✅ SOLVED Prob’ly an easy one for anybody but me… (Minié ball?)

Ronson

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Howdy folks.
Yesterday, about a half-hour south of Santa Fe, I dug my first Civil War-era lead slug.
Or at least, I thought I did… I’ve had one person opine that it is a “modern, machine-made” Minié ball.
(I guessed Sharps .52 cal, but I’m still on vacation and do not have access to the usual research materials & connectivity, and I live in DFW, so not many opportunities for digging Civil War relics.)
It was about 6” deep, under a tree, in an area that’s got quite a few tales attached to it, including that ammo from the Battle Of Glorietta Pass was buried out here, somewhere on this ranch.
Can anyone help me out with an i.d. or best guess?
Many thanks for y’all’s collective expertise.
 

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Solution
Ronson, here's some "clarifying" info about bullets (antique and modern) for you:
1- The defining characteristic of a Minie-bullet (actually not a ball despite the name "Minie-Ball") is the presence of a large cavity in the bullet's base, whose purpose was to cause the base to have a thin rim or "skirt," so the gunpowder's firing blast could easily expand the base rim outward into the gunbarrel's rifling-grooves.
2- That being said, all the varieties of actual Minie-bullets were made for use in Muzzleloading firearms, not for breech-loading or cylinder-loading (a revolver pistol), most of which used metallic-cartridge bullets.

3- To most Historical/Military bullet-collectors, "modern" bullets date from around the start of the...

sprailroad

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I hope someone can ID it for you, and me I will add. I found my first one myself out here, but do not know much about them. Looks alot like yours, about 3/4" in length. Two rings, and the rings appear to have slanted left leaning lines in them. Along with the hollow core? like yours. Here it was found in an area where 3 or 4 musket balls were found in addition to a number of chopped up seated liberty halves, ( a whole other story) and my FIRST and ONLY gold coin in 35 years of detecting, all at a mining camp area of 1860's +. Your find caught my interest there Ronson. There are fella's who know this stuff on Minie balls etc.
 
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traveller777

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I hope someone can ID it for you, and me I will add. I found my first one myself out here, but do not know much about them. Looks alot like yours, about 3/4" in length. Two rings, and the rings appear to have slanted left leaning lines in them. Along with the hollow core? like yours. Here it was found in an area where 3 or 4 musket balls were found in addition to a number of chopped up seated liberty halves, ( a whole other story) and my FIRST and ONLY gold coin in 35 years of detecting, all at a mining camp area of 1860's +. Your find caught my interest there Ronson. There are fella's who know this stuff on Minie balls etc.
You should post pictures of yours. Maybe your bullet is older than the one in this post. Although I do not know of any Civil War action in Oregon, it still may be an old bullet.
 
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Ronson

Ronson

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Not a Minnie ball. Looks like a modern round
Village, what are the hallmarks of a modern round that you are seeing, so we know what to look for, in the future?
And what does “modern” mean, time period-wise, in this instance?
 
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Ronson

Ronson

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I agree completely with village. I have found him very knowledgeable on this subject. More modern round. Possibly not even 1800s.
I’m a little confused… when I hear the word “modern” I think something like the last 20 years or so, or my lifetime, at least.
But it sounds as though “modern” here might be… what? Early 1900s?
 
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TheCannonballGuy

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Ronson, here's some "clarifying" info about bullets (antique and modern) for you:
1- The defining characteristic of a Minie-bullet (actually not a ball despite the name "Minie-Ball") is the presence of a large cavity in the bullet's base, whose purpose was to cause the base to have a thin rim or "skirt," so the gunpowder's firing blast could easily expand the base rim outward into the gunbarrel's rifling-grooves.
2- That being said, all the varieties of actual Minie-bullets were made for use in Muzzleloading firearms, not for breech-loading or cylinder-loading (a revolver pistol), most of which used metallic-cartridge bullets.

3- To most Historical/Military bullet-collectors, "modern" bullets date from around the start of the 20th-Century.

4- A major characteristic of many "modern" bullets is the presence of a knurled (or "reeded") cannelure... which means, the bullet's body-groove(s) contain multiple tiny parallel ridges. Reeded-groove bullets first show up about 1877, and became commonplace around 1900. See the photo below, which shows a modern 32-caliber revolver bullet with a reeded body-groove. NOTE -- one of your photos of your bullet kinda-sorta looks like it has reeded body-grooves, but the photo isn't quite clear enough for me to be sure about that.

