.50-60 Peabody rimfires

Here are a couple of .50-60 Peabody rimfire cartridges that were included in a mixed bunch of cartridges I recently purchased in an auction. These are the two variations of the .50-60 Peabody rim fire that are typically encountered. The polished one on the left with the shorter bullet was made by UMC; the other is thought to have been made by the Frankford Arsenal.



I did not know that the Peabody was a martial arm until I saw your photo and looked it up. Flayderman says the 50 Rimfire was one of the cartridges used in the martial arm so the Frankford Arsenal connection could be legit. In the civilian versions he lists ony 40, 44, and 45 calibers, the 44 being a rim-fire.

But, you probably already knew that.


The Canadian Peabody was in cal 50-60 but it is believed that it was issued with 56-50 Spencer ammo. About 3000 rifles were bought in 1866 but the 50-60 ctg is very scarce in Canada.

I have a box of similar cartridges. It was brought from Cuba during the Spanish-American war. Unmarked cardboard box, unheadstamped cartridges.

But mine should be .50-45s because of the case length (1.15 in.)

Could all the Peabody cartridges be fired in all the Peabody rifles of that caliber?

I believe yours are .56-50 Spencer.

[quote=“Guy Hildebrand”]Schneider,
I believe yours are .56-50 Spencer.[/quote]

Could well be, I’m far from being an expert in this field (or any other, by the way). Is there a list of measurements anywhere, so I can measure my samples and check? I measured the bullet diameter as close to the case mouth as I could, and it was 13 mm roughly. But the case mouth is rebated over the bullet, so maybe the bullet is fatter.

The following measurements are from John Barber’s The Rimfire Cartridge. Unfortunately, the Spencers are sometimes difficult to tell apart due to the lack of adherence to a common set of specs by the various makers.

.56-50 Spencer:
rim .636" to .649"
head .557" to .564"
case mouth .494" to .542"
bullet .491" to .527"
case length 1.004" to 1.194"
overall length 1.526" to 1.654"

.56-52 Spencer:
rim .630" to .647"
head .557" to .562"
case mouth .529" to .546"
bullet .510" to .542"
case length .910" to 1.170"
overall length 1.532" to 1.706"

.56-56 Spencer:
rim .632" to .660"
head .555" to .567"
case mouth .545" to .563"
bullet .539" to .563"
case length .857" to .925"
overall length 1.517" to 1.570"

And his measurements for the .50-60 Peabody:
rim .640" to .645"
head .561" to .565"
case mouth .495" to .526"
bullet .480" to .505"
case length 1.445" to 1.469"
overall length 1.834" to 1.887"