Actually, I have been thinking about this all day since my last post and I think I have worked it out.
I was curious about the reason for the Wesley Richards 500/.450 no2 cartridge (musket) having the name “musket”. That drew my attention, it seemed a funny name but then I realised. The musket it refers to is the Snider which is a second generation Enfield musket.
Also, it would be impossible to sleeve a Snider to take the 577/.450 because all they could do is skim out the rifling and braze in a sleeve that would be the same diameter as the Sniders chamber and therefore the same diameter as the back end of a 577/.450.
There wasn’t sufficient metal in the barrel to machine out any more. To chamber a Snider for 577/.450 would require a rebarrel which would have been more expensive than just sleeving the old one.
Therefore they needed a thinner cartridge so they could cut the chamber within the available metal of the sleeve which would have been nominally .577" plus a bit for the skim.
In my last post I said I didn’t understand the logic of Wesley Richards introducing a cartridge so similar to the 577/.450 but I was wrong. It differed in one key detail, its diameter. And it was introduced just at the time when the military would have been getting rid of their Sniders.
So my great theory, and its up to you to decide whether its brilliant deduction or the ramblings of an old fool is this. The 500/.450 no2 (musket) was quite probably introduced by Wesley Richards for the purpose of converting old Sniders back into sellable rifles.
If you want to vote on this theory please write your vote on the back of a $50 note and send it to the following address…