45-70 questions

This is probably a simple question for you,but I know very little about 45-70 cartridges.
Is this kind of crimp common?Inside neck diameter is .430" to .432".
The cartridge seems to had been unloaded.
Headstamp WRACo 45-70,raised base.Could you date this specimen?


When black powder 45-55-405 Carbine cartridges are loaded there is empty space in the case because of the smaller powder chrage. This space is accomodated either with wads or by seating the bullet deeper than normal. With the deep seated bullets it is necessary to apply a very exaggerated crimp to close the mouth of the case over the bullet ogive. This will result in the case mouth being .430 to .435" inside diameter

That may be what your case is although I will say that I have never seen a crimp quite that severe.

It could also be that someone started to neck the case down to a smaller caliber. Making .38, .40, and .44 cartridges from the 45-70 case was a very common practice.

Other than these two possible explanations, I cannot say what your case may be. I’m not very good at dating WRA Co cartridges but would guess that it is early 1900s.


Caro Pivi,
The case shown looks as if it has been run into a 40/82 WIN die,(or other die) in order to “crimp” down the case to hold a Wad, possibly for a Blank Fire case, or an “Industrial Power Blank” used in Railway Bolt-hole Punches…a Tool used to Punch Bolt holes in the web of a Rail (Rotaia) to fit the Fishplates(Joiners) when doing an emergency repair. The type of shellcase ( raised head) fits the time frame for such tools, as these were used well before the introduction of Thermit Welding , as seen in the 1970s and 80s-restructuring of the FS Italia network with continuous-welded heavy rail.
(Thermit process: a Mixture of Magnesium metal, Aluminium metal, and Iron Oxide (Fe2O3) in very fine Powder Form, is packed into a small Furnace over a Clay form around the two ends of the rail to be joined; the mixture is ignited with a Magnesium strip Fuze…the resultant very high temperature causes the Iron oxide to be reduced to Liquid Iron, which runs down and Fusion-welds the pre-heated rail ends together…the Oxygen in the reaction combines with the Magnesium and Aluminium to form their respective oxides. The REACTION RELEASES LARGE AMOUNTS OF HEAT. When the whole thing has solidifed, the Furnace Funnel and the now hardened clay forms are removed, the Weld-mass cleaned up by High speed grinding, and the Joint is done.
Whilst the extra long lenghts of rail are usually joined by Butt Electrical welding in a factory, and the rails delivered in several Hundred metre lengths by a special Train of “rail” wagons, to be fed directly onto the rail bed, the ends of these long segments still have to be joined (to each other, to Switches( deviations etc) or to specially made “isolation Sections” ( specially joined small rail units which have an Insulated Joint for Signal Impulse transmission purposes))

The Thermit process was the basis of a Lot of Incendiary devices used in “Fire-Bombing” raids during WW II , the intense heat developed capable of burning through Sheet metal roofing, and even light masonry, and igniting almost anything combustible.

It could also be a Blank for a US-made Naval Line Throwing Gun They were made from Remington Rolling Blocks or Obsoleted Springfield Trapdoor Musket actions, right up to WW II.

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


Looks like we were typing at the same time.

The early line throwing blanks will usually have a straight case mouth so that the bolt can enter the case and sit on the wad. Later blanks had a heavy roll crimp, closing the case mouth enough so that the bolt cannot enter the case but, instead, sits on the top of the crimp.

But, that’s not to say that Pivi’s case is not a line throwing blank.

As a footnote, the use of 45-70 blank cartridges for line throwing did not stop at WW II. The modern guns still use the cartridge.


That case mouth, sure looks like the ones on the wood bullet shot loads. I do not have a WRACo, but the UMC SH, and the USCCO look just like it.

Thanks,if this can be helpful the inside surface of the case “blackened” by the black powder starts at 11,38 mm from the neck.