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Little help from the lead diggers…….

Ronstar

Well-known member
First time to post on this portion of the forum so hopefully I have all the correct info…..
I have permission to detect an old arboretum on the local university, we have dug some older cartridge cases and a few lead bullets but today I hit a fairly hot area.
First thing I hit was what I believe is a 45-60 case with the headstamp F (at 11:00) and 86 (at 3:00). We have a few cases that read back to 66 but most are bent etc. This case is straight. A bit later I hit a high signal that was repeatable two way and at 9” I saw “one cent” so thought wheatie, nope, 1903 Indian Head!!!
Ran a grid pattern and nothing else to get excited over but a few feet further I was getting multiple lower non ferrous numbers hitting hard. This detector is brand new to me so figured I better dig a sample of this whatever it is thing. At about 8” inches up comes a big ol lead bullet that appears maybe to be non fired. Then another and another etc etc. I dug two the showed impact dame to the nose but not seeing any obvious rifling marks.
Once home I weighed them on my reloading scale and the non deformed bullets were all consistent at 395gr. Length is 1.050 and width on first ring up from the base is .450. Each bullet has two bands above the base band three grooves, the nose is essentially round except for a very small flat on the end. There is a small indent on the bottom.
Any help with identifying the bullet style etc is appreciated!

New Legend detector with 6” factory coil on. Cases hit at 46 and bullets at 33. Field mode on M1 setting. Most all bullets were 8-9” deep in black loamy soil. IH penny was 52 at 9” and ferrometer not registering. Bullets showed full on non ferrous.
 

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JCR TX

Well-known member
Those are some nice finds. The 6" Legend coil is very good for it's size. I can hit 8" in my soil with it. The cartridge case may be 45-70. The F 86 should mean Frankford Arsenal 1886. That was the Federal ammunition factory. The 45 Government(45-70) was loaded with a 405 grain round nose bullet.
 

Ronstar

Well-known member
Thanks for the response! Case is definitely shorter than 45-70 and I believe slightly longer than a 45-55 (hard to find some definitive info on that one). It appears 45-60 associated to Winchester M1886 so could have been fired by one of those. Also I cant get confirmation on the 395 gr slug either but those I have recovered that aren’t damaged are all reading 395 gr
(45-70 on the left)
 

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Missouri -- Ma Betty

Well-known member
First time to post on this portion of the forum so hopefully I have all the correct info…..
I have permission to detect an old arboretum on the local university, we have dug some older cartridge cases and a few lead bullets but today I hit a fairly hot area.
First thing I hit was what I believe is a 45-60 case with the headstamp F (at 11:00) and 86 (at 3:00). We have a few cases that read back to 66 but most are bent etc. This case is straight. A bit later I hit a high signal that was repeatable two way and at 9” I saw “one cent” so thought wheatie, nope, 1903 Indian Head!!!
Ran a grid pattern and nothing else to get excited over but a few feet further I was getting multiple lower non ferrous numbers hitting hard. This detector is brand new to me so figured I better dig a sample of this whatever it is thing. At about 8” inches up comes a big ol lead bullet that appears maybe to be non fired. Then another and another etc etc. I dug two the showed impact dame to the nose but not seeing any obvious rifling marks.
Once home I weighed them on my reloading scale and the non deformed bullets were all consistent at 395gr. Length is 1.050 and width on first ring up from the base is .450. Each bullet has two bands above the base band three grooves, the nose is essentially round except for a very small flat on the end. There is a small indent on the bottom.
Any help with identifying the bullet style etc is appreciated!

New Legend detector with 6” factory coil on. Cases hit at 46 and bullets at 33. Field mode on M1 setting. Most all bullets were 8-9” deep in black loamy soil. IH penny was 52 at 9” and ferrometer not registering. Bullets showed full on non ferrous.
Congrats on an MD'ING DAY of nice finds--May it be continued to Bless you with more! Amen! Ma
 

Ronstar

Well-known member
Ma, I’m betting you just made that happen!!!
 

JCR TX

Well-known member
Perhaps a cartridge for a Sharpes? I was remembering 45-66 Winchester as a bottleneck case like all M1886 cartridges. Very interesting & fun to figure out.
 

Picketwire

Well-known member
When the army was using the 50-70, cadets at West Point were using a shorter 50 cal cartridge using only 55 grains of powder. I don't know if they did the same thing with the 45-70 or not.
 

Ronstar

Well-known member
Guys, this is not a 45-70 case, it is shorter. From the dimensions I believe its 45-60. Im asking a bullet question mainly, the style etc. Example: is this a three ringer? (its not I know) but what style is it? Practice or actual round fired at the opposition?
 

C&RHunter

Active member
Here is some info on the 45-60 round: "The .45-60 Winchester is a centerfire rifle cartridge intended for 19th-century big-game hunting. Nomenclature of the era indicated the .45-60 cartridge contained a 0.45-inch (11.43 mm) diameter bullet with 60 grains (3.89 g) of black powder. Winchester Repeating Arms Company shortened the .45-70 government cartridge to operate through the Winchester Model 1876 rifle's lever-action. The Colt Lightning Carbine (a pump action rifle) and the Whitney Arms Company's Kennedy lever-action rifle were also chambered for the .45-60. These early rifles' advantage of faster loading for subsequent shots was soon eclipsed by the stronger and smoother Winchester Model 1886 action capable of handling longer cartridges including the popular full length .45-70. The .45-60 and similarly short cartridges designed for the Model 1876 rifle faded into obsolescence as 20th-century hunters preferred more powerful smokeless powder loadings of cartridges designed for stronger rifles. Winchester production of .45-60 cartridges ended during the great depression." So it appears that it was a hunting round, and not designed as a military round.

45-60_Winchester_dimensions_sketch_inches.gif
 

Ronstar

Well-known member
Here is a “sketch” of this case.
Granted these are fired cases so not sure how much stretch occurs during firing and mother earth kinda messed up the metal.
 

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Picketwire

Well-known member
https://leverguns.com/dimensions/images/4570.jpgCase length of a 45-70 is 2.100.
I would say that is what you have there.

Here is something about 3 ringers from a recommended sight.
 

Ronstar

Well-known member
Picketwire, your link will not open 404 error.

I posted a pic a few answers back with the found case next to a newer 45-70 case, found case is visibly shorter. This keeps getting more convoluted….. sounds like I may never really know what these bullets are with an expert or knowledgeable hobbyist looking at them. But thanks to all who answered!!
 

Picketwire

Well-known member
Wikipedia's article has the case dimensions. They list 2.105" overall length for the 45-70 and .608" rim.
The 45-60 has an overall case length of 1.89 overall and a .629" rim.

According to your drawing, what you have is a 45-70.

It is my understanding that a 3 ringer is a muzzle loading bullet. They usually have a deep concave base so black powder will obturate the bullet in the bore. They are usually larger than .450".
 
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