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FRANKFORD ARSENAL INTERNALLY PRIMED .50-70 AND .50-45 BALL AND BLANK CARTRIDGES - EARLY INDIAN WAR ERA CARTRIDGES ca. 1866 -1873:  The standard US Army cartridge for all the carbines and rifles (with the exception of the Spencer Arms) issued between 1866 and 1873, the .50-70 was the primary cartridge issued to the post-Civil War Frontier Army.  This historic cartridge was not only in use by the soldiers at  famous battle sites such as the Wagon Box Fight, but was also extensively used by the hide hunters during the early days of the buffalo slaughter on the plains in Kansas and Texas. 

The early production, internally primed .50-70, .50-55, and .50-45 cartridges were never available in large quantities and as the years have passed, they are becoming harder and harder to find on the loose. 

NOTE:  On occasion, I am able to acquire the rare Frankford Arsenal Martin and Berdan primed .50-70 Ball Cartridges, Frankford Arsenal .50-70 Blank Cartridges, Frankford Arsenal .50-55 Carbine Cartridges, Frankford Arsenal .50-45 Carbine Cartridges, and a variety of .50 caliber military contract cartridges, and when in stock, they will be listed below. 

I have the following ball service cartridges and blank cartridges in stock, each listed individually below with accompanying photographs.   


No. 1 .50/70 FRANKFORD ARSENAL BENET PRIMED BALL CARTRIDGE: These .50-70 Internally Primed Centre Fire Cartridges, manufactured by the Frankford Arsenal, are individual collector quality cartridges used by the soldiers during the early Indian Wars Period.  These are becoming increasingly difficult to find on the loose and soon the available stocks will be exhausted.  $55 each


No. 2  “US CARBINE” .50/55 FRANKFORD ARSENAL BENET PRIMED BALL CARTRIDGE:  Manufactured by the Frankford Arsenal for a relatively short period, and apparently in very limited numbers, these “UNITED STATES CARBINE” .50-55 Internally Primed Centre Fire Cartridges are quite scarce today. 

Introduced in 1870 or 1871, these cartridges were loaded with a reduced charge and lighter bullet – 55 grains of powder and a 430 grain bullet versus the 70 grains of powder and 450 grain bullet in the standard 50-70 cartridges.  Intended for use in all of the 1870 Trial Carbines, this loading was as short lived as the Trial guns, and was soon supplanted by the adoption of the .45 caliber arms in 1873. 

As the units on the frontier kept some of the .50 caliber guns in their unit inventories after they received the .45 caliber arms and used the older guns for hunting and for issue to scouts and packers, the .50-55 ammunition which was delivered to the frontier was certainly expended, leaving few examples to survive into the modern collector market.

When compared to the standard .50-70 cartridge as seen below in the photograph, these .50-55 cartridges are remarkably different and considerably more difficult to find than the .50-70.  I have found a very small number of these .50-55 cartridges and they would be a nice addition to display with your early Indian War carbine – one that is found in very few but the most advanced collections.  SOLD 


No. 3   .50/70 FRANKFORD ARSENAL BENET INTERNALLY PRIMED BLANK CARTRIDGE:  During the Indian Wars period blank ammunition was regularly provided to the Cavalry troops, used to accustom the horses to gun fire, and to the Infantry for ceremonial occasions and funerals. The same blank cartridge was used in both the carbines and rifles. 

