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FRANKFORD ARSENAL 1” GATLING GUN ROUNDS – RARE BENET AND BAR ANVIL INTERNALLY PRIMED CENTRE FIRE CARTRIDGES – EXCELLENT SPECIMENS:  These massive internally primed centre-fire cartridges were manufactured at Frankford Arsenal ca. 1866-1872 for the 1” Gatling Guns purchased by the US Army.  While Richard J. Gatling attempted to sell his famous multi-barreled gun to the army during the Civil War, it was not until 1866 that the army placed its first order for 50, .50 caliber guns and 50, 1” guns, which were manufactured by the Colt Firearms Company.   

Two of these cartridges were obviously fired as evidenced by the firing pin strike on the base.  They were reassembled with a fresh projectile, most certainly during the period that these massive guns were in use when the freshly fired cartridge case and extra projectiles were available.  That these previously fired cases were reassembled and kept as a souvenir of these historic Gatling guns is ample evidence that the importance and the unusual size of these cartridges was recognized by the Indian War era soldiers just as they are today by modern collectors. 

Due to the low number of guns ordered in the 1" caliber, and the short period these heavy guns were in use before being supplanted by other firearm developments, these 1” cartridges are relatively rare today.    

Measuring 3 Ύ” long, these cartridges weigh in excess of one-half pound - needless to say, the largest internally primed centre-fire cartridges of the Indian War era.  An impressive display in its own right, this cartridge is a must for any complete display of Indian Wars era Frankford Arsenal cartridges. 

Each cartridge is shown in the photographs below with an accompanying description. 

[NOTE:  For size comparison purposes, a 1” Gatling cartridge is photographed next to a .56/56 Spencer Carbine cartridge.  The Spencer cartridge is not included.]

 

NO. 1  FRANKFORD ARSENAL BENET PRIMED 1” GATLING CARTRIDGE:  This cartridge incorporates the Benet internal priming system, evidenced by the crimp set well above the rim of the cartridge case which holds the primer in place.  The lead projectile is original and is full form with no nicks or wear.  The copper case is full form with no dents or other damage.  (0311)  $475  

 

NO. 2  FRANKFORD ARSENAL BENET PRIMED 1” GATLING CARTRIDGE:  This cartridge incorporates the Benet internal priming system, evidenced by the crimp set well above the rim of the cartridge case which holds the primer in place.  The lead projectile is original and is full form with no nicks or wear.  This cartridge was fired – evidenced by the firing pin strike in the center of the cartridge base face – and was reassembled with an original projectile.  The copper case is full form with a couple of very slight handling dents, but no other misshaping.  (0312)  $350    

 

NO. 3  FRANKFORD ARSENAL BENET PRIMED 1” GATLING CARTRIDGE:  This cartridge incorporates the Benet internal priming system, evidenced by the crimp set well above the rim of the cartridge case which holds the primer in place.  The lead projectile is original and is full form, but it does have a dent where it was probably dropped.  The copper case is full form with no dents or other damage. 

The cartridge base has a set of four small indentations arranged in a square, all much smaller in diameter and considerably shallower than a normal firing pin strike.  Despite numerous attempts to identify or explain this arrangement of marks on the base, no reference to it has been found in any of the Indian War era ammunition references.  Unfortunately, the one person I could once depend on to solve mysteries like this – John Scott - is no longer with us, and the antique ammunition collectors’ world is poorer for his passing.  The possibility occurred to me that this mark was left as the result of some test or experiment conducted at the Frankford Arsenal, or by the Colt Firearms Company when the guns were being built.  To my knowledge, and supported by all the conversations I have had with other collectors, this particular pattern of marks has never been seen on another cartridge case of any kind.  This is still a very credible example of this impressive cartridge and the unknown strikes in the base do not detract from it in the least.  (0313)  $425    

 

NO. 4  FRANKFORD ARSENAL BAR ANVIL PRIMED 1” GATLING CARTRIDGE: The cartridge incorporates the Bar Anvil internal priming system, evidenced by the crimp immediately above the rim of the cartridge case which holds the bar in place above the priming compound in the base of the cartridge.  The bar anvil system was used for a very brief period, making this a particularly rare specimen.  The lead projectile is original, and while it retains its grooves and general form, the point of the projectile has been intentionally flattened in the style of a “dum-dum” round.  This flatten nose is not the result of being fired as the balance of the bullet shows none of the grooves which would have been made by the rifling in the barrel. 

This cartridge case was fired – evidenced by the firing pin strike in the center of the cartridge base face – and was reassembled with an original projectile.  The copper case is full form with no dents or other misshaping.  (0314)  $400    

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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