In my opinion:
Your (fired) excavated bullet appears to be a US Army .44-caliber Model-1874 Colt revolver metallic-cartridge bullet. See the photos of a dug "lightly fired" (low powder-charge) one, below. The "rings" on yours look wider because firing caused the raised rings to get compressed as the bullet traveled through the pistol's rifled barrel, flattening them into a wider shape than they were when unfired.

I should also mention, the Model-1874 Colt Army .44 revolver bullet was manufactured by the US Army's Frankford Arsenal into the 1890s, and at that time had reeded body-grooves. If your bullet does not have reeded grooves, it is the earlier version, made during the mid-1870s into the 1880s.
 

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Solution

villagenut

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TCBG gave a good explanation, far better than I cou.d do. modern to me is a period lacking notable events from modern times. Post CW years and up. Although if a bullet could be tied to a later specific event, making it better than the average modern bullet. So modern is not a bad term, just not having a particular connection to an event or historical period. I hope that makes so e sense anyways.
 
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Ronson

Ronson

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Ronson, here's some "clarifying" info about bullets (antique and modern) for you:
1- The defining characteristic of a Minie-bullet (actually not a ball despite the name "Minie-Ball") is the presence of a large cavity in the bullet's base, whose purpose was to cause the base to have a thin rim or "skirt," so the gunpowder's firing blast could easily expand the base rim outward into the gunbarrel's rifling-grooves.
2- That being said, all the varieties of actual Minie-bullets were made for use in Muzzleloading firearms, not for breech-loading or cylinder-loading (a revolver pistol), most of which used metallic-cartridge bullets.

3- To most Historical/Military bullet-collectors, "modern" bullets date from around the start of the 20th-Century.

4- A major characteristic of many "modern" bullets is the presence of a knurled (or "reeded") cannelure... which means, the bullet's body-groove(s) contain multiple tiny parallel ridges. Reeded-groove bullets first show up about 1877, and became commonplace around 1900. See the photo below, which shows a modern 32-caliber revolver bullet with a reeded body-groove. NOTE -- one of your photos of your bullet kinda-sorta looks like it has reeded body-grooves, but the photo isn't quite clear enough for me to be sure about that.

In my opinion:
Your (fired) excavated bullet appears to be a US Army .44-caliber Model-1874 Colt revolver metallic-cartridge bullet. See the photos of a dug "lightly fired" (low powder-charge) one, below. The "rings" on yours look wider because firing caused the raised rings to get compressed as the bullet traveled through the pistol's rifled barrel, flattening them into a wider shape than they were when unfired.

I should also mention, the Model-1874 Colt Army .44 revolver bullet was manufactured by the US Army's Frankford Arsenal into the 1890s, and at that time had reeded body-grooves. If your bullet does not have reeded grooves, it is the earlier version, made during the mid-1870s into the 1880s.
Cannon, that was a fantastic primer for me & others, thank you… I appreciate the time you took to share that info.
Once I’m back home, I’ll get a better photo up, plus a caliper measurement, but I believe it does have the receded grooves you described.
(Sorta like the ridges on the edge of a dime?)
 
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TheCannonballGuy

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Ronson asked (regarding "reeded body-groove" a.k.a knurled-cannelure bullets:
> Sorta like the ridges on the edge of a dime?

Yep. Some US coins (dime, quarter, half, and dollar-coins) have what is called a reeded edge.... the same multiple tiny parallel ridges you see in reeded-groove bullets. A lot of 20th-Century-to-presentday "copper-jacketed" bullets have a reeded body-groove (or two). See the photo below.
 

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Ronson

Ronson

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In my opinion:
Your (fired) excavated bullet appears to be a US Army .44-caliber Model-1874 Colt revolver metallic-cartridge bullet. See the photos of a dug "lightly fired" (low powder-charge) one, below. The "rings" on yours look wider because firing caused the raised rings to get compressed as the bullet traveled through the pistol's rifled barrel, flattening them into a wider shape than they were when unfired.

I should also mention, the Model-1874 Colt Army .44 revolver bullet was manufactured by the US Army's Frankford Arsenal into the 1890s, and at that time had reeded body-grooves.

My digital caliper only measures to hundredths of an inch, but I’m measuring approx 0.47” in diameter and 0.71 or 0.72” in length… is this plausibly consistent for a US Army .44-caliber Model-1874 Colt revolver metallic-cartridge bullet, given its deformities?
Here’s another photo that I think shows the reeding.
 

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