45-70 Questions


#1

I was just browsing through my small 40-70 collection and have some questions. Is my memory correct in that there was a Carbine and regular rifle load [bullet weight]? And were any of the commercially loaded ammo used by the military?

Thanks!
Steve


#2

[quote=“SteveF”]I was just browsing through my small 40-70 collection and have some questions. Is my memory correct in that there was a Carbine and regular rifle load [bullet weight]? And were any of the commercially loaded ammo used by the military?

Thanks!
Steve[/quote]

Yup, back in the day they were rifle loads & carbine loads. The sissies shooting the carbines, complained about to much recoil when shooting standard rifle ammo in them. The powder charge was differant, but I believe the bullet weight was the same.


#3

Commercial contracts were awarded for much of the .45-70 era, using special military headstamps. Most .45-70 ammo procured after adoption of the Krag seems to have been from commercial sources, with commercial headstamps.

Hackley, Woodin & Scranton Volume 1 is loaded with all the details and facts.
That is a superb book, as is Volume 2, and hopefully soon, Volume 3. Most highly recommended for anyone with the slightest interest in U.S. military small arms ammunition.


#4

Any way to tell between the “procured military” ammo and the commercial?

Steve


#5

HWS VOL I begins in 1880 and misses the early days of the Cal .45 ammunition development.

From the very beginning (1873) there were two cartridges - the 45-70-405 Rifle and the 45-55-405 Carbine. Once removed from the cartons they could not be told apart. Beginning in 1877 headstamps were introduced to differentiate the two. Basically, an “R” for Rifle and a “C” for Carbine. In 1882 a 500 grain bullet for rifle loads was adopted.

Contract produced ammunition was first identified by headstamps and by labeling on cartons. Later contracts used commercial headstamps and can only be identified by the carton labels, AFAIK.

I think I would disagree with argo69’s assertion that the Cavalrymen of the day were “sissies” complaining about recoil. There are many period accounts of cavalry asking for the longer range rifle ammunition, and conversely, infantry asking for lower recoil carbine ammunition. GIs back in those days were no different than today’s.

Ray


#6

Ray–Nice explanation and photo. How about adding a caption to the photo to ID each cartridge.


#7

[quote=“RayMeketa”]HWS VOL I begins in 1880 and misses the early days of the Cal .45 ammunition development.

From the very beginning (1873) there were two cartridges - the 45-70-405 Rifle and the 45-55-405 Carbine. Once removed from the cartons they could not be told apart. Beginning in 1877 headstamps were introduced to differentiate the two. Basically, an “R” for Rifle and a “C” for Carbine. In 1882 a 500 grain bullet for rifle loads was adopted.

Contract produced ammunition was first identified by headstamps and by labeling on cartons. Later contracts used commercial headstamps and can only be identified by the carton labels, AFAIK.

I think I would disagree with argo69’s assertion that the Cavalrymen of the day were “sissies” complaining about recoil. There are many period accounts of cavalry asking for the longer range rifle ammunition, and conversely, infantry asking for lower recoil carbine ammunition. GIs back in those days were no different than today’s.

I can’t find a photo with cations. Here are the Frankford Arsenal cartridges from beginning to end.

Ray[/quote]

i really didn`t mean one group in perticlar. (sissies) But there were complaints. If my memery serves me right, I think that was one of the problems with the 30-03 ammo. To much recoil? Thus the 30-06 was invented.

argo69


#8

left to right:

nhs Rifle and Carbine, Benet primed, narrow primer crimp
R F 4 80 Rifle, Benet primed, wide primer crimp
C F 4 79 Carbine, Benet primed, wide primer crimp
R F 5 84 Rifle, 500 grain, outside primed
C F 10 84 Carbine, outside primed
F 10 87 Rifle, outside primed, trinomial headstamp
F 3 87 Carbine, outside primed, deep seated bullet, trinomial headstamp
F 4 92 Rifle, tinned case
F 3 92 Carbine, tinned case

Back when I was collecting US Martial Arms, I also collected the cartridges that went with each one. Not headstamps, just the different types. When I sold my Cal .45 collection I had over 100 different cartridges, and that was not a complete collection.

argo - I don’t think the switch from Cal .30 Model 1903 to Cal .30 Model 1906 had anything to do with recoil. JMHO

Ray


#9

argo–The only difference between a Cal. 30 Model 1903 cartridge and the .30 Cal. Model 1906 is the neck length. The Model 1906 neck is about 1/10 inch shorter. The reason for the shorter neck is because of the change from a 220 gr. RN bullet in the Model 1903 and the shorter spitzer bullet in the Model 1906. The shorter bullet did not need the longer neck to hold it adequately so it was shortened. It had nothing to do with the recoil.


#10

Thank you for the help every one!

Steve

P S I will post a photo of some of my 45/70 rounds. Nothing fancy.


#11

Military 45/70

My blanks

Commercial loads


#12

What a beauty! Gents, thanks for these nice pictures! How I wish to possess just one 45-70!
Is there only the case was tined, or the bullet too was tined?


#13

[quote=“Iv4o”]What a beauty! Gents, thanks for these nice pictures! How I wish to possess just one 45-70!
Is there only the case was tined, or the bullet too was tined?[/quote]
The case only was tinned. M. Rea


#14

Back in the days when shootable quantities of original .45-70 FA loads from the late 19th century were available (40+ years ago), I did some experimentation in shooting and reloading them, using an original Trapdoor carbine I had at the time. Many rounds were duds, but a low percentage would fire. Also, many brass cases of those rounds that did fire developed a longitudinal split on the first firing. Of those fired cases capable of being reloaded, I noted that the brass was extremely hard and was almost impossible to full-length resize. I don’t know if the brass was so hard when originally manufactured or whether it hardened with age. My attempts to anneal the case mouth with a propane torch didn’t produce much softening either. Modern Large Rifle size primers fit the old FA primer pockets perfectly. When bullets were removed from dud rounds, the black powder was always a hard solid cake which was difficult to remove.

By the way, I have a book by Charles Winthrop Sawyer entitled “Our Rifles.” It is undated, but undoubtedly was published relatively early in the 20th Century, probably the 1920s. It has quite a lot to say about the Springfield Trapdoor rifles and carbines and their ammunition, as well as covering a great many other US military and sporting rifles and ammunition. A very interesting work with considerable weapons-related anecdotal information of an historical nature, some of which I’ve never read elsewhere. I’d put it in the same category as “Hatcher’s Notebook.” The original printing that I have is the only one I have ever seen, but there are later reprints available.