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Special Interests - Groups & Societies => Cas City Historical Society => Topic started by: Stopsign32v on May 29, 2019, 06:57:04 pm

Title: Did they reload?
Post by: Stopsign32v on May 29, 2019, 06:57:04 pm
Well I got to looking at pictures of general stores and saw a ?gunpowder? barrel. That got me to thinking... The gunslingers of the time as we now know them. The gentlemen that shot a lot, either for practice or by self defense. Do we know if it was more common to buy a box of bullets or did they value reloading?
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Mogorilla on May 30, 2019, 07:07:58 am
I believe there is documentation for Buffalo hunters reloading.    I also read an article that postulated the idea that Native Americans in Arizona, probably Apache, reloaded spent rimfire cases.  This was postulated based on finds of rimfire cases with multiple hits, from apparently different firearms.   I am not sure if they had documentation but it was stated that the natives "melted" the fulminated mercury from percussion caps and spinning the rimfire cases to distribute it.  Then loading them as normal.  Interesting thoughts. 

Look to the catalogs of the era, if the items are listed, people were doing it.
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Tascosa Joe on May 30, 2019, 07:38:05 am
James Hunt, who used to post here a lot, did some extensive research on the subject particularly on the buffalo hunters.  I had a catalog from a hardware store in California form the period that listed reloading equipment.  The catalog is among the missing items from my move 4 yrs ago. 
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Coffinmaker on May 30, 2019, 11:32:53 am
First, we have to define the term "Gunslingers."  Then we have to define the period and circumstances.  Then we have to go dig in the history books to find what was "real."  In the age of the formation of what is called the "Wild West" there were no "Gunslingers."  The gunfight in the street is Hollywood Myth.  Except for Hickok and Tutt, simply didn't happen.  Hired Guns weren't "gunfighters," they were assassins.  Most liked a Shotgun in the back or a Rifle from a ways away.  Gunplay with pistols was done in a Card Room or Saloon at 3 to 6 FEET.  Normally by the intoxicated. 

Raiders used lots of pistols.  Much quicker in a fight than a carbine (single shot).  Raiders and outlaws did not reload.  When a pistol ran dry they simply tossed it and pulled another.  Raiders and outlaws normally carried between 4 and 8 pistols.  Percussion Pistols.

Cartridge users, either Outlaw or Lawman are undocumented.  I can't find anything about those who went in harms' way with cartridge pistols.  Near as I can tell, the advent of "reloading" came into being around the same time as boxer primed cartridges became popular but was not widely practiced.  I can only surmise that most, simply went to the hardware store and bought a fresh box of cartridges.  I would think that would hold true for both "good guys" and "bad guys" as reloading at that time was well time consuming.  Something pursued as a hobby perhaps.
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Dave T on May 30, 2019, 04:54:10 pm
First, we have to define the term "Gunslingers."  Then we have to define the period and circumstances.  Then we have to go dig in the history books to find what was "real."  In the age of the formation of what is called the "Wild West" there were no "Gunslingers."  The gunfight in the street is Hollywood Myth.  Except for Hickok and Tutt, simply didn't happen.  Hired Guns weren't "gunfighters," they were assassins.  Most liked a Shotgun in the back or a Rifle from a ways away.  Gunplay with pistols was done in a Card Room or Saloon at 3 to 6 FEET.  Normally by the intoxicated. 

Raiders used lots of pistols.  Much quicker in a fight than a carbine (single shot).  Raiders and outlaws did not reload.  When a pistol ran dry they simply tossed it and pulled another.  Raiders and outlaws normally carried between 4 and 8 pistols.  Percussion Pistols.

Cartridge users, either Outlaw or Lawman are undocumented.  I can't find anything about those who went in harms' way with cartridge pistols.  Near as I can tell, the advent of "reloading" came into being around the same time as boxer primed cartridges became popular but was not widely practiced.  I can only surmise that most, simply went to the hardware store and bought a fresh box of cartridges.  I would think that would hold true for both "good guys" and "bad guys" as reloading at that time was well time consuming.  Something pursued as a hobby perhaps.

Coffinmaker has struck the nail upon the flat part. I've spent a fair number of years researching the subject of post Civil War armed confrontations. These occured mostly between lawmen and outlaws (not gunslingers), between drunks (not gunslingers), and between people who couldn't manage to settle their differences any other way (not gunslingers).

As to the OP, I found no indication of anyone reloading handgun ammunition until the introduction of the Lyman/Ideal Tong Tool. That was some time around the turn of the last century (1900).

Dave
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Abilene on May 30, 2019, 05:01:32 pm
The keg of gunpowder in the old picture could have had multiple uses.  Percussion firearms remained very popular throughout the settling of the west, so they had to buy powder whether they cast balls and shot or bought them.
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Black River Smith on May 30, 2019, 06:29:58 pm
I waited awhile to see what others had to say.  I have several books about reloading tools.  I personally like using the original tools to do some of my reloading for older calibers.

Anyway the authors tend to say that reloading tools for Winchester CF rifles followed almost immediately after its' development.  First patent went to Winchester's son in Oct of 1874 with improvements in Oct of 1875.  These tools where first 'marketed' in Oct of 1875.  This appear to show there was public interest in reloading spent casings.  In 1880 a tool came out for the newer 1876 rifles with cartridge of 45/75.   Then there was an 1882 model.  Would you really have to ask -- Why?  Public demand.

Remington tools had a patent date of April of 1875.

Smith and Wesson produced reloading tools in 1874 after is CF cartridges were released.  Even before Winchester.

Barlow's patents did not hit until 1884 and the Ideal company started after he quit Winchester reloading machine shop.(I think that is correct).

John Browning created a loading tool Oct of 1881.  If they were not being used or profitable, why would he have produced one rather than just concentrating on firearm designs.

Side note a lot of the older tools even had a Berdan depriming option so not only Boxer casings where reloaded.  My older Win 1882 tool in 45/60 has such a chisel point.

Another side note Powder measuring devices where patented in July of 1877.  Not factory sized but for smaller volumes for personal use.

'No one really reloaded'.  Really?  I also read somewhere that a single 45Colt loaded cartridge cost 25 cents back in '75 or '76.  That would be $12.50 per box of 50.  People did not have that type of money when or after buying a Win73 carbine for $40 in '76 (per Gillet's - 6 years with the Texas Rangers book).

I believe that in the mid 1880's loading tools were even sold with the purchase of a rifle.
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: rbertalotto on June 06, 2019, 05:58:08 am
Buffalo hunters absolutely reloaded. The gun powder came in lead barrels. Lead was shaved off and melted in the same frying pan they just cooked breakfast in. Sharps rifles and others were supplied with bullet molds on request .
 One book I read talked about trying to shoot a bison in such a way so the bullet could be recovered and melted down and used again.
 Everything a bison hunter needed was easily obtained in the wild, except primers, lead and powder. Had to come back to a town or trading post for that.

 I don?t find any documentation that cowboys reloaded. They simply didn?t fire their guns enough and would not want to carry extra weight.
 
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Yeso Bill on June 06, 2019, 01:56:16 pm
There are several old rock house ruins on the Yeso Creek here in New Mexico that date back to at least the 1880s.  One of them was a store that Hugo Zuber owned / ran.  Whether it was also a saloon, I couldn't say. 

