45-70 primers


I’ve been a .22 rimfire box collector for over 30 years and have accumulated sufficient knowledge to make purchases with some accuracy. Since joining this forum I’ve become interested in old centerfire metallic cartridges, namely 45-70s. Now I find that I am fairly stupid as a CF collector because I’ve never had much interest in them. In another thread I learned about dating them, at least the military Frankford produced ones. Can someone post examples of the various primers. I have sketches from some books that show all as just a circle. But, I still wonder what an “oval” primer is versus a “rounded” primer. Or are the they same thing just described differently by different collectors? I assume that a “flat” primer is just that, flat. Some photos would be much more evident as to what the difference is.


Roger–Yes, “Oval” and “Rounded” and sometimes “Domed” are all terms for the same shape. There is of course Flat, with or without markings. Both Rounded and Flat come in copper, brass and nickeled. Other types include “Protected” (Usually with Flat Primers), Keene (Mostly found in E.Remington & Sons rounds), Farrington (Usually found in U.S.C.Co. rounds) and both Boxer and Berdan. All of these can be found in external primed .45-70’s. There are also several variations of the Inside Primed types.



If you haven’t done so already, go to the Old Ammo Guy’s site and look thru his photographs. You’ll find many of the primer types as well as a lot of other good information. Plan on spending a lot of time there since it’s a site loaded with stuff you’ll not find anywhere else.

And, while you’re at it, thank Guy for his efforts and maybe even buy a trinket or two to help support his habits. ;) ;)




Thanks Ron. I’ve read all those terms but I still would like to see a photo of each type so if I see one at a gun show I will know what I’m looking at. Thanks to you I do have sketches of them but almost always they are just a round circle inside the headstamp.

I scanned these three in. The 45-70 on the left has what I would call a rounded primer (flat on top with rounded edges), the middle 45-90 has a definite “oval” appearance (rounded into the center with no flat surface), and the right 32 S&W has an almost “flat” primer. Am I interpreting them correctly?

*edited to correct poor spelling


Some use oval to describe a round or domed primer which has a flat area in the center, not completely rounded or domed in shape if viewed in profile.