Original .45 UMC Black Powder Cartridges and a Marlin .45 Colt Cowboy Ltd.
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  1. #1
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    Original .45 UMC Black Powder Cartridges and a Marlin .45 Colt Cowboy Ltd.

    Fellow Marlin enthusiasts,

    As we know, the .45 Colt was an original black powder cartridge. I was curious to see what velocity some early original .45 Colt b.p. cartridges would have achieved in a rifle. After some searching, I located some early headstamped UMC .45 Colt black powder cartridges which cost $3.00 each (!).

    I wanted UMC (Union Metallic Cartridge Company) cartridges since back in the late 1800's -early 1900's Marlin worked closely with UMC on ammunition development.

    I had to replace the mercuric primers (they were dead) with fresh Remington 2 1/2's. To do that, I had to pull the bullets with an inertia puller, and remove the powder (40 grs. by weight). I removed the primers, and then annealed the cases to keep them from splitting. After seating the new primers, I replaced the powder and the bullets after replacing the dried up lube with SPG, a premium b.p. lube.

    At the range, I chambered the vintage b.p. UMC .45 Colt cartridges in my .45 Colt Marlin Cowboy Ltd. (24" barrel) and fired them over a chronograph. The average velocity at 15 feet was 1,241 f.p.s. and the group was around 1" at 25 yards.

    It was neat to step back in history and shoot the vintage cartridges in a modern rifle.........just as our forefathers would have if the Marlin .45 Colt Cowboy rifle was in exsistance back then........................

    w30wcf
    aka w44wcf (black powder)
    aka Jack Christian SASS 11993 "I can do all things through Christ who strenghtens me." Philippians 4:13
    aka John Kort
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    Re: Original .45 UMC Black Powder Cartridges and a Marlin .45 Colt Cowboy Ltd.

    Cool project, thans for sharing. Where did you end up getting the UMC cartridges?
    "At 50, every man has the face he deserves." - George Orwell

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    Re: Original .45 UMC Black Powder Cartridges and a Marlin .45 Colt Cowboy Ltd.

    lostapiarist,
    Thank you for your interest. I purchased them from a cartridge collector / dealer that I know that lives in the Pittsburgh, PA area.
    I callled him up and asked if he had any U.M.C. headstamped .45 Colt b.p. cartridges.....he checked...said that he did...and asked...How many do you want? I said, how much? He said $3.00 each so I bought 10. That was about 5 years ago.

    w30wcf
    aka w44wcf (black powder)
    aka Jack Christian SASS 11993 "I can do all things through Christ who strenghtens me." Philippians 4:13
    aka John Kort
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    .22 WCF, .30WCF, .44WCF cartridge historian
    TEAM 39A member #108
    TEAM 1894 member #125
    TEAM 44-40 member #1
    TEAM 30-30 member #311
    TEAM 45-70 member #563

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    Re: Original .45 UMC Black Powder Cartridges and a Marlin .45 Colt Cowboy Ltd.

    update.....additional info & pic added

    As we know, the .45 Colt was an original black powder cartridge. I was curious to see what velocity some early original .45 Colt b.p. cartridges would have achieved in a rifle, had one been available way back when. After some searching, I located some early, headstamped U.M.C. .45 Colt black powder cartridges which cost $3.00 each (!).

    The reason I sought U.M.C. (Union Metallic Cartridge Company) cartridges was, that since back in the late 1800's -early 1900's Marlin worked closely with U.M.C. on ammunition development and my test rifle was a Marlin Cowboy Ltd. (24" barrel).

    Previous to this, I had tested full 40 gr. charges of Goex FFG and Goex Cowboy and achieved average velocities of 1,131 and 1,155 f.p.s. respectively. As I recall, Mike Venturino reported similar velocities in a past issue of Black Powder Cartridge News.

    To continue:
    I discovered that the primers were dead, so I needed to replace the mercuric primers with fresh Remington 2 1/2's. To accomplish that, I pulled the bullets with an inertia puller, and removed the powder which, as it turned out, ran pretty close to 40 grs. by weight and was polished in appearance. I then removed the primers, and annealed the cases to keep them from splitting. After seating the new primers, I reloaded the powder and the bullets, after replacing the dried up lube with SPG.

    At the range, I chambered the vintage b.p. UMC .45 Colt cartridges in my .45 Colt Marlin Cowboy Ltd. and fired them over my chronograph. The average velocity at 15 feet was 1,241 f.p.s. and the bullets cut a very nice 1" cluster at 25 yards.

    Interestingly, U.M.C. had used a Sporting burn rate b.p. (Dutch Bill) in these cartridges. I then tried 40 grs. of SWISS FFG ignited by 2 1/2 Remington primers under a Lyman 454190 bullet to see if it would come close to that velocity. That combination averaged 1,220 f.p.s. @ 15 feet from the muzzle.

    It was neat to step back in time and shoot those vintage cartridges in a modern rifle.........just as our forefathers would have done, if the Marlin .45 Colt Cowboy or a similar rifle had been in exsistance back then........................

    Here's a pic of one of the vintage cartridges and the bullet used by U.M.C.




    w30wcf


    aka w44wcf (black powder)
    aka Jack Christian SASS 11993 "I can do all things through Christ who strenghtens me." Philippians 4:13
    aka John Kort
    NRA Life Member
    .22 WCF, .30WCF, .44WCF cartridge historian
    TEAM 39A member #108
    TEAM 1894 member #125
    TEAM 44-40 member #1
    TEAM 30-30 member #311
    TEAM 45-70 member #563

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    Re: Original .45 UMC Black Powder Cartridges and a Marlin .45 Colt Cowboy Ltd.

    Interesting for sure! I never studied the 45 Colt cartridge although I came close to getting a 1894 TALO in that caliber just before I bought my 1894D CCL in 44-40. Looking at your picture, I'd never noticed before just how small a rim the 45 Colt has. Just looks like there'd be extraction problems to me. But apparently it works.
    Marlins in 44-40. Whacking varmits since 1888

    Team 44-40
    Team 1894


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