It has been many years since I was at them but one of them had a ton of old cases scattered in front of it.  Since there is no oral or written record of any gunfight that happened on the creek, I would presume that somebody, or a bunch of somebodies, did an awful lot of practicing.  They certainly didn't reload or they would have picked up the cases. 

Billy
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Tsalagidave on August 13, 2019, 01:58:03 pm
Buffalo hunters absolutely reloaded. The gun powder came in lead barrels. Lead was shaved off and melted in the same frying pan they just cooked breakfast in. Sharps rifles and others were supplied with bullet molds on request .
 One book I read talked about trying to shoot a bison in such a way so the bullet could be recovered and melted down and used again.
 Everything a bison hunter needed was easily obtained in the wild, except primers, lead and powder. Had to come back to a town or trading post for that.

 I don?t find any documentation that cowboys reloaded. They simply didn?t fire their guns enough and would not want to carry extra weight.

rbertalotto, do you recall the historic source of Buffalo hunters carrying their powder in lead canisters? I know it was done during the Lewis and Clark expedition but all the period powder cans that I have ranging from the 1840s to 1900 are of either tin or zinc. Also, I'd like to check that source's credibility especially when it came to melting it down in frypans.  Lead poisoning was very well known then and I even have mid-1800s family medical books that address proper treatment for one who was careless enough to be poisoned. Not saying it wasn't said, I'd just like to add this resource to my archives.  Thanks for sharing this; it's an insight worth investigating.

-Dave
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Kent Shootwell on August 13, 2019, 02:17:48 pm
As to buffalo hunters the book ?Getting a Stand? has several first hand accounts of reloading to include casting bullets. One says he used a frying pan but didn?t indicate that it was also used for cooking. The kegs of powder don?t seem to be lead as the lead was bought at the same time along with primers and patching paper.
In “Pinnacle Jake” he writes of going to Moorcroft Wyoming to get 900 pounds of rifle cartridges. At that time he is working for the 101 ranch. Doesn’t say what size or what for.
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Tsalagidave on August 14, 2019, 10:55:04 am
Thanks Kent,

Everything you just said makes way more sense. I have quite a few re-purposed old plates and a discarded frypan that I use in the shop to catch solvents, etc. on various projects; and because I have done so, I'd never serve up breakfast on any of them again.

-Dave
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Niederlander on August 14, 2019, 06:11:02 pm
It would seem to me if reloading tools were available, at least some people were using them.  I'd venture to guess (always dangerous!) that most people just bought factory loaded rounds, as most people still do.  Your more dedicated shooters would likely be the ones to reload cartridges.  Even today, most of us who practice a lot reload.  Most people who shoot two or three boxes of pistol cartridges a year just buy them new.  The guy who uses one round a year to shoot a deer does the same, as a twenty round box lasts him ten or fifteen years.
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Ranch 13 on August 14, 2019, 09:36:19 pm
 The market hunters did use reloaded ammunition as the store bought stuff they bought started running low, that was the job of the camp tender to get the empties loaded up. The Buffalo Hunters Encyclopedia books document a number of ledgers from various trading houses during the buffalo hunt era.
 Lead came in blocks, powder came in cans, and patching paper was sold in both sheet and precut patches. Primers can in tins similar to what we see today as cap tins.
 I think the powder in lead kegs thing came out of Mishner's Centennial book, and doesn't have much other solid documentation. Not saying it didn't happen, but if it did it was pretty rare and the lead kegs would of been something done by some one other than the powder companies.
 The average person not involved in market hunting bought their factory ammo, and while there were surely some that reloaded, the vast majority probably didn't shoot a box of shells in a year and probably closer to two or three years.
 Reloading didn't really get to be the thing until after WW2, and even at that it was generally a real rifle crank, that did reload, most folks content to buy a box of "catidges" as needed. (as one of my uncles that only owned a model P colt and a 73 in 44wcf and a single shot 12 until he died in the mid 60's) called them.
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Rye Miles on August 22, 2019, 07:50:50 am
I waited awhile to see what others had to say.  I have several books about reloading tools.  I personally like using the original tools to do some of my reloading for older calibers.

Anyway the authors tend to say that reloading tools for Winchester CF rifles followed almost immediately after its' development.  First patent went to Winchester's son in Oct of 1874 with improvements in Oct of 1875.  These tools where first 'marketed' in Oct of 1875.  This appear to show there was public interest in reloading spent casings.  In 1880 a tool came out for the newer 1876 rifles with cartridge of 45/75.   Then there was an 1882 model.  Would you really have to ask -- Why?  Public demand.

Remington tools had a patent date of April of 1875.

Smith and Wesson produced reloading tools in 1874 after is CF cartridges were released.  Even before Winchester.

Barlow's patents did not hit until 1884 and the Ideal company started after he quit Winchester reloading machine shop.(I think that is correct).

John Browning created a loading tool Oct of 1881.  If they were not being used or profitable, why would he have produced one rather than just concentrating on firearm designs.

Side note a lot of the older tools even had a Berdan depriming option so not only Boxer casings where reloaded.  My older Win 1882 tool in 45/60 has such a chisel point.

Another side note Powder measuring devices where patented in July of 1877.  Not factory sized but for smaller volumes for personal use.

'No one really reloaded'.  Really?  I also read somewhere that a single 45Colt loaded cartridge cost 25 cents back in '75 or '76.  That would be $12.50 per box of 50.  People did not have that type of money when or after buying a Win73 carbine for $40 in '76 (per Gillet's - 6 years with the Texas Rangers book).

I believe that in the mid 1880's loading tools were even sold with the purchase of a rifle.

My Sears 1897 catalog lists .45 colt cartridges for $.84 for a box of 50!!  ::)
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Delmonico on August 22, 2019, 12:48:33 pm
My Sears 1897 catalog lists .45 colt cartridges for $.84 for a box of 50!!  ::)


2 dollars a day was damn good wages also.
 
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Black River Smith on August 22, 2019, 02:48:26 pm
Ok, I have the same catalog.  So I did one of those inflation calculators.  That 84 cents is $25.97 now.  I could not spend that kind of money just to blast off some ammo now-a-days at any appreciable rate.  Even in the early 90's when I started CAS I reloaded because it was cheaper to have fun playing the sport.

To me the only people back then that had that type of money were the law officers; robbers outlaws; larger ranch owners; cowboys once or twice a year; bankers; people like Sutter, Schieffelin, or miners that were lucky; the eastern wealthy; maybe gamblers that were good and /or the meat market hunters.  These are the people we look at for history but what about the rest of the country.  The farmers and the general towns people or just the small cattle and horse ranches.  They did not have high rates of income as Delmonico stated.

My comment came from something I read about Earp and Masterson.  Masterson at one time earned $40,000 a year collecting taxes around Dodge City counties and being Ford county sheriff.  He could buy factory ammo.  That was the timeframe and text where he stated that most men could not practice at 25 cents a cartridge.  I cannot put my hands on the text to defend it but it stuck when I read it some 30 or so years ago.

BRS
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Rye Miles on August 23, 2019, 07:35:38 am
Ok, I have the same catalog.  So I did one of those inflation calculators.  That 84 cents is $25.97 now.  I could not spend that kind of money just to blast off some ammo now-a-days at any appreciable rate.  Even in the early 90's when I started CAS I reloaded because it was cheaper to have fun playing the sport.

