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Old 12-16-2010, 11:38 AM
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.44 Henry cartridge?


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These cartridges were found on an archaeological survey in NW AZ, basic research suggests they are .44 Henry cartridges. Looking for any more info about production dates, etc. Any info is appreciated. Thank you.



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Old 12-16-2010, 01:55 PM
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First of all, the item in the pictures is not a "cartridge", it is a cartridge case. (A cartridge is a complete assembly of bullet, powder, primer, and case.)

We would need dimensions to verify that it is a 44 Henry case, but it certainly could be. The Henry was introduced in 1860, but it might have taken a while to get to Arizona -- you would probably know more about trade on the frontier than I do. The "H" headstamp would indicate that it was manufactured by Henry or Winchester.

The 44 Henry cartridge became technologically obsolete when it was replaced by the .44-40 center-fire cartridge in 1873, but it obviously continued in use long after that.

I do not know how long the rim-fire 44 Henry cartridge was manufactured -- perhaps one of our cartridge collectors might -- but I would guess until sometime in the 1930s, and it was likely possible to find a box or two on a hardware store shelf long after manufacture ceased.

Welcome to the Forum -- lots of good information and friendly people here.

The Old Guy
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Old 12-16-2010, 03:22 PM
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You need R. Bruce McDowell’s book “The Development of the Henry Cartridge. I believe it is $6- or $7.00 from Armory Publications. It is an interesting and informative little book.
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Old 12-17-2010, 12:53 PM
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Take this for what it cost ya, cuz honestly, I don't know.
But I'd bet it is indeed a 44 Henry Rimfire. Henry developed a double firing pin to overcome problems of the original.
Another book.....Archaeological Perspectives On The Battle Of The Little Big Horn by Douglas D. Scott
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Old 12-18-2010, 07:02 PM
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Could also have been fired in an 1866 Winchester, they used the same cartridge, but yes, it looks like a 44 rimfire such as was used in either of those guns. Can you lay hands on a caliper and give some dimensional information? The overall length, from the rim to front of the case, the rim diameter, and case body diamter just ahead of the rim should be enough. Inside diamter of the mouth of the case may be interesting also.
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