Identify a .450?

I found this cartridge this morning with other old stuff. It looks like .450 Webley-Wyley or .5/45 Drawn brass 2 1/2 " case

What is it ?

CL : 63.23 mm
TL : 82.52 mm
SL : 22 mm

BD : 11.48 mm
MD : 12.29 mm
ND : 12.45 mm
SD : 13.29 mm
HD : 14.55 mm
RD : 16.44 mm


This cartridge is considered to be a Kynoch solid drawn case version of the Eley coiled .500/.450 Black Powder 2 ½" (descibed in an Eley brochure as “Eley-Boxer” Bottle-Shaped Cartridge, .500 Bore reduced to .450 Bore). There is also an unheadstamped variation with same ring on the base. Both have a neck a little bit longer than the Eley coiled variation.

This picture was posted by John P-C a long time ago:

I believe it to be a Wesley Richards No1 .500/.450. If you convert the dimensions to inches you can check it out in COTW more easily to confirm or disprove my thory. Sometime referred to as “carbine” because WR sleeved a lot of Snider Carbines for re export and sale to the colonies after they were withdrawn from British service.

W Soper of Reading invented the Soper Rifle but it was in 577/.450

More interesting would be who made the cartridge? At a guess Birmingham Metals and Munitions Company if the link with WR can be confirmed.

Thanks Fede et Vincegreen.

For VinceGreen : I don’t find any WR with this case lenght.


[quote=“chassepot”]Thanks Fede et Vincegreen.

For VinceGreen : I don’t find any WR with this case lenght.

I see what you mean, it falls between a WR no1 and a WR no 2 in terms of length while still keeping the strong WR visual appearance. Maybe you have discovered a previously unknown No3 ! The back end looks very much like the no2 and has the WR feel about it. Too much to be discounted I would suggest.

I am still reasonably sure we are in the right area with this though in that it was a cartridge from the “trade” rifles. I use the term loosely because the rifles weren’t traded they were sold but in every other sense it was the same area of the market. ie the budget end. Thats the main reason why there is so little documentation.

Even Barnes in COTW describes this as a very confusing area. He does mention a 2 1/2" varient but doesnt say what it was.

I don’t know what Soper’s involvement was in all this. Usually if they sold the cartridges it was because they also sold rifles to fit them and they would have been going abroad because the home market was minimal.

Thats about as far as I can go with this one. I hope it is of some help. The cartridge is definitely very interesting and may well be exceedingly rare for all we know. Certainly with that headstamp. Hopefully somebody out there has a better library of reference books than me and can find out more.

I am still reasonably comfortable with BMMCo as the maker unless somebody comes up with a better opinion because they were active in this market and it doesn’t look like an Eley or a Kynoch. But thats just a stab.

Same headstamp also exist in .450 Soper 2 15/16" and .450 Soper 2 1/2", both made by Kynoch. There are Soper loadings of the .450 Westley Richards No. 1 Express cartridge but no special headstamps so far.

A Soper single shot rifle (Henry’s patent bore) actually exist in this caliber (.500/450 2 1/2") but I’m not sure if this case type was exclusively made for that rifle. We can call this cartridge a .500-450 2 1/2" or a .500-450 Soper 2 1/2".

Unheadstamped variation:

My impression is also that this raised headstamp round was made by Kynoch. I have raised “KYNOCH & Co <> BIRMINGHAM <>” headstamps in several case types.

This same raised headstamp style is also found with a “RIGBY <> DUBLIN<>” in the .500 3" BPE which identical to the raised Kynoch version of the same.

Cross referencing this thread with the “An Eley cartridge” thread regarding the diamond symbol(s)

Eley Bros as a headstamp by my reckoning makes it early. The Kynoch raised/ recessed head looks early but both carry the diamond symbol.

Can you (or anyone else) shed any light on what the symbol means? On one or the other I could see it as being just decorative but on both it draws my interest.

The headstamp shown in the original post is shown as a line drawing (example 38) on page 195 of the book ‘The Birmingham Cartridge Manufacturers’ by C W Harding. It is a Kynoch headstamp for .450" 2 1/2" Soper