50-70 Government Farrington Primed?


I really don’t know much about some of these older patent ignition cartridges so I am counting on the expertise on the forum to help me.

I am told the below is Farrington primed 50-70 Government cartridge. Is there any way to ID these and if there is does this look like one?



That little blister on the surface is one way to identify a Farrington primer, but not all of them have it. Often, these primers look like they have been ‘smeared’ into the primer pocket, the face of the primer being concave and the edges being a little uneven and appearing to blend in somewhat with the perimeter of the primer pocket. Also, the cases of the cartridges that the early Farrington primers are found in often have a high copper content, giving the brass a coppery-reddish color.

Thanks again Guy. I learned something again which is dangerous for me.

I was wondering about the little raised dot in the middle. I have three of these cartridges and two have the raised dot. The third is different and the primer is almost black in color and is concave without the raised dot. All of them appear smaller than a Berdan primer and are not domed.


The raised dot is the blister I referred to that is one some Farrington primers. Not sure about the black primer - do you have a picture of it?


Here is a scan of the one with the black primer. It can’t be seen in the photo but the primer is concave.


Hmmm… I don’t know what that black primer is.

Just a guess, but I’ve got several shotshells that had “black” primers that are copper once you work your way through the (fairly tenacious) tarnish. Rich

I agree it is probably copper, but it shows no characteristics that might suggect it is a Farrington primer. The case head appears to be USC, but who can say for sure.