UMC cartridge


I just came from the Ammo site.The cartridge headstamped UMC 45 70 S H is listed as ‘military’.I have a number of these with 500 grain bullets;some black and some smokeless powder.
My collection is listed by ‘date’.Can I list one of these cartridge in each date from 1886 to the 1900’s?
Did the ‘military’ continue to buy black powder cartridges after 1898?


I know that the letter “B” identifies a UMC military gartridge.
I want to know if the head stamp “UMC 45.70 S H” also identifies a military cartridge.
Thanks, Frank


While I can’t answer your question directly, SH stands for Solid Head. Your cartridge would have to be from after the date that the SH design came into use.
This scan is from Phil Sharps book on reloading (circa 1940), and shows a cross section of the SH design (#4)



During the service life of the Cal 45 Springfield Rifle and Carbine (well into the 20th Century), 45-70 and 45-55 ammunition, both BP and smokeless, was purchased from the commercial manufacturers. U.M.C. was just one of them. The UMC 45 70 SH cartridge that you have could very well have been “military” but it equally may not have been. Once out of the box there is no way to tell (often it’s not possible to tell when they are in the box).

As far as dates, again, there is no way to tell when a particular out-of-box cartridge was made, except for an approximate time period depending on the type or style of the cartridge, or when a headstamp actually indicates a year.



As Ray said, your UMC 45-70 SH headstamped cartridge may or may not be military. Initially, the contract .45-70 ammunition made for the government by UMC ( as well as Winchester, I think) was unheadstamped - this was in 1878. Later that year, UMC produced contract cartridges headtamped R B 45 70, and in September, began using a headstamp that conformed to the military standard with month and year (R B 9 78). Winchester began headstamping theirs in October of 1878 (R W 10 78). In May of 1879, the US Cartridge Company began supplying military 45-70s (R L 5 79). Eventually, each company began supplying the government with ammunition with whatever commercial headstamp they were using at the time; in addition, UMC and Winchester also supplied commercially headstamped empty cases that were loaded by the military during the late 1890s and into the early 1900s. UMC’s last military style headstamp was R B 10 78, USC’s was R L 5 80, and Winchester’s was R W 10 92.