- I also found a Winchester 12 ga. shotshell:
This is an old Winchester 12-gauge shotgun shell, with just the metal head remaining. The paper casing has rotted away. The Nublack line of shotgun shells was produced by Winchester starting around 1903, using black powder. This one is pre-1921, because in 1920 they changed the labeling of the gauge from “No. 12” to “12 Ga”. So this cartridge head is from sometime between 1903 and 1920. It has been fired, as indicated by the dimpled primer. If you can find these intact today, they are valuable collector’s items, especially if in the original box.
- Oddly enough, a Peters 250-3000 cartridge:
This was a cartridge introduced in 1915 to replace the common 30-30 in lever action rifles. “Peters” refers to the company that made it. The “250” refers to the .250 diameter of the bullet, and “3000” refers to the velocity in feet-per-second. This was astounding at the time, as most rifle bullets were achieving only 2,000 fps. The cartridge is still produced and used today, although it is not widely popular. This one strikes me as really odd to be found out here. There is little weathering, and it appears to be of fairly recent vintage. But the Park was created in the 1940’s and firearms and hunting are banned. So it’s a bit curious how it ended up out there.
There were a thousand or so miners in the area from around 1920 to the 1940’s, working a mercury mine. And Mexican farmers moved into the area and set up small villages to ranch and farm, to supply the miners with meat and produce. Surely, many of those folks hunted, which could explain where these came from.
Photo: Old rock home ruins atop a mesa overlooking the Rio Grande and the desert. Mexico is on the left side of the river, and Texas on the right.