“DUG” .50 CALIBER SMITH “RUBBER CASE” CARTRIDGES

$75.00

Quantity Available: 14

Item Code: 2022-1238

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To Order:
Call 717-334-0347,
Fax 717-334-5016, or E-mail

Used in the Smith carbine extensively during the early years of the Civil War, we have several specimens of these unusual .50 caliber “rubber case” cartridges in excavated “relic” condition.

The problem with all Civil War-era breech loaders was the need for ammunition with cases that could expand to seal the breech upon firing yet contract afterwards to be extracted.

Early in the war, ammunition with an India Rubber tube was issued for the Smith carbine to meet this need. Gilbert Smith received patent #17,702 in June of 1857 for this invention. Later, a different type of case was used that employed rolled brass foil and paper.

This artifact is one of a cache of these interesting cartridges recovered from a Civil War camp trash pit on the Westover Plantation that adjoins the Berkley Plantation on the James River near Charles City Virginia.

In “dug” condition, these cartridges are complete but show the effects of being in the ground for 150+ years; mostly “shrinkage” of the rubber cartridge case. Some have small cracks in the case and some exhibit a red-ish stripe on the case where the original adhesive has oxidized. Attached photograph is representative of all cartridges.

This example of a Smith carbine “India rubber” cartridge represents a prime specimen of Civil War era inventiveness in regards to small arms ammunition.  [jet] [ph:L]

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