To me the only people back then that had that type of money were the law officers; robbers outlaws; larger ranch owners; cowboys once or twice a year; bankers; people like Sutter, Schieffelin, or miners that were lucky; the eastern wealthy; maybe gamblers that were good and /or the meat market hunters.  These are the people we look at for history but what about the rest of the country.  The farmers and the general towns people or just the small cattle and horse ranches.  They did not have high rates of income as Delmonico stated.

My comment came from something I read about Earp and Masterson.  Masterson at one time earned $40,000 a year collecting taxes around Dodge City counties and being Ford county sheriff.  He could buy factory ammo.  That was the timeframe and text where he stated that most men could not practice at 25 cents a cartridge.  I cannot put my hands on the text to defend it but it stuck when I read it some 30 or so years ago.

BRS

How could cartridges sell for less than .02 apiece in 1897 and .25 cents in the 1880's? Think about it. Masterson and Earp were either misquoted or they were old and senile when they made that comment! LOL Also $40,000 a year collecting taxes?? Masterson was probably misquoted on that too! That would have made him a VERY rich man, which I doubt he was, unless he gambled it all away!
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Black River Smith on August 23, 2019, 09:26:23 am
I think this will be my last posting on this, don't want any discussions getting out of hand.

1.  You all realize that the '70s and early part of the 80's some even say end of the 80's were depression years here in the US.  What does that do to access to money and the cost of any available goods.  Learned that in high school.

2.  You all heard of the industrial revolution from 1850's to early 1910's.  Learned that in high school, too.  That is where invented items are manufactured and produced at a higher rates and cheaper prices, than when originally created.  Even picked up by other companies and manufactured under their specs.  Anyone collect old bullets rimfire or primed.  Just how many variation are observed.

I am talking at the beginning of Colt Win and there new proprietary primed reloadable cartridges.  Others are looking at the height of the industrial period when more manufactures UMC/rem & Marlin were offering these select cartridges, in their guns and offering their manufactured versions.  Plus there maybe other cartridge companies out there that I cannot think of or remember.

I just do not think that every individuals could go to the Dry goods store daily, weekly, monthly and just buy ammo to blast away.  They were conservative with what they had and made it last, if they could.  They spent money on the necessary living items.  They bought what they could over time,  To me that is the idea of reloading components at a cheaper cost.

Rye, as far as misquoting in the text you would have to discuss that with the authors.  I just read and I have many books about the west because I like history.  And this timeframe especially.
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Rye Miles on August 23, 2019, 11:29:00 am
I think this will be my last posting on this, don't want any discussions getting out of hand.

1.  You all realize that the '70s and early part of the 80's some even say end of the 80's were depression years here in the US.  What does that do to access to money and the cost of any available goods.  Learned that in high school.

2.  You all heard of the industrial revolution from 1850's to early 1910's.  Learned that in high school, too.  That is where invented items are manufactured and produced at a higher rates and cheaper prices, than when originally created.  Even picked up by other companies and manufactured under their specs.  Anyone collect old bullets rimfire or primed.  Just how many variation are observed.

I am talking at the beginning of Colt Win and there new proprietary primed reloadable cartridges.  Others are looking at the height of the industrial period when more manufactures UMC/rem & Marlin were offering these select cartridges, in their guns and offering their manufactured versions.  Plus there maybe other cartridge companies out there that I cannot think of or remember.

I just do not think that every individuals could go to the Dry goods store daily, weekly, monthly and just buy ammo to blast away.  They were conservative with what they had and made it last, if they could.  They spent money on the necessary living items.  They bought what they could over time,  To me that is the idea of reloading components at a cheaper cost.

Rye, as far as misquoting in the text you would have to discuss that with the authors.  I just read and I have many books about the west because I like history.  And this timeframe especially.

Well since I can't discuss with the authors I stand by the Sear catalog and simple math. $0.84 for a box of 50 would not break the bank lawmen, gamblers, gunfighters etc. A working cowboy made about $30.00 a month and found. $0.084 for a box of 50 wouldn't exactly send him to the poorhouse. Don't forget this price was from 1897!!! They were probably less in 1880!!


BTW who were these authors you're talking about?
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Abilene on August 23, 2019, 11:46:50 am
1875 Winchester catalog lists prices for a large number of rimfire and centerfire cartridges.  45 Colt was $24 per 1000 cartridges.  2.4 cents each.  Now, that is buying in quantity, but still...

44 W.C.F. was 2 cents.  22 Short were the cheapest at 0.6 cents each in quantity.
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Delmonico on August 24, 2019, 05:56:16 pm
Well this is an interesting thread, humm, most cowboys worked 7 days a week, got paid basically $1 a day, but can afford to pay 84% of a days wages for a box of ammo to practice?

That's kinda funny since a lot of cowboys didn't handguns or even a rifle or shotgun, many ranchers didn't allow their workers to be armed.

Besides what were they practicing for, them new fangled moving pictures that were about to come out showing a very distorted story of how cowboys lived.

And no, few people reloaded their own ammo, although one famous ranch owner did, rumors that probably could not be confirmed either way says he did actually load ammo
In that big white mansion at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in the District of Columbia. 
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Montana Slim on August 25, 2019, 09:51:03 am
Common practice for ordinary folks to load their own shotshells for those new breech loaders. First with all brass shells. This can be seen with the vast number of individual tools & a few complete kits I've seen at estate sales & auctions. Likely that many ordinary folks reloaded rifle cartridges as well, especially if they had powder & primers on hand for shotshells.

Anyone previously familiar with a percussion revolver was likely still "reloading? them as well.

Gunslingers, outlaws & lawmen? Not hardly....at least during their professional career days.

Regards,
Slim
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Delmonico on August 25, 2019, 11:02:16 am
Actually the paper shell pre-dated the brass shell. 

Also most don't realize that factory paper shot shells were sold loaded, but with out shot till the late 1880' to early 90's. 

This is mostly due to the fact that the industry had not settled on a standard shotsize.

The industry settled on the Tatum  sizing as used by the shot tower of that name out of St Louis.  This is the same system used in the US today.

Same as rifles, few people other than market hunters reloaded.
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Rye Miles on August 25, 2019, 07:15:14 pm
Well this is an interesting thread, humm, most cowboys worked 7 days a week, got paid basically $1 a day, but can afford to pay 84% of a days wages for a box of ammo to practice?

That's kinda funny since a lot of cowboys didn't handguns or even a rifle or shotgun, many ranchers didn't allow their workers to be armed.

Besides what were they practicing for, them new fangled moving pictures that were about to come out showing a very distorted story of how cowboys lived.

And no, few people reloaded their own ammo, although one famous ranch owner did, rumors that probably could not be confirmed either way says he did actually load ammo
In that big white mansion at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in the District of Columbia.

Well they wouldn't have bought a box every day! They probably spent more than that on booze and hookers! LOL
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Delmonico on August 25, 2019, 10:33:45 pm
Probably bought a box every couple years or so.

In a Andy Adam's book Log of a Cowboy, he tells about them spotting a bear and them all gathering their guns and many having to borrow ammo to load  up with.

The average cowboy shot very little and of course didn't reload.

I have read a lot of books with first hand accounts of life in the era and the only accounts of anyone reloading ammo who weren't market hunters of some type was the period the army made companies reload practice ammo, a dismal failure also. 

The other was Maria Sandoz's accounts in her book Old Jules, of her dad reloading ammo.

