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Old February 11, 2013, 09:55 AM   #15
Mike Irwin
Join Date: April 13, 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 39,098
"The second number on those old black powder cartridges represents the weight of the black powder charge in grains. Sometimes there is a third number, indicating the bullet weight, also in grains."

Occasionally you'll also find a fourth set of numbers, as well -- the case length in inches.

During the black powder era (just as today) some people had VERY definitive ideas about what made for a proper, accurate cartridge.

Some absolutely refused to accept a bottlenecked round, believing that the bottleneck degraded accuracy.

So, manufacturers often had two cases, or two companies both offered a similar cartridge, but one was necked, the other straight...

A good example is the .40-70 Sharps.

The necked case was 2.25 inches long, while the straight case was 2.5 inches long.
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