A friend is writing historical fiction about an actual shipwreck. An American-owned & crewed 4-masted sailing ship struck a reef in the Marshall Islands in January 1884. No loss of life, not even much commotion, but the ship could not be freed from the reef & would soon be a total loss. The crew (22 men, 4 officers) methodically salvaged as much as possible over 2 days, packing the material into the ship’s four lifeboats.
My friend has generically described the removal of the ship’s armory and dividing the guns among the four boats. The ship was ultimately headed into waters where pirates still abounded. The armory had to contain guns sufficient to defend the ship from pirates. My assumption, lacking any historical record, is that the armory contained 4 revolvers, four 1873 Winchester carbines, Remington-Lee rifles for the crew, and two 12-bore shotguns. That was simple enough.
My interest is in describing the distribution of the cartridges. I’m assuming that there were .44-40 cartridges for the revolvers and carbines, .45-70 cartridges for the Remington-Lee rifles and 12-bore cartridges for the shotguns. How would the cartridges, enough for a two-year trip, have been packed? When did the sealed metal tins of cartridges appear?