Very unusual, but Jules Sandoz practiced a lot, something few had the time or money for.



Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Chance on August 26, 2019, 11:43:39 am
If reloading wasn't common, why were there so many reloading tools available and who bought them?

Chance
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Delmonico on August 26, 2019, 03:34:38 pm
Many not common tools survive because they were durable and expensive.

I've seen a lot of amputation sets for sale, don't think that means a lot of people bought and used them.

If you can find the information that says a lot of people owned guns and reloaded, then we would be glad to see it.
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Rye Miles on August 26, 2019, 07:37:38 pm
Probably bought a box every couple years or so.

In a Andy Adam's book Log of a Cowboy, he tells about them spotting a bear and them all gathering their guns and many having to borrow ammo to load  up with.

The average cowboy shot very little and of course didn't reload.

I have read a lot of books with first hand accounts of life in the era and the only accounts of anyone reloading ammo who weren't market hunters of some type was the period the army made companies reload practice ammo, a dismal failure also. 

The other was Maria Sandoz's accounts in her book Old Jules, of her dad reloading ammo.

Very unusual, but Jules Sandoz practiced a lot, something few had the time or money for.

The cowboys didn't shoot much I agree but I'm sure the lawman and bad guys bought more than a box in a couple years. Probably more like a box a month I would guess and maybe more. The bad guys probably had more money and could afford to buy or even steal more ammo than that. ;D
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Delmonico on August 26, 2019, 09:01:26 pm
The cowboys didn't shoot much I agree but I'm sure the lawman and bad guys bought more than a box in a couple years. Probably more like a box a month I would guess and maybe more. The bad guys probably had more money and could afford to buy or even steal more ammo than that. ;D

Guessing ain't proof, documentation is proof and I've spend a lot of  hours researching in and I am convinced that the only people who did reloading were almost all market hunters of some form and Target shooters, which was a big money sport in both prizes and being able to afford the equipment. 

But if you have documentation that I haven't seen, I'm open minded enough to change.😉
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Rye Miles on August 28, 2019, 07:36:56 am
Guessing ain't proof, documentation is proof and I've spend a lot of  hours researching in and I am convinced that the only people who did reloading were almost all market hunters of some form and Target shooters, which was a big money sport in both prizes and being able to afford the equipment. 

But if you have documentation that I haven't seen, I'm open minded enough to change.😉

I have no documentation, I'm just using common sense. Lawman and outlaws had more money than the average person and I assume they had more ammo too! Just MHO
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Professor Marvel on August 29, 2019, 01:43:42 am
I have no documentation, I'm just using common sense. Lawman and outlaws had more money than the average person and I assume they had more ammo too! Just MHO

Greetings My Good Monsieur Miles -

Firstly I have to point out that if a lawman had more spendable income, he also had more responsibilities and bills... like a house and family,
"office expenses" and the fact that many had to supply their own equipment, horses, tack, guns and ammunition at their own expense ... and some even had to
feed prisoners out of their own pocket! Thus trying to discern what any one fellow would spend his money on back then is literally a guessing game.

Secondly, With all respect, "common sense" is ok for casual chat in a modern setting, but here we are in the CAS City Historical Society Subforum....

To dicsuss History seriously, We  deal in provable facts, otherwise we are no better than the Stoopid Movies who throw actual history to wind for the sake of a story.

so, for Actual History, unfortunately, documentation and confirmed provenance  are absolute requirements.

Otherwise we are merely speculating based upon our moderns ways and thoughts , not very different form "blowing smoke".
It's no different than the boys who use 2 part epoxy for historically accurate repairs, claiming "if they had it they woulda used it"

But "they didn't have it" , they used hide glue.

Speculation, Assumption, and attributing "modern thought" to people in the distant past have led many a scholar down the garden path
to being Utterly and Embarasingly Wrong.... :-)

A stunning example is the utter lack of basic hygiene. ACTUAL SURGEONS wore the same stiff and bloody leather aprons without cleaning
every time they cut open a patient, or performed amputations. They operated without even washing their hands and actually prided themselves
on how bloody their surgical apron was. It was not until ~1870 that Dr Joseph Lister ( yes, the Listerene guy) proved over and over that
washing hands, instrumants, and the patient's wounds in diluted carbolic acid virtually stopped all infections.

Even in 1873 the  the medical journal The Lancet warned the entire medical profession against his progressive ideas, and he was openly
mocked as late as 1890.

It would be "common sense" from our perspective that any doctor "ought to have" at least washed his hands.... But documentation shows us
that none of them did!

No disrespect intended, merely attempting to shed some light on the matter.

So without any sunstantiated doco, no one can really say if a lawman reloaded or bought ammuntion or how much he shot or practised.

We DO Know that back in Washington the Generals considered live fire practice (and repating firearms) a waste of money and proveded little
funds for it.  how do we know this?

from  https://armyhistory.org/the-springfield-model-1873-rifle/
" most soldiers in the decades following the Civil War did not receive any significant marksmanship training.  Most soldiers were only given ten cartridges a month with which to practice, and some units did not even receive that much.  In 1877, Lieutenant Stephen Mills stated that ?target practice was practically unknown.  I think the allowance of ammunition was twenty rounds a year.?  By 1878, the state of marksmanship training had become so bad that the Department of the Pacific ordered .58 caliber muzzle-loading rifle-muskets to be taken out of storage so that troops could practice shooting."

and

from "The U.S. Army in the West, 1870-1880: Uniforms, Weapons, and Equipment  By Douglas C. McChristian"
"The Springfield breechloader's power, accuracy, and sustained rate of fire made it an effective weapon for such conditions.
Of course, this was based on the premise that the troops would be trained as capable combat marksmen. In reality, most soldiers
serving in the 1870's were not good marksmen because of the lack of formal training and because of the severe restrictions placed
on the amount of ammunition used for target practice. "

Today, "Common Sense" would make it obvious that a soldier needed
1) an ammunition allotment
2) training
3) time for practice

Back Then the thinking was that all the above was a waste of money.

We DO know that there were pistol and rifle shooting clubs back east and in California, we have their records and newspaper stories.
We DO know that market hunters reloaded and engaged in casual competition from the news paper account and bills and recipets.
We don't know "how much" the average guy or Law Enforcement type practiced

The New York City police Department did not have mandatory pistol practice until 1895 when Teddy Roosevelt took over
           see http://nychistory.blogspot.com/2007/02/theodore-roosevelt-and-nyc.html

BTW over here
https://libraryguides.missouri.edu/pricesandwages/1880-1889

is the single best documented source of prices and wages I have ever found. Research Librarians are your Friends! Use Them Wisely!

I will do some esoteric looking and see if I can find anything useful to contribute

yhs
prof marvel
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Rye Miles on August 29, 2019, 07:59:20 am
Greetings My Good Monsieur Miles -

Firstly I have to point out that if a lawman had more spendable income, he also had more responsibilities and bills... like a house and family,
"office expenses" and the fact that many had to supply their own equipment, horses, tack, guns and ammunition at their own expense ... and some even had to
feed prisoners out of their own pocket! Thus trying to discern what any one fellow would spend his money on back then is literally a guessing game.

Secondly, With all respect, "common sense" is ok for casual chat in a modern setting, but here we are in the CAS City Historical Society Subforum....

To dicsuss History seriously, We  deal in provable facts, otherwise we are no better than the Stoopid Movies who throw actual history to wind for the sake of a story.

so, for Actual History, unfortunately, documentation and confirmed provenance  are absolute requirements.

