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Old 45-70 case found
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Earlier this month, I had access to a ranch in extreme west Texas. On this ranch is Ft. Holland, an old Indian Wars fort that was used as a ranch house during the 1920s, and subsequently used as storage and guest housing. In a canyon on the ranch, we found an old 45-70 case. I was wondering if this case could be dated (hoping that it might date back to those Indian War era soldiers).

Anyway, here are some photos of the old case next to a modern case from Federal.



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Brackettville, TX
 
Posts: 282 | Location: Brackettville, TX | Registered: 13 January 2005Reply With Quote
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The case can be dated to exactly when it was manufactured but not to when it was fired, unfortunately.

C F 10 84 means:

Carbine
Frankford Arsenal
October
1884

It was a copper-cased 45-55-405 carbine round. 45 Caliber, 55 grains of black powder. 405 grain bullet.

Ray


Arizona Mountains
 
Posts: 1560 | Location: Arizona Mountains | Registered: 11 October 2004Reply With Quote
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thanks on those details, I knew someone would come through for me.

The Federal Case was fired in my wife's USRAC Winchester 1886 . . . I notice that the old case was fired in a gun with a much larger and deeper penetrating firing pin? Does that give any clues about the gun that fired this old case?

Troy


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Posts: 282 | Location: Brackettville, TX | Registered: 13 January 2005Reply With Quote
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That era would be one of the 1868 Springfield "trap doors" (short barreled "carbine" version).
Part of your primer dent "mystery" is the gas pressure during firing, BP (low pressure) dosn't push the primer dent back out as much as smokeless (high pressure) powder does. Another part is that these used "percussion rifle" type locks, which offered a very heavy hammer toat would tend to bury the firing pin deep and offered enough inertia that the pin stayed forward.
 
Posts: 2123 | Location: Whittemore, MI, USA | Registered: 07 March 2002Reply With Quote
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I know that the cavalry/army was using Trapdoor Springfields in the 1880s . . . therefore, is the deep firing pin crater strong evidence that this cartridge was fired out of such a gun?

Troy


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Brackettville, TX
 
Posts: 282 | Location: Brackettville, TX | Registered: 13 January 2005Reply With Quote
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The regular Army used the 45 caliber Springfields from 1874 until the late 1890s but National Guard, State Police and other similar units were still using them as late as the 1930s. Surplus rifles and carbines (and ammunition) were sold commercially up until the 1960s or so. It's pure speculation as to what and when that particular cartridge was fired. Many other rifles, such as Sharps and Remingtons were also chambered for the 45-70 and 45-55. Your best clue would have to be the location and history of where it was found.

Ray


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Posts: 1560 | Location: Arizona Mountains | Registered: 11 October 2004Reply With Quote
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It was found about 2 miles south of the old Fort Holland site. I know that Ft. Holland was in operation by the US military from the mid-1880s up until just after WWI, then sold to the Miller Family (who still own the place). One of the last Indian "battles" (2 Comanche dead) fought in Texas was fought in Vieja Pass (that the Fort guards) and that the fort was involved in guarding the border against incursions from Pancho Villa, etc in the early 1900s. But that's about all that I know.

Troy


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Brackettville, TX
 
Posts: 282 | Location: Brackettville, TX | Registered: 13 January 2005Reply With Quote
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Troy

I've done a lot of metal detecting at old fort sites and Indian War battle sites. With the kind of history that you described I'd say there is a very good chance that the cartridge was fired in a Springfield Carbine or rifle. If the Fort was manned by Cavalry it makes the odds that much greater. If the area is remote and there was not much chance that it was some kid out plinking tin cans, so much better. All of these kind of things have to be added up although you'll never be 100% certain. But even 50% is pretty good for an artifact like that.

If you still have access to the fort site you need to investigate a little and see if you can find out where the rifle range was. The chances are you'll find a lot of stuff. The same for the location of the dump (usually a deep arroyo or canyon). The local library or historical museum may have photographs or even a sketch of the fort layout.

Good luck. You have a nice relic, regardless.

Ray


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Posts: 1560 | Location: Arizona Mountains | Registered: 11 October 2004Reply With Quote
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Many years ago when it was legal a customer that was old then had found one in Chief Joseph's Battle field and gave it to me. It doesn't have a removable primer and it miss fired.It looks like it had primer paste like a 22 only center fire. Took me a long time to figure out thow to drain the powder but I did it under water.The 7 and 8 are on eather side of the center and the R is in top and the F is on the bottom.
 
Posts: 8 | Location: Montana | Registered: 16 October 2006Reply With Quote
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Yankee

It sounds like you have one of the earlier inside primed cartridges. The primer mixture is contained in a cup which is crimped in place at the base of the case. It's called Benet primed.

The Benet primed cartridges were made in several calibers so it would help if you could give some dimensions. Photos would also be a big help.

Also, it seems that you overlooked at least one of the numbers. The number on the right would be the year of manufacture and will be two digits, such as 77 or 78. Since the final Chief Joseph battle took place in 1877 I would assume that the year date will be 1877 since there were no cartridges with headstamped dates earlier than that. If the date is later than 1877 it is doubtful if the cartridge is a legitimate artifact of the battle.

I used to do a lot of metal detecting at the Wyoming and Montana Indian War battle sites and had a big collection at one time. I'd be very interested in getting more information about that cartridge.

Ray


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Posts: 1560 | Location: Arizona Mountains | Registered: 11 October 2004Reply With Quote
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That makes it real interesting the year and how it might have gotten there. It is kind of bleared but at first look it looks like an 8 I don't know if any way it make it clearer. But there is only the 7 on one side of the primer spot and one othe number on the other side. I have put it in the chamber of my replica trapdoor 45-70 rifle so it fits in. Any suggestions of how the make the number clearer?
 
Posts: 8 | Location: Montana | Registered: 16 October 2006Reply With Quote
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I found a similar case near Ft Bowie in AZ in the early 1960's where the army fought the Apaches.
 
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what is stamped on the back of that one?
 
Posts: 8 | Location: Montana | Registered: 16 October 2006Reply With Quote
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