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1870’s – 1890’s US ARMY CONTRACT FULL PACKETS OF .45/70 CARTRIDGES – MANUFACTURED BY WINCHESTER, UNION METALLIC CARTRIDGE COMPANY AND US CARTRIDGE COMPANY - SPECIAL OFFERING:  This special offering applies to all of the boxes of  .45-70 Trapdoor Carbine and Rifle ammunition listed below, the result of good purchases I have been able to make from old ammunition collections and can therefore, in turn, pass the savings along to you.     

Manufactured under contract by civilian cartridge companies for the US Army during the middle to late Indian Wars and into the Spanish American War, these purchases of ammunition were very important within the Ordnance Department’s efforts to keep not only the regular army, but the state militias, academies and civilian settlers on the frontier supplied with ammunition.  On several specific occasions, due to production problems at Frankford Arsenal, the army found it necessary to turn to these manufacturers to supply the basic level of ammunition to the soldiers on the frontier, and these cartridges have been found in relic condition on the sites of frontier posts and battlefields.    

While manufactured by Winchester, Union Metallic Cartridge (UMC) Company, and the United States Cartridge Company expressly for the US Army, the surplus production of these same packets which were in excess of that needed to meet the government contracts were sold on the civilian market.  In some cases, the format of the label leaves no doubt that the packet was made specifically for the army, while in other cases it is a little hard to determine whether the packet was made for the army or the company was simply capitalizing on the association of the .45-70 cartridge to the army and styled the label to that end.  In either case, the packets offered here that date from the late 1870’s would be appropriate to display with a Sharps or Remington buffalo rifle.    

These boxes are very displayable, are complete with the original cartridges (unless otherwise noted), and all date from the Indian War or Spanish American War period.  These packets would be correct to display with your Springfield Trapdoor Rifles and Carbines, any of the large bore single shot rifles, and the various woven cartridge belts and cartridge boxes.     

Each of the boxes is described individually below, followed by photographs of that particular box. 

 

NO. 1  UNION METALLIC CARTRIDGE COMPANY "RIFLE MUSKET MODEL 1874" CARTRIDGE PACKET:  A quite rare early packet, dating from the late 1870's or early 1880's, was manufactured by the Union Metallic Cartridge Company.  The single top panel label references the "MODEL 1874 US SPRINGFIELD MUSKET" and retains the earlier patent dates, including 1872.  This style of box includes a strip of wood tacked to the interior of the box beneath the rear rank of cartridges, causing them to stand above the front rank of cases in order to allow easy access for drawing the cartridges from the box.  This was an early feature that was later discontinued.  The box includes all 20 factory loads, correct for this box as they have no headstamps.  This box is in very good  condition, showing no significant wear.  There are some minor seam or fold separations, but none that significantly affect the integrity or detract from the appearance of the box.  The  label is complete and legible, and there is no misshaping to the box.  This is a very nice early box that would display well with a Sharps or Remington Rifle, as well as one of the early Trapdoors.  (0604)  $275

 

NO. 2  UNION METALLIC CARTRIDGE COMPANY "US SPRINGFIELD RIFLE" CARTRIDGE PACKET:  Another scarce early Union Metallic Cartridge Company packet, that dates from the late 1870's or early 1880's.  Bearing the front panel label, this packet bears more resemblance to the Frankford Arsenal packets of the same period, with an overall wrapper, folded and sealed on the end panels and the same type of top-panel opening method with a string.  Opened without causing significant damage to the packet, all 20 factory loads are present and correct for this box as they have no headstamps.  This box is in very good  condition, showing no significant wear or soiling and all of the edges are intact.  The  label is legible, and there is no misshaping to the box.  This is a very nice early box that would display well with a Sharps or Remington Rifle, as well as one of the early Trapdoors.  (0603)  $225

 

NO. 3  UNITED STATES CARTRIDGE COMPANY PACKET OF .45 -70 CARTRIDGES – PRODUCED FOR USE WITH THE FRAZIER’S PATENT LEATHER CARTRIDGE BOX – A VERY RARE EARLY INDIAN WARS PACKET:  Manufactured by the United States Cartridge Company, this full packet was designed for use in the Frazier’s Cartridge Boxes patented in 1878.  Frazier first design intended that the soldier would remove the top lid from a paperboard packet of cartridges and place the entire open packet into the leather cartridge box, simplifying and speeding up the process of  resupplying the soldiers with ammunition.  This feature was short lived, with Frazier’s subsequent cartridge box designs including leather cartridge loops, so this particular pattern of cartridge packet ceased to be necessary and was discontinued, making surviving examples quite rare.     

