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Picture Page

December 2004

A Florida Panhandle fisherman's friend.....
I'd like to know who this generic box of .25-35 WCF with the 117 grain full metal jacket was made for. I had heard that they may have been made for use in the Florida prison system, but have seen nothing in print to substantiate this. The full metal jacketed loads apparently had a reputation at some time here in the Big Bend of Florida as excellent fishing cartridges, but they are just too dadburned hard to find. I get more requests for these than any other cartridge at our local Tallahassee gun show. Usually, with a little prodding, I can get the 'lever-action angler" to fess up that he's looking for these things to restock his tackle box with.

Several variations of the .50 Gallager...........

Here are three variations of cartridges for the .50 Gallager percussion carbine, which was used extensively in the Civil War. 
The first example is the most common, constructed of thin sheet brass coiled to form the case. The base is folded in to form a rounded donut-shaped head, with a small hole in the center through which the fire from a percussion cap enters to ignite the powder charge. The case is wrapped in a white paper cover. Over 8 million of these cartridges were produced for use by the Union cavalry during the war. The cartridge case construction process was covered under the Rodman & Crispin patent of December 15, 1863, which covered a "shell of wrapped sheet metal, with the base crimped in and reinforced'. Another equally common Civil War cartridge, the .50 Smith, used this same case construction. Cartridges were still being made under this patent nearly a decade later, as evidenced by .50-70 Rodman-Crispin centerfire made in limited numbers at the Frankford Arsenal. The second example in the picture has a solid case, made from a single piece of brass that has been drawn to shape, forming the tube and donut-shaped base with its central ignition hole. This is an uncommon type, but is even less common when found with tin plating on the brass. The last example is constructed very much like the first, but its case is made of thin sheet steel rather than brass, coiled and shaped in the same manner, and covered with a tan paper wrapper. Note the differences in the profiles of the three bullets, the first being more pointed. If it wasn't enough for me to get these three cartridges to stand up on their rounded bases and cooperate for the first picture, here's another shot in which the third cartridge demonstrates how a magnet will stick to the side of it's coiled steel case.     


A couple of British .45-70 cartridges..........

These two cartridges are in a common caliber, but exhibit headstamps and non-standard options that are pretty hard to find, at least on this side of the Atlantic. Both were made by Eley Brothers of London, England. The first one, with its full metal cased bullet, has what on first glance appears to be a Winchester-style protected primer, but the opening in the center of the primer is .049" deep. I measured the depth of this opening on a Winchester protected primer at .020".  The second cartridge is fitted with an 'express' bullet, having a copper tube inserted into its hollow nose to aid in expansion of the lead. Its headstamp is a little unusual, the slash between the '45' and '70' lending a seemingly modern look to a cartridge that was probably made before 1900.