Australian .455 photo from 1969

One of a number of photos sent to me from Footscray. Sorry for the low quality of a scan of a B/W photo.


  1. Normal Mk II Ball from Footscray in 1924

  2. Helmet test from 1925

  3. Normal Mk. II ball from Footscray 1939

  4. Normal Mk. II ball from Footscray 1940. Not a dummy, just a misfire.


Very nice, John. Thanks for sharing.

“Helmet test from 1925”?
Can someone elabourate?
Why the smaller bullet?

The test involved holding a .455 revolver a measured distance from the helmet. The ballistics were worked out to provide the equivalent force encountered in an average combat situation. The actual bullet was about 100 gr less than a Mk II ball round according to a guy who worked at Footscray.

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Thank you!

Thank for sharing John.

I have two MF Mk II rounds. One is dated 1940 and is identical to the one you show (#4). The other has no date and has MF at 12 o’clock and II at 6 o’clock. Do you happen to know when Footscray added the date to their MkII .455 cases?


The Swiss made helmet test rounds in the 10.4 rimfire and the US made .45 ACP helmet test rounds all using the same thought process - distance / bullet weight / velocity & so on, that John notes.

Probably other countries did the same to insure helmets were being made to a certain standard, right now just those two come to mind.

Why would they not use standard ammunition, i.e.: full military loads?
Seems it would have been simpler, and more efficient.

Footscray started manufacture of the .455 Mk II in the latter half of 1922. According to the chronological order of headstamp changes shown below, these would have had the ←SAAF→ headstamp although I don’t have a photo. The following three headstamps were used with the monogram at 12 o’clock and the II at 6 o’clock.

←SAAF→ to A↑F in January 1924
Headstamp changed from A↑F to ↑F in March 1925
Headstamp changed from ↑F to MF in May 1926

The earliest MF dated version I have recorded is 1931. All following years up to 1941 were made until production was shifted to Rocklea in early 1942 and ceased when production changed to the Mk VI in the same year.



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Can’t answer that. Perhaps limited range space?

Again look at John K’s explanation.

My earliest date is MF 28 1 on the scarce Drill round.
White metal with 3 red flutes and red fibre in primer pocket.
I have mis-placed it so cannot send a photo. Ron.

Thanks - so sometime in 1926 or 1927 would be most likely

Ron, thanks for jogging my memory, I hadn’t thought of the drill round.


you are correct about the scarcity. Only a total of 2,140 were delivered.

On the Ball loads, I have a dim memory that in my notes it may have been told to me that there was no production of the .455 in 1929/30. I’ll have to try to find the reference, although it could have a different calibre mentioned. I’ll try to confirm or deny.


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My memory hasn’t completely deserted me. Checking through correspondence from John Martin, he stated that annual orders for the .455 were received by Footscray, with the exception of 1928 and 1929..

Thus the possibility we could find one dated 1930. Other than the drill round, I’d be surprised to see any dated 28 or 29, but I’d be happy to be proved wrong!!!


Ron, Darren

To add a little info. The cartridges supplied in 1928, which amounted to 4 lots, were headstamped MF II. without the date. Given the other data, the cartridges made in early 1928 were most probably ordered in 1927. Headstamp dates are only part of a story as you well know.

I’d still like to know if one dated 30 has been found.

Good info and research.
I note my empty box of SAAF is dated 20 AUG 23.


The packet photo I have is dated 15 Aug 23. Would appreciate a photo of your packet if possible to add to the archives.

The box is a bit grubby but still a nice example.

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Thanks Ron, much appreciated, every bit of info is welcomed.