Author Topic: Did they reload?  (Read 10251 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.
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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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Offline Pitspitr

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Re: Did they reload?
« Reply #57 on: September 20, 2019, 01:23:36 pm »
The first US Army boxer primed cases were supposed to be 1882
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Offline Delmonico

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Re: Did they reload?
« Reply #58 on: September 21, 2019, 05:21:16 pm »
The first US Army boxer primed cases were supposed to be 1882

Seeing the head stamp on it would be useful.

Just because it ended up with other garbage in that pit don't mean a lot, a head stamp would date a military cartridge, or give a rough date for a civilian one.
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Offline Delmonico

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Re: Did they reload?
« Reply #59 on: September 21, 2019, 05:25:42 pm »
84 cents a box is almost a days wages in that era.

The 25 cents a cartridge that is often quoted for the era involves big long range rounds that were often shipped by wagons to trading posts through hostile country.  They would bring that where there was plenty of money and a dire need.

Simple economics.
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Offline Black River Smith

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Re: Did they reload?
« Reply #60 on: September 22, 2019, 06:53:06 pm »
Del, Thanks for bringing at up.

Yes, I finally found what I once read and heard.  I have been re-watching the Ken Burns 'The West' on Netflix just this week.  Well the comment about a 25 cent cartridge was made there.  Now if you have the corresponding book it is on page 263.  The comment was made by someone there and who wrote his own book about his buffalo hunting time in 1873, Frank H. Mayer.  The statement was...
"When I went into the business, I sat down and figured... There were 20 million buffalo, each worth at least $3-- $60 million.  At the very outside, cartridges cost 25 cents each, so every time I fired one I got my investment back....".

I was maybe wrong about the quote being related to Matterson.  I did find his comment stating that he practiced a lot to keep up his advantage and image.

Just another point about the crowd that quotes exact pricing from Sear.  Please read all the fine print.  They did not mail ammo to individuals.  They demanded cash payment for freighted items.  The ammo had to freighted to a central location, then had to be gotten to the distant towns.  That added more to the cost per box.  Who could afford to travel such distances just to pick up a box or two of ammo?  The only one who could or would buy like this would have been the Dry Good or General Stores, maybe mines and these bought in quantity.  The stores would, like now, add mark-ups, it business.  So my point is, if you are in an out of the way town or area the prices to the consumer will be increased for all the extra work to get it in remote areas.  Just like today on some goods.

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« Last Edit: September 24, 2019, 07:13:17 pm by Black River Smith »
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Offline Delmonico

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Re: Did they reload?
« Reply #61 on: September 22, 2019, 07:34:08 pm »
People often do not think about the differences back then compared to today.

Was looking at a microfilm of an 1877 Sidney Nebraska newspaper years ago, closest rail head to the Black Hills, offered Guiness and Bass's ale in bottles at a saloon, no price given.  Considering what it would have taken to get it there, would have made 44-77 Sharps rounds at 25 cents look cheap.
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Offline Delmonico

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Re: Did they reload?
« Reply #62 on: September 23, 2019, 01:22:41 am »
Had a thought as I was laying down to sleep, did a very quick search for fun to compare modern prices. 

9mm ammo often can be bought for around 15-20 cents a round, depending on brand and load.

Took one of the new wiz bang rounds a coworker had and 270 WSM ammo runs around $2 a round not an exact percentage difference as the 45 Colt and Sharps rounds but pretty dang close.

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The time has passed so quick, the years all run together now.