.50 Government Variations, A Basic Guide. .50-70 & .50-45

Below is a PDF of a set of line drawings from the former TEXAS BULL SHOOTERS bulletin, 1976-1977, by Robert Mellichamp, provided here as a basic guide to .50-70 & .50-45 cartridges.

.50 Government Variations, A Basic Guide. .50-70 & .50-45.pdf (2.4 MB)

The drawings contained in the PDF are shown below-



Very nice! Thank you for sharing!

Great information.
I highly recommend it be added in the IAA Reference section for future users.

Is there any question about the F 2 97 brass cased round shown in Part III? Jack


I was under the impression that later dates were all from commercial contracts. Would be interesting to verify that FA manufactured .50 Government that late or made that case type at all.


The only info I can find at this time on this FA round is a poor quality photo of this headstamp in an old Oregon Club bulletin from the mid 1970’s.

So there are two different sources mentioning the round.


PS- CORRECTON, my statement above is NOT correct, the .50-70 Government series material that I have from the Oregon Club bulletin is incomplete. I have a copy of the second installment in the series which does NOT list the " F 97 2 " headstamp. But that does not mean it does not exist.

That thought to be, FA made example looks from the drawing as if a .45 Morse reloadable head might have been used.

Not to say by the arsenal, just that it night have been used.

I would offer the thought, that when these were being drawn, they were included because they existed, not that they were factory or arsenal “pure” product. I have discussed this ‘problem’ with others who, how shall I say this, overlap? the early collectors, who if it was different kept it & maybe, or maybe not, figured out down the road it was good. Or the collectors of today who with the advantage of time, GOOD BOOKS & the internet, have an easier time of distinguishing the differences.

Also note only one of the E. Remington & Sons style raised headstamps is shown.

Some Winchester contract .50-70 Government cartridges from a series on the .50-70 Government cartridge from the Oregon Cartridge Collectors Bulletin, Issue #60, 1977.
Shown are cartridges dated from 1882 to 1892.


I found a .50-70 fired case (brass, boxer primed) on my southern Arizona ranch. The only marking I see on the head is a 5 at what would be the 6-o’clock position. Any ideas as to year or maker?

Many Thanks, RJ

Howdy from Prescott, Ranger Joe

I might suggest a copper or brass-bristle brush to clean it a bit. Then use a good glass in strong sunlight, if you can find any down that way, & move the case so the sunlight angles across the base of the case which should allow you to see the details better.

Also the 5 on a .50-70 case should be at about the 7 or 7:30 or 8 position, so change the orientation to correct for that & that might help.

Howdy neighbor! Under closer observation (using a B&L 10x Coddington Magnifier) - what my 62+ year old eyes thought was a “5” is a dent and a few scratches. See at the 4:30 position in attached photo…

I guess this is unstamped. Thanks mucho!

Your welcome & as a guess I’d think it was made by E. Remington.