I have been mapping an 1860’s military road in Arizona with the Forest Service. An extremely interesting cartridge was found on the road. It is a brass cartridge with a flash hole and no rim. The cartridge is crushed, so it is impossible to get a mouth diameter and difficult to get accurate measure of case length, ect (I tried my best to get good measurements). The case length is approx. 1.170" and the rim/head diameter is about .545". I am guessing it is a .46 rimless Maynard, as it is the only thing that appears visually similar. I would appreciate any ideas of what this cartridge could be, and how it could have possibly ended up on a military road in the Arizona desert. The cartridge is made from one piece of brass. If this is a .46 Maynard rimless, any information on the cartridge/rifles chambered for it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
It is not a .46 Maynard, but it looks like a .50 Maynard (.50-50 Model 1865) with a missing rim. Add 0.030-0.035’’ to the case length and its dimensions would be correct for that case.
There are possible non-cartridge explanations too. Ornamental tip from a cane or flag holder, Some sort of piece for furniture or luggage, railroad construction equipment (end from a glass bubble in a level), railroad signal fusee, etc. Once damaged or broken any of these would have become scrap and discarded. Cartridges which could be reloaded (i.e. not the inside primed centerfire types or rimfire types) would probably have been salvaged.
Fede, I think you are exactly right. The early Maynard patents show a brass cup soldered to a base, which could easily have fallen off.
Thank you for the replies everyone.