Manufactured at the Frankford Arsenal, these .50-70 caliber blanks were an integral component of the standard issue of ammunition to the frontier soldier and they have a rightful place in any Indian War ammunition display.  Far scarcer than the Spencer or later .45-70 blank cartridges, these are the first I have had in some time.  In excellent condition.  $55


No. 4   .50-45 FRANKFORD ARSENAL BAR ANVIL PRIMED CARTRIDGE:  A Frankford Arsenal loading of the .50-45, this cartridge is fitted with the bar anvil priming system, evidenced by the primer crimp immediately above the rim of the cartridge case.  This one was subjected to a firing pin strike leaving an indent in the cartridge head, but nonetheless, this is a fairly scarce variant as compared to the more common Benet primed cartridges.  (0725)  $45




No. 5  .50/70 WINCHESTER REPEATING ARMS CARTRIDGE: Circa 1870-1880 loading produced by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company for sale on the buffalo hunting range and across the frontier.  An excellent specimen of a scarce cartridge with a very legible headstamp.  (10109)  $50


No. 6  .50/70 BOXER PRIMED BALLOON HEAD CARTRIDGE - AN EARLY LOADING AS PRODUCED BY SHARPS, UMC OR US CARTRIDGE COMPANY :  The lack of a headstamp on this .50-70 Boxer primed cartridge suggests this was an early production cartridge, and of the type produced by the Sharps, UMC and U.S. Cartridge Company and sold on the frontier to the buffalo hunters.  In excellent condition, I have a few of these so if you're trying to fill a box, act soon.  (0214) $25 each


No. 7  REMINGTON-UMC .50/70 BALL CARTRIDGE:  An early commercially produced cartridge, the small font headstamp is indicative of the type of Remington cartridges sold out on the frontier while it was still a frontier, and would have been marketed to the professional hunters.  A fairly scarce and historically significant example. (10113)  $30


No. .50/70 COMMERCIAL EXTERNALLY PRIMED SHOT CARTRIDGES:  During the frontier period shot cartridges were marketed for a number of the larger bore rifles to enable the shooter to use the rifle for gathering small game and birds for the larder.  These three are good examples of these shot cartridges and when displayed with a .50-70 rifle will illustrate another dimension of their use on the frontier. 

This set includes one long unfired Remington- UMC, one fired Remington-UMC, and one shorter UMC headstamped ".50-70 Carbine".  Offered her as a set, $30 for all three


No. 9  .50/70 FRANKFORD ARSENAL BAR ANVIL PRIMED BALL CARTRIDGE:  Another of the Frankford Arsenal loadings of the .50-70, produced between October, 1866 and March, 1868, this cartridge is fitted with the bar anvil priming system, evidenced by the primer crimp immediately above the rim of the cartridge case.  A fairly scarce early loading as compared to the more common Benet primed cartridges.  SOLD


No. 10  .50/70 FRANKFORD ARSENAL MARTIN PRIMED BALL CARTRIDGE:  Manufactured by the Frankford Arsenal, this .50-70 Martin Primed cartridge is one of the rarer Indian War cartridges of the period.  The standard cartridge design for a very short period, the cartridge case was formed with an integral primer pocket which held an internal primer, and in spite of its appearance, could not be reloaded as was possible with the Berdan primed cases.  By comparison, these Martin primed cartridges are considerably rarer than the early .45-70 Benet primed cartridges without a headstamp.  In excellent condition.  SOLD


No. 11 .50/70 FRANKFORD ARSENAL INTERNALLY PRIMED BALL CARTRIDGE WITH VERY RARE FRANKFORD ARSENAL HEADSTAMP:  One of the rarest of the Frankford Arsenal produced .50-70 cartridges, these bearing the standard arsenal headstamp in the same format as the internally primed .45-70 cartridges, were produced for issue to scouts, packers, and other auxiliary personnel who supported the columns of soldiers, and it is likely these cartridges were made available to militia units and academies who were armed with the earlier .50 caliber Trapdoor arms.  An excellent specimen with a clear legible headstamp.  SOLD


No. 12  EARLY REMINGTON .50/70 BOXER PRIMED BALL CARTRIDGE WITH THE "E. REMINGTON & SONS" HEADSTAMP:  An early commercially produced cartridge, this is the type Remington sold out on the frontier and would have been marketed to the professional buffalo hunters.  A fairly scarce and historically significant example.  SOLD




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