BELL .404 Basic Brass


I have a BELL .50 caliber basic case with the headstamp “BELL” at 12 o’clock and nothing else. This is a rimless case with a standard extractor groove. The case is 3 inches long. The head just in front of the extractor is 0.542 inches and the head itself is 0.534.

What case types was this basic case meant to be formed into? What was Bells name for this basic case?



I can’t say what particular name BELL may have put on that case but it is commonly called the 404 Basic by shooters and wildcatters. IAA JOURNAL #456, page 34, shows one of many such cartridges made on the 404 case.

Other manufacturers, such as HDS, also made 404 Basic brass.

For you who do not belong to IAA and get the JOURNAL, here’s the photo. And shame on you for not belonging.




A 2000 Huntington catalog lists that case as the BELL 404 BASIC at $29.98 per box of 20.

They also list a BELL 404 JEFFERY at the same price. I assume those are formed cases that have the full headstamp.



Ray–Thanks. The only reference I had to Bells Basic cases was COTW, 4th ed (1980), pages 338-340. They list the .404 Jeffery formed case brass but do not show the .404 Basic.