.577 Boxer or .577 Howdah pistol cartridge- coiled case


This one has me stumped I picked this up several years ago with a collection of 577-450. I had thought this was something made up from a 577 Snyder until a fellow collector said that this is a 577 boxer revolver round. oal 1.192 rim dia .745 case dia .660 any ideas? Thanks to randy for getting me this far.


LOTSAAMMO–Your friend is 100% correct. It is a .577 Boxer Pistol round. Also commonly called a .577 “Howdah” as it was carried by hunters in India riding in the Howdah on an elephant. It was used as a last ditch defense if a tiger jumped onto the elephant’s back or into the howdah.


We had a Howdah Pistol go through our store once, and it was chambered for the full-size 577 Snider cartridge. The other fellow who worked with me at the store, now a well-known writer for a gun magazine, took the gun and two rounds to our little basement test range. I heard one shot only, and nothing else. I was about to go down and look when he came up with his hand bleeding. The recoil was so severe that the front edge of the trigger guard cut his finger! He opted NOT to shot the second shot! I opted not to try it at all! No wonder they made the short, pistol cartridge.


That’s great thank you for the info this now has a spot in my collection. I guess this must be rather rare, wasn’t there a revolver I seem to remember reading somewhere about a British service revolver in this cal?


Not a service pistol in the sense that it was issued but private owned pistols in this calibre were made and sold. Thomas Bland made one and it was reviewed in a special edition of G&A in 1995. Lancaster made a two shot over and under that is more commonly found today. You can probably google it up. The round you have is for those pistols.

Calling it a howdah pistol calibre is a misnomer but a very common one. True howdah pistols were veritable hand cannons used as the last chance between you and a messy death should the tiger try and run up the trunk of the elephant and attack you. Most of them were cut down double barreled rifles custom made They were placed in holsters at the front of the howdah to grab.

The use of the name “howdah” spread ( a bit like magnum) and is popularly tagged onto this calibre but its principle use would have been as a defense against two legged attackers. Given that the British Empire had quite a few mutinies and uprisings the risks were real enough to find comfort in a good handful of pistol. The .455 Webley service revolver did not have the stopping power that you might imagine it had by looking at it, so a bit more would be welcome should the need arise.

Despite its size its not that powerful that it would prevent a mad as heck eight foot tiger from dragging you bodily out of a howdah and chewing your tender parts