Eley-Boxer Cartridges

In the last issue of the IAA Journal Daniel LeClair in his excellent article on the Boxer vs. Crispin vs. Daw Patents
mentioned that between 1865 and about 1900 Eley made over 30 calibers of “Eley-Boxer” style SPORTING (Not counting the military models) cartridges. I have the following:

.577 PISTOL (Cardboard over Coiled Brass)
.360-2 1/4 EXPRESS (Coiled Brass)
.577/.450 MARTINI-HENRY (Coiled Brass)
.475 BOXER, 3 1/4 INCH (Coiled Brass)
.577 BLACK POWDER EXPRESS (2 3/4") (Coiled Brass)

Can anyone provide a list of all the SPORTING “Eley-Boxer” rounds? If possible I would like to see two lists:

1)paper and/or cardboard covered types

  1. plain coiled brass types.

Glad you liked the article. Here’s what I know about, for Eley sporting cartridges. I am still trying to track down intro dates, but my library of Eley catalogs is rather thin.

Paper & foil:
.360 1

Dan–Thanks. That is exactly the type of lists I was looking for. I have been collecting since 1958 and have aways found the foil wrapped rounds fascinating ever since I got my first .500/.450 MH back about 1962. Your article has revived my interest in these cartridges and I needed a checklist of the non-experimental more common types to look for.

Dan–In going over your list in more detail I noticed that you do not include the following which I have in my collection:

.577 PISTOL (Cardboard over Coiled Brass)
.475 BOXER, 3 1/4 INCH (Coiled Brass)

Is it because these were not made by Eley or some other reason?

Ron - any more info on the .475 inch Boxer case - never came across that one before.
Dan - how does the .450 Adams differ from the .450 CF? Any more info on the .476 Boxer case - 1882 seems late for that type of case construction.
Great listing - will try and add a few tomorrow - & great article in the IAA Journal on coiled cases - a bonus on the SLICS lecture!!

John P-C–I could have the .475 Boxer (3 1/4") misidentified. I have had the cartridge identified as such for over 30 years and don’t remember where I got the ID from. Here are all the dimensions:

Rim----------: 0.623
Head---------: 0.544
Casemouth–: 0.494
Bullet---------: 0.472 Cupro-Nickel Soft Point Bullet
Length-Head-: 0.611 Iron Base-Brass Single Cup Head
Length-Case-: 3.233 Plain Coiled Brass
Length-O/A–: 3.912

As promised -

Rim: .648, Hd: .572, Cm: .479, Blt: .443 over p/p (Is it a .450???)

Been wondering about his round for about 25 years - what is it?? Best hunch at present is for a non-revolver pistol?? Round spherical ball load.
Rim: .621, Hd: .542, Cm: .494, Blt: can’t accurately measure because largest diameter is inside the casemouth - but seems to be .450 inch.

Dan - what is a .450 x 2.25 MacDonald - if it’s not a hamburger…?
Best wishes, JP-C.

Ron - missing the .577 Revolver was a mistake on my part.

On the .475x3-1/4", is that a straight or bottlenecked case? I’ve never seen one, which explains why it isn’t on the list. I’ll have to measure my .450 3-1/4" rounds to check bullet diameter.

John - Thanks for the compliment and the photos. I have that short .450. My guess is that it was a special-order for some kind of Howdah pistol, but that’s only a guess.

The .450 Macdonald was identified by Fleming in his book. Where he got his information, I don’t know. I haven’t caught up with him yet.

On the bottleneck rifle round, how long is the case? From the bullet measurement it is a .450, it could be a No. 1 musket.