Otherwise we are merely speculating based upon our moderns ways and thoughts , not very different form "blowing smoke".
It's no different than the boys who use 2 part epoxy for historically accurate repairs, claiming "if they had it they woulda used it"

But "they didn't have it" , they used hide glue.

Speculation, Assumption, and attributing "modern thought" to people in the distant past have led many a scholar down the garden path
to being Utterly and Embarasingly Wrong.... :-)

A stunning example is the utter lack of basic hygiene. ACTUAL SURGEONS wore the same stiff and bloody leather aprons without cleaning
every time they cut open a patient, or performed amputations. They operated without even washing their hands and actually prided themselves
on how bloody their surgical apron was. It was not until ~1870 that Dr Joseph Lister ( yes, the Listerene guy) proved over and over that
washing hands, instrumants, and the patient's wounds in diluted carbolic acid virtually stopped all infections.

Even in 1873 the  the medical journal The Lancet warned the entire medical profession against his progressive ideas, and he was openly
mocked as late as 1890.

It would be "common sense" from our perspective that any doctor "ought to have" at least washed his hands.... But documentation shows us
that none of them did!

No disrespect intended, merely attempting to shed some light on the matter.

So without any sunstantiated doco, no one can really say if a lawman reloaded or bought ammuntion or how much he shot or practised.

We DO Know that back in Washington the Generals considered live fire practice (and repating firearms) a waste of money and proveded little
funds for it.  how do we know this?

from  https://armyhistory.org/the-springfield-model-1873-rifle/
" most soldiers in the decades following the Civil War did not receive any significant marksmanship training.  Most soldiers were only given ten cartridges a month with which to practice, and some units did not even receive that much.  In 1877, Lieutenant Stephen Mills stated that ?target practice was practically unknown.  I think the allowance of ammunition was twenty rounds a year.?  By 1878, the state of marksmanship training had become so bad that the Department of the Pacific ordered .58 caliber muzzle-loading rifle-muskets to be taken out of storage so that troops could practice shooting."

and

from "The U.S. Army in the West, 1870-1880: Uniforms, Weapons, and Equipment  By Douglas C. McChristian"
"The Springfield breechloader's power, accuracy, and sustained rate of fire made it an effective weapon for such conditions.
Of course, this was based on the premise that the troops would be trained as capable combat marksmen. In reality, most soldiers
serving in the 1870's were not good marksmen because of the lack of formal training and because of the severe restrictions placed
on the amount of ammunition used for target practice. "

Today, "Common Sense" would make it obvious that a soldier needed
1) an ammunition allotment
2) training
3) time for practice

Back Then the thinking was that all the above was a waste of money.

We DO know that there were pistol and rifle shooting clubs back east and in California, we have their records and newspaper stories.
We DO know that market hunters reloaded and engaged in casual competition from the news paper account and bills and recipets.
We don't know "how much" the average guy or Law Enforcement type practiced

The New York City police Department did not have mandatory pistol practice until 1895 when Teddy Roosevelt took over
           see http://nychistory.blogspot.com/2007/02/theodore-roosevelt-and-nyc.html

BTW over here
https://libraryguides.missouri.edu/pricesandwages/1880-1889

is the single best documented source of prices and wages I have ever found. Research Librarians are your Friends! Use Them Wisely!

I will do some esoteric looking and see if I can find anything useful to contribute

yhs
prof marvel


Sorry that I expressed an opinion of mine, I guess that's not wanted here! Fine, I'll never bother you again! ::)
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Professor Marvel on August 29, 2019, 02:14:38 pm

Sorry that I expressed an opinion of mine, I guess that's not wanted here! Fine, I'll never bother you again! ::)

We value opinions, just in the right place. In a fact-based discussion forum of actual history one must be careful of opinions.

One can have opinions about established events or people, with supporting evidence such as
"It is my opinion that Gen Custer was a poor stradegist and tactician, and egotistical to boot,  based on xyz,"

However In discussions of Actual History itself  we deal only in facts backed up by supportable documentation.
Anything else is literally fiction or falsehood.

We can have opinions about the source of a story or doco, in which case multiple sources are key.

An excellent example is the so-called Biography of Wyatt Earp by Frank Waters, "The Earp Brothers of Tombstone" (1960)
Waters was a 20th century novelist and opted for a fiction-based smear of the Earps, some called it  historical fraud.
detailed info can be found at  http://www.tombstonehistoryarchives.com/?page_id=110

Anything else is like trying to argue an opinion that "gravity is a myth" or "the moon is made of green cheese".

no offense meant, just that this forum is all about provable facts.

hope this helps
Prof Marvel
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Will Ketchum on August 29, 2019, 03:40:40 pm

Sorry that I expressed an opinion of mine, I guess that's not wanted here! Fine, I'll never bother you again! ::)

Rye, that would be your loss. The good professor was trying to be helpful. He meant no disrespect. If you remain here, in this particular forum you will learn a lot. I have degrees in history and still often learn things here.
Don't be thin skinned. Historians can't afford that.
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Rye Miles on August 29, 2019, 07:14:39 pm
We value opinions, just in the right place. In a fact-based discussion forum of actual history one must be careful of opinions.

One can have opinions about established events or people, with supporting evidence such as
"It is my opinion that Gen Custer was a poor stradegist and tactician, and egotistical to boot,  based on xyz,"

However In discussions of Actual History itself  we deal only in facts backed up by supportable documentation.
Anything else is literally fiction or falsehood.

We can have opinions about the source of a story or doco, in which case multiple sources are key.

An excellent example is the so-called Biography of Wyatt Earp by Frank Waters, "The Earp Brothers of Tombstone" (1960)
Waters was a 20th century novelist and opted for a fiction-based smear of the Earps, some called it  historical fraud.
detailed info can be found at  http://www.tombstonehistoryarchives.com/?page_id=110

Anything else is like trying to argue an opinion that "gravity is a myth" or "the moon is made of green cheese".

no offense meant, just that this forum is all about provable facts.

hope this helps
Prof Marvel

Professor, you haven't shown me one bit of "fact" that would counter what I'm saying. There are no facts from people about how much ammo they bought or if they reloaded. Papers didn't write about people's personal purchases such as ammo or shovels or grain etc. This whole post is based on the premise that people may or may NOT reloaded. As a matter of fact it is a question open to discussion. I figured it WAS open to discussion and no one has shown me anything factual at all about the original question. The only thing factual was what I put on that a box of .45Colt cartridges cost $.84 according to the 1897 Sears catalog which I used as an argument against someone that said a .45 Colt round cost .25cents!

If you go back and re-read the comments, everyone was giving their opinion without any historical fact to back it up. Someone said they read many books on this subject, I asked who the authors were and what books they were. No response. I feel like I was singled out because I was going "against the grain" and not agreeing with everyone. Talk about thin skinned as someone said, it certainly isn't me!
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Black River Smith on August 29, 2019, 07:47:42 pm
Ok, I have come back in, to this discussions with just one new piece of info from one of the 70+ books that I own.  This is I think the only reloading box and tools directly owned by a ranch hand, that according to the authors.  The photo can be found in Cowboys & the Trappings of the Old West.  The photo is on page 102 at the bottom of the page and consists of an 1882 pattern Win tong tool; a Win early bullet mold(no wood handles); fired brass; tins of primers; and a box of molded bullets.

