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Thread: Hunting The 7th Cavalry With Cast Bullets

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy shrapnel's Avatar
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    Hunting The 7th Cavalry With Cast Bullets

    With no other forum for interesting history, I post this here. We have been chasing historical events surrounding the Custer battle in 1876 and have found some unique remnants of a war lost 150 years ago, Custer didn't lose that war, he lost a battle. Cast bullets were a major contributor to this battle and we have found a few that might interest other cast bullet shooters.

    Here are some pictures...






  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Thanks for sharing
    Perhaps my learning skills have diminished in my senior years.. 50 years ago I could read something once and then "have it"... Now I read it about three times, do it a couple of times and then... "have it" only about half the time.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Thumbcocker's Avatar
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    Did the federal arsenals still cast boolits in 1876? I read about steam powered swagging machines producing Minie balls in the civil war? But I also have seen drawings of massive hand cranked "arsenal molds" . Thanks for posting the pics.
    You'll go far providin' you ain't burnt alive or scalped."

    Will Geer as Bear Claw in "Jeramiah Johnson"

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thumbcocker View Post
    Did the federal arsenals still cast boolits in 1876?
    Not sure, but for any round ball weapons, I'd think they probably did.
    When they went to hollow bases, it doesn't lend it self to high volume cast production.

    I saw a picture of a round ball casting 'device' from the early days.
    It looked like a spoke wagon wheel. Each spoke was a split, multi-cavity mold like our 4 or 6 cavity ones.
    But each spoke looked to be about 3 feet long, and there must have been at least 15 of them on one axle
    with 4 or 5 people operating it. And the factory had 2 or 3 of them going in one picture.

    They could probably make at least a couple of tons of round balls a day.

    I doubt they would have changed anything until round balls were obsoleted out completely by the military.
    It wasn't playing the blame game, finding fault, and complaining about every little thing that made America great.
    It was God, guns, and guts.


    OK folks. Enough of this idle chit-chat. This ain't your Grandma's sewing circle.
    EVERYONE !!
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  5. #5
    Boolit Mold
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    That middle pic is a PP bullet! If I remember correctly there was a 7th cavalry sgt with a telescopic sighted sharps. That’s a pretty amazing find.

    I would imagine all the lead bullets were swaged by then.

    http://csharpsarms.com/famoussharps-...eant-Ryan.html

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Thumbcocker's Avatar
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    First pic seems to show mold marks.
    You'll go far providin' you ain't burnt alive or scalped."

    Will Geer as Bear Claw in "Jeramiah Johnson"

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Very cool!

  8. #8
    Moderator Emeritus / Trusted loob groove dealer

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    Quote Originally Posted by R-71 View Post
    That middle pic is a PP bullet! If I remember correctly there was a 7th cavalry sgt with a telescopic sighted sharps. That’s a pretty amazing find.

    I would imagine all the lead bullets were swaged by then.

    http://csharpsarms.com/famoussharps-...eant-Ryan.html
    There were also white "squaw men" living with the Indians with buffalo rifles.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master


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    With no other forum for interesting history, I post this here. We have been chasing historical events surrounding the Custer battle in 1876 and have found some unique remnants of a war lost 150 years ago, Custer didn't lose that war, he lost a battle. Cast bullets were a major contributor to this battle and we have found a few that might interest other cast bullet shooters.

    All arsenal produced 45-70 (rifle and Carbine) cartridges used in the Custer era had bullets that were arsenal produced by swaging. The Lubed grooves were canalures knurled in after swaging. They will also have the "dish" in the base oft erroneously referred to as a "hollow base". The bullet pictured obviously is not an actual arsenal bullet. Many times artifacts such as bullets are found on battlefields that were shot there, for many differed reasons, after the battle. The top photo obviously is not a bullet of a 45-55 cartridge carried into battle by 7th Cavalry troopers of the era. However, the bullet pictured in the bottom photo appears to be one. A closer photo would be appreciated?
    Last edited by Larry Gibson; 07-01-2020 at 10:17 AM.
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy


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    I hope you're not breaking any federal rules " artifact hunting" on a National Park.

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master


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    Interesting post. I've always thought metal detecting would be a very cool hobby, just have too many back burner hobbies and not enough time now. Thank you for posting this.

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
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    I thought this was a follow up after watching the HBO series Watchmen.

    Thanks, Dinny
    I prefer peace. But if trouble must come, let it come in my time, so that my children can live in peace.

    Thomas Paine

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master

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    shrapnel thanks for posting, good pictures too. I wasn't around 150 years ago so I don't know who all was shootin' lead around Custer, MT at that time but bet there were some bullet casters around them there hills! Keep up the good work
    Hell, I was there!

  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master


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    There many different types and calibers of firearms used, particularly by civilians (miners, hunters, settlers, suppliers, etc.) and Indians (friendly and hostile) in that area during not only the campaign(s) of 1876 and the after math through 1877 in that area, but also the previous Red Cloud War in along the Bozeman trail. It also was many times a favored wintering area of the Sioux who were encroaching on Crow lands of that era. Additionally we can imagine a great many bullets of various cartridges were also fired in that area by hunters, plinkers and for other reasons in the intervening 144 years. Be interesting to have the measurements of both bullets [weight, diameter and length]?
    Last edited by Larry Gibson; 07-08-2020 at 09:38 AM.
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy shrapnel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Gibson View Post
    There many different types and calibers of firearms used, particularly by civilians (miners, hunters, settlers, suppliers, etc.) and Indians (friendly and hostile) in that area during not only the campaign(s) of 1876 and the after math through 1877 in that area, but also the previous Red Cloud War in along the Bozeman trail. It also was many times a favored wintering area of the Sioux who were encroaching on Crow lands of that era. Additionally we can imagine a great many bullets of various cartridges were also fired in that area by hunters, plinkers and for other reasons in the intervening 144 years. Be interesting to have the measurements of both bullets [weight, diameter and length]?
    We have detected all sorts of metal from farm implements to nails and modern jacketed bullets and brass. 150 years is a lot of time for some other activities in that area contributing to some unreliable data. It has to be sorted out to find pertinent information regarding the Custer Battle.

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master


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    Sounds very interesting. Please keep us posted on your findings.
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by shtur View Post
    I hope you're not breaking any federal rules " artifact hunting" on a National Park.
    As long as you leave it where you found it, there may not be a problem. I visited Gettysburg years ago and saw "genuine civil war bullets" for sale in the gas stations and souvenir shops. I assumed they were all fakes, aged in five gallon buckets of mud to look authentic.
    Warning: I know Judo. If you force me to prove it I'll shoot you.

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy shrapnel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shtur View Post
    I hope you're not breaking any federal rules " artifact hunting" on a National Park.
    We have spent a lot of time investigating the historical value of the battle and pay close attention to the culturally sensitive aspects while doing so. What you hope and what we do are totally in line with all regulations locally and Federally.
    Last edited by shrapnel; 07-16-2020 at 08:57 AM.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    I don't thing anyone told those bullets when they were fired that they had to stay inside the boundary of what would someday be a National Monument.
    ..

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