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Box of 45-70 Extra heavy solid head
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November 8, 2021 - 11:00 pm
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Hello

I have an unopened box of 45-70 with intact strings. When do you think it was made?

 

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Greetings from Germany

 

Stefan

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November 10, 2021 - 5:36 pm
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I have no idea.  If I were to guess I would say late 1870’s to 1892.   I know Winchester had contracts for ammo in the 1870’s possibly for the trapdoor Springfield.  Your box is unusual in that it does not say anywhere it is for the Model 1886.  The Model 1886 was added in 1893.  I’m assuming your box says 405 grain?  Only Military had the string.  That does not mean it actually went to the Military.

I would suggest talking to Lou Behling, Dan Shuey and Ray Giles. 

Nice box.

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November 10, 2021 - 5:46 pm
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Chuck said
 I’m assuming your box says 405 grain?  Only Military had the string.

Service cartridges were loaded with two bullet wts, 500g for rifles, 405g for carbines.  Therfor “Gov’t Standard” is ambiguous. Carbine also had a reduced powder charge, 50 g. I think.  Looks like bullet wt is marked on box, but I can’t read it.  I’ve seen other commercial boxes with the string opening.

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November 10, 2021 - 5:59 pm
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clarence said

Chuck said
 I’m assuming your box says 405 grain?  Only Military had the string.

Service cartridges were loaded with two bullet wts, 500g for rifles, 405g for carbines.  Therfor “Gov’t Standard” is ambiguous.  Looks like bullet wt is marked on box, but I can’t read it.  I’ve seen other commercial boxes with the string opening.  

Target ammo used 405 grain regardless of being for a rifle or carbine.  So I think that is what was meant.  Some companies loaded regular carbine ammo with 55 grains instead of 70 grains.

The only Winchester ammo that I recall seeing with a string is the 45-70.  I have a tan 45-70 box with a string.  I have some Colt and Shaprs ammo with a wire.  I’m sure there must be others too.

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November 10, 2021 - 6:53 pm
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Other experts will know more, but a couple of details I see. The image of the cartridge used on the box has a head stamp shown. So that make it post-1885. The text/terms used has the callout “Central” instead of “Center”, so its pre-1898.

I don’t recall when they started making the “Solid-Head” cartridges, but that may help narrow it down further.

The label design and the use of the strings is unusual and suggests for military use. But I don’t know that for a fact and I’m not sure on dates.

That’s my best guess so far. As mentioned I’d get a hold of those mentioned previously.

Sincerely,

Maverick

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November 10, 2021 - 9:25 pm
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Maverick said

I don’t recall when they started making the “Solid-Head” cartridges, but that may help narrow it down further.
 

The 1898 service rifle handbook shows solid-head cases, so by then at the latest.

Winchester used “center-fire” in the 1874 catalog.  Doesn’t necessarily mean boxes were marked the same.

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November 10, 2021 - 10:02 pm
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clarence said
Winchester used “center-fire” in the 1874 catalog.  Doesn’t necessarily mean boxes were marked the same.  

It may not “necessarily” mean that but it has been found to be the case. At least that is what is shown and discussed in Giles & Shuey’s cartridge box book and noted by others.

In my research into Reloading Tools (also noted in Lewis Yearout’s Monogram), the 1874 Tool Box Label uses the term “Center Fire”. But the next 1875 Tool label uses “Central Fire” all the way through to the Model 1894 Tool. Where then both the Model 1894 & 1882 Tool Box labels switch to using the term “Center Fire” in 1898, just like the cartridge box labels. 

You can actually find the terms Central and Center used interchangeably throughout the written text descriptions in the catalogs through various years. But the box labels, in my experience don’t reflect this and do align with what is stated in Giles & Shuey’s book. And it seems to hold true for the reloading tool boxes, instruction sheets, primer tin/box labels, etc. across the board.

Sincerely,

Maverick

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November 11, 2021 - 7:46 pm
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Maverick said
Other experts will know more, but a couple of details I see. The image of the cartridge used on the box has a head stamp shown. So that make it post-1885. The text/terms used has the callout “Central” instead of “Center”, so its pre-1898.

Sincerely,

Maverick  

Good catch.  So it is post 1885 and pre 1894.

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November 11, 2021 - 10:39 pm
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Chuck said

Good catch.  So it is post 1885 and pre 1894.  

Where do you get the pre-1894 date from?

 

I thought the solid head case being mentioned might lead somewhere, but read that they started making the solid head cartridges in 1880.

