845 invented by Louis Nicolas Auguste Flobert of France. His cartridge consisted of 6mm percussion cap with a small lead ball inserted in its throat. It was powered solely by the fulminate of mercury in the cap with no powder as a propellant. In first trials, the rim was just a small bulge at the rear part of the cap. However, rim quickly obtained its more modern shape of a thin, round “washer” around the bottom of the cap, which greatly improved chambering.

What really helped Flobert’s rimfire take off was that it was designed specifically for indoor shooting, which is why guns chambered for this early rimfire are often called gallery, saloon, or parlor guns. The ease of indoor use proved critical. Shooting competitions have always been popular among knowledgeable military and civilian marksmen but conducted at full distance requires full-power firearms and lots of real estate. During Flobert’s time, such guns for competition had a big bores (mostly muzzleloaders) and were loaded with a good portion of a black powder. That’s a lot of lead, smoke, and noise.

This article is about a Belgian-made Flobert 9mm shotgun with a chamber corroded to the extend that extraction of the fired case became problematic. Before discussing the actual problem, note that some Flobert ammunition, including 9mm shotshells for this gun, are still manufactured. Fiocchi, for example, still makes 9mm rimfire shotshells loaded with #8 shot.

Read more in the November 2017 issue.

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