The authors text associated to this photo states "Ammunition was expensive in the Old West, and many revolvers took unusual cartridges that were not easily available.  Cowboys often had plenty of time in the winter to reload their own bullets.  Inexpensive hand-held pliers-like reloading tools were popular.  These kits only cost about $2 during the early 1880s.  This one was used on a ranch in Lincoln, New Mexico, during the 1880s." 

Now this book has items that cover a wide timeframe even into the '30s and maybe '40s movie era.  But this item is supposedly dated to the 1880's.

Now one photo does not mean that eveyone did, like I eluded to earlier, but it is a beginning for doubting that no-one did reload and everyone bought factory.

Rye, with over 70 books I doubt I will find my earlier comments.  My books range from the full leather bound Time Life series; to all of the RL Wilson books; to most of the Rosa book; to first hand account from known gunfighter, Texas rangers, cowboys, buffalo hunters, and well known persons of the western history.  Also, that book count does not include books on specific Western weapons, the Civil War and WWII history.  History is my second education.  Also, I do not have the inclination to look for something, I remember reading, 30 years ago.  I doubt it would change anyone's beliefs.

Del,  I do wish I had some of the personal first hand account books that you made reference too earlier they sound very interesting.  Just never ran into them.  May have to start looking for some of them.

Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Rye Miles on August 30, 2019, 06:43:19 am
Ok, I have come back in, to this discussions with just one new piece of info from one of the 70+ books that I own.  This is I think the only reloading box and tools directly owned by a ranch hand, that according to the authors.  The photo can be found in Cowboys & the Trappings of the Old West.  The photo is on page 102 at the bottom of the page and consists of an 1882 pattern Win tong tool; a Win early bullet mold(no wood handles); fired brass; tins of primers; and a box of molded bullets.

The authors text associated to this photo states "Ammunition was expensive in the Old West, and many revolvers took unusual cartridges that were not easily available.  Cowboys often had plenty of time in the winter to reload their own bullets.  Inexpensive hand-held pliers-like reloading tools were popular.  These kits only cost about $2 during the early 1880s.  This one was used on a ranch in Lincoln, New Mexico, during the 1880s." 

Now this book has items that cover a wide timeframe even into the '30s and maybe '40s movie era.  But this item is supposedly dated to the 1880's.

Now one photo does not mean that eveyone did, like I eluded to earlier, but it is a beginning for doubting that no-one did reload and everyone bought factory.

Rye, with over 70 books I doubt I will find my earlier comments.  My books range from the full leather bound Time Life series; to all of the RL Wilson books; to most of the Rosa book; to first hand account from known gunfighter, Texas rangers, cowboys, buffalo hunters, and well known persons of the western history.  Also, that book count does not include books on specific Western weapons, the Civil War and WWII history.  History is my second education.  Also, I do not have the inclination to look for something, I remember reading, 30 years ago.  I doubt it would change anyone's beliefs.

Del,  I do wish I had some of the personal first hand account books that you made reference too earlier they sound very interesting.  Just never ran into them.  May have to start looking for some of them.

 I have a lot of the same books you've mentioned and I've read countless biographies of lawmen and outlaws. I've been a student of the Old West for as long as I can remember and I'm 72! 8)
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Coffinmaker on August 30, 2019, 04:56:56 pm

 :D  Personally.  Seriously.  I can't recall a single person .... whom I could ask .... whom was actually there and would have first person knowledge.  The myriad of tomes I have had access to .... were also written by persons without actual timely observation.  Those who were there, mostly didn't write anything down.  Histerakly there isn't a lot of concrete.  Oh .... almost forgot.  I really don't care.  It doesn't really matter.  Those guys had guns.  They bought ammunition.  They shot their guns with that ammunition.  When they ran out of ammunition, they got more.  Or emulated Lester More.
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Rye Miles on August 30, 2019, 07:11:40 pm
:D  Personally.  Seriously.  I can't recall a single person .... whom I could ask .... whom was actually there and would have first person knowledge.  The myriad of tomes I have had access to .... were also written by persons without actual timely observation.  Those who were there, mostly didn't write anything down.  Histerakly there isn't a lot of concrete.  Oh .... almost forgot.  I really don't care.  It doesn't really matter.  Those guys had guns.  They bought ammunition.  They shot their guns with that ammunition.  When they ran out of ammunition, they got more.  Or emulated Lester More.

+100000
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Professor Marvel on August 30, 2019, 09:48:30 pm
Greetings Rye & Everybody -

soemtimes I just talk ( or write) too much and people miss the point I am trying to make... it just gets lost in my own noise.

So I'll try bullet items, like in a boring speech :-)

First-
Rye, I am actually ON YOUR SIDE  -- I believe, but cannot prove , that reloading was done more often than can be documented.

WHY do I hold this opinion?
1) WE KNOW that prior to cartridges, even with revolvers, reloading was the only way to make it go bang
2) WE KNOW that during the transitional period many Remington and some Colt percussion revolvers were fitted and/or sold outright
      with both percussion and cartidger conversion cylinders, and existing advertisements touted the ability to load with loose powder and ball if needed.
       AT THAT TIME, reloading tools were not yet available so reloading spent casings was not yet "popular"
3) WE KNOW from military reports  and other letters that Indians were regularly observed relodsing spent casings and even using friciton matches for primer material.
4) WE KNOW prior to the Civil War  that hunters, frontiersmen, Indians, scouts, etc regularly cast their own bullets because we have diaries and letters and military and
       booshway reports of men "running ball" over the fire at night

For some reason, the amount of detailed written doco regarding the topic seems to wither right around 1865 and going forward. People just stopped writing
about a lot of things -  it is much like the infamous "what did they use for tinder  during the Rev War?"

Now, from here we can Surmise or suggest. 
It is VERY UNLIKELY that frugal men who were used to casting ball and loading powder and ball into rifles and revolvers would suddenly buy only factory cartridges
and throw them away once shot. There is to my mind no difference between loading a C&B revolver and  repriming (even with a percussion cap, I tried it and it works) and reloading  an empty casing with powder and ball.

The question was:  Did they reload?

Answer: Yes they did

What do we actually know?
- by 1873 ish  there were loading tools, primers, empty cases bullets and powder for sale,
- we know  they were bought and used, rcpts & records exist
- there are a few rare entries in journals, diaries, letters, ledger books (for business) , and newspaper articles of "this guy reloading cartridges"

Who, how much, and how do we know?

who:
        we know that buffalo hunters, market hunters, some gunstore owners, some ranchers , and some Native Americans reloaded.
               and "probably" a bunch of other guys but we cannot prove it

how much: buff and market hunters a lot, everybody else , WE DON'T KNOW HOW MUCH

how do we know:
         we know how much some buff hunters and market hunters loaded, because it is documented in store reciepts,
         factory orders ( with names and delivery details) , and some very specific entries in logbooks, ledgers, and diaries by these people.
         This doco still exists and can be referenced because these guys were IN BUSINESS, and these records were part of their business records.

         There are occasional ( rare in my mind) letters , diary entries or military reports that specifically describe reloading.

Letters & diaries are good doco because they are first person narrative to folks "back home" and the writer is telling them news and
what is going on, and unless he is bragging about how wonderful he is ( I caught over a thousand fish today alone!)  there
is no reason for them to lie. Diaries are often a narrative of how much they accomplished such as land plowed, crops planted,
harvest brought in, deer etc hunted for meat, so that the writer can keep track of how good or bad the year has been.

