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For those of you that know will you please share with others.I have been told that years ago most carried the Colt Peacemaker in 45 long colt. Ok, also I have herd that people would carry bouth guns, revolver and rifle chamberd in both cal. However, the convusing part for me is, I do not think I have seen a rifle chambered for the 45. It seems I have herd a lot about the 44-40 back in those days. Ay one haveing any history on this I am sure a lot of people on here could learn and appreacate your knowledge. Thank You.
 

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For those of you that know will you please share with others.I have been told that years ago most carried the Colt Peacemaker in 45 long colt. Ok, also I have herd that people would carry bouth guns, revolver and rifle chamberd in both cal. However, the convusing part for me is, I do not think I have seen a rifle chambered for the 45. It seems I have herd a lot about the 44-40 back in those days. Ay one haveing any history on this I am sure a lot of people on here could learn and appreacate your knowledge. Thank You.
Aside from .45 Colt the 1873s were chambered in other calibers, including 44/40 and 38/40 - which would've given them a common cartridge with the Winchester Model 1873.
 

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Colt introduced the Single Action in 44 rimfire in 1875 to pair up with the 44 rimfire Henry and Winchester Model 1866 rifles. The 1866 rifle stayed in production until 1898 and Colt only built around 1600 of the 44 rimfire guns and they were very poor sellers often being returned to Colt due to the dealers being unable to sell them. This kind of goes against the reasoning of matching calibers. The Colt in 44-40 was their second most popular caliber which matched the Winchester 1873. The 45 Colt was manufactured in larger numbers but a lot of those guns were US Military contract pistols. Since none of us were alive back in the days of the old west we will never know what guns were carried by the nameless thousands of cowboys and adventurers.
 

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I have been told the rim on the original 45 Colt was less in diameter than the brass of today and that was the reason the '73 was never chambered in 45 Colt. I assume that made for extraction difficulties. The 45 Does have a rather narrow rim so there may be some truth to that, I don't know. The '73 was chambered in several cartridges but the 3 rounds common to the Colt SAA, the 44-40, 38-40 and 32-20 are the most frequently seen.
 

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You've been told correct, Sharps.

Cartridges used to be made by "folding" the brass. What is, nowadays, called a balloon-head. And compared to the 44/40, the 45 Colt had a tiny rim. There was not enough there for the extractor to grab.

Cartridges today are made with "solid heads". The rim on the 45 Colt is still small, but they cut an extractor groove into the solid head, so MODERN ammo will work in a rifle.

This is a cutaway of a 45.
45 Colt Solid Head vs Baloon Head.jpg

The one on the right - the older style - has barely any rim at all. The left, newer, case shows the extractor groove.

This is a 44/40. Notice how much bigger the rim is than on the 45. And, since it also now uses a solid head, they cut a groove on it, which helps with extraction.
44 WCF balloon head vs solid head.jpg
 

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Alpo, you might have been who told me that. I think it was on this site.
 

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I know I've posted them pix before, on this site. Two or three times, I believe.

Question keeps coming up.

You think that's bad, check out these FIRST BATCH 45 Colts, with Benet priming. The rim is almost non-existent. It looks like a rimfire, but it's actually centerfire. The case is made of soft copper, so the firing pin busts right through to hit the primer.

45 Colt, Benet priming.jpg
 

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Was not the first 45-70's made the same way?
 

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The priming? Maybe. The cases made of copper? Yes.

The Wagon Box fight, and a few others, where afterwards it was found that when the rifles were REALLY HOT (like shooting a lot in a short period of time) the copper cases stuck in the chamber, and the extractors pulled through the rims. Soldiers were having to dig the empties out with their knives to continue shooting.

One of the major reasons for swithing to brass.
 

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The priming? Maybe. The cases made of copper? Yes.

The Wagon Box fight, and a few others, where afterwards it was found that when the rifles were REALLY HOT (like shooting a lot in a short period of time) the copper cases stuck in the chamber, and the extractors pulled through the rims. Soldiers were having to dig the empties out with their knives to continue shooting.

One of the major reasons for swithing to brass.
That explains alot. I read an article that listed a number of shorter Springfield carbines being used by Custer's troopers at the LBH that used a shorter copper cartridge.
 

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And we'rnt a lot of Henry's chambered in. 45?
No. The Henry was never chambered in anything except 44 Henry rimfire.

The 1866 Winchester was also chambered in 44 Henry rimfire, but towards the very end of its production run they had come up with a 44 Henry centerfire, and some were chambered for that. But none of the Henrys were.

As was explained up the thread, the 45 cases had such a small rim, rifle extractors would not work with them. There were no rifles chambered in 45 Colt, until Navy arms started bringing in reproductions from Italy in the '70s.
 

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Alpo,

Was the centerfire version of the .44 Henry the origin of the .44-40?
 

