.50-70 Gov't smashed relics

Found these at the flea market. I believe they are .50-70 Government. I think internally primed so they would be early ones. What is unusual about these is they have been intentionally pinched closed as if to contain something on the inside. I am tempted to pry one open and see if anything is inside, but don’t want to ruin them. Does anyone have an idea of what is going on with these? Also, the dimple in the end: is that a firing pin mark or a manufacturing mark? Curious if these have been fired or not. Thanks in advance for the replies. UPDATE: I weighed them. An empty, not smashed case, clean, weighs 8.6 grams. These four with the smashed ends weight 9.8-10 grams. So there is either something in them or the external corrosion weighs the difference. ??


I think I found my answer here. Thanks.

Hard to see but they do look to be Benet primed centerfire cases.

That may account for the weight difference, depending on your benchmark

It would seem to me that it would be very reasonable to smash any fired cases during the 1870s through the 1890s because our native brothermen were quite resourceful in reloading cartridge brass. I have read that they got good at reloading even rimfire cartridges. Leaving fired brass around might not be a smart thing for our boys in blue.

If one intended to crush a fired case to reduce its likelihood of being reloaded it would be better to deform it toward the base, not the mouth. A flattened case mouth can be straightened or shortened, but damage toward the head is far more likely to make reuse impossible. Jack

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My thought also, Jack. These are uniformly just pinched on the ends.

Check out Guy Hildebrands “oldammo.com”. Go to the picture archives, April 2014. He explains “General Order #13” destruction of fired cartridges there.

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Correction- April 2004.

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