Very occasionally you may see in a letter or diary "load a quantity of shells " or "loaded some cartridges" for the upcoming hunt ...
or "won the ham at the town scheutzenfest, and so must make time to load more cartridges for the fall" .... Even so, except for
the Range Wars & Indian Wars, 50 cartridges would last a long time.

Military reports or letters are much better, since they are giving detailed factual reports . It is there I have found such gems as a report
that (paraphrased) " Local hostiles are using captured cartridge guns, and due to lack of ammunition, are loading spent shell cases with powder and
ball"  or " Private Smith has been put on punishment duty, to wit: cartridge loadiing , Due to shortage of ammunition for training" .

However I can only recall 2 or 3 about the Indians, and only found 1 about loading as punishment duty.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

The big probelm is the lack of written supporting doco.

A lot of popular books are written on topics ranging from the Buffalo Hunters, to Mountain Men, to Cowboys and cattle drives...
but very often they are causually written for a casual audience, and they ought not to be used as factual source unless they use accepted
methods of references , footnotes, etc.     because, without verifiable doco to back it up it is at best hear-say and at worst fiction.
And books without quoted footnotes and sources are more often "passed down old stories" than we would like.


In History, Serious Scholars use what is called "Historical Method"  see here
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_method

In general these include
- do not "assume"
- do not "guess"
- do not try to apply modern thought or modern "common sense"
- you actually need documented proof, usually they want at least 5 examples

So there it is.

I did not mean for it to sound like I was dumping on you, just trying to explain the more rigorous "proofs" needed for actual acedemic style  historical research.

and I STILL think they reloaded more than we can prove.

your humble servant
Prof Marvel

ps I will try to dig out more stuff later if anybody cares
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Delmonico on August 30, 2019, 10:02:29 pm
Actually early in the last century many cowboys wrote down their memories and many of these books can be found at large libraries covered with dust from lack of use, none I read of maybe 2 dozen mentioned reloading.  The only mentions I've are the ones I listed.

So by the same "logic and common sense" it's likely very few people reloaded.

So we point out what we know and it don't fit your agenda so you have a small hissy fit and threaten to leave, that's not proper behavior for someone who claims to be 73 years old.

Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Professor Marvel on August 30, 2019, 11:38:03 pm
Actually early in the last century many cowboys wrote down their memories and many of these books can be found at large libraries covered with dust from lack of use, none I read of maybe 2 dozen mentioned reloading.

Ah My Good Del
There is the thing... the diaries are you found are only accessible if one is as serious as you and are willing to do the work to travel and find them. I will have to inquire around my area and see what if anything is available and if they will let me at their archives.

Many of the docs from the Fur Trade era are only available because people like Hansen did the work like you are doing, and recently some libraries are digitizing the works.

BTW
Afteryou posted some of the historic photos of kansas and nebraska i bookmarked those sources and have been perusing them casually... they are a great source, thanks.

Yhs
Prof marvel
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Delmonico on August 31, 2019, 01:20:59 am
Deep research takes time and effort, something many could do if they'd turn off the TV and do something useful.  The era of The History channel providing any useful information has long passed.

There are some amazing historical books on line now and most can be down loaded to a tablet and read at the Drs office while waiting or when left in the car by one's spouse while she shops at a store you'd rather not go into.
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Rye Miles on August 31, 2019, 07:22:29 am
Actually early in the last century many cowboys wrote down their memories and many of these books can be found at large libraries covered with dust from lack of use, none I read of maybe 2 dozen mentioned reloading.  The only mentions I've are the ones I listed.

So by the same "logic and common sense" it's likely very few people reloaded.

So we point out what we know and it don't fit your agenda so you have a small hissy fit and threaten to leave, that's not proper behavior for someone who claims to be 73 years old.

I never said that people reloaded where did you get that idea? I never said anything about reloading, NOT ONCE! My argument was that the price of ammo was misstated and it wasn't that expensive so they bought it. (Sears 1897 catalog .84 cents for a box of 50) I didn't have a hissy fit I just don't want to waste my time arguing over something that you seem to deem yourself an expert on and you allow no one else their point of view! Why don't you just drop this already and go do something constructive with your life!
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Coffinmaker on August 31, 2019, 08:35:03 am

PEANUTS!!!   POPCORN!!!   CRACKERJACKS!!!!  COLD BEER!!!!  Front Row seating is still available!!!








Aw common ....... Play nice and Share Toys   ;D
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Delmonico on August 31, 2019, 10:47:50 am
The cowboys didn't shoot much I agree but I'm sure the lawman and bad guys bought more than a box in a couple years. Probably more like a box a month I would guess and maybe more. The bad guys probably had more money and could afford to buy or even steal more ammo than that. ;D

It's implied several places.   ;)
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Rye Miles on August 31, 2019, 12:34:29 pm
It's implied several places.   ;)

 I said from the beginning I didn't say anything about reloading! Thanks for making my point! ::)
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Black River Smith on September 03, 2019, 01:47:58 pm
I have returned to this topic in order to defend an early statement that was partly incorrect but was still for the most part correct but not believed by others.

In the 'TimeLife Series books the Old West the Gunfighter' page 106 second column.  The paragraph is written about the Ford elections where Bat Masterson was elected.  They state "But, once a sheriff attained office, he could scarcely avoid finding it profitable, for much of his time was spent collecting county taxes, and often he received a percentage of the take.  Combined, in some states, with a certain amount of judicious graft from road-building and other county contracts he dispensed, that sort of income could make a man 'wealthy':"

now the next is where my memory went wrong, because I did not like the western character.

"Sheriff John Behan... in Tombstone, was reputed to have raked in $40,000 a year during his term."

Back when I posted this statement I applied the dollar value to Masterson, but after reading this again and again I still believe that Masterson did become wealthy after having to cover a 300 mile radius on Kansas.

I still could not find the 25cent per cartridge statement.

Now for that topic of reloading and that no-one did and everyone bought ammo because it was so cheap.  The following is just another documented info that proves that reloading during the west was cheaper than buying for most and the common person.  But not those on the run, moving around from location to location, not willing to carry quantities of supplies.

In the book 'A Study of the Colt Single Action Army Revolver' by Graham - Kopec - Moore on page 306 & 307 the text states that the Government in 1882 changed the proprietary Colt internal primed cartridge to the new outside primer in order to reload because cases were most expensive components.   At the same time they changed the 45/70 to outside priming.  Both for the purpose of reloading because they had Springfield Armory create reloading tools.  Then in 1888 or 1890 the Government demanded that brass cases be substituted for copper.  The Government start to but 'no-one else' did.  The armies did require troops to reload.

These next comments are just thoughts.  By the argument that no one reloaded then the best business sense would have been only manufacture rimfire cases.  This controls the consumer market and make everyone pay the manufactures.  No independence.  All the following goes against this logic and the belief that no on reloaded and everyone wanted to just buy and buy factory ammo.

The first Colt conversion was the Thuer with its internal cartridges.  They made reloading tools for it.  Why?  According to some just buy more bullets from Colt.  Case manufacturing was the most expensive part, that's why.

When S&W developed the 3rd Model there where rimfire 44's like the Henry or other why not just use them and keep everyone buying loaded cartridges, good for business and 'no-one' reloaded.  But they determined like others outside primed cases could handle more powder and they could be reloaded.

