Eley 45 M P box on Wards

The Ward’s auction that ended on 8/22/14 included a box of Eley .45 Maxim Pistol cartridges as lot 9533. I have seen a picture of this box or a similar box in some publication in the past, but can’t recall where it was. Can anyone here tell me where it was?

There was a picture posted in Gun Report magazine, along with a picture of the pistol. I believe John Moss posted the reply. I will check to see if I can find the issue for you.

yes it was pictured in The Gun Report, March 1999, pages 68 & 69

I kind of recall something about the Maxim box appearing in Gun Report, but I don’t know which issue it was either. I have all but eight issues of Gun Report, but I have no index and that makes it all but impossible to find things like that blurb on the .45 M.P.

A picture of the cartridge box did appear Page 5, of the article “Maxim’s Pistols,” appearing in the Journal of the HBSA, Volume Two, Number 6, from May 1993. I have only a copy of the article, with the source handwritten at the top, which was sent to me. The Journal is from an exclusive British Arms Collectors Society in England. I don’t recall the exact meaning right now o “HBSA” but I seem to recall it might be something like “Historical British Society of Arms Collectors,” or something like that. The box picture is not very good and in my copy of the article, the label is basically illegible.

There was a picture of the drawing of the internal workings of the Maxim Auto Pistol in the Journal Number 94, of the Australian Cartridge Collector’s Association, on page 22.The aem picture was also posted on a thread begun by Jean-Pierre on the IAA Forum, posted August 30, 2007, entitled "45 MP Long Case. The “Long Case” was a misnomer, which was straightened out in the course of the thread.

I had one of these boxes once, along with a few rounds. It was thought at that time to be a revolver cartridge, which I don’t collect. I gave away the box because it was “not” auto pistol. When I got the article from my friend Lynn Harris (RIP) of New Zealand, and saw it was for auto pistol, I scrambled through all my dupes and found, thank goodness, that I had one round left which went right into my collection. The box was long gone. I have no idea now to whom it was given, not that it matters, as I would never accept it back, of course. I seem to recall the box itself was a beautiful blue color, with a label where the info was hand-filled in in pen and ink.

I would welcome news of the Gun Report issue in which information about this cartridge, and perhaps the box, appeared, or if anyone has a box, a good photocopy or photograph of it for my .45 Maxim Pistol file.

So then is the cartridge discussed in this thread the one intended for the Maxim pistol pictured in Wilson’s Textbook of Automatic Pistols? I don’t have the book before me, but as I recall its caliber wasn’t mentioned. Jack

The full one we had in our sale 12, lot 544 was a brown box with an off-white label with black printing and blue ink

We had it for sale at $1,500 to $2,000 but it didn’t go & later sold it at a SLICS show for I think $1,000.

Whom ever got the one on wards got a real deal.

John e-mailing you a copy of this photo.


There is also a label variation that in the first line apparently reads “.45 M. P. Cartridges.”.

John, do you know of any documentation that absolutely confirms that this was made for the 1885 patent Maxim pistol? I have read about this and it makes a lot of sense, but sometimes I feel that it may be just a very well presented conjeture. I know, the initials match and it looks like the cartridge in the patent drawing, but is that all we have or there is more?

Fede - do we need more? We have the fine article from the British Society’s Journal, showing the professional quality research common to this publication,T and the Patent drawing of the pistol. It is British Patent 14047/1885, and was lst Maxim pistol patent. The pistol is a tube-fed design with magazine tube under the barrel like many of the Winchester lever-action rifles. The drawing shows one round in the chamber of the barrel and five more in the full magazine tube. The drawings of the cartridges are almost identical to the actual rounds known from the “.45 M.P.” box. The bullets on those .45 M.P. rounds are flat point, which is correct for a tube loading firearm, so that the bullet nose is not a recoil hazard in conjunction with the primer of round positioned ahead of it in the magazine tube.

Further - The London Metropolitan Police never used officially a .45 Revolver. So much for the original thought that the “M.P.” meant “Metropolitan Police.”

The rimmed cartridge offers definite headspacing, and the rim is not a detriment in a tube-loading firearm.

I simply don’t know why we would need more documentation than that, and you know how strongly I feel about having documentation when available. Of course, if someone has even more documentation on this pistol, no specimen of which is known according to the information I have, and the cartridge, it is always welcome. I have six linear feet of documentation about my favorite arms and ammo subject, the Russian Makarov, and add more almost every day.
It is always welcome whether or not it is actually needly simply for proper identification.

Any dissenting opinions on the proper identification of the .45 M.P. cartridge are welcome, at least to me, on this thread as long as they are researched and well-thought out.


I forgot to answer you. sorry. If you are referring to the picture of the Maxim Pistol in Plate 17, unnumbered page opposite page 52, Textbook of Automatic Pistol by Wilson, no, that is not the gun. Wilson refers to that pistol as the 1897. The tube-loader was somewhat earlier and as I mentioned, I have never heard of one of them being known even from a photograph, but rather only from the Patent drawing. I think since some quantity of the ammo was made, there must have been at least a prototype for testing, but who knows where that is now?!

