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Old March 16, 2021, 07:11 PM   #26
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If you refer to some of the original purchase orders - and it has been years since I was lucky enough to see them thanks to a collector who had access to some of them - the Federal Government was purchasing 1860 Colt Army pistols at $25.00 each. (Political kickbacks not listed). Evidently, these contracts did vary in what Colt was paid. When Remington started to supply their New Model Army revolvers to the Federal Government in 1863, they undercut Colt's price by 50% - i.e. $12.50 per revolver.

One also has to remember that the price of ammunition and firearms would most certainly have varied depending on the location. Most things were shipped by rail once the railroads were established. They didn't ship for nothing so the shipping would certainly have been reflected in the price of ammunition and firearms. As an example . . . the price of a 44-40 round in say, Kansas, would certainly have been higher than the same round that was produced and sold in close proximity to the manufacturing plant.

My grandfather was born in 1867. He married my grandmother in 1901 - he was 34 and my grandmother had just turned 18 - she had taught one year in a one room school. In 1920, my grandfather built a new house for them. He was involved in farming, was half owner of a lumberyard - a variety of things. I still have the handwritten ledger he kept for the construction of that house. In 1920, he was paying the master carpenter a wage of 22 cents an hour. Most weeks, they worked six days a week - so say if they worked a 48 hour week - the master carpenter would have made $10.56 a week - times 52 he would have made around %549.12 a tear, The general Laborers on the job - who wold have received their instructions for work form the master carpenter - they were paid 17 cents an hour or for a 48 hour week - $8.16 a week or times 52 - $424.32 a year, And just in case you're wondering if the age difference between my grandparents mattered - it didn't - they were married for 62 years at the tie when my grandfather passed away in 1963.

I have often wondered what a pound of black powder cost in the days the OP is asking about. I cold buy a pound of Dupont black powder in the early 1960s for 75 cents a pound - in fact - I still have one of the cans with that price marked on the top with a black grease pencil - and I'm guessing that many of the younger ones have never seen a "grease pencil". :-) In the early 1960s, we could walk to the local hardware and buy a box of 50 22 cartridges for fifty cents plus 2% wql4w tax - the hardware usually carried Winchester or Remington brands. My Dad insisted that we buy "shorts" because he would show us the printing on the flap of Longs and Long Rifles - "Danger - Range 1 Mile". Shorts were fine with us as we had no problems taking rabbits and squirrels with them.

It would be interesting to see some advertisements from the 1870s and 1889s from different locations to see what certain ammo was going for. It would also be interesting to know how many folks bought the Ideal reloading sets - cast their own and bought powder and primers to reload their own to save money over the cost of commercially produced ammo.
If a pair of '51 Navies were good enough for Billy Hickok, then a single Navy on my right hip is good enough for me . . . besides . . . I'm probably only half as good as he was anyways. Hiram's Rangers Badge #63
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Old March 23, 2021, 06:35 AM   #27
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I read somewhere that between 1865 and 1930 the total inflation rate was 3%. Then Roosevelt took us off the gold standard, removed gold coins from circulation and banned US citizens from owning gold bullion. After that there was no barrier to inflation running rampant.
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Old March 23, 2021, 06:56 AM   #28
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Transportation was certainly a big factor. An old article described a trappers' rendezvous where mountain men wanting the best for their Hawkens paid "the hellish price of a dollar a pound for English Diamond Grain powder."

Another article pointed out that while modern advertising presents "premium beer" as better quality, in rail and wagon days, it merely meant a freight premium. If you wanted your home town beer instead of the local brewery's product, you paid a premium for it.
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Old May 15, 2021, 11:48 PM   #29
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Are small amounts of 100 + YO CF ammo worth anything, pistol or rifle?

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Old May 16, 2021, 12:52 AM   #30
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If he was smart, a cowboy's meager $30/month might go further than one might think considering his bunk, meals, and transportation was provided by his employer.

Imagine if you didn't have to subtract rent/mortgage, transportation, food, insurance, retirement expenses etc. Even at a low wage you could probably swing a decent firearm provided you didn't drink or whore it all away.
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Old May 25, 2021, 06:41 PM   #31
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The cost of new firearms, loaded cartridges and when it became available smokeless powder were probably the biggest reasons that some people were still using black powder and muzzle loading firearms up until after WW2. If you didn't have the money you made do with what you had, a kind of a foreign concept in today's world of instant gratification. When Winchester brought out the new 1894 rifle in smokeless .30-30 cartridge it also bought it out in .32 special an almost identical cartridge meant to be reloaded with black powder and cast lead bullets. They even advertised the fact
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Old May 27, 2021, 07:29 AM   #32
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"When Winchester brought out the new 1894 rifle in smokeless .30-30 cartridge it also bought it out in .32 special an almost identical cartridge meant to be reloaded with black powder and cast lead bullets. They even advertised the fact."

Winchester didn't bring out the .32 Special to help people "make do with what they had." They brought it out because a lot of people simply didn't trust that smokeless powder was going to catch on and they wanted to hedge their bets.

