.45"-70 Government


I have a brass-cased, Berdan-primed .45"-70 with a headstamp of ‘R 1 W 93’ which I understand is a Winchester contract load. If the ‘R’ indicates ‘Rifle’ why would this have a carbine bullet?
Would this be a factory load or a reload? I’ve managed to find references to similar cartridges in a variety of publications so it’s probably quite a common loading.


By 1893, the standard bullet would have been the 500 grain version. I used to know this stuff, so I may be wrong, but I believe that the separate carbine load was eliminated by 1893. Frankford Arsenal made, and distributed, various loading tools for troops to reload cartridges. That may explain the lighter bullet. Someone please correct me if I am wrong! Cheers.



Winchester used the “R W” headstamp for all of it’s contract ammunition up until 1893. After that, they used commercially headstamped cases (WRA Co). Only the box labels, or the bullet, were different.

Are you positive that yours is Berdan primed?

FA production of carbine ammunition continued until at least 1899.



Thank you both, it was the ‘1899’ bit that I was looking for.


Jim: For reasons I can’t cite WRA continued to produce the rifle loading with the 405 gr. bullet (that is, .45-70-405) for years after the 500 gr. bullet was standardized for rifle use (.45-70-500) in fulfilling its contracts for the government. And the primer is Boxer, not Berdan; WRA had standardized on that primer by 1878 or so. Jack


Thank you Jack.
Sorry Ray, I’d missed the point that you raised about the primer.