Author Topic: Did they reload?  (Read 1928 times)

Offline Black River Smith

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Re: Did they reload?
« Reply #50 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...??...


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Offline FriscoCounty

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Re: Did they reload?
« Reply #51 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.

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Offline Trailrider

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Re: Did they reload?
« Reply #52 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.
Quote

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.
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Offline Rye Miles

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Re: Did they reload?
« Reply #53 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
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Offline Sir Charles deMouton-Black

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Re: Did they reload?
« Reply #54 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.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2019, 10:23:11 am by Sir Charles deMouton-Black »
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Offline Professor Marvel

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Re: Did they reload?
« Reply #55 on: September 14, 2019, 05:00:59 pm »
Thanks Sir C!

I had forgotten all about the scatterguns!

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Offline Tascosa Joe

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Re: Did they reload?
« Reply #56 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.
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