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Old September 22, 2013, 12:03 PM   #26
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Mike, I agree with you on a number of points. Lots of rounds in those days were about the same as the "deadly" .41RF. Nearly all the early heel type bullets were outside lubricated. And a good doctor did have a decent chance at removing a bullet.

BUT

What we remember, and what gets into legend status is only part of the picture. Sharps and Hawken rifles got tremendous reputations, but they weren't the only guns around and in widespread use in their day. They got the name, and it stuck in our history. I think the legend of the .41s deadliness is likely the same thing. And, like most other legends, probably embellished over time.

Kind of like how "the .45 will knock a man down, even if he's just hit in the little finger." We know the facts, but legends like this still persist.

Good docs do the best they can. But sometimes even their best isn't good enough. Didn't we have a president who was actually killed by the docs trying to find and remove a bullet?
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Old September 22, 2013, 12:11 PM   #27
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I've heard the infection tale before and in another context. My daughter bought me a book about dueling culture. One fear was that crap on your clothes would be pushed into the wound - causing infection.

The lead ball wasn't an infection danger. One participant decided to duel naked so that if he were hit, removing the lead ball would be easy and he would have less chance of infection. The other gentleman refused to duel with such a lewd opponent.
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Old September 22, 2013, 01:22 PM   #28
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I recall one of the several sea stories of the Napoleonic Wars, the hero puts on a clean silk shirt and stockings to minimize the risk from cloth driven into a wound.

While the .41 RF gets the ink, I figure that about anything would do.

Before WWII, a penetrating wound combined with the criminal classes' reluctance to promptly seek medical care and the lack of antibiotics could prove deadly.
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Old September 22, 2013, 01:26 PM   #29
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No, the lead ball isn't an infection danger. It is the stuff on your clothes and on the bullet. We all know that, it was probably even realized back then.

Master and Commander, The Far Side of the World has an interesting scene regarding exactly that where the ship's doctor is wounded accidentally.

The doctor's assistant tells Russel Crowe's character that "the bullet took in a bit of shirt with it. If it's not removed, it will fester..."

"Legends" such as this and the Sharps and Hawkins rifles often arose well after the heyday of such items. Often legends have their basis in fact, but legends are, by their very nature, overblown.


And yes, James Garfield was the President you're thinking of. The bullet lodged behind his pancreas, but the doctors, even with probes, couldn't locate it. It's thought that the incessant probing was the cause of the infection that eventually killed Garfield. When he was autopsied after his death the bullet was found enclosed in tissue cyst and would have probably been harmless had Garfield survived.
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Old September 25, 2013, 07:03 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Watson
I recall one of the several sea stories of the Napoleonic Wars, the hero puts on a clean silk shirt and stockings to minimize the risk from cloth driven into a wound.
I though the hero put on a red shirt so the crew wouldn't see him bleed and brown pants so they wouldn't see him, uh, get dirty...
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Old September 26, 2013, 12:11 PM   #31
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The old joke (as I heard it) went like this...

Hitler is planning a visit to the Eastern Front, and pondering what uniforms he should take. His valet tell him "when Napoleon visited the front, he wore a red uniform, so that if he was wounded, the troops would not see the blood and lose heart".

Der Fuehrer pauses a moment, then orders, "Fine! Pack my brown uniform pants!"



(which, of course has nothing to do with the .41RF, but I just couldn't resist)
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Old September 26, 2013, 08:19 PM   #32
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Well, the Chinese and other Asians considered the proper undergarment for war to be a thick, loose silken shirt.

Apparently arrows would tend to drive the shirt into the wound, but wouldn't penetrate it, making the wound both cleaner and the arrow easier to remove.
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Old September 26, 2013, 10:25 PM   #33
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This is purely speculative on my part, but part of the .41RF's reputation might come from who carried them. I'll try to word this as tastefully as I can, but this still might be a bit descriptive for the squeamish.

