Differences Between 50 Carbine Primers


I have two 50 Carbine cartridges which are Benet primed. But there is obviously a difference between the two because the primer crimp grooves are at different locations on the case. There are no headstamps on either cartridge. Please refer to the photo.

The crimp groove on the right cartridge is hard to see in the photo because it is adjacent to the rim. The other is obvious and is located about 0.27 inches above the rim. Both of these cartridges attract a magnet at the crimp groove. Does anybody know the difference in the primer types? I am guessing that these are two different designs of iron bar anvil types. Were these made during time periods or different manufacturers?

Any information would be welcome. Thank you.


Heavy Iron–The one on the left is Benet Primed with an iron cup. The one on the right is Bar Primed with an iron bar.


Thank you very much for the information. I usually get very confused when I try to identify the 45-70, 50-70, and 50 Carbine, etc, inside primed cartridges.

I am a general collector and don’t have very good references for these types of cartridges. Do you know of good one which could help?

Thanks again.



The 45-70-405 and the 45-55-405 used only one type of Benet primer AFAIK. The crimp was changed in 1876 to the elongated style which is easily discernable from the outside.

For the 50s, go to the Old Ammo Guy’s site and search around a little. He posted some photos and descriptions of most of them. Or, maybe he’s awake and reading this and will direct you to it hisself. ;) ;)

Good Luck


Both were loaded at Frankford Arsenal, Philadelphia. The bar anvil primer (to the right) was current from Oct. 1866 to Mar. 1868; the iron cup type (left hand) was in production from Mar. 1868 to Aug. 1870. These dates are for production of the regular rifle cartridge, and likely the short cadet/carbine loading was not made for this entire time span. Berk Lewis’ volume on the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial display by FA is probably the best thing between covers, but its illustrations are so tiny they’ll kill your eyes. JG

Heavyiron, Check with Lew Curtis on the availability of the book, The Ordnance Department At The 1876 Philadelphia Exposition. This has readable size pictures of cartidges and cutaways of almost everything the ordnance department did from paper cartridges on up until the time of the exposition.