Yes, “.450 Adams” = .450 CF. Also, here’s all I have on the .476 Enfield:
[i]The ammunition originally proposed for use with the Enfield revolver in 1879 was of the Boxer type, although by the time it was approved for service a solid-drawn case had been decided on. Three different configurations were proposed, as well as several in solid cases:

  1. RSAF 646, Short Bullet: 19.25mm case length, 19.43mm bullet length (Designation is the Enfield design number.)
  2. RSAF 646, Long Bullet: same case as above, but 26.54mm long. Both had a rim diameter of 12.9mm.
  3. RSAF 658: 12.7mm rim diameter, 21.8mm case length, 22.7mm bullet length.
    All three, presumably, used the standard military style brass tube with blackened iron rim. No specimens available for confirmation.[/i]

Unfortunately I don’t have a footnote as to where that info came from. If I can find it I’ll get back to you. [/quote]

Cyberwombat-The “.475 Boxer” I have is a straight case.
It looks just like the .475-3 1/4" Nitro Express in Hoyem’s book on page 72 except it is a coiled brass case.

Here is a poor scan (I HAVE to get a digital camera!!) of my “.475 (3 1/4)” Coiled Brass cartridge.

Well, THAT’s interesting. Looks like a “stuffer” to me, as in someone stuffed a .476 Nitro bullet in the case. Is the bullet removable? If so, is there powder in the case?

I doubt it would be an Eley factory round. However, there’s nothing to say it wasn’t an Indian handload or something like that. The Boxer case is pretty flexible, and with the ban on .45-caliber rounds placed in India, it could have been made by a local gunsmith.

Anyway, if you can get me a good clear photo it would be much appreciated.

Cheers - Dan

Hi Ron - is that a cupro-nickel soft-point in the .475 x 3.25 coiled cs? If it is - I think something is very wrong. Cupro-nickel bullets were only loaded with smokeless powders like cordite - and would be incorrect in a coiled case - if not dangerous because of the high pressures generated by that type of bullet. If it’s a cupro-nickel bullet - I think someone else - not Eley, put it there. The .475 Boxer ctg does not appear in any Eley catalogues between 1885 - 1914. I have some Eley flysheets between 1869 and 1870’s and no mention of a .475.
This is not to say Eley never made the case at some point - but could it be a .500 bore coiled case with a .475 inch cupro-nickel bullet? (The .475 Straight was necked down from a .500 Nitro case) If it is a .500 x 3.25 inch coiled case - I think you have a scarce & previously unknown item with this length case.
But dimensions would be good & less speculation! The .475 Straight has a bullet diameter of .483 inch - how does yours compare?
Regards, JohnP-C

Dan - Peter Labbetts book 'British SAA 1864-1938’was the source of the .476 Boxer info - forgot that one!
Sorry - omitted caselength of the .500/.450 x 2.5 inches (exactly) so it’s not a No1 Musket.
My thoughts too on the .450 x 1.33 - probably a ‘Howdah’ type pistol.
Also have some coiled case ctgs with tinned iron cases - as shown on one of Eley’s early flysheets.
Regards, JohnP-C.


Well, that’s interesting. I don’t believe I have that one. Gonna have to double-check.

John, is there any chance of getting copies of those? Scans would be best, but physical copies would work. I’d be happy to pay for plus shipping. I only have a couple of Eley catalogs in my library, and would really like to be able to put intro/drop dates to all these sporting rounds.

Dan–Any bullet is removable with enough effort, but I tried and could not budge this one with my fingers. From the weight of the round, I’m quite sure it is filled with powder.

John P-C–Please refer to my earlier post (up 7 postings) for all the dimensions.

I have always questioned the CN Soft Point in this round myself. I just got done looking at the bullet under a 10X glass and there appears to be 2 sets of criss-crossed hash marks 180 degrees apart that I would guess are plier marks from the removal of this bullet from another case. So, I guess the mystery is solved and I can put this one in the “Fake” department.

So, what do you think the basic case was and what is the bullet from?

Ron - measurements of your ‘.475’ coiled case appear to equate to the .450 x 3.25 inch Boxer case (see Hoyem).
Bullet dimensions seem closest to the .470 Nitro (.4735 - .4745 inch) and if so should weigh 500 +/- 2 grains.
This would account for the tight fit of the bullet inside the casemouth. JP-C