.50-70 id

Hello to everybody,

I need help for identificación a .50-70 cartridge found in 3rd Carlista war (1872-76) battlefield area in Spain. I have tried before in our spanish collector site but nobody knows.
It looks like a bar-anvil system but with external cap. Seems that it has two opposite double crimps to hold the anvil in place.
I painted in red where the cartridge base attract the magnet.


Very interesting item you have there. There were experimental .50-70 designs using the Laidley capped bar system, but I believe those had the primer enclosed by the case head. The magnetic pattern you present so nicely would seem to be about right. Perhaps this is a version made with the cap exposed? Would think a battlefield find would be a very common and mass produced style but this one is a bit unusual!

Hopefully someone more knowledgeable than myself on this era of ammunition design can provide a definite ID.


Thanks for your answer Dave,

I think that the Laidley system has internal cap and the anvil is not crimped in the head but it resting against the bullet.
IMHO, this could be an improvement of the Martin bar anvil system with external cap but I can’t find any confirmation about it.
Is common find Bennet cases and cartridges in the Carlista battlefield but this is the only I see with this external cap. The .50-70 was used by the Carlistas, and as rebel forces they bought their guns and ammo thru arms traffickers from everywhere.

B Patrone: The version of the Laidley inside primed design that Dave mentioned to you does have an internal primer secured by an iron bar crimped at the base of the cartridge case; there is another Laidley variant design that follows the pattern you suggest, with the anvil resting against the base of the bullet. Both these designs are shown in the U.S. army’s Ordnance memo no. 14. It was interesting to me that you mentioned that the Carlistas did in fact make use of the .50-70 arms and ammunition. I hadn’t been able to find mention of use of that caliber in Spain. Jack


Jack responded while I was digging for my references! While your item may very well be a development of the bar anvil design, I thought the Laidley capped bar might be closer to what you have there. For more info, pics and sketches on this Laidley system and the Laidley arch anvil system you described, you can go to this link for a great reference by Berkley R. Lewis titled Small Arms Ammunition At The International Exposition, Philadelphia, 1876:

(Edited to add: Note: This is a large PDF (20mb?) but worth the wait.)

sil.si.edu/smithsoniancontri … T-0011.pdf

(Thanks to Iv4o for posting that!)

References are items #339 (figure 55) and #340 (figure 56) on pages 32 and 33. There are section pics on page 64.

There is also George A. Hoyem’s The History And Development Of Small Arms Ammunition, Volume Two that shows probably the same cartridges on pg. 45 and pg. 51 as items CFR 57(c.) and CFR 59(l.).

The related history you mention is fascinating and hopefully we will hear more about this one from the folks here. (I kinda hoped Jack would know!..)


Hola BPatrone,

In my opinion this is not an American unknown experimental ignition system but most probably an improvised reload made in Spain(?) from american cases. Another variation made from a typical Benét cup primed cartridge was recently posted at municion.org forum.

Un saludo grande.


The possibility of a modified common inside primed case certainly crossed my mind but the appearance of the primer and pocket looks like a well made product manufactured with some level of a refined process. The very interesting modified cartridge you referenced on Municion has the look I would expect of an improvised reload.

municion.org/phpBB3/download … &mode=view

Regardless, given its origin, it would be more likely that it is as you suggest and the very existence of examples of such conversions lends strength to your opinion. Now I’m very curious as to how they look on the inside!

I had suggested the possibility of a variation of the Laidley capped bar as the item in question obviously has a bar in place (rather than a cup with the crimp location such distance from the rim) based on the magnetic signature BPatrone shows and a cap as well (though external here). The photos do show what may be original bar anvil crimps near the rim and the large crimps may be to support a device used to house/create an anvil for the primer and part of the reloading process. Gas seal would likely be less than effective compared to the inside primed version!

Very neat item even if it isn’t a super rare, unknown 'till now U.S. experimental…

Best Regards,

Thank you Dave, for share this very interesting document. It will give me hours of reading.

I forgot that Laidley variant, but after checking my references I found this patent in the Bartlett-Gallatin book:

Here is showed that Laidley’s patent also claims exposed primers combined with his large anvils resting in the bullet. So, it is possible that he also tried the external cap with his own bar anvil system.

Indeed the Hoyem’s CFR 57(c.) and CFR 59(l.) cartridges are the same #339 and #340 because they have just this numbers overprinted in the Hoyem’s pictures¡¡

Really Fede, after reading yours sugestions I think is possible that it could be an improvised reload system because, as dave said, the crimps near the rim may be the original bar anvil crimps. Although is too much of a coincidence that the old and new crimps are perfect overlaid…

Until more information show up, I will label it in my collection as .50-70 Carlista bar anvil, that is a cool name for the spanish collectors.

Thanks to all for your help and best regards



Great info! Thank you for posting that. If you ever get the chance, an X-ray of your item might tell a bit more of the story. Hope you have success in confirming just what it is. In the meantime, I think the description you chose is super. Fascinating thread you started here!