This US Cartridge Company packet was made specifically for Frazier’s first pattern box and it incorporates several features to that end.  First, the packet is labeled on the bottom, identifying it as a packet intended to be used with Frazier’s boxes.  Second, the packet uses a much heavier and stable strip of paper board arranged in a serpentine pattern in the interior of the box which forms the cartridge dividers as opposed to the flimsy slotted dividers normally seen in cartridge packets of this period.  The single serpentine-shaped strip was more durable and was designed to withstand being carried in the soldier’s cartridge box without disintegrating.  And finally, there is a strip of scrap wood glued to the inside of the top of the box above one row of cartridges and another strip of wood glued to the inside of the bottom of the box below the other row of cartridges, creating a stepped arrangement which set the rear row of cartridge heads above the front row to make it easier for the soldier to grasp a single cartridge to reload his rifle.  

This packet is in very good condition with the top, front, rear and bottom labels all intact and fully legible.  The packet is full form with no misshaping and no open seams.  There are six of the original twenty cartridges present and all six are of the specific type that is correct for this packet.  The cartridges produced under this contract for the army by the US Cartridge Co. were headstamped “L R Month Year” and were dated from May of 1879 through May of 1880 – only twelve months.  Five of these six cartridges are dated 1879 and the sixth is dated 1880.  One of the cartridges has a firing pin strike, but the cartridge and bullet are still intact.    

The short production run of this pattern of packet resulted in a very low survival rate, and specimens are quite rare today.  With some effort this packet could be filled, but the true value lies in the packet itself and its unique labeling.  (0742)  $350

NO. 4  UNITED STATES CARTRIDGE COMPANY COMPANY "US SPRINGFIELD" CARTRIDGE PACKET:  Although the company name is not printed on the label, this ca. 1880's packet was produced by the United States Cartridge Company.  The single top panel label references the ".45 CALIBRE U.S. SPRINGFIELD" and the cartridges have the 500 grain bullet, indicating these were rifle cartridges.  Eighteen of the original 20 cartridges are present, all with the 500 grain bullet and all headstamped "U.S.C.CO. 45-70", and all have the earlier large copper primers.   This box is in very good  condition, showing no significant wear or soiling, all of the edges are intact and there is no misshaping to the box.  I believe this box is relatively scarce, and is particularly nice to find it complete with the majority of the original cartridges.  This box that would display well with a Sharps or Remington Rifle, as well as the Trapdoors.  SOLD

 

NO. 5  UNITED STATES CARTRIDGE COMPANY COMPANY "US SPRINGFIELD" CARTRIDGE PACKET:  Another ca. 1880's packet produced by the United States Cartridge Company, and while very similar to the packet listed above, there are some notable differences.  First, this box has rounded corners as opposed to the square corners of the packet listed above, a definite difference in the box construction method.  Secondly, while this label is the same format as the one above, this label omits the bullet weight.  I suspect this packet may be an earlier version and it contained the standard 405 grain bulleted cartridges.  There are six cartridges in this packet, all without headstamps as was correct for the early US Cartridge Company cartridges, all with the larger primers, and all are loaded with the smaller 405 grain bullets.  This box is in very good  condition, showing no significant wear or soiling, all of the edges are intact and there is no misshaping to the box.  US Cartridge Company packets from this period are not common and this packet and the one above would display well together to show the difference in style, and would display well with a Sharps or Remington Rifle, as well as the Trapdoors.  (0647)  $85

 

NO. 6  UNION METALLIC CARTRIDGE COMPANY CARBINE CARTRIDGE PACKET - UNOPENED EXCELLENT PACKET - LIKE NEW:  This excellent unopened box of 20 tinned rounds of .45-70 Carbine ammunition was manufactured under government contract for the Ordnance Department by the Union Metallic Cartridge Company.  While these packets are not normally date stamped in ink, these contracts were issued at the start of the Spanish American War to meet in the increased demand for ammunition which Frankford Arsenal could not meet alone.  This box is in excellent condition, showing no wear, none of the box seams have split, the label is complete and legible, there is no misshaping to the box as is often seen, and the opening string is still present and intact.  As a result of being stacked in the crates and the downward pressure on the boxes, the label is wrinkled, but has none of the typical splits along the lower edge of the box lid and the label is fully intact.  The label follows the same format as those labels on arsenal produced ammunition to include “20 CARBINE BALL CARTRIDGES, RELOADING; CALIBER .45”, the reloading instructions, and the arsenal information, further testimony to this packet being made expressly for a government contract.  This is an excellent box and one that will help complete the story of the mass mobilization for the Spanish American War.  (0923)  $225