It took quite a few years for the new smokeless technology to stabilize to the point that batches of powder weren't going bad almost as quickly as they were manufactured.

Remington, Peters, and other ammo manufacturers also offered rounds like the .38 Special and the .44 Special loaded with black powder right up to when the companies started to convert to wartime production in 1940, again to serve the desires of people who had the newly manufactured guns chambered for those cartridges, but who again didn't quite trust that smokeless powder was here to stay.
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Old May 30, 2021, 01:24 PM   #33
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Are small amounts of 100 + YO CF ammo worth anything, pistol or rifle?
Maybe, it depends on a lot of things. There are people who collect ammunition (for purposes other than shooting it).
Do you know about the TEXAS State Rifle Association?
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Old June 2, 2021, 07:45 PM   #34
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Roosevelt didn't take us off the gold standard. He simply made it law that American citizens could not turn in thier paper money for gold. Previously, for every $35 of paper money printed, there was an ounce of gold in fort Knox to cover it. Since most paper money was held by American citizens,this allowed The government to print WAY more money than they had gold to back it up, since now it only had to cover foreign held money. This was key to finance WW2. Things went along fine till all those foreign govornments we gave all that aid to started to demand gold for their dollars.(France was particularly bad). It was Nixon that took us off the gold standard, and rightfully so, or fort Knox would be emptied. True, it was Roosevelt that made inflation possible, but printing unbacked money continues unabated today. Need a few more trillion for covid? No problem!
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Old June 3, 2021, 01:06 PM   #35
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From Wikipedia (I know...)

Executive Order 6102 is an executive order signed on April 5, 1933, by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt "forbidding the hoarding of gold coin, gold bullion, and gold certificates within the continental United States." The executive order was made under the authority of the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917, as amended by the Emergency Banking Act in March 1933.

The limitation on gold ownership in the United States was repealed after President Gerald Ford signed a bill legalizing private ownership of gold coins, bars, and certificates by an Act of Congress, codified in Pub.L. 93–373,[1] which went into effect December 31, 1974.
So yes, did not take us off the gold standard. DID prohibit private ownership of gold in general.
All data is flawed, some just less so.
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Old June 26, 2021, 07:43 PM   #36
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Cornell Publications has hundreds, maybe thousands, of reprints of old firearm documents available, mostly catalogs. I've got their reprint of the 1876 "James Brown & Son" catalog in front of me. Their factory and warehouses were in Pittsburgh. Some prices (note that calibers especially aren't described as they would be nowadays):

Dupont black powder, FFFG
  • 6-1/4 pound keg, $2.50
  • 25 pound keg, $7.00
  • 1/2 pound canister, $0.50
  • primers for reloading rifle cartridges, $3 per 1,000
loaded cartridges -- a "box" of pistol ammo is about 50 rounds
  • .22 Long, $0.75 per box
  • .44 "adapted to Colt's Revolvers", $1.50 per box, $2.25 per 100
  • .44 "Winchester Repeating Rifles, Model of 1873", $1.25 per box
  • .44 caliber for rifles, $18 for package of 1,200
  • .44 "long range" for rifles, $40 per 1,000
  • .45 "adapted to Colt's Revolvers", $1.50 per box, $2.50 per 100
  • 12 gauge, $25 per package of 1,000.
long arms
  • Winchester Model 1873 (the Model 1876 isn't listed), .44 caliber, $35
  • Remington Rolling Block, available in 5 lengths and 9 calibers. For a .45 caliber "deer rifle", price $28.
  • Remington double-barrel breech-loading 10 or 12 gauge shotgun, $45
  • "The Phoenix" breech-loading single-barrel shotgun, 12 or 14 gauge, $16
hand guns
  • Forehand & Wadsworth's double-action revolver, $14 (blue, .41 caliber)
  • Colt New Model Navy "belt pistol" 6-shot revolver (.36 cap and ball), $15
  • Colt Pocket Pistol, .36 cap & ball, 5 shot, $10
  • Cold New Model Army Metallic Cartridge Revolving Pistol, blued, $18.
  • ditto, in .44 caliber, $16
  • Smith & Wesson No. 3 "Army", .44 caliber, 8" barrel, blued, $20.
Shipping costs aren't given. You can order C.O.D., but if you live west of Kansas City, you have to send half the price in advance.
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Old June 26, 2021, 08:30 PM   #37
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I love American history. I have read some great lititure of Doc Holliday. One documented kind of gunfight Doc would typically get into was just drunken nonsense, like the time he was insulted and Doc ran to the Bar keeper and Begged to borrow his gun. Of course carrying guns into Dodge, Tombstone etc. was forbidden or against the law.
I am guessing gunfights in the hood each day are a lot more serious and frequent than in the old west.
Look at the modern day gun owner. How well can most of them shoot? How often do they train/Practice?

Last edited by Carl the Floor Walker; June 26, 2021 at 08:42 PM.
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