40-70 identification

I inherited a collection of cartridges from my father and am attempting to catalog them with the intent of selling the entire collection. I have reached an impasse with two .40-70 cartridges. One is head stamped 40-70 SS, the other 40-70 SH. I’m pretty sure that the SS is the Sharps straight, the dimensions are fairly close to what is shown in my 1965 issue of “Cartridges of the World” but, the SH doesn’t seem to fit any dimensions listed. Both have paper patched lead bullets but the exposed portion of the SS bullet is much longer, .783 vs .673. Dimensions of the SH follow:
Bullet dia, .400
Neck dia, .425
Base dia, .476
Rim dia, .558
Case l, 2.390
LOA, 3.070
Primer dia, .178
Head stamp, U.M.C., S H on either side of the primer, .40-70.
Sorry about the lack of photos. I don’t have a very good camera.
I would like to communicate with anyone on how to identify European cartridges. I am familiar with the diameter X case length measuring system but I’m finding that 8 mm is anything but. How does one know?
Help please.
Jim McQuillen
Tracy, CA

The dimensions are very close to the 40-63 Ballard, which was also loaded with 70 grains of powder. The ‘SH’ indicates that the case is made from drawn brass with a solid head. Older cases were made from folded brass that left the rim hollowed out and a weak point.

I had looked at the 40-63 but the LOA is so much different that I doubted it. There is a pretty big difference to be manufacturing tolerances.
Spent some time in the USN as well. All brown shoe, VF 213 aboard the Lexington, VS 24 aboard the Essex and Intrepid. Ended up teaching electronics at NATTC Memphis. Would have stayed there but the discipline had gotten so bad I got out when my enlistment expired.
Thanks for the info.

I think you have a 40-70 Ballard. I have one with no headstamp that is identical in all dimensions except OAL. Mine is 3.150" long.

I may be wrong but I don’t think UMC would have headstamped a 40-63 or 40-65 as a 40-70.


Quick and dirty.

left = WRA Co 40-70 SS

right = nhs 40-70 Ballard

That is the opposite of what I have. My cartridge head stamped W. R. A. Co. 40-70 SS, has an LOA of 3.293. My other is head stamped U. M. C., S one one side of the primer and H on the other, .40-70., below the primer, has an LOA of 3.079 Your photo seems to be the other way around. What are the LOA of your cartridges?

You are right. Left is right and right is left. Sorry about that. I said it was quick and dirty. :-(

OAL is 3.265" and 3.150"

I stand by my ID of 40-70 Ballard.