U.M.C. .45 Govt. Multi-Ball

Was this round exclusively loaded by Frankford Arsenal starting ca.1902 or were there other loadings by U.M.C. or others? I couldn’t find this in any of the available U.M.C. catalogs.


Dave, Frankford Arsenal loaded 1,000 rounds of these in 1901 for use by federal prison guards. In 1902, the Arsenal loaded 29,060 rounds for the carbine. Commercial cases were utilized, some with your U.M.C. .45 GOVT. headstamp and others with a U.M.C. S H .45-70 headstamp. See HWS Vol. I - Revised, page 215 for a few more details and a nice drawing of the cartridge, which contains three round lead balls.

Dave, Frankford Arsenal also loaded 110,500 rounds during fiscal year 1904 (July 1, 1903 to June 30, 1904). The cartridges with a U.M.C. .45 GOVT. headstamp found in the box with the rubber stamp reading “OCT 26 1903” are an example of this production.

Also, there is an interesting paragraph in the contemporary publication of the General Orders and Circulars that says: “For use in guarding prisoners confined at military posts the Springfield carbine, caliber .45, with the necessary supply of multiball cartridges, will be issued upon requisition, but for the United States Military Prisons at Fort Leavenworth, Kans., and at Alcatraz Island, Cal., repeating shotguns are provided.

By 1908 the text was revised to read “guard cartridges” and in 1910 it was revised again to read “guard cartridges, caliber .30, model of 1906”.



Mel and Fede,

Thank you very much for the additional information. From HWS1 I had learned Frankford Arsenal made up these Multi-Ball cartridges with commercial cases (and I assume primers?) and was curious if that was the only source. I’ll record this one as a product of FA.



I have several of these multiball loads both with the UMC and UMC “SH” headstands. The ones with the case cannelure weight about 40 grams the ones without the cannelure weight about 20 grams. I assume the cannelure case is a three ball loading and the lighter case without the cannelure 2 ball. Was there a different purpose or designation for these two rounds?



There are several ball loads going all the way back to the copper Benet primed cases. You’d probably take a long time to collect one each of all of them. Full cartons would take even longer.