Unusual 45-70 case


I’ve been aroung guns all my life(and I’m an old man) but saw something today I have not seen before. It looks like a 45-70 case but it’s belted, there is no primer, the bottom is solid and the firing pin indentation is right in the middle. There are no markings on the case at all. Anybody know what this is???


A Benet primed cartridge case would have a firing pin indentation in the center, but the presence of a ‘belt’ is unusual. Is the case made of copper? Are there 2 deep crimps just above the rim?


When you say belt, do you mean larger than the case body, or are you refering to a groove on the side of the case?
If your refering to a groove, see the previous answer
The only belted “45-70 like” case I can think of is the 450 Marlin, but that’s a modern case with a standard exposed primer.


It’s an empty case well over a hundred years old. The belt is just like on a magnum case. The bottom appears to be copper, but it is solid, there is no primer pocket. It’s a “center fire…rim fire”???


Perhaps a photo of a Benet primed .45 Government case can be used as a reference to the subject at hand?

The case type is “Inside Primed, Center Fire” and the grooves that form what could be described as a belt retain the anvil part of the priming system.

This one is dated 1882 with a very light headstamp. Others may show no marking at all.



The Roper cartridge has a belt on it, doesn’t it?


That’s close but the belt is a raised belt not a groove. I will get some pics at the Cowboy shoot on Sunday.


On further inspection, it appears I was wrong and you guys were right. It’s not a belt but a groove. What are some approximate dates for these things and what firearms would they have been used in?
i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh41 … 3Small.jpg
i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh41 … 2Small.jpg
i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh41 … 1Small.jpg

(haven’t figured out how to post photos yet)




The Benet primed case was used from late 1873 until mid 1882. Beginning in early 1877 the cases were headstamped, so the one shown was made before that, most likely in 1876 from the looks of the primer crimp. They were made for the Cal .45 Springfield Rifle and Carbine (trapdoor).



The case looks quite bulged which is what you would expect in a fired case of that type from that era. They were made to fit loosely in the chambers otherwise a build up of black powder fouling in the chamber would make the rifle difficult to load after few rounds. Thats why a lot of the old calibres from those days had slightly tapered cases and/or chambers. If you notice, the unfired case appears to be untapered. Or is that just a trick of the camera?


The commercial and military arms of the late 19th century adapted to this cartridge actually had fairly tight chambers, not at all oversize. The bulge seen in the fired case results from its having been deformed during its hundred year-plus sojourn out of doors. Jack



No trick of the camera intended (wouldn’t know how if I had to try!) but that case is .503" dia. at the base, .501" just above the primer crimp and .480" dia. at the case mouth just before the heavy mouth crimp.

I have seen pictures of some fired 45 Govt. with very significant bulges. Some folks got them to fire from .50 Govt rifles…No reports on this combination being used for Bench Rest competition.




Finding 45-70 and 45-55 cases that have been fired in a 50-70 rifle is not uncommon at many Indian War battle sites. I have found quite a few of them. On most, the case will split but many are simply badly bulged. The Benet primer will usually depart along with the bullet and can often be found a few yards away.

Most of these were fired by Indians who had no other ammunition but some may come from Benchrest shooters doing a little bit of experimenting.

The case that the other Ray showed looks quite ordinary to me. The primer crimp has been ironed out, but enough is left to determine that it is most likely an 1876 case. I believe that it looks bulged because of the camera angle. There is about a .025" taper to the case and most fired ones will measure about .515" at the base.

BTW, I have to nit-pick a little - the Benet primer does not have an anvil. It is simply one piece with the mixture in a shallow cavity, and two flash holes.



Pardon my nit-picking your nit-picking, but I believe the Benet cup not only holds the priming mixture in place, but also serves as the surface against which the priming mixture is struck, so it in essence is the anvil.


Duly noted Guy. The first nit-picker doesn’t stand a chance. ;)

Have you noticed on my thread on the SLICS how the rich kids that will be attending the show took over my thread? I meant it to be for us poorer members to have a chance to talk about stuff without getting chastised and here they go taking their PCs with them to check on us. I think I’ll copy and paste this over there to see what they say.




I’m poor too and the only travel I get to do is for work, no play. So…Let’s talk about Benet priming.

I was thinking some folks may have heard of this primer system but may not be familiar with some of its features. A great drawing of one can be found in the glossary on the home page here: cartridgecollectors.org/glossary.htm

While it was kind of Guy to pick the nits off of Ray’s nit picking, it’s not quite right that I refered to the cup only as an anvil in that its function is multiple in nature.

  1. Retains priming composition in place.
  2. Provides anvil function. (No anvil, no crush. No crush, no bang.)
  3. Provides location of vent holes to powder charge.
  4. And acts as reinforcement to the case head and keeps gas pressure from getting to the case fold that forms the rim.

As usual, regarding this or any of my ramblings, all are invited to offer corrections, additions or comments (if in compliance with the Forum Rules Enforcement Act of 2010).