HOW I SPEND MY WEEKENDS February 25, 2012
My lovely and talented wife Cathy, as you may know, is an undergraduate in the archaeology program at Colorado State University, but it’s a very small department and she’s being treated more like a grad student, which in this case is a good thing.
She’s taken on a project to catalog some of the bewildering myriad of objects found in the privies of the “Vanoli block” in downtown Ouray, Colorado (the same town Ayn Rand used for Galt’s Gulch). This block is where the bars, dancehalls, and whorehouses were, all from about 1890 to 1910. The excrement is dry and no longer septic (so they say). Cathy ends up sick after an hour or two, every time she goes down to the lab. Gets to me a little, too, but it may just be psychosomatic with me.
I volunteered to help her by cataloguing the hundreds of firearms cartridges found there, and overall, it’s been extremely interesting, although why people put so much ammunition down the toilets is a mystery. With rare exceptions, everybody seems to have been shooting .22 Short, .32, and .38, some of the latter two in rimfire form. No .38 Special at all. I’ve found a bit of .41 Long Colt, maybe half a dozen .44-40s, and one .45 Colt. All of it both fired and unfired cases. I think I recall one .41 rimfire.
Shotshells are generally rotted to hell, 10 ga., 12 ga., and amazingly, some Sellier & Bellot _pinfire_ 16 gauge.
Riflewise, I’ve found .32-20, .30-30, and dozens of unfired .45-70. Winchester, Union Metallic Cartridge, and Remington headstamps, and a few others. But today I found a single spent .40-70 Sharps Straight, a cartridge I’d never seen or heard of before. It was made, among other things, for the 1895 Marlin, and was tragically underloaded, with bullets that were too heavy. These days, with decent brass (you could make it from .30-40 Krag or .303 British) it would give .38-55 or even .375 Winchester a run for the money.
The case was in great condition, the headstamp clear and sharp. Wish I could have brought it home. Wish I had a rifle chambered for it.
So now you see what gets me excited.
Pathetic, isn’t it?
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- Author :Administrator