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Winchester's 45 Colt "Center-Fire" Cartridges....in 1875!


Savvy Jack
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It was right under my nose the whole time. Winchester offered center fire cartridges for Colt's 45 in their 1875 catalog. I also spotted this box. Winchester did not start sealing their boxes until mid-1874. This box could be 1873 or even maybe 1874. Winchester did not start headstamping their cases until 1884ish.
This sheds a lot of light on civilians, Cowboys, Outlaws and Lawmen carrying the 45 Colt as early as 1874/1875. Interestingly there is little to no examples of civilian cartridges prior to 1884.....except for this one. I bet there is more, maybe I have been looking in the wrong place.

 

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Edited by Savvy Jack
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16 minutes ago, Pat Riot, SASS #13748 said:

And the don’t call it “.45 Colt”. ;)
 

EDIT: Ruger labels their .45 Colt guns “.45 Cal.” 

 

And here I thought it was Looooooooooooooooooooooooooooong Colt. :D

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I would guess that is one of the reasons that statement is on there.

 

Colt manufactured ammunition, or maybe US government arsenal manufactured ammunition, would be loaded with Benet priming, and is throwaway, just like rimfire.

 

But remember that in 1873 Winchester brought out a rifle using a centerfire cartridge that did not use Benet priming, and was reloadable.

 

So one of their selling points would be, "by ours instead of the competition's, and you can reload the empties".

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Yeap, the cartridge photo in Winchester's 1875 catalog shows the external center fire priming system. It is my understanding that later boxes or at least early UMC boxes show the Hobbs and Orcutt patent while later boxes (1876ish) only show the Hobbs patent.

 

 

1875 Winchester catalog (listed under Center-Fire cartridges)
 

Winchester 1875.jpg

 

 

1895 Winchester catalog

Winchester 1895.jpg

Edited by Savvy Jack
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Well that kind of knocks the pins out from under the urban legend of why a shot of whiskey is called a shot.

 

The story goes that a drink of whiskey and a round of 45 ammunition cost the same price, so when the cowboy did not have the money to pay for his whiskey he would give the bartender a cartridge. "A shot for a shot."

 

Back in the day, beer was a nickel and whiskey was a dime. So if a cartridge cost a dime, then a box of 50 cost $5. Since the working cowboy generally made a dollar a day (30 a month and found), that would be 5 days' pay for a box of ammunition. That always seemed kind of steep to me.

 

But we have that ad up there. $22 a thousand, which would be $11 for 500, or $1.10 for a box of 50. Still a day's pay, but not five.

 

And the cartridge cost two cents. Can't really see a bartender trading a 10-cent glass of whiskey for a 2-cent cartridge. Not if he wanted to keep his job for very long.

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3 hours ago, Savvy Jack said:

 

 

Winchester 1875.jpg

 

I'll take 5 cases please. 

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2 hours ago, Alpo said:

Well that kind of knocks the pins out from under the urban legend of why a shot of whiskey is called a shot.

 

The story goes that a drink of whiskey and a round of 45 ammunition cost the same price, so when the cowboy did not have the money to pay for his whiskey he would give the bartender a cartridge. "A shot for a shot."

 

Back in the day, beer was a nickel and whiskey was a dime. So if a cartridge cost a dime, then a box of 50 cost $5. Since the working cowboy generally made a dollar a day (30 a month and found), that would be 5 days' pay for a box of ammunition. That always seemed kind of steep to me.

 

But we have that ad up there. $22 a thousand, which would be $11 for 500, or $1.10 for a box of 50. Still a day's pay, but not five.

 

And the cartridge cost two cents. Can't really see a bartender trading a 10-cent glass of whiskey for a 2-cent cartridge. Not if he wanted to keep his job for very long.

 

 

Myths are amazing aren't they? I can think of a few more myths myself, directly related to this cartridge.

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A store might buy a case of cartridges, but just like now, would mark up the price to sell to their customers by the box.

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