Apparently, Remington Model 95's were quite popular among practitioners of the "oldest profession" with many such ladies carrying their guns tucked in a garter. Considering that the gun and its ammunition, if carried in this manner, would be quite close to a portal for any number of, shall we say, professionally acquired pathogens, I could see where the risk of some very nasty infections might be increased if shot with such a gun.

It is also worthy of mention that many cartridges which we consider anemic or underpowered today were considered perfectly adequate in the 19th Century. By and large, only soldiers and/or cowboys carried large caliber handguns with private citizens and big city police being quite content with small calibers like .32 S&W Long, .41 RF, or .31 and .36 caliber percussion revolvers. The larger .44's and .45's were primarily valued not because smaller calibers were considered inadequate for people, but because the larger calibers could more reliably put down a large animal like a horse or steer which would have certainly been an important consideration for a cavalryman or cowboy.
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Old September 26, 2013, 11:10 PM   #34
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Hopkins and Allen made single shot rifles in 41 caliber. About a year ago at Cabelas, some one was selling a collection of 4. I remember this because one was a 22 rimfire, I was aware of the 32 rimfire and the 44 rimfire,but the 41 rimfire was new to me.
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Old September 27, 2013, 08:32 AM   #35
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It's always been my personal theory that most cowboys didn't own a large caliber Colt, S&W or one of the other makes.

I'm thinking that most of them actually owned a small break top or solid frame in .32 or .38 as their "cowboy gun."

The cost of a Colt SAA or like handgun would have been prohibitive for a cowboy, at fully a month's, or even two's, wages.

That's money that I suspect they would have first and foremost spent on a rifle, which would have been far more useful to them in the long run.

I have my Great Grandfather's "cowboy gun," from when he was a working cowboy in the Dakotas in the 1880s and 1890s...

It's a Harrington & Richardson .32 S&W breaktop.

In his writing he also made reference to having a rifle, but we don't know what it was, or where it got to. Probably sold to a fellow cowboy when he moved east in the early 1900s.
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Old September 29, 2013, 02:09 AM   #36
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Quote:
It's always been my personal theory that most cowboys didn't own a large caliber Colt, S&W or one of the other makes.

I'm thinking that most of them actually owned a small break top or solid frame in .32 or .38 as their "cowboy gun."

The cost of a Colt SAA or like handgun would have been prohibitive for a cowboy, at fully a month's, or even two's, wages.
That's a good point. A few years ago I looked through a reprint of the 1901 Sears Catalog and noticed that a large revolver like a Colt or S&W cost $10 or more while a small handgun like a derringer, H&R, or Iver Johnson revolver usually cost $2 or less (about the same as an inexpensive pocket watch).

The cost of "name brand" guns like Colt, S&W, and Remington likely also led to the continuing popularity of percussion revolvers like the Colt 1851 Navy, 1860 Army, and Remington New Army long after they were technologically obsolete. I would imagine that a Civil War surplus percussion revolver could have been purchased quite inexpensively during the 1870's and 1880's.
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Old January 6, 2014, 06:48 AM   #37
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Mike -

Here are the rest of those pictures you wanted to see... note the mention of Remington on the first one.






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Old January 6, 2014, 08:19 AM   #38
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Excellent.

Pretty much exactly what I expected to see. I'll stick with my opinion that that box of ammo was manfactured sometime between 1933 and 1935.

It's not often that a box of ammo can be dated to within a span of just a couple of years.
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Old January 6, 2014, 08:27 AM   #39
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Quote:
It's not often that a box of ammo can be dated to within a span of just a couple of years.
Thanks Mike, with the Dupont logo on the box it might even rule out 1933.
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Old January 6, 2014, 11:49 AM   #40
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"Thanks Mike, with the Dupont logo on the box it might even rule out 1933."

I'm trying to find some more specific information on it, but I seem to recall the deal being finalized in the spring or early summer, 1933.

