.40-70 Ballard?


I have a round that I think may be a .40-70 Ballard. The headstamp is: “UMC S H .40-70.”. The dimensions are:

Case Length: 2.475" (62.9mm)
Rim diameter: 0.55" (14mm)
Rim Thickness: 0.065" (1.6mm)
Bullet diameter: 0.395" (10mm)
OAL: 3.050" (77.4mm)

The bullet is lead, and is very long. It has a large, flat tip.

Thanks in advance for any info.



You have a 40-70 Sharps


The measurements match .40-70 Sharps, apart from that the rim is too wide at .553". The Sharps is listed as having a rim diamter of .533".


Falcon: The cartridge is the Sharps round; the rim diameter of .533 given in Barnes is likely a typo, as two specimens miked by me ran .549 and .551. Both the .40-70 Ballard and .40-70 Sharps straight as produced by UMC give the caliber as only “.40-70” but the Ballard round is usually (always?) fitted with a small .175 primer rather than the usual .210 large rifle primer used in the Sharps cartridge. This was because J.M. Marlin, producer of the Ballard rifle, had had problems with magazine explosions with the large primer in his magazine rifles and at his request UMC fitted the Marlin caliber cartridges with the small primer. JG


Thanks, I didn’t actually get that information from Barnes, it came off the internet. The person who made the website probably got it from Barnes.


Falcon–It is true that, at least as loaded by U.M.C., the .40-70 Ballard used the #1 1/2 primer while the .40-70 Sharps used the #2 1/2 primer. But the easiest way to tell them apart is the case length. As listed by U.M.C. the Ballard had a 2 3/8 inch case while the Sharps is 2 1/2 inch.


Thanks for the info everyone. Would this have been fired in a single shot rifle?


Falcon: Yes, the Marlin Ballards were falling-block type single shot rifles produced by the J.M. Marlin firm from the mid-1870s until the late 1880s. They were particularly esteemed as target rifles, but various models found use as small and large game hunting rifles, using both centerfire and rimfire cartridges. There were earlier, pre-Marlin, Ballards produced by other firms from the period of the American Civil War until the Marlin Ballards began. These earlier arms were all, I believe, chambered for various rimfire catridges. JG