577/450 Machine Gun Cartridge?


The below cartridge was identified to me as a 577/450 MH machine gun cartridge. Can anybody confirm this ID and explain how it is identified as such?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.



The Solid drawn brass case for the .450Martini henry was developed as a response to the common head separation and tearing of the rolled brass case initially used in both mechanical(Gardner, Gatling, Nordenfeldt) and Self Loading (Maxim) machineguns.
Drawn brass cases with a solid head were more reliable, and less likely to tear apart and jam a gun in the heat of battle(especially in Africa, where sand and moisture were a prime cause of jams using Coiled brass foil cases.

The cartridge shown is a typical 1890s/1900s Kynoch “Commercial” Product, with the normal coloured paper patched bullet(lead) and may be either Black Powder(early) or Cordite loaded(smokeless).
It was available to any Commercial purchaser in Britain or overseas, for both Rifle and MG use.

Whilst NOT specifically “machinegun” useage, it was preferred for MGs due to its lesser proclivity to come apart under the stress of firing.

Even the British Army, after several Military Fiascos (Southern Africa, 1879, Sudan,1885) due to the use of Coiled Brass cases in MGs and Martinis, decided to go over to Drawn brass cases entirely, and the Coiled brass ammo was either Surplussed or debulleted to convert it to Blank cartridges, for training Purposes.

Without the accompanying Wrapper detailing the Loading of the cartridge, it should be considered typical of the standard Drawn brass solid case Commercial ammo made by Kynoch from the early 1900s till at least the mid 1950s, in this calibre.

regards, Doc AV
AV Ballistics

The ctg is a 577/450 rifle round loaded with cordite as indicated by the orange patch. Would work fine in a MG with MH chamber. Cordite carb ctg had a green patch.

Although the foregoing is true that solid drawn cases were the preferred ammunition for machine guns, the round in question is not a military machine gun cartridge.

It is a normal Kynoch commercial cordite load and is much later that DocAV’s suggested date of the turn of the century. I suspect it is probably just pre or post WW2 judging by the headstamp style and the purple annulus.

Kynoch had these rounds in the catalogue until the 1960s.


As TonyE has already indicated - this is not an MG round nor a military issue round. It’s a commercial ‘Smokeless’ round for rifles - the orange paper patch shows it’s loaded with about 40 grains Size 3 cordite. The hst style & purple annulus indicate late manufacture - it was last loaded 4th February 1972 (on this occassion with 43 grains cordite under a parafin wad).JohnP-C.

The 1902/03 Kynoch catalogue shows the KYNOCH 577/450 hs. Were there changes in the size or font over the years?

Hi Orange -
yes there are distinct style changes in MH hst’s see attached photo as an example of older compared to the more recent style. Also attached is an example of a military Cordite Mark I hst normally applied to lead bulleted rifle ammunition but in this example in my collection - bullet is round-nose cupro-nickel - probably for machine-gun use - although no metal-jacketed MH was ever officially adopted by the British Government - but Vickers and Maxim had plenty of private customers.