44 Caliber Lever Rifles at Little Bighorn

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Bryan Austin
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44 Caliber Lever Rifles at Little Bighorn

#1 Post by Bryan Austin »

I suppose most know all three rifles were in use against Custer and the Bighorn. I wish we really knew just how these rifles helped the Indian's victory. Little is known, but much information that could help answer that question has been acquired over various years of Archaeological surveys of the area.

I think everyone here knows what happened. Basically Custer took the High road, Reno took the lo road and Benteen was late to the fight. Reno was forced to retreat to high ground and Custer was wiped out. Benteen met up with what was left of Reno and bunkered down for the night.

The Indians attacked from basically every side.

Archaeological discoveries helped revamp what might have really happened. The great aid was vast numbers by the Indians and some bad luck for the 7th. With lever action rifles being on all sides, it appears that there were basically three different groups.

Custer was pinned down on the west side of Last Stand Hill. About 225 yards to the East, several Leveractions were used by Wooden Leg's warriors to help keep them pinned down. Gall's warriors come up from Greasy Grass with a few and I forget who came up from Deep Ravine. So many 44 caliber Henry, 66's and 73's were used (mainly Henery's), many Henry cases were found in an area on the east side of Calhoun Hill, it was called "Heneryville Ridge" by Archaeologist. This aided in pushing Calhoun and Koeh's men up to where Custer was, leaving a trail of dead. Although there is well over 200 yards, we can only speculate the shot distances.
156330658_718498028827365_652876954230967570_n.jpg

Once Custer was wiped out, the Indians headed to what was left of Reno's men and all of Benteen's men defending a small hill four miles to the south. Meeting Wier's men retreating from Wier's point, more .44 caliber artifacts were discovered there.
Weir Point.jpg
Those warriors that attacked Reno and pushed him back, re-engaged with the others and kept Reno-Benteen pinned down for the night. Yet again, many .44 artifacts were discovered from this area as well. The 44's were now coming in from the North, South and East. Distances here could be from 280 yards from Wier Point, to 400 yards at Reno from the North, to 150 yards from the west.
Reno_Benteen_44s.jpg

We may never know the extent the leveraction played in the Battle, or any other Indian rifles.....but the .44 certainly played havoc. It has been estimated that 300 leveractions were used by nearly 3,000 warriors present, not including all of the other Springfield and Sharpes type rifles.. The .44 caliber rifles accounted for nearly HALF of the RIFLE cartridge artifacts found during the 1984, 1987 and 2004 Archaeological surveys from an estimated 371 total rifles represented from artifacts found. This does not include countless artifacts found on private property. Like I said, the battlefield is nearly 5 miles long and everything on the west side of the river is private property, to include Reno's 1st and 2nd Skirmish lines. Out of 1,453 bullets found, the .44 accounted for 252 found followed by the Springfield .50 at 206, and the Springfield 45-55 at 680 bullets found.
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Re: 44 Caliber Lever Rifles at Little Bighorn

#2 Post by bradaz11 »

who is Custard?

remember this is a UK site, we don't have it drilled into us at school what happened there, all most probably know is the general gist of it, that the American invading army was defeated by the native guys trying to protect their homes and their country.

repeating firearms beat single loaders I assume is the point?
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Re: 44 Caliber Lever Rifles at Little Bighorn

#3 Post by dromia »

Post in correct forum in future.

Custard was a complete egotistical, self centred, sociopathic arsehole that got what he long deserved, just a shame he had to take all those innocent squaddies with him to be sacrificed on Custer's altar of narcissistic self worship.

Aye the use of the .44 is a well tread story in the demise of Custer, once the Indians got in close and could use their fire power game was up.

The US loves its heroes and will never let the truth get in the way of keeping their idols on their perches,

As always the victor gets to write the history and damn any facts or truths.
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Re: 44 Caliber Lever Rifles at Little Bighorn

#4 Post by mag41uk »

There was an interesting documentary about this many years ago- sadly cant remember what it was called off hand.
The memorable part was that - allegedly - when Custers body was found native indian women (is that pc?) poked his ears with sticks - "So that he could hear better in the next world".
I have seen his grave at West Point.
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Re: 44 Caliber Lever Rifles at Little Bighorn

#5 Post by Bryan Austin »

First of all Custerd...lol...(General Armstrong Custer) is not my hero. He was a political idiot!

Second of all, these lever actions, that would be MILITARY WEAPONS AT THE TIME were used at long distances, not up close. Effective? I have no idea and could really care less, but there are a whole lot of dead guys there. Either way the Troops were out numbered at least two to one and maybe three to one, while the death tole was nearly two to one as well. I really have no idea who did what and why and could certainly care less. I side with the American Indian defending against outside invaders.....however, that is another story.


My post here is about the weapons used and is why I posted it where I did, not the freaking bloody battle itself. I thought you guys liked rifle stories, guess I was wrong. I could be just as condasending as you, but I will refrain for now since you have the GOD BUTTON.
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Re: 44 Caliber Lever Rifles at Little Bighorn

#6 Post by dromia »

Sorry about the chip on your shoulder but If that is your attitude, might be best for you to find another forum.
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