Era of Eley headstamp on .44 WCF?


#1

I know this headstamp was used into the early 20th Century. The specimen in question is a .44 WCF (.44-40). Can anyone suggest the period it was in use (question from another forum)?


#2

Probably between 1874 - 1885. An Eley flysheet of last date shows hst then as ELEY .44 WCF & later catalogues show ELEY .44 W. Pre 1874 Eley flysheets do not show the .44-40 (not surprisingly). How accurate are illustrations in catalogues?? Don’t know - but it’s the only clue apart from certain early manufacturing characteristics (like very rounded bevel on rim)Regards JP-C


#3

JohnP-C -

Thanks for the response. I don’t have your resources / references as I do so little with commercial ammunition, especially that produced outside the US, but looking through those I do have, I see the “ELEY NAMEOFORIGINALMAKERWITHOUTCALIBERDESIGNATION” format used circa 1910 and usually “LONDON” and / or “BROS.” or some variation thereof in the earlier formats?

The rounds came with a M1873 Winchester mfg in 1892. In itself, nothing definitive, but using your chronology it would mean the owner slipped rounds even older than the rifle into the buttstock (apparently the M1873 has a military style cavity for cleaning equipment?).

Not being argumentative, I hope; this just seems a bit at odds with the little I thought I knew.

.


#4

[quote]The rounds came with a M1873 Winchester mfg in 1892. In itself, nothing definitive, but using your chronology it would mean the owner slipped rounds even older than the rifle into the buttstock (apparently the M1873 has a military style cavity for cleaning equipment?).

Not being argumentative, I hope; this just seems a bit at odds with the little I thought I knew.
[/quote]

You are assuming the original owner of the rifle was responsible for putting the cartridges in the buttplate; they could easily have been put there by the person you bought the rifle from. Assuming the original owner put them there and that they were not discovered until you found them, he may have used cartridges that he had on hand rather than buying new cartridges to put there.

Does the rifle have English proofs? If not, it would not seem more likely that the cartridges would have American manufactrurers headstamps if they were put there by the original owner.


#5

Wish Vic Engel would chime in here. At any rate, I don’t know much about this caliber except that it is about all I shoot anymore. However, a thought that might go along with the early date. There is no caliber designation on this cartridge, other than to say “Winchester.” The first caliber of the Model 1873 was .44-40. The other calibers - .25-20, .32-20, .38-40 and .22RF came out later. I have a first Model '73 made in 1876 and neither the carrier nor the barrel have any caliber marking, because at that time the rifle was only available in one caliber, .44-40. That seems similar to the case of this Eley cartridge that says only “Winchester.” Of course, admittedly, Winchester made one other caliber of rifle in the years 73-76 (or later - too lazy to look up when the .38-40 came out), .44RF in the Model 1866, which was made concurrently with the '73 for a fair number of years. However, that was a rimfire. In the years from 73 up to at least my rifle in 1876, I think the only caliber of rifle they made was .44-40, so “Winchester” for the center-fire cartridge, would tell the whole story, wouldn’t it? Just a wild, wild guess, but food for thought. My 3rd Model 73 made in 1885 is plainly marked with the caliber on the underside of the carrier, and perhaps on the barrel as well, I forget and don’t want to get it out of the safe. By the time it was made, they were making rifles in many other calibers for the 73, 76 and perhaps the 1885 single-shot as well.


#6

I believe the earliest 44 WCF cartridges were not headstamped in any way since it was easy to differentiate them from the 44 RF.

Ray


#7

Thank you, gentlemen!

.


#8

Ray - my entire posting was only about this particular Eley round. It is very possible that early American rounds were unheadstamped. As I mentioned, other than loading good CAS loads, and shooting them with great pleasure (more fun than collecting!), I don’t know diddily-squat about .44-40.


#9

Your idea makes sense JohnM - except that the same hst was used on the .30-40Win - which is why I sometimes wonder whether Eley made one ‘basic’ case to neck down to two calibres…
(Ray - I have .38-40 & 44-40 w/o hst which I believe are very early Kynoch)
Sad news about losing your tracers & incendiaries - although under UK law they are prohibited - if you have good reason, e.g. collecting - they give you an exemption to possess. Much better than here in Greece where there is no facility whatever to collect ammo legally. But at least I can own & shoot handguns - whereas the UK Government took all my pistols away.


#10

The early Eley loads had no headstamp, then only “ELEY”, then “ELEY LONDON”. The “ELEY WINCHESTER” headstamp was next and dates from about the 1880s, then the “ELEY 44 WIN” headstamp was introduced around 1890-1900.


#11

Hi Martin - could you be more specific re hst layouts, e.g. just ‘ELEY’ for second version? etc. Any pics? What evidence do you have, e.g. catalogues, adverts etc.? Regards John P-C