Why did Win continue developing a newer rifle after the '66, according to those thinking no-one reloaded it would have been the best product for business.  But they created an outside reloadable case with more powder.  And as I listed before they and S&W immediately created reloading tools.

I still believe, lawmen where supplied with ammo from the city councils and that outlaws bought or stole ammo.  They did not need to reload.  But I do not believe everyone else only bought factory ammo, as I stated earlier.
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Coffinmaker on September 04, 2019, 09:51:42 am

BRS .....
Some serious suppositions there.  There is no "evidence" troops were required to "reload."  Just the government changed cartridge requirements.  "If" ammunition was reloaded, it would most likely been done at Depot level.

I have no doubt there were a percentage of folks that reloaded cartridges.  I seriously doubt it was widespread.  My suppositions are the same as your suppositions.  Just suppositions and for the most part based on what we know of economics "today."

I must return to the position ..... I/We don't personally know anyone whom was 'there."  We constantly referee to tomes written by people who weren't there and didn't talk to anyone whom was there either and as such didn't know anymore then we do.  It's foolish to keep hammering the same nail when the nail doesn't hold anything together.

Besides .... at this point in time .... Who Cares??  It simply doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.  Your Nail, Your Hammer do with it as you will I suppose.
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Black River Smith on September 04, 2019, 02:24:03 pm
Coffinmaker,

You are correct about stepping away from this topic,  better do it before someone comes in and says...??...


'Matt Dillon' did not exist in Dodge City during the Old West. :o
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: FriscoCounty on September 04, 2019, 05:44:10 pm
I still could not find the 25cent per cartridge statement.

Just had a look at the UMC 1873 price list.  No. 44 Henry flat ran $24.00 per thousand. No. 56 Calibre 50 for Spencers ran $40/1,000.

In the 1877 Remington catalog .45-70 cartridges ran $37/1,000 and .45-70 Carbine ran $35.00/thousand.  Primed cases for .45 Gov/t were $20/1,000. .45 Gov't bullets were 12.75/1,000. 

I have a feeling that whoever quoted $0.25/cartridge was either mistaken about the quantity (ie, thinking it was $25/100 instead of $25/1000) or found a sutler's price list that really jacked up the price.

Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Trailrider on September 04, 2019, 06:07:48 pm
IIn the book 'A Study of the Colt Single Action Army Revolver' by Graham - Kopec - Moore on page 306 & 307 the text states that the Government in 1882 changed the proprietary Colt internal primed cartridge to the new outside primer in order to reload because cases were most expensive components.   At the same time they changed the 45/70 to outside priming.  Both for the purpose of reloading because they had Springfield Armory create reloading tools.  Then in 1888 or 1890 the Government demanded that brass cases be substituted for copper.  The Government start to but 'no-one else' did.  The armies did require troops to reload.
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Not really getting into the argument as to whether and who reloaded. I will comment on the changeover by the Army from inside-primed central fire, "copper" cartridge cases (actually gilding metal) to outside-primed brass cases. The problem with internally-primed cartridge case was that they require a soft material that could be deformed by the firing pin's impact in order to set off the primer (Bene't cup or Martin bar primer). Another reason for using the softer material was the state-of-the-art in drawing brass into cartridge cases. The problem with the softer "copper" cases was that they expanded and stayed that way upon firing. Combined with the fouling produced by black powder, the fired cases became difficult to extract from the chamber after several rounds had been fired in succession. The result was jammed rifles and carbines. There is plenty of documentation to attest to this problem. (And, NO, this wasn't what lead to Custer's defeat. His troops didn't have time to fire enough rounds to jam their carbines! They were overrun too quickly. Reno and Benteen, however, did spend time clearing jammed weapons, and there were enough other complaints to the Ordnance Dept. from commanders in the field.)

So why didn't the government change over until the 1880's? Simple. They had too much of the old-style ammo on hand, and couldn't get funding, plus tooling, from Congress any sooner. At the same time, inside priming was not possible with brass, so the change to outside priming, plus the fact that the commercial companies were manufacturing externally-primed, brass cartridges proved the efficacy of the type.  I don't have the documentation, but I believe the external primers were of the Berdan type, at least initially. As to whether the troops in the field reloaded or not, I can't document. However, with the increased emphasis on marksmanship that came about after the Little Big Horn debacle, more ammo was probably needed at frontier posts for practice than the allocations would allow. I have documented records that troops in the late 1870's, after the introduction of the .45-70, were allowed three (3) rounds per man per month for target practice.  Some units retained their obsolescent .50-70 rifles in small quantities, and utilized these for both target practice and foraging (hunting).  Co. G, 3rd Cavalry retained five (5) of their .50-70 Sharps carbines at Sidney Barracks, NE, and had about 50,000 rounds of ammo for same on hand through the June 1876 Ordnance and Ordnance Stores in the Hands of Troops. (After that, unfortunately, those type of records no longer can be found! Because of this, we don't know how long that unit kept those Sharps, or when they finally ran out of .50-70 ammo...or when they were transferred to Arizona after Geronimo.) So, whether they subsequently wound up reloading ammo for practice and foraging, cannot be said, based on the available data.

I cannot comment on the extent to which private citizens, outside of professional hunters, reloaded prior to the 20th Century.
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Rye Miles on September 05, 2019, 07:48:41 am
Just had a look at the UMC 1873 price list.  No. 44 Henry flat ran $24.00 per thousand. No. 56 Calibre 50 for Spencers ran $40/1,000.

In the 1877 Remington catalog .45-70 cartridges ran $37/1,000 and .45-70 Carbine ran $35.00/thousand.  Primed cases for .45 Gov/t were $20/1,000. .45 Gov't bullets were 12.75/1,000. 

I have a feeling that whoever quoted $0.25/cartridge was either mistaken about the quantity (ie, thinking it was $25/100 instead of $25/1000) or found a sutler's price list that really jacked up the price.

Like I quoted before, 1897 Sears Catalog $0.84 for 50 cartridges of .45 Colt!! That's less than 2 cents a round! :o
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Sir Charles deMouton-Black on September 14, 2019, 10:17:42 am
I know the discussion focused on pistol and rifle ammo, but did not mention shotgun reloading. I just reviewed an old post of mine, the timeline of shotgun ammo development on the shotgun board, and other places as well. While shotgun ammo quite like the current paper shells were developed in the 1870's, LOADED ammo was not commonly produced until 1886 (Winchester). Components and tools were widely available and shotgun shooters had to reload in most cases.
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Professor Marvel on September 14, 2019, 05:00:59 pm
Thanks Sir C!

I had forgotten all about the scatterguns!

Prof Marvel
Title: Re: Did they reload?
Post by: Tascosa Joe on September 15, 2019, 08:20:53 am
Some years back I was visiting Ft Garland, CO (1853-1883).  A semi local college was doing an archaeological dig in a trash pit on the fort grounds.  While visiting with the professor one of the students came to him and said we found a cartridge case.  I asked if I could accompany him to the sight and he ok'ed me to tag a long.  The cartridge case was a boxer primed 45-70.  Among other things in the pit were animal bones, mostly beef and sheep, old bottles of various sorts, etc.  The professor was dating the pit as belonging to the fort.  IMO this indicates the govt was using boxer primed 45-70 fairly early.