 

NO. 7  UNION METALLIC CARTRIDGE COMPANY CARBINE CARTRIDGE PACKET - UNOPENED EXCELLENT PACKET:  Another excellent unopened box of 20 tinned rounds of .45-70 Carbine ammunition manufactured under government contract for the Ordnance Department by the Union Metallic Cartridge Company.  This box is in excellent condition, showing no wear, none of the box seams have split, the label is complete and legible, there is no misshaping to the box as is often seen, and the opening string is still present and intact.  As a result of being stacked in the crates and the downward pressure on the boxes, the label is wrinkled, and there is a slight 1/4" long split at the right edge of the label at the bottom edge of the lid - a very minor point, but mentioned for a full description.  This is still an exceptional packet and one that would display very well to complete the story of the mass mobilization for the Spanish American War. (0652)  $195

 

NO. 8  UNION METALLIC CARTRIDGE COMPANY CARBINE CARTRIDGE PACKET - UNOPENED:  Another excellent unopened box of 20 tinned rounds of .45-70 Carbine ammunition manufactured under government contract for the Ordnance Department by the Union Metallic Cartridge Company.  This box is in excellent condition, showing only minimal wear due to the passage of time and handling.  None of the box seams have split, the label is complete and legible, there is no misshaping to the box as is often seen, and the opening string is still present and intact.  As a result of being stacked in the crates and the downward pressure on the boxes, the label is split along the lower edge of the box lid for one third the length of the label starting on the right side, but the text is intact, none of the paper label has been lost and the edges match well.   This is still a very respectable packet and one that would display very well to complete the story of the mass mobilization for the Spanish American War. (0618)  $170

 

NO. 9  WINCHESTER REPEATING ARMS COMPANY CARBINE CARTRIDGE PACKET:  Manufactured under government contract for the Ordnance Department by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, this box of tinned rounds of .45-70 Carbine ammunition has been opened and retains 14 full rounds and two primed cartridge cases, all with the Winchester headstamps.  Made under contract at the start of the Spanish American War to meet in the increased demand for ammunition which Frankford Arsenal could not meet alone, this box is in very good condition in spite of being opened, retaining the majority of the label.  The packet shows little other wear or sign of age with no split seams. The label follows the same format as those labels on arsenal produced ammunition to include “20 CARBINE BALL CARTRIDGES, RELOADING; CALIBER .45”, the reloading instructions, and the arsenal information, further testimony to this packet being made expressly for a government contract.  SOLD

 

NO. 10  UNITED STATES CARTRIDGE COMPANY SMOKELESS POWDER RIFLE CARTRIDGE PACKET - UNOPENED SCARCE PACKET:  This scarce unopened packet of 20 rounds of .45-70 Rifle ammunition was manufactured under government contract for the Ordnance Department by the US Cartridge Company.  The fully legible label call out states the packet contains "MODEL 1898" Brass shells loaded with "W.A. SMOKELESS" powder, one of the earliest departures from the previously used black powder propellant.  nion Metallic Cartridge Company.  This contract must have been let at the start of the Spanish American War and were an early effort to eliminate the tell-tale plume of smoke that marked the soldier's firing position.  This packet is unopened and the pull string is still intact, however the packet does show evidence of storage and aging.  The paper wrapper has some tattered edges and a couple of open seams, but the box still holds it shape, is not weak or fragile, and most importantly, the label is fully legible.  There is an old collection inventory number on the bottom of the packet.  In spite of the wear due to age and handling, this is a very respectable example of a very significant development in the history of U.S. Army ammunition, in particular the .45-70, which took place commensurate with the beginning of the Spanish American War and this packet would be an important addition to your ammunition collection.  (0601)  $175

 

