Second 45-70 question


#1

Can anyone tell me what the “Ohio Model” is in reference to?
I have a copy of this box label, that was once in Jim Tillinghast’s collection.


#2

Just a wild guess - One of the very last models of the Springfield Trapdoor was a short experimental rifle, sort of intermediate between the rifle and the carbine, with a full stock. Somehow, and I do not know the background story, most of these found their way into the Ohio prison system for guard use, and are usually in deplorable condition. I do know of one in near-mint condition which evidently missed prison duty. They are quite rare in any condition. I have no idea why they would require special ammunition, unless the ammunition was made and marked for the State of Ohio.


#3

First off, I don’t know what USC meant by “Ohio Model,” but from reading early USC catalogs I’ve learned that sales of their Farrington-primed .45 rifle ammunition to state militias in the years when Frankford Arsenal was producing the non-reloadable cup-primed cartridges was a major aspect of their sales program. This ammunition offered the possibility of quick reloading by militia units, tho I don’t really understand whether the militias had the option of receiving FA’s cup-primed ammo at a steep discount or not. I would guess Ohio Model referred to a variant bullet design (of government weight, of course) favored by the Ohio militia’s ordnance officers or was possibly just an early example of advertising hype. Jack


#4

After ruminating on this question for a while I remembered something similar in a Buttweiler auction catalog and was able to turn it (them actually) up: in his catalog IX/2 of 1996 he listed two different UMC .50-70 boxes. One was Berdan-primed cartridges in a box including the legend “New York State Standard,” the other was a box (bottom only, of a two-piece box), also .50-70, marked “State of New Jersey.” Date of these would be close to the .45-70 above, and, I’m guessing, the state references were intended to reduce pilferage and/or were intended for advertising purposes. Jack


#5

In the 19th century, weapons and ammunition were issued to the states under the terms of the Militia Act of 1808. Basically there was a specific amount of money each year to be divided up amongst all the states, based on the number of men enrolled in their militias. States could then apply their portion of the funds to whatever they wanted from Army ordnance stocks: rifles, pistols, carbines, bayonets, cannons, ammunition, cartridge belts, etc. They could use their funds when they got them or save up for a few years to make a larger purchase. (Maybe several cannons, or enough rifles for a complete regiment, etc.)

My theory would be that the states noted above elected to purchase some ammunition from commercial sources instead of getting it from the Army system. Perhaps it was cheaper that way, or they state had already used their credits with the Army, or were saving up for some big purchase in the future.

Or, never discount the possibility of some favoritism, corruption or bribes when you have politicians involved with money! New York’s adoption of the Remington rolling block for their militia was certainly influenced by the fact it was to be made in Ilion, NEW YORK! Possibly Remington also handled ammunition contracts, with some commissions and fees along the way.


#6

I would think that if a state wanted to denote ammunition ownership, they would have required a label legend worded something like “Ohio Property” or “Property of the State of Ohio Militia.” “Ohio Model” doesn’t appear to denote anything related to ownership, rather, seemingly referring to some specific characteristic(s) of the ammunition design as required by the state, or maybe what weapon it was intended to be used with. I don’t see any particular advertising value in the term “Ohio Model.” For that purpose I’d have said “Made to the highest quality and performance standards as established by the Militia of the State of Ohio”


#7

To what does the 1872 patent refer? There were no military .45-70 rifles at that time. . . .

The “special” arm mentioned above with reference to Ohio usage, was almost certainly the “Model 1886” 24" barreled, full-stocked, experimental carbine, sometimes referred to as the “XC” from its’ rear sight marking. They were also used by the Cincinnati Home Guard, after being rejected for adoption by the army, but, they did not use a special cartridge.


#8

Richard, the date refer to primer patent No. 133,929 assigned to De Witt C. Farrington.