.50-45-400 Navy Carbine cartridge?

Can anyone give me the specs for this cartridge: OAL, powder charge, velocity? Also I need photos of the cartridge and/or box of ammo for an article I’m doing.

Many thanks,


Jester - thanks but there’s nothing there about velocity.

If you gave the muzzle velocity as 1050 feet per second you’d be close enough to the real figure no-one would likely notice. Jack


For what it’s worth, Cartridges Of The World indicates the .50 U.S. Carbine with a 45-50 gr. charge of Fg powder behind a 400 gr. bullet and a velocity of 1200 FPS.


Krag, as far as I know the muzzle velocity was not even considered when tests with this cartridge took place. I hope I’m wrong and others have the answer, but I don’t think that you should expect to find this measurement from contemporary reports. The nominal powder charge is indicated in the cartridge designation, albeit some manufacturers also used 47 and 50 gr loads. Total length also varies depending on manufacturer; for example a FA cup anvil example measures 44.5 mm (1.75"), and a Berdan primed variation by E. Rem. measures as much as 46.6 mm (1.83").



Measuring of bullet velocites became practical around 1870.

Although other devices existed, the instrument that was relatively simple to calibrate and became used worldwide was the Le Boulengé chronograph, invented by a Belgian artillery officer in 1864.

In 1870, when an official report of the Remington Model 1868 carbine in this caliber was made, Frankford Arsenal had a French Schulz chronograph but it was apparently not used for this test. Later in 1872, a Le Boulengé chronograph was set up and muzzle velocities of 1225-1264 fps were obtained with different .50-70 cartridges fired from a Remington musket. Also, a muzzle velocity of 1240 fps is mentioned in the manual of the Remington Navy Rifle Model 1870 in .50-70 caliber, so it seems that the figures indicated by Barnes for the .50-45 cartridge would not be correct.

After I made my initial post suggesting a muzzle velocity for the .50 Cadet I called a friend who has extensive experience in loading black powder rifle calibers and quoted him the bullet weight and powder charge indicated in the catalog cut used in Barnes’ book (.50-45-400, as I recall) he said he thought on the order of 950 to 975 fps, with all due considerations someone with his background would make in even responding to the question. Only then did I mention my 1050 figure, which he said seemed plausible but (he didn’t actually say this) maybe toward the upper end of a realistic range of velocities.

Two black powder rifle cartridges of known performances and not too dissimilar specifications I turned up were the .44-40 Winchester (200 gr. bullet, 40 gr. propellant, 1300 fps [in rifle?]) and the .45-55-405 Springfield for which J.R. Mattern quoted a muzzle velocity of 1150. I think the 1200 figure in Barnes is much too much.

After our phone conversation my black powder friend sent me a text message detailing another interesting load from the 45th edition of the Lyman handbook. This was a .50-70 cartridge loaded with 422 gr. bullet and 50 gr. of FFg giving a claimed velocity of 1150 fps. I told my friend I wondered if there were any specifications for the .50 Cadet, as my impression was it had been developed mostly to give the cadets something to put in their nice cartridge boxes. Jack