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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  Cas City Historical Society (Moderators: St. George, Silver Creek Slim)  |  Topic: Did soldiers in the (Rough Riders) use Black Powder or Smokeless in pistols? 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Did soldiers in the (Rough Riders) use Black Powder or Smokeless in pistols?  (Read 729 times)
Doug.38PR
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« on: November 30, 2017, 11:06:54 pm »


We know Spanish American War soldiers used Smokeless Krag .30 rifles.   But what did they use in their .45 and .38 pistols?
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Major 2
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« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2017, 04:21:49 am »

In most cases they used their own revolvers, and I suppose their own supply of ammo for those.
 That being what was mostly available would be BP for these.
Logistics was a serious issue , My thoughts  if  45 , 44/40 and 38 S&W rounds were issued by the QM to the Rough Riders at all  it was BP.


 
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St. George
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« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2017, 08:52:08 am »

Except that the available records state they were issued SAAs and Colt DA .38s - no .44-40s, .38S&Ws, no commercial ammunition was ever issued.

Anyone attempting to do an Impression would be wise to review 'Cowboys In Uniform' for an idea of exactly what was issued.

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Doug.38PR
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« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2017, 10:57:49 am »

To my understanding, pistols generally used in the Spanish-American War were Colt New Army in .38 Colt, Colt Single Action Army in .45 Colt and even S&W Schofield Model 4s in .45 Schofield (whether issued or the personal weapons of the men).    I understand Teddy Roosevelt carried Colt New Army in .38 Colt that he took from the wreckage of the U.S.S. Maine as a symbolic act to honor the dead crew.  

Question is what was the issue ammo for handguns by the U.S. Army at the time: Black Powder or Smokeless?  
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Coffinmaker
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« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2017, 02:10:09 pm »

First ... A CAVEAT    Grin

I wasn't there.  Nope.  Can't speak from experience.  Wasn't present.  No Holiday Inn.  So don't quote me.  Much.

At the time of the Span Am conflict, neither Colt nor Smith & Wesson or anyone else was proofing for nor warranting their respective handguns for Smokeless Powder.  That didn't happen until after 1900 and later.  Also, the military procurement system then, as now, procured ammunition in quantity (a bazillion rounds at a time) and retained it in stock until it was used up or exceeded it's shelf life (arbitrary limit) and was surpluse'd. 

Ergo.  The military had procured and retained on hand several rounds of BP ammunition.  There were no guns proofed for Smokeless at the time and the military would have simply issued what was on hand.  BP was on hand.  Lots of BP was on hand.  I would therefore, expect the only "issue" handgun ammunition to have been BP.

Back to the CAVEAT:  Wasn't there.  Don't really know.  At this point in time, I doubt there is anyone whom can definitively state the issue "handgun" ammunition was "this" or "that."  The logistics, however, would guide me to BP.  Your guess is as good as mine. 

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Major 2
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« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2017, 02:13:27 pm »

Except that the available records state they were issued SAAs and Colt DA .38s - no .44-40s, .38S&Ws, no commercial ammunition was ever issued.

Anyone attempting to do an Impression would be wise to review 'Cowboys In Uniform' for an idea of exactly what was issued.

Scouts Out!

I'd agree with this, " no commercial ammunition was ever issued."

 My suggesting was "if" they ( and I believe many did ) ... used their own revolvers, and I suppose their own supply of ammo for those.

I would bow to St.George knowledge.... Smiley

It has been some years (20) since I read 'Cowboys In Uniform'  as a primer for preproduction on " Rough Riders " with Tom Berenger.

I best buy a copy and reread it ....


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Drydock
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« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2017, 06:39:06 pm »

To my knowledge, the 1st USV was issued Colt SAA 5.5" refurbished "Artillery models".  No evidence of any enlisted member carrying a personal sidearm.  In addition, when it was decided to deploy the cavalry dismounted, most of the revolvers were turned in, with only those men whose duties precluded carrying the carbine keeping them.  Tiffany's MG detachment comes to mind. 

Officers were expected to purchase sidearms, and it appears most procured either the NA .38 DA, or a 5.5" SAA .45.  All were expected to use issue ammo, and at the time all handgun ammunition was still BP.
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Doug.38PR
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« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2017, 09:42:49 am »

To my knowledge, the 1st USV was issued Colt SAA 5.5" refurbished "Artillery models".  No evidence of any enlisted member carrying a personal sidearm.  In addition, when it was decided to deploy the cavalry dismounted, most of the revolvers were turned in, with only those men whose duties precluded carrying the carbine keeping them.  Tiffany's MG detachment comes to mind. 

Officers were expected to purchase sidearms, and it appears most procured either the NA .38 DA, or a 5.5" SAA .45.  All were expected to use issue ammo, and at the time all handgun ammunition was still BP.

Why would they make volunteer troopers turn in their pistols?  That seems kind of foolish considering they were on foot walking into a combat zone at all times.   Nice to have a backup on you if your rifle fails or you need to shoot your way to it.
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Drydock
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« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2017, 10:18:12 am »

As they were dismounted and fighting as infantry, the revolvers and their ammunition were considered excess weight for a man on foot.  Revolvers were considered weapons for fighting while mounted.  Infantry to this day do not carry sidearms for this very reason.  Backup for an infantry man is supposed to be the other men in your squad.  And no infantryman should ever be separated from his rifle!

Revolvers were turned in so as not to be lost or thrown away on the march, (Yes they did!  Ask any marching soldier about weight on the march) as well as to be reissued to others who might need them,  artillery units, other newly formed mounted units, or any other detachment that might need a sidearm.
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Major 2
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« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2017, 05:23:43 pm »

I bow to the learned, Drydock & St. George ....

I think the 1st photo is in the Philippines,  note the later belt  

Pistols I think are S&W 's

The Flag barer  seems to have pistol belt , that would make sense


* Spam am War .jpg (149.34 KB, 736x983 - viewed 38 times.)

* Span-American-Cuba .jpg (80.56 KB, 472x692 - viewed 35 times.)
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Doug.38PR
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« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2017, 09:50:45 am »

http://www.backwoodshome.com/1911-the-classic-homeland-security-pistol/

According to this article by Massad Ayoob, all of the Doughboys on the front lines of the Great War carried .45 Automatic 1911s or Double Action Revolvers.    Corporal Alvin York had one on his belt when he took on the Germans. 
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St. George
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« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2017, 12:04:30 pm »

I bet that came as news to the Quartermaster of the AEF.

Those men designated to carry a sidearm by the unit's TO&E did carry them - machinegunners, Cavalrymen, Officers and NCOs - but the rest of them carried their Springfield or Enfield.

The revolvers carried were the Model 1917 Colt and Smith & Wesson - issued as 'substitute standard' ILO of the M1911 then newly adopted and the standard service pistol since 1911, but not in the quantities needed to arm a newly-expanded fighting Army, so they contracted for the Model 1917s.

Scouts Out!
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"It Wasn't Cowboys and Ponies - It Was Horses and Men.
It Wasn't Schoolboys and Ladies - It Was Cowtowns and Sin..."
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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  Cas City Historical Society (Moderators: St. George, Silver Creek Slim)  |  Topic: Did soldiers in the (Rough Riders) use Black Powder or Smokeless in pistols? « previous next »
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