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DateOriginal Topic
26th February 2003DUM DUM ROUND
By Clive Dickens
While we where touring the Zulu battlefields while in South Africa last October we where at the Khambula battle site and one of our party found what appeared a dum dum bullet which he handed to our guide who thought it was Snider round is there any history of dum dum bulletts being used during the Anglo /Zulu conflict?.
1st March 2003Bill Power
Well,I see no one has been daft enough to step into this quagmire! The complete answer to your query requieres ,no less,than a complete history of British Arms, receivers,rifling,calibre,propellants,bullets! All the factors that determine"wound ballistics",an unknown science of the times! To answer your question on DD in the AZW; NO!! The Snider bullet was a develoment of the Minie ball{the Burton,used in the US Civil War],a bullet cast of 12 parts Lead/1 Part Tin! Thus,it would mushroom on impact to give the appearance of a DD,being a soft material! A simple measure of the base of the bullet would confirm that it was a .577 snider with its concavity to facilitate the necessary expansion of the skirt to engage the rifling,the quantum leap from the previous rifled muzzle stuffers! Right,the DumDum was a tweak developed for the "Long Toms"the first interation of the LeeEnfield using a smokeless propellant,Cordite, a double ended extruded NitroCellullose! This change of propellant with a diffent pressure curve,along with a lighter bullet,280 vs 480gr.,to give a flatter trajectory,precluded the use of the previous bullet composition1 Driven at these increased speeds,it would simply not engage the rifling,even the enfield,the most aggresive of the lot,a long history from the Henry to the Metford ! So,the answer was to encase the lead bullet in a copper nickej jacket[many other things were tried,even Mercury.the "QuickSilver" used by the Yanks in competions ] ! So,we have this smaller calibre bullet,driven at higher velocity,encased in a hard case! What occuoured on contact with the opposition! Not Much! There were smaller ventalation,from the BrownBess,Baker,Snider,Martini,Enfield! DumDum,the arsenal just outside Calcutta,solved the problem,they ground the hard jacket off the nose of the bullet to expose the soft lead core,so it could expand,thus transfering its kinectic energy into hydraulic shock[disrupting the interernal orgins],the others of wound ballistics being perment cavity[a function of calibre]& temporar y cavity[[as the bullet transfersits energy ,on stopping, to the immediate tissue]!
1st March 2003Clive Dickens
Thank you very much for your very detailed and most interesting answer to my question,it is very much appreciated.I must confess I have never gone into the far off history in arms and amunition, a weaknees I intend to redress, The South African authorities allowed him to keep the round by the way.
Thanks again
7th March 2003Bill Power
If you wish to further your education in Victorian infantry arms,go to! Check out the links! Some of us completely barking mad nutters still pop off these items!! The Sniders were used by the locals, Martini Henry MkIII were used by the Regulars[ .450]! Regards! Bill
4th February 2004Ross Morrish
I have found burried here at banka banka station near Tennant Creek N.T. Aust. a 577 snider shell.
Could you send me some info about the bullet and a photo of a complete round?
What they were used for? Banka Banka settled in the 1880's?
thank you