1800s artifacts arise from ashes of Jocko Lakes fire (Montana)

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The oversized cartridge was lying on ground left black by last summer's Jocko Lakes wildfire.

When Anya Minetz spotted it last month, she could see it was something special.

“Come look at this one,” she called to C. Milo McLeod, who was sifting through the detritus of a modern-day hunter's camp west of Seeley Lake. He came, saw and performed a double-take.

“That's from a Spencer rifle,” McLeod said.

He knew because he owns one of the 1860s-vintage firearms, the world's first practical repeating rifle.

They were a diverse pair - McLeod an archaeologist and manager of the Lolo National Forest's heritage program, Minetz a graduate student at the University of Montana....

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