.50 Colt-Kynoch

I recently acquired an example of this cartridge. It is not in the best condition, but for what it cost I’m glad to have found it.

As I understand it, not much is known about why this cartridge was made or what weapon it was for. Where did the “Colt-Kynoch” name originate from?

My example has no headstamp, but I am told some can be found marked with a “T”. I have heard it said that these were possibly made by Thun in Switzerland. Is there any hard evidence of this?

If anyone has an example with the “T” headstamp, I would like to see a photo.

Thanks for any info.

The Colt Lightning Magazine Rifle was chambered for the 50-95 WCF. Maybe that is what the ‘Colt’ reference is for.


Roundsworth, I think that Falcon refers to the 12.7 x 110 cartridge, also called .50 North or Colt-Kynoch

.50 North-Colt

No “T” Sorry.


Thanks for the replies.

I am definitely referring to the 12.7x110SR. The same cartridge that krag56 posted the photos of.

Fig. 277 On page 290 of Peter Labbett’s “British Small Arms Ammunition, 1864-1938” shows some drawings of the “T” headstamps. There is also, what appears to be the “L” headstamp upside-down?

In the article by Roy G. Goodman that was published in American Rifleman September 1966 it is mentioned that it is erroneously referred to as the “.50 North”, maybe because of Datig’s identification (the “North” name would be a reference to Thomas Keppel North of the Colt Gun & Carriage Co., Ltd. and later Vickers Ltd.). In Major Hardcastle’s notes, which seems to be the original source of identification, it is described as a “.500 Bore” cartridge supplied by Kynoch in 1901. Does anyone have any serious documentation on these rounds?

Also, I found this cartridge offered in a catalog published in 1963 by Service Armament Company:

I saw some of these split open and IIRC they were loaded with cordite.

In defense of the “North” designation, a cartridge with a similar profile is shown in the drawings of several patents for a drum-fed machine gun/automatic cannon applied by T. K. North between 1902 and 1909.

In an undated [perhaps Vol. IV, Oct .1902 - Sept. 1903] copy of page #75 from THE KYNOCH JOURNAL, there is a cartridge illustrated which is very similar to the North, but has a longer neck and in the illustration appears to be more rimmed than semi-rimmed. It is called the Kynoch .500 No. 100. Dimensions given are 4 1/8" case length & head .800" & load is 120 or 130 grains of Cordite.
My unheadstamped North has a 4.307" CL & a head of .947", so not the same & as far as I know no one has one of these .500 No. 100’s, unless Bill W.does. (yes, Virgina he does have some sporting rounds)

Found the above while looking for copies of Peter Labbett’s CARTRIDGE CORNER columns in back GUNS REVIEW as I thought I’d seen the North talked about in those, but if so I don’t have them.

edited to correct spelling

Looking through Peter Labbets book BRITISH SMALL ARMS AMMUNITION 1864-1938, pg. 290 he shows several variations of a “T” headstamp found both at 12:00 and at 6:00. However one at 6:00 shows the right half of the bar on the “T” missing. If this were turned C.W. 180º it would appear to be an “L” headstamp but now at 12:00, as Falcon notes above.

He calls this the .500 inch Colt Kynoch Experimental Cartridge [Semi-rimless], also associates the Kings Norton name to it, and dates it as ca. 1901. He also notes the North association, but Fede’s locating the patent by T.K. North seems to nail it.

Pete, it is interesting that you mention the elusive .500 No. 100 because although they are not the same I agree that they have a similar look (it also reminds me of the much more recent .500 Rafiki). A specimen of this cartridge is illustrated in Fleming’s book p. 145 but I’m afraid that this is a digital representation, a fact that was omitted by the author.

For comparion, Hardcastle’s notes indicate that the .500 Colt has a propellant charge of 200 grains and a bullet weighing 1002.8 grains.

This is the illustration from The Kynoch Journal (compared with a .500 Nitro):


Yes Fede
That Kynoch Journal was the one I was looking at. However a problem is that although a poor ‘photo’? the .500 NE appears to measure as 3" case while the No 100 measures 4 3/8" in my Xerox, but the text notes a 4 1/8" case length. So ???

I agree, the .500 Rafiki is yet another somewhat similar design.

Wonder how well the Rafiki performs? Or is it just another gimmick to sell very expensive guns that hurt on both ends.

Edited once to add

a 200 gr. charge it must have been black powder? If indeed ca 1901 that seems slightly strange at that time to me, what with smokeless being used in a good number of production calibers & not only in England.

Pete: This is off the top of my head, but I think the 200 grain charge is likely of smokeless propellant, assuming the velocity was something on the high side of 2000 fps. I believe the .50 Browning MG and the 7.9 m/m PzB cartridges have charges in that general neighborhood. Jack

Thanks for the diagrams Fede. It is interesting to get an idea of what the gun looked like.

I wonder how many were actually built?

Howdy Jack
You may well be right about smokeless, I’d sure like to know.

For whatever it’s worth, when ‘dinged’ with a fingernail mine doesn’t sound empty & I don’t hear any powder when I shake it. However Cordite doesn’t rattle like N.C. because if the over powder wad so you may well be right?

My scale doesn’t go high enough to get a total weigh.

Pete, the total weight of a loaded cartridge is reported to be 2500 grains. In a previous post “orange” mentioned that these were loaded with Cordite and its case capacity certainly allows 200 gr. of this propellant. For comparison, the smaller King’s Norton .500 Colt experimental cartridge was loaded with 163.6 gr. of Cordite Mk I size 5 (lenght of cord 2.5").

Oh so now I’m expected to read & recall what I read!

Oh well, I’ll try doing that in the future, Thanks Fede

I just noticed that Labbett’s book p. 290 indicates 200 gr. of Cordite size 5 for the Kynoch cartridge and 185 gr. of the same propellant for the KN cartridge.

Pete, did you check if your cartridge is loaded?