Need help on unknown .50-70

I’ve had this cartridge for 35 years, and could never identify it. It is close to a .50-70 Government, but the case has a very distinct bottleneck to it. The mystery round is in the middle, with a .50-70 on the left and a .50-95 on the right.

Dimensions are:
Bullet Diameter .503
Neck Diameter .528
Shoulder Diameter .545
Base Diameter .562
Rim Diameter .658
Case Length 1.800
Cartridge Length 2.290


I have several 50-70 cartridges that have a distinct shoulder, some that are not as evident, and some that appear to be straight.

IMHO you have a 50-70.

Old Ammo Guy is the guy to ask and I’m sure he’ll chime in when he wakes up from his nap. :) :)


That’s kinda what I thought too Ray. The case length is a bit long, but that would probably be withing normal tolerances, but that shoulder always puzzled me.


That’s a great picture of some clean cartridges. Why don’t mine look like these?? I suspect it is a .50-70 also - the case length just makes the cut. If you look closely, you’ll notice a hint of a shoulder on the first one also, at about the same level as the mystery cartridge.

OK, why would some of them have a shoulder then? Were some of the rifles that way?

Since the .50-70 chambers are straight, and the cartridge is rimmed, it would not make any difference at all if the case has so slight a bottle-neck. The round headspaces on the rim. Were the cartridges straight and the chambers with the slight bottle-neck, then there would be a problem, perhaps.

I notice there doesn’t appear to be a crimp right at the mouth of the center round, which shows the most bottle-neck. Could the reduced diameter be a result of sizing down slightly for a tight friction-hold (crimp) on the bullet? I don’t know if it is that - just a thought and a question?

Thanks for the help gentlemen, I’ll catalog it as a .50-70.