As the companies worked up towards finalization, things like logos, printing on the boxes, advertising, etc., all would have been prepared so that pretty much from day 1 new ammo would have been packaged in the appropriate boxes.

It's even likely that production with the new logos would have started before the "it's now official" day, and would have been warehoused to wait for shipment until then.
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Old January 6, 2014, 12:14 PM   #41
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It is likely, particularly given the "name recognition" of the day, that at least some of the packaging was prepared before "the ink was dry" on the deal.

When one company buys another, there are three ways things change. One way, the new owners run the old packages until the stock is gone, then switch over. Second way is run both old and new until the old is used up.

Third way, new owners are proud of their name, want it on the product from day one of ownership, and have supplies of new packaging already made up and ready for use when the deal is official. At a guess, I'd say this is what they did then.
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Old January 6, 2014, 01:13 PM   #42
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I remember an article years ago by Skeeter Skelton concerning the .41 rimfire derringer. He carried one as a backup thinking it would suffice. One day he said he got an urge and fired a round at a fence post after which he walked over and plucked it out of the wood with his fingers. It had not even penetrated the depth of the bullet into the wood. He said he stopped carrying it after that experience.
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Old January 7, 2014, 12:43 AM   #43
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Wasn't President Lincoln killed with a .41 blackpowder deringer? I imagine it was very similar in power to the .41 rimfire. I read somewhere that the doctor attending him could insert his finger into the wound almost to the depth of the bullet, but couldn't remove the bullet for some reason. I believe when he probed the wound, he said "his wound is mortal", and that was the end of the attempts at saving him.
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Old January 7, 2014, 06:23 AM   #44
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The .41 muzzleloading derringer would have a lot more power and penetration than the rimfire version of the caliber. I don't think I would want either after me at short range...or any range for that matte.
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Old January 8, 2014, 04:01 PM   #45
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Howdy

Here is a box of Navy Arms 41 Rimfire ammo that I recently bought at an auction. I don't have a gun to fire them with, I just like old cartridges. The box was almost full, 43 rounds to be exact.

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Old January 8, 2014, 04:40 PM   #46
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Driftwood -

PM sent, I'd love to pick up a few rounds of that box.
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Old January 13, 2014, 06:15 PM   #47
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Does anyone have a good SWAG on the year of that Navy Arms 41 Rimfire ammo box?????????, The box almost looks like "toy" bullets for a 1960s cap gun.. Love the box art on that one..

By the way any chance of someone taking a photo of these 41 rimfire rounds a side of some other rounds????

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Old January 14, 2014, 12:40 PM   #48
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I don't know if there were other runs of the ammo made with the same style box, but I got a box like that for my dads Remington derringer back in the 80's I believe. I don't know how new it was, that's just when I got them.
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Old January 14, 2014, 01:41 PM   #49
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Those rounds are .41 Short Rimfire, which was used mainly in "derringers", Remington's and others*. There was also a .41 Long Rimfire, case length .630" or thereabouts, which was used in revolvers, Colt's and others. Like other calibers, the "short" round could be fired in a gun made for the "long" but the opposite was not always the case.

*Not by Deringer; he died in 1868 and the only cartridge handguns produced by the company were revolvers.

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Old January 14, 2014, 09:06 PM   #50
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Interesting and informative thread everyone. Cool to see some history on the output of a local plant and history of the round. Thanks to all of the long time hands in educating some of us novices.

I have lived in general proximity of the Peters facility in Kings Mills, OH for many years. Lots of interesting stuff on the location and company is available on the interweb, but it is very cool to drive by this decrepit relic which is right on the edge of a well traveled road.

If you are interested, you can do an aerial view and drive by road view to see much of it with Google Maps using the following address:
1434 Grandin Road, Kings Mills, OH

The tops of the stacks and cornices of the buildings still show the 'P' and look very imposing. Images of one of the stacks has most recently been used in advertising by the relatively new HD dealership - Powder Keg HD.
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