45-500 UMC Information Needed



My father has come across an old box of 45-500 Government ammunition made by the Union Metallic Cartridge Company. I did a web search but could only find that the 45-500 is related to the 45-70. Can anyone provide any additional information or direct me to where I might find additional information?

Your assistance is greatly appreciated.



This is the standard 500 gr. load for the .45-70-500 Government. U.M.C. made this loading from about 1880 to 1910. It was also made in a 405 gr. Carbine load which is often headstamped .45-70 be is actually a .45-55-405. The carbine load is a short roundnose bullet while the 500 gr. is much longer. Depending on the condition of the box, the box could have more value than the cartridges. Could you post a scan of the box.


Welcome to the IAA site, IC!

I concur with Ron on this. I’ve never seen a box with the .45-500 nomenclature; a box so marked would be interesting to see. “.45-70-500” is fairly standard.



The box you mention, if memory serves correctly, is a tan box with red print, and is for the smokeless 45-70 government contract load with 500 grain bullet. Since black powder was not used, the “70”, referring to the standard 45-70 rifle load of 70 grains of black powder, was left out of the caliber call-out on the box. Boxes like this are not common, but are not “rare” either…UMC began loading these in 1898 or so. They can be found with U.M.C. S H .45-70. or U.M.C. .45 GOVT. headstamps and the cartridge cases should have a knurled cannelure around the body of the case where the base of the bullet is. Randy


Hello Teak, Ron and Idlechater…
Here is a pic of the box I had when collecting UMC stuff…


Randy–Thanks for posting the picture of the box. I collect 45-70 (Mostly for the benifit of my son when he inherits my collection. He is a big time fan of shooting the 45-70.). But I don’t collect boxes. I had never seen that designation before. Your explanation of dropping the “70” makes sense.


When Frankford Arsenal began experimenting with smokeless powder in 1897 they designated the “new” cartridge as "RIFLE BALL CARTRIDGE CAL 45 - MODEL 1898. No reference to powder charge as with the old standard. Some of the very first contracts to produce the new cartridges went to U.S.C. Co. and many of their contract boxes were labeled as .45-500 GOV’T. SMOKELESS.

Smokeless carbine rounds were not adopted, apparantly because a suitable powder could not be found.