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No sir. The 1866 Winchester was made up into the 1890s. Long after the 1873, and the 44/40, came on the scene.

The 1860 Henry and the 1866 Winchester were made of a metal called gunmetal. This is a bronze alloy, and is much stronger than brass. You will find many places where they talk about the brass framed Henrys and the brass framed Winchester yellow boy, but they are wrong. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin, and is much stronger. This would explain why all these brass frame copies of cap and ball revolvers shoot loose quickly, while 1860 Henrys and 1866 Winchesters lasted for 50 60 70 years.

Anyway. These bronze frame guns were strong enough for the 44 Henry cartridge, which was loaded with between 25 and 30 grains of black powder. The 44 Winchester centerfire was loaded with 40 grains of black powder. Winchester came up with it when they came up with the 1873 rifle, which with its iron frame was much stronger than the bronze frames of the previous guns, and could take the more powerful cartridge.

There is a very nice discussion about the Henry centerfire, with both when and why it was invented, on this site.

 

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That explains alot. I read an article that listed a number of shorter Springfield carbines being used by Custer's troopers at the LBH that used a shorter copper cartridge.
The copper cased .45-70s used at the Little Big Horn were no different than any of the other issued ammunition in length. The early .45-70 "Carbine Loads" were loaded to the same length as the standard Infantry loaded 70 grain ammunition. The Carbine load was different only that the powder charge was 55 grains (with a filler or wad).

It wasn't until the 1886 Carbine Cartridge was adopted that the cartridge AOL was shorter - the same 405 HB bullet was seated deeper to eliminate the need for a wad or filler to take up space inside the cartridge. By 1886 the standard ".45-70" cartridge used by the Infantry moved on to a 500 grain solid base bullet (the hollow base wasn't necessary for bullet expansion - the mass of the 500 grain bullet was enough to expand the base and seal the rifling) - while the Carbine load retained the 405 grain HB bullet.

The earliest .45-70 ammunition was inside primed and had copper cases. Brass cartridge cases for the .45-70 weren't standardized until 1888. There was a "Morse Case" used in the 1886 cartridge that was brass, but of a two-piece construction. The Pattern 1873 cases were folded head design, but this was changed to a solid head design in 1882 - but still used a copper case. The final design was the 1888, solid head construction, tinned brass case and Boxer primed.
 

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The copper cased .45-70s used at the Little Big Horn were no different than any of the other issued ammunition in length. The early .45-70 "Carbine Loads" were loaded to the same length as the standard Infantry loaded 70 grain ammunition. The Carbine load was different only that the powder charge was 55 grains (with a filler or wad).

It wasn't until the 1886 Carbine Cartridge was adopted that the cartridge AOL was shorter - the same 405 HB bullet was seated deeper to eliminate the need for a wad or filler to take up space inside the cartridge. By 1886 the standard ".45-70" cartridge used by the Infantry moved on to a 500 grain solid base bullet (the hollow base wasn't necessary for bullet expansion - the mass of the 500 grain bullet was enough to expand the base and seal the rifling) - while the Carbine load retained the 405 grain HB bullet.

The earliest .45-70 ammunition was inside primed and had copper cases. Brass cartridge cases for the .45-70 weren't standardized until 1888. There was a "Morse Case" used in the 1886 cartridge that was brass, but of a two-piece construction. The Pattern 1873 cases were folded head design, but this was changed to a solid head design in 1882 - but still used a copper case. The final design was the 1888, solid head construction, tinned brass case and Boxer primed.
All rimfire prior to the 88, right?
 

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All rimfire prior to the 88, right?
None of those were "rimfire". The early pattern M1873 used an inside primed case. The priming element was seated into the base of the case - known as the "Bennet" primed case. See Aplo's post #7 that shows the case crimp holding in the Bennet primer inside of the case. The cup inside of the case (which held the priming element) also served to reinforce the case head. It was not a rim fire - the firing pin struck the case in the center of the case head. The case had what is called the "folded head - reinforced" with the Benet priming system.

Later - when Boxer priming was intruduced - the cases were still of the folded head design. It wasn't until 1877 that solid head cases (1st version) were used. The early 'solid head' cases were what we know as 'semi balloon head cases' - where the indention for the primer cup was visabile looking down inside of the case.

What looks like a true "modern" case was the Solid head - 2nd Model as introduced in 1882. These are also known as the "Solid Web", "Bar Web" or the "H-Bar Web".
 

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Couple more reasons Winchester didn't chamber the .45 Colt in their carbines. As Alpo said, one was the rim, but being a near straight walled case, in combo with the rim, it had feeding problems. Winchester wasn't going to have the word "Colt" as a caliber marking on their gun. Colt wasn't so picky, and the need for one chambering in the rifle and pistol was obvious. That gave Winchester a double market for their ammo.
 
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