Cartridge ID and info help needed

Hi folks. It has been quite a while since I have posted. I am basically a shotshell and associated loading equip. collector. However, we all know the auction box lot deals can contain anything. Because of that I have accumulated a number of rifle and handgun cartridges I know little or nothing about. The following cartridges were included in a lot I bought last week and would appreciate any info you can provide.

HS: 12 o’clock, 1776. Center, oval with U impressed over left side and S impressed over right side. 6 o’clock, 1876. Copper, inside primed case. Case lth - 1.59, lip - .49 (best guess, no longer round), base - .52, rim - .60.

I believe a 56-50 Spencer but has no HS or C.D.Leet crimps and no case crimps. Case base measures .56.

HS: REM-UMC 6 m/m U.S.N. RNL tipped I guess steel bullet.


The first one is a commemorative round made by Frankfrod Arsenal for the International Centennial Exhibition, Philadelphia in 1876.

1.59" is too much for a 56-50 Spencer case.

A picture would help

What do you mean for “lip”?

Again you reported a base diam of .52" and then .56". Just measure the portion just above the rim, that is the case base

Second one is a 6mm U.S Navy made by Remington - Union Metallic Cartridge, after 1911.

This was used in the 1895 Lee Straight Pull bolt action rifle made by Winchester for the United States Navy

This ammo is no longer available since 1935

I believe the second cartridge is described dimensionally only by the base dimension; the case length relates to the Centennial cartridge. But maybe I’m confused too. As for whether the Lee Navy has a steel jacket or not, Rookie needs to get a magnet. They are irreplaceable. Jack

Looks to me like 3 cartridges.

#1 - Frankford Arsenal Cal .45 Centennial souvenir. Not full length, just a shortened case. hs is U S C

#2 - Spencer

#3 - 6mm USN (Lee Navy). Soft point bullet, probably cupronickel jacket (not steel).


Thanks to all of you for the info. I understand my nomenclature is not up to snuff. Need to work on that. I was trying to describe 3 different cartridges. The first which I now know is a 45cal Centennial. By lip I meant the case mouth. The second is a 56 - 50 spencer but I have never seen one without case crimps. Does anyone have an idea of who manufactured this particular variation. I am supposed to be related to the Spencer clan so I hold on to the cartridges I find. The 6m/m U.S.N. I just wanted some info. on which Pivi graceously supplied. Is there any value to the 45cal Centennial. Rookie does own a magnet but apparently not smart enough to use it. The bullet is not steel, just looks that way. Thanks again and I will try to do better with my next post.

Rookie: If the 56-50 resembles the typical government contract cartridges in overall length and case length but lacks the stab crimps it’s probably a post-war commercial round for sporting use. UMC would be a good bet, predating the period when they added a “U” headstamp. The cartridge WRA offered as a 56-50 has the shorter case length of the 56-52, so isn’t likely to be confused with any “standard” 56-50. Jack

[quote=“RayMeketa”]Looks to me like 3 cartridges.

#1 - Frankford Arsenal Cal .45 Centennial souvenir. Not full length, just a shortened case. hs is U S C

#2 - Spencer

#3 - 6mm USN (Lee Navy). Soft point bullet, probably cupronickel jacket (not steel).


Hi Ray. If I may be so bold , the h/s on # 1 above is really : U S O, for United States Ordinance.
The O was not closed because it would have intersected the S. A lot of people think the h/s belongs to U.S.C.Co. which of course is not the case ! M. Rea


There is not a general agreement on that. The “O” very definitely is not closed which is what makes it a “C” to many eyes. USC = United States Centennial. Notice that it does intersect the “U”, and the “S” at 2 places.

Many references call it an “oval” rather than an “O” or a “C” which makes less sense.

I’ve never seen anything that “officially” says what it is.

You make a good point, however. I was wondering if anybody was going to mention it. Most collectors have never seen one of the centennial cartridges or short case souvenirs and are not aware of the disagreement.


Ray, Jack and MDREA, thanks again for the info. The oval, ‘O’ or ‘C’ definitly does not intersect the center of the S. Didnt notice that until your posts. If I understand this case is shorter than a standard 45 case and is known as a souvenir case. What sort of value does it have.


All of the cartridges and cases given out at the Centennial were souvenirs. The full length case is 2.1".

Most of us hesitate to do values. I know that I don’t like to do it. Your souvenir is definitely collectable but that’s as far as I’ll go. There have been some very remarkable values put on the souvenirs but I can’t say if one has actually sold for the big bucks.



Understand What you mean. It can tend to get people in trouble. I was just hoping I had made a good find at a very low bid. From reading everyones replies I think its safe to say I did good.

This is my centinnial. Case length 1.591".

Given the case lenght, in my opinion this is not a shortened case but a typical unfinished blank case, which were also made during the exhibition. Sample sets containing draw stages of the ball rounds were also made and labeled “International Exhibition - Ordnance Department U. S. Army, Specimens showing the progressive stages of the manufacture of U.S. Rifle cartridge shell, Cup Anvil, and Bullet”.


You’re right. The short souvenirs were typical of one of the standard blanks. I can’t speak for others but I used the term “shortened case” simply to make it clear that there were two souvenir case lengths. There were also complete cartridges given as souvenirs as well as boxed draw sets given out, probably only to a selected few guests.


Maybe this is well known to collectors, but it was interesting for me to learn that finished blank cartridges were loaded with 70 grains of musket powder and the ball rounds with mustard seeds!