Canadian .455 revolver ammo and box. 1931 dated


Found this recently… First time I have come across a .455 ammo box.


The interesting thing to note is that they are lead bullets. By the terms of the Geneva Convention they should be jacketed, if they are military and clearly they are.
Some seventeen years ago now I took the curator of the Cloth Hall Museum in Ypres to task over some .455 bullets on display in one of his exhibits because they were lead. He said that the bulk of the .455 bullets they dug up were lead. He attributed that to the fact that they were, privately purchased. Officers bought their own pistols and with them a supply of private ammunition.

However, this throws that into doubt. Its going nowhere because its all in the past but I personally I find it very revealing.


Perhaps they were meant for RCMP stocks.


A few Observations: The Crate is what is called a “Half-Case” being Half (or less) the size of the Standard British Empire Rifle Ammo Case ( ie, .303).

Half-cases were used for Pistol (ie Revolver) Ammo, .455 and .380.

In the case of the .455, the case holds 240 rounds (Label torn ), or 20 packets

Packets were usually of 12 rounds (Two cylinder-fulls).

The “Half case”, like its bigger Brother, the Full-sized case, were very well made, with dovetailed Pine ( in Britain, Deal or Baltic; in Canada, probably Oregon), and a keyed Lock to the sliding trapezoidal top, enclosing a soldered black japanned tinplate can. Both the can and the Case were “Returnable Stores”, for re-use. Of course in wartime, they soon became Firewood, or structural materials for trenches, or general tool boxes, etc.

Nowadays, making a replica ( for movie use) of such a box requires the skills of a good joiner, and also metal worker, to make all the component parts.
Half-cases, being for Pistol ammo, are also scarce wrt to Rifle Ammo cases, as much fewer were made and thus survived…those that have survived, (empty) is due to their “after-use” as chests for small tools, etc, in some backyard workshop, etc, or varnished up as an “Object d’arte” in an antique furniture shop.

The Lead Bullets: Although the 1899 Hague Convention put an end to the use of soft lead bullets in all “Military” ammo, this ruling was restricted to "Conflict between “European” Forces, or those Nations “
accepted” as being “Westernised”…nice bit of what nowadays would be extremely Politically “Incorrect”…So the Ammo for the .455 by the beginning of WW I was the Mark VI Jacketed Bullet, for Military use ( as occurred in WW I)

But the Hague Convention did not affect “Internal Police Use”, nor “Police” actions and Military actions against “Colonials” who were not European ( ie, natives of Africa and Asia in revolt.).

SO Pistol ammo still was made in British Empire countries with facilities, for such “Internal Police Use”…in this case, most probably the RCMP, which was a Government supplied organisation.

Very nice case, and excellent packets. Shame to have to open it up.


Doc AV


Thanks for the comments. As for opening the case. It was opened when I got it and looks to have been opened long ago. I would have kept it “original” had I received it that way… unfortunately a lot can happen in 80 years…

As for who it was issued to… may have been Police at the time or Militia in the area for target practice.


Sorry, but nonsense. The .455 inch Mark II ball round with a lead bullet was the standard British military round right up until WW2. The jacketed .455 Mark VI was not introduced to British service until 1939.

There were no .455 inch jacketed revolver bullets in British service in WWI, so nothing to do with private purchase.



“Oregon Pine” is actually another name for Douglas Fir…if this case was made in Canada…and of pine, more than likely it is Ponderosa, Western White, or Lodgepole Pine.



It might be worth pointing out that in the .380 revolver ammunition a parallel change of bullet design occurred. The .380 mk. I bullet was a 200 gr. lead type, replaced in 1938 by the mk. II round with a 178 gr. CN jacketed lead bullet. Jack