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Re: Article in Man At Arms
Posted by FrontierWest on Tuesday, 23 August 2011, at 10:02 a.m., in response to Re: Article in Man At Arms, posted by Dick Hosmer on Monday, 22 August 2011, at 10:06 p.m.
Having done a few battlefields (Baker, Stanley fights of 1872, Sitting Bull fight of May 17th 1868, Blackfeet fight of April 7th 1869, Otis fights of October, 1876, Wagon Box fight of 1867, Fetterman of 1866, Crazy Woman fight of 1866, and a few more).... myself I can comment.
The Baker Battle on the Yellowstone (August 14th, 1872) WAS A GREAT SITE FOR ARMS (CASING MATCHES). Mostly the Indian casings provided matches as they were found on the bluffs and in a nice dry condition. The soldier casings on the river bottom really could only provide what kind of gun fired them and their positions on the site IE (Sharps & m1868 Springfields & later.) The Indian casings and some soldier casings extending up the bluffs did provide matches, and many of them quite clear. Doug Scott did the work, but many were so clear and consistent with the positions they were found it, it was probably fairly easy for him to separate them.
The main problem I believe he noted to us was part of the collection was cleaned, and the other part not cleaned. So not having permission to clean the relics, he studied the ones already cleaned, though visual comparisons could be made in both groups.
Corrosion on the bluff artifacts was about none! River bottom relics, substantial in almost all relics recovered. Just depends on where they were found. Something found in a dry climate of AZ, and on a hilltop and out of the way of standing water (environmental) and agriculture would in my opinion, be pristine! Other factors would be animal hooves, machinery, ect that could have damaged the relics, but for the most part I believe without seeing the photographic evidence that the casings would be good enough to match to each other. Now matching it to a gun of today that has undergone firing pin alterations, breech and barrel wear ect... I don't know. One I believe does not have a large enough sample group to compare with.
Now wouldn't it be great if every one who had one of the guns in question would provide a nice sample of a fired (benet) primed casing and bullet from each gun and send it in to a National Registered data base! Then folks who have these historical collections and that have fire arms data done on them could start a comparison data base on historical-modern owned guns. I think it could be done now.. but would cost a bit of money. A good grant writer could do it!
Note: I say a Benet primed cartridge as I don't believe a modern boxer brass primed Cartridge gives one the exact breech impressions as the old soft copper Benet casings.. they just don't fire form at the face end like the originals.
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