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 July 2019


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An Early Winchester .50-70 Musket cartridge box......

Last month I wrote about Winchester boxes without headstamps on the label illustrations, and included a .50-70 box as an example. This month I'm looking at another Winchester .50-70 box, but this one is much older and a bit of an oddity as Winchester boxes go.


The box pictured here is an early one based on a number of factors, the most striking being the unusual diagonal label, along with the 50/100 caliber designation, and the fact that it held 25 cartridges (5 rows of five) rather than the usual 20 rounds (two rows of 10) that has pretty much been the standard, with some exceptions, for large military and sporting rifle cartridges. I believe this box dates from around 1880 at the latest. The dark stains across the label are the residue from scotch tape that had been applied to hold the top together, which was either later removed or separated on it's own as a result of the adhesive deteriorating over time.


The label reads:




The cartridge illustration is labeled '.50' on the bullet and 'MUSKET  /  70 GRAINS POWDER  /  450 GRAINS BULLET' on the case.


The box was empty when I got it, but I believe the cartridges would have been boxer primed with solid head (as noted on the label) drawn brass cases made under Thomas G. Bennett's February 24th, 1880 patent. Like the cartridge in the label



illustration and the middle cartridge case in the photo of the three Winchester case variations above, the cartridges in the box would have had cases with relatively flat heads rather than the stepped heads that were on the earlier Winchester Berdan primed folded head cases, the left cartridge case in the photo, or the later solid head W.R.A.Co. headstamped cartridge cases, the right cartridge case in the photo.


The patent drawings and specifications for T. G. Bennett's patent # 224,765 are included below. Bennett was Oliver Winchester's son-in-law who was hired by Winchester in 1870. At the time he was issued this patent, he was serving as secretary of the company. 














One Hundred Years of Winchester Cartridge Boxes 1856 - 1956 by Ray Giles and Dan Shuey 1856-1956, 2006, Schiffler Publishing, Ltd, 4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA. 19310

Winchester The Gun That Won The West, Harold F. Williamson, A. S. Barnes & Co. Inc., New York, 1952

Patent 224,765 obtained from the United States Patent and Trademark Office using Google Patents,

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