Sincerely,

Maverick

P.S. If I get a minute this evening I may see what a friend has to say about the box.

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November 11, 2021 - 10:43 pm
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Steff,

Coincidently I happened to run across this one this morning. It appears nearly identical to yours including holes in the lid for a missing string. It does, however, include the 500 gr nomenclature missing on your box.

https://www.gunbroker.com/item/912517626

convolescing & perusing,

Darrin

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November 13, 2021 - 11:27 am
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Thank you for all the information. I learned a lot again.

Incidentally, the weight is 405 grains, as you have already correctly assumed. It is not recognizable in the pictures because of the fold in the label.

Thank you again

Stefan

PS: Should I introduce more boxes? I just don’t want to clutter the entire forum with it.

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November 13, 2021 - 5:24 pm
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Introduce as many of them as you have questions about… we like to see and discuss them!

WACA 6571L, Historian & Board of Director Member
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November 13, 2021 - 7:14 pm
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That “exact” box is not to be found in the Giles & Shuey box so it must be a really rare one. A box with a “almost” identical box top can be found 0n the bottom of page 140 with the difference being the box in the Giles book does not have the period before the 45 as does Steff’s. Otherwise there is nothing like it in the book. Even though Ray has sold most of his ammo and is in retirement he still has a keen interest in old ammo and probably knows more about it than anyone on the planet. I suggest sending him the photos and see what information he can provide.

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November 13, 2021 - 7:36 pm
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I have another unopened box with string, but not Winchester but blanks from Frankfort Arsenal.

However, I have no idea what caliber they are or what weapon they are for.

 

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Stefan

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November 14, 2021 - 1:09 am
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Maverick said

Where do you get the pre-1894 date from?

 

I thought the solid head case being mentioned might lead somewhere, but read that they started making the solid head cartridges in 1880.

Sincerely,

Maverick

P.S. If I get a minute this evening I may see what a friend has to say about the box.  

Page 140 of the Giles and Shuey book.  I re read the paragraph and it says pre 1893.  So the correct date when they started calling out the 1886 on the box was 1893?  You will notice that the 1894 box is the earliest box shown that calls out the 1886.

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November 14, 2021 - 1:12 am
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steff said
I have another unopened box with string, but not Winchester but blanks from Frankfort Arsenal.

However, I have no idea what caliber they are or what weapon they are for.

 

P1290591_kl.jpgImage EnlargerP1290594_kl.jpgImage EnlargerP1290595_kl.jpgImage EnlargerP1290590_kl.jpgImage Enlarger

 

Stefan  

If similar size to the 45-70 they are probably 45-70’s.  Trapdoor Springfields and the Hotchkiss could both shoot these. 

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November 14, 2021 - 1:16 am
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Burt Humphrey said
That “exact” box is not to be found in the Giles & Shuey box so it must be a really rare one. A box with a “almost” identical box top can be found 0n the bottom of page 140 with the difference being the box in the Giles book does not have the period before the 45 as does Steff’s. Otherwise there is nothing like it in the book. Even though Ray has sold most of his ammo and is in retirement he still has a keen interest in old ammo and probably knows more about it than anyone on the planet. I suggest sending him the photos and see what information he can provide.  

The Cartridge book does not show all of the variations.  I have several boxes that are not shown in the book.  It could be rare or not.
Ray was at the Colorado Springs show.  This is the only show he is still attending.

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November 14, 2021 - 5:01 am
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I had emailed Mr. Giles and he stated he couldn’t nail down a date any further than the post-1885 to pre-1894 timeframe we came up with.

I hadn’t emailed him about the Frankford Arsenal box. But would imagine the simplest way to determine what caliber they’re for, without opening the box and ruining the collector value, is to have the box X-Rayed.

Sincerely,

Maverick

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November 14, 2021 - 7:22 pm
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Maverick said

I hadn’t emailed him about the Frankford Arsenal box. But would imagine the simplest way to determine what caliber they’re for, without opening the box and ruining the collector value, is to have the box X-Rayed.

Sincerely,

Maverick  

I don’t think Ray studied non Winchester ammo but who knows.  I called my military collector friend.  He said it is very unusual for a Frankford Arsenal box not to state the model of the gun or the caliber.  He says it is most likely 45-70.  He has similar boxes in his collection but they are much earlier dated.  The trapdoor Springfield would be the most logical rifle for that ammo in this time frame.

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