NO. 11   UNION METALLIC CARTRIDGE COMPANY SMOKELESS POWDER RIFLE CARTRIDGE PACKET - RARE 18 ROUND PACKET:  This rare 18 round packet of .45-70 Rifle ammunition was manufactured under government contract for the Ordnance Department by the Union Metallic Cartridge Company.  The  legible label call out states the packet contains 18 cartridges loaded with smokeless powder.  The reason for the departure from the standard 20 round packets which had been the standard since before the adoption of the .45-70 cartridge is unknown, but there must have been a particular reason this was done.  An early loading using smokeless powder, this packet was likely produced at the turn of the 19th -20th Centuries.  All of the original UMC cartridges are present and all have the proper bullet and headstamps.  The packet has been opened, but the pull string is still present.  The packet still holds it shape and is full form with no weakness or open seams, but the wrapper does show evidence of storage and aging.  Although suffering some loss at the edges, the important information on the label is fully present and legible.  A very rare packet that in spite of the signs wear is still a very respectable specimen and an important addition to an ammunition collection.  (0602)  $150

 

NO. 12  UNITED STATES CARTRIDGE COMPANY "CALIBRE 45-70 U.S. GOV'T" BLACK POWDER BLANK CARTRIDGE PACKET:  Produced by the United States Cartridge Company, this excellent packet retains all 20 original blank cartridges. 

Blank ammunition was a regular issue item to the Cavalry troops, used to accustom the horses to gun fire, and to the Infantry for ceremonial occasions and funerals.

The packet has been carefully opened by slitting the "guarantee" label without losing or destroying the label.  The top, front and end labels are all intact with only minor scuffing.  All of the original 20 cartridges have the "U.S.C.CO. 45-70" headstamp.   This packet is in very good  condition, showing no significant wear or soiling, all of the edges are intact and there is no misshaping.  There are some old repairs to the corners of the lid, but they do not detract from the appearance of the packet.  I believe this packet is relatively scarce, and is particularly nice to find it complete with all of the original cartridges.  

These blanks were an integral component of the standard issue of ammunition to the frontier soldier and have a rightful place in any Indian War ammunition display.  (0740)  $75

 

NO. 13  UNITED STATES CARTRIDGE COMPANY "CALIBRE 45-70 U.S. GOV'T" BLACK POWDER BLANK CARTRIDGE PACKET:  Produced by the United States Cartridge Company, this excellent blank cartridge packet is a slight variant from the similar packet listed immediately above.  This packet was labeled with a standard ball cartridge top and front labels with the "cartridge picture" and the bullet weight information, and then both labels were overstamped in ink "BLANKS".  Whether this packet was manufactured before the specific blank cartridge labels were available or these ball cartridge boxes, already labeled and waiting to be filled with ball cartridges were used to fill an order for blanks is anyone's guess. 

Blank ammunition was a regular issue item to the Cavalry troops, used to accustom the horses to gun fire, and to the Infantry for ceremonial occasions and funerals.

The packet has been carefully opened by slitting the "guarantee" label without losing or destroying the label.  The top, front and end labels are all intact with only minor scuffing.  The packet retains nineteen of the original 20 blank cartridges and all have the "U.S.C.CO. 45-70" headstamp.   This packet is in very good  condition, showing no significant wear or soiling, all of the edges are intact and there is no misshaping.  I believe these packets of US Cartridge Company blank cartridges are relatively scarce, and this variant is particularly interesting.    

These blanks were an integral component of the standard issue of ammunition to the frontier soldier and have a rightful place in any Indian War ammunition display.  (0739)  $75

 

NO. 14  UNITED STATES CARTRIDGE COMPANY "CALIBRE 45-70 U.S. GOV'T" BLACK POWDER BALL CARTRIDGE PACKET:  Produced by the United States Cartridge Company, this .45-70 ball cartridge packet has been opened and is empty, but still presents as a nice display piece. 

The top, front and end labels are all intact with only minor scuffing.  The "guarantee" label is present on the reverse, but has suffered some loss.  The packet is in otherwise very good  condition, showing no significant wear, only one edge open at the bottom of the packet which could be easily repaired, and the packet still holds its shape.   These packets of US Cartridge Company contract .45-70 cartridges are not common and this packet would display very well.  SOLD

NO. 15  UNITED STATES CARTRIDGE COMPANY PACKET OF .45 -70 CARTRIDGES – SMOKELESS - FULL BOX:  Manufactured by the United States Cartridge Company, this full packet is in very good condition with the top, front, and end panels present.  All the labels save for the back label are intact and fully legible - the back label have suffered some loss, but 60% intact.  The packet is full form with no misshaping.  There are some minor repairs done with scotch tape some years ago, but they are limited.   All twenty of the original cartridges are present.  A nice old box from a company that was absorbed by Winchester in 1926.  (0522)  $85

  

 
  
 

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