Belted Magnums


I have been going through some older American Riflemam magnizines and found an article by Col. Charles Askins entilited “.375 H&H: Patriarch of the Magnum Clan”. In the article he says “Virtually all our beloved magnum loadings claim a single ancestry (the .375 H&H Magnum). In 1911 some brilliant but unknown engineer at Holland & Holland designed it … Unfortunately, this genus is lost to posterity. We’d like to ask him why he settled on the .37 cal., why he put the novel belt on a sporting cartridge and why did he make it a rimless casing?”

With all the research done in the 20+ years since Col. Askins asked those questions, can we answer any of them today?


The .375 H&H is thought of as the first belted cartridge, but according to the Kynoch website it is the .400/375.

Quote from

“The .400/.375 belted Holland & Holland cartridge was introduced in 1905 as the first belted cartridge from which all other belted cartridges were derived, and it is now loaded to suit modern shooting conditions.”

It is interesting how what is claimed as the first belted round appears to be a necked down case. (from .400 to .375). Not sure if any of that helps or just serves to confuse matters more.



This question came up once before, maybe on the old Forum, or maybe not. Anyway, the Brits were very fond of their Flanged African cartridges and when H&H decided to build magazine rifles they were faced with a dilemma. Would the sportsmen buy a rifle chambered for a rimless cartridge? The answer - the belted case. Touted to work flawlwssly through the magazine of the new rifles but still retaining the positive seating and strength of a Flanged cartridge the belted case featured the best of everything. A lot of advertising hype, to be sure, since the belt really isn’t needed for strength but, hey, when you’re trying to sell new rifles . . .

Today, a lot of shooters hate the belted cases because they are harder to reload than either rimmed or rimless. But you have to remember that the original cartridges were never intended to be reloaded. No proper English Gentleman would ever think of shooting reloaded cartridges. In fact most thought loading and unloading your own rifle was beneath them.

No offense to the Brits on the Forum. Just telling it the way it is.



The use of the Belted case type is generally associated with either the Solothurn company or with British development, the first commercial sporting use of such a case being the 400/375 Holland & Holland Magnum in 1905 (Henry Holland patented a belted case in Britain in 1904).

What is less known is that the Austrian firm of Roth experimented with the belted case far earlier than this. H.H. Lake took out a patent for G.Roth in England on 31 March 1891 which far preceedes English use of this case type. Several Roth belted case types from 1889-1892 are known but all appear to have been Military experimentals and Roth seemed to have abandoned the use of this case type by 1893.


A belted case was also patented by Accles prior to H&H - thing to remember is things are not patented - but ideas. All of these belted case patents were devised for different purposes and that’s why they could be patented even if they look physically similar.
Incidently it seems to be commonly believed that the .375 H&H Magnum was the first successful magnum. Well of course there was the previous .400/.375 in 1905 which was underpowered for its intended purpose but the .375 H&H was a necked up version of the earlier and very successful .275 H&H dating from 1910.