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Old March 9, 2013, 01:32 PM   #1
Bob Wright
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Old Revolver Cartridges......

A question came up on another thread regarding headstamps (H/S) on older cartridges. Thought maybe that deserved its own thread.

Here are some old .45 Caliber cartridges:

And, the H/S of those cartridges:

Note that the .45 Colt Govt. round and the UMC round have copper primers, indicating blackpowder. The nickel primers indicate the rounds are loaded with smokeless powder. The .45 S&W round is loaded with a small copper primer.

These are from Frankford Arsenal, .45 M1873 and M1875:

The "R F" H/S is an early Frankford H/S, the "R" indicating "Revolver." Later the H/S became "F A" and the two digit date.

(The "M1875" and "M1873" are my own invention to designate the difference between the Colt and S&W rounds. I have never actually seen these designations on cartridge boxes.)

Bob Wright

Last edited by Bob Wright; March 9, 2013 at 01:40 PM.
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Old March 9, 2013, 02:24 PM   #2
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Could somebody explain the 45 colt short case round, that has a 45 Colt headstamp?

I guess there was a reason to call the popular round the Long Colt !
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Old March 9, 2013, 02:51 PM   #3
Bob Wright
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Could somebody explain the 45 colt short case round, that has a 45 Colt headstamp?
Around WW I the Union Metallic Cartridge Co. tried to consolidate both round, the .45 Colt and .45 S&W into one round, using the .45 S&W case and the 250 gr. bullet of the .45 Colt. That went over like a lead balloon. But it did give rise to the term "Long Colt."

And Colt prevailed upon the Peters Cartridge Co. to make the .45 Colt Govt. to avoid stamping the caliber ".45 S&W" on their revovlers.

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Old March 9, 2013, 10:35 PM   #4
James K
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A sidelight. After c. 1874, the Army never issued the .45 [Long] Colt. All army issue ammunition came from Frankford Arsenal and they made only the ".45 Army" aka ".45 Government" the short or Schofield length case. Even when the Army adopted the Model 1909, they issued only the Model 1909 ammunition, even though Colt had actually chambered the gun (a New Service with Army markings) for the .45 Colt.

To clear up any confusion (or make it worse), the R in the revolver ammo headstamp means "Revolver" just as Bob says, but the R in .45-70 headstamps means "Reloading."

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Old March 10, 2013, 06:45 AM   #5
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Reminds me of the "R" headstamp that Norma had in the 1970s .Made especially for relaoding. But it failed because too many dumb people didn't read and insisted that "R" meant it had been reloaded.
And Watson , bring your revolver !
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Old March 10, 2013, 07:26 AM   #6
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Fine post & excellent photos. Thank you
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Old March 10, 2013, 10:14 AM   #7
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Great infomation. A person is never to old to learn something new.
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Old March 10, 2013, 10:47 AM   #8
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Always an education looking at your posts, Mr. Wright...

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Old March 11, 2013, 04:45 PM   #9
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Bob every time you start a thread I always open it up, I know that I will be picking up some useful information or photos of another of your guns that I hate, since I don’t have it.
Interesting photos.
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