I was under the impression that a single box was found. Comparing photos the one pictured in the auction and the one pictured here have slight differences. That makes 2 full boxes plus at least one box was split up, for the round is frequently encountered. Does anyone know how many boxes were discovered?

Howdy MRT
I can’t say for sure how many boxes are now in existence or known, but would think a few more than these two. As the rounds known (as you also state) are many more than would fill the two boxes we note here, which are both full. The box I sold had a few rounds in it when the past owner bought it here in the US (from whom I don’t know) , & he filled it up again, then sat on if for perhaps 15 or so years before we offered it.

I think that counting the two accounted for here, not including the one that was broken up and sold as singles, I have probably encountered about five of these boxes in my 50+ years of collecting. We had a full box at the San Francisco Gun Exchange and it is that box, once the last few rounds were put in our “for sale” tray for that caliber, that I acquired. I purchased two or three rounds to have with it in my trade stuff. The box was given to me. I saw one at Chicago (CICS) that I remember distinctly. I don’t recall who had it, so there is a possibility, of course, that it is one of the two already confirmed on this thread. Then there is the one in the picture in the British Historical Arms Journal already mentioned in this thread.

I would say it is like that there are at least five or six accounted for, if we heard from all parties about them. That is simply an “educated guess,” whatever that means.

I assume this cartridge is for the Maxim-Silverman Pistol. Is this correct??? If not, which Maxim pistol is it? Geoff Sturgess wrote an article on these pistols in the Journal of the Historical Breechloading Smallarms Association, Volume 2 Number 6, which is illustrated at https://sites.google.com/site/hbsauk/knowledge-and-research/journal-summaries/volume-2. I don’t have a copy of this issue, but if someone has a copy I’d like to read it myself.


John: Thanks for the info on the Wilson picture. I’ve wondered about that oversize Colt Woodsman-looking pistol for 50-odd years and thought maybe I’d at last gotten it figured out. Jack


I have a copy of the article. I assume it is the one by Sturgess. I couldn’t find and author’s name on it. I will scan it tomorrow if I get time, and send it off to you. Their is no picture of the gun these .45 Maxim Pistol cartridges were made for, as to my knowledge, there is no specimen of it known to exist.
There is the Patent drawing for it in the article though, complete with a magazine full of cartridges that are obviously the ones under discussion here.

Since it hasn’t been mentioned, I would like to call your attention to some information about the Maxim pistols and the .45 M.P. cartridge in the book The Devil’s Paintbrush, by Dolf L.Goldsmith, Collector Grade Publications 2002. See chapter 23, page 553.

John, thanks a lot for your answer, maybe I think that we need more because this is usually not the typical method used to identify an unknown cartridge. In any case, I agree that this is by far the most likely identification and I don’t have any better explanation to propose. Regards, Fede.

Fede - I agree with you that the documentation I cite is not all within the bounds of traditional authentication of the identity of an unknown cartridge. However, sometimes the traditional methods fail us for one reason or another. Here you have one of those situations where there is no known specimen of a gun, for a chamber cast, as there was, say, for the very delayed identification of the Schõnenberger cartridge, and there is no official documentation with photographic evidence, as the Patent papers, as normal, have only drawings. In these cases, though, sometimes the proponderence of the evidence is over-whelming. I believe that is the case of the .45 Maxim Pistol Cartridge. Sometimes the available evidence tricks us, though, to which I readily I admit. I wrote two entire articles about that concerning the so-called 7.65 mm Glisenti cartridge, for the IAA Journals. The accepted identification of that cartridge through “common knowledge” appears to have been incorrect, at least for the specimen cartridges known, those from DWM.

In those cases, all you can do is “go back to the drawing board!”

Vidar, my friend. I am confused. The copy of “Devil’s Paintbrush” that I have has only fifteen chapters, and ends at page 367. Also, my copy indicates a publishing date of 1993. I will check “The Grand Old Lady” which is about Vickers. Since the Vickers is basically a Maxim gun, perhaps it is there.

I just checked “The Grand Old Lady.” Not there. Perhaps there is a hugely revised edition, or Volume II, of “The Devil’s Paintbrush” that I don’t have. Once I retired and no longer needed to maintain a professional library for the benefit of the store and my customers, but out of my own pocket, I had to stop buying books that were only of peripheral interest to me, or in some cases, like my many books on shotguns, of no personal interest at all.

Perhaps someone else can check this out and report the information on the Maxim .45 Cartridge here on this Forum Thread.

Yes a drawing of Maxm’s first pistol is on pg 553 of Dolf’s 2002 ed. It is British Patent 14,047, Nov. 17, 1885. It is the same noted patent & drawing as in the issue of the H.B.S.A.A. (Vol. 2 No. 6) magazine i have. I will scan it soon, so if anyone would like a copy please E-MAIL not PM me & I’ll send it when done. His article was also reproduced (with permission) in BRIT, issue 17, pg 1, for those of you who might have subscribed. The article also shows the box & rounds stating the cartridges were made from a modified .450 No. 1 BP Express case.

The pistol for these is not a Maxim-Silverman.

Edited once to correct a wrong British patent number.