A cartridge or what?

Someone brought me a box of assorted cartridges that were found in an estate. Most were common pistol cartridges but this one struck me as very odd. Is it a cartridge and if so, what?
The bullet appears to be a .45 (.451).

The odd taper to the left side contains a primer and this end is .26" dia.
OAL: 2.25"
Dia: .456
The odd shoulder reads: .521

I’ve had almost 300 hits on this but NO ONE has ventured a comment! Surprising. I take it from the silence that this is a farce of some kind.

I wouldn’t call it a farce, but I also have no clue as to exactly what it is.
I’m seeing a somewhat Burnside’ie breaching system as being required for it’s usage.
IF the OAL was shorter, I’d guess one of the percussion to cartridge revolver conversion systems

Well, its got a primer, and it looks like quite an old one, its got a bullet and that looks a bit more modern (rather Keith inspired and about the right proportions for a .45 LC). The world of transitional systems is obscure and murky. I certainly wouldn’t give it up as a farce. It might be something very unusual
Mind you, if you don’t get anything off here I don’t know who you are going to ask next, maybe the curator of the NRA Museum? or I think the curator of the Gettysburg museum (if its still the same man) is very knowledgable. After that the Smithsonian maybe?

With emails these days its so easy to ask, it doesn’t even cost you a stamp.

It really is unusual considering the highly qualified number of people on this forum that have such expansive knowledge and resources to have no comment on this cartridge. I can’t wait to read what it is. I can envision a single shot rifle with a bolt block with a recessed face to enclose the primer end to the cartridge and either the bolt camming forward to seal the breech when a lever or some other opening device is closed or the barrel camming back like a J.D. Dougall Lockfast action.
cool cartridge.

This just shows how little is known and how much is unknown. We are barely scraping the surface.

Its things like this that are what we are all about. Echoing EOD’s comment, so little is known but also so much knowledge is continually lost. I have no doubt there are more than a few people on here thinking “I’ll bet old (name) would have known what that was”

Question? Is the primer section integral with the case, i.e. drawn as one piece or is it attached to the body of the cartridge? It almost looks like machine turning marks on the primer section of the case??

A far out thought ? An experimental Crispin centerfire, for use in a converted Smith carbine ??
LOL, M.Rea

I’ve looked at this under a magnifier up to 12x and it does appear to be turn marks. Though I cannot make out a seam, there is a band of corrossion, very small but completely around, sort of under that flanged portion. It’s similar to what I have seen on black powder rounds that have cracks. There is a seam, and a clear bevel, to the piece that the primer fits into. I would say 2 pieces were joined up here, 1 inside the other, and then turned. The bullet appears to be soft lead and has seen a lot of abuse. It’s even slightly bent. Not certain that this shape is original.

Think maybe it’s time to email Bill Woodin

I’m not discarding other possibilities, but in my opinion it looks like a made-up cartridge using “something else” as a case but I’m not sure what it is (a whistle?). An x-ray may help to identify it or maybe it would be easier to take the bullet apart and look inside.

Fede, have looked this over carefully and I’m fairly certain this is all cartridge brass but I don’t think it is a legitimate cartridge. I sent pictures to Bill Woodin and, at his suggestion, to Lou Behling. Both seemed skeptical but Lou pointed out a number of things that convince me this is a hoax. However, I would be curious to know why someone would go to what seems a fair amount of effort to do this.
Thanks all for your input.

Could it be an incorrectly formed factory reject case which someone put a primer and bullet into?

Is there any kind of headstamp on the flat surface of the step?

Is that bullet soldered into the case? It looks like it to my old eyes.


To me it looks like a tool cartridge where the lead would anchor the body. It would be interesting to know if the main body is theaded or not. I am just guessing but it looks too good to be a fake. I am not aware of this particular system but there are other similar anchor methods out there like the Hilti guns.

After coming to the conclusion that this was a fake cartridge it was revealed to me that it was all part of a hoax played on me by a former cartridge collector!
This piece was made from a 30-06 case, with the head cut off and the shoulder pushed back into the case. A .32ACP primed case was inserted and the rim trimmed away. It took me far to long to determine that the case had a reverse taper, a result of the bullet being put into the bottom of the case but the remolding swelled up the upper portion enough to make it less apparent than an unaltered case would be.
This thing was made in the late 1950’s and used in a similar fashion on someone who is now a well known and respected collector. It was rediscovered recently and used on me by the fellow who made it. Since I now have it, it’s fate is unknown.

Thanks to everyone for their inputs. If you could have held the piece in your hands I’m sure most of you would have spotted it’s obvious flaws sooner than I did. Guess I should stick to shotshells.

It is quite an elaborate fake. I would keep it, but I would engrave the word “FAKE” on the side of it in one way or another, and also keep it with your typed history of how it was made. Those two things should insure no one goes through this same hoax again.

If you do not save these things, rather than destroy it, I would send it to Bill Woodin for the Lab’s collection of known fake cartridges, a category that has helped many collectors who have looked through them make serious and expensive errors in buying them.

Just my thoughts on the subject.

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