Martini henry patch colours


#1

I’ve acquired two rolled-case .577/.450 rounds with unusual patch colours - blue and purple (definitely not red). Can anyone advise what these colours signify? These cartridges look standard in every other respect.


#2

IIRC there was a thread recently ID;d the blue patch as an Australian cordite carbine load.


#3

The purple is a post-Aug. 1880 Carbine Mk. III of English make. The blue is NOT a cordite nor a carbine load. These were made either by CAC Australia, or on contract by English firms. Does yours have any stamp marks on the outer primer ring? I have one with a single “broad arrow” or “crow’s foot” stamp; it’s weight is 767gr, well within tolerance for the Mk. III Rifle. A cordite loading would be lighter.

I have in my notes that this was the “Mk X Rifle” but I haven’t confirmed that designation.


#4

There are so many inquiries about the various 577/450 patch colors, that I think another project should be in the making. Someone must be “THE” expert on this round. How about a list, once and for all, of the meaning of all the different patch colors that appear on this cartridge?

No, I am not volunteering - I don’t know squat about the 577/450. Am just suggesting it might be time for such a list. I assume that between all of the top collectors and students of ammunition that use this Forum, most of the colors can be identified. Is that a bad assumption? If too easy a project for just 577/450, perhaps it could include the Snider rounds as well.

Being an ignoramus regarding this cartridge, I would love to see such a list.


#5

I am actually working on such, although it’s part of a much bigger book project. Depending on time, I could probably do something short(er) for the Journal. The book is several years out from being finished…


#6

Dan - I was thinking of just a simple list of colors with a brief explanation of what the color signified (if for loading, a specific weapon, etc) and the era in use. An example, just for format:

Paper Patch Colors for .577/450 Boxer:

Chartreuse - armor-piercing incendiary self-destroying practice tracer for the
Ceylonese mini-carbine, c. 1890s.

I envisioned it as something primarily for the Forum, although I guess it could be put in the Journal too. I would favor the Forum with it first, though. You have taken on a lot already. I was hoping one of our British chaps would take this on. I would think among those who collect these rounds that the color of the paper patches is pretty basic and well-known. Not knowing anything about the round to speak of, I suppose I could be wrong, but I thought this would be a simple list for those “in the know” to make up and post here.


#7

There really isn’t much to list. Almost all the MH Boxer Rifle variations used a white patch, with two exceptions: the blue-patched Australian version listed above, and the “Ball, Rifle, Mk I Cordite” made in India, which had black lines on the paper patch.

The Boxer carbine rounds are a little more complex. All of these used a 410gr bullet - the same one as the Mk IV Rifle round:

  1. Ball, Carbine, Mks I and II used a white (or tan) patch.
  2. Ball, Carbine, Mk III (Pre-Aug. 1880) - white paper patch with three slits, generally not visible.
  3. Ball, Carbine, Mk III (Post Aug. 1880) - red paper patch, which varies in color from red-orange to purple. The patch color seems to be insignificant, as a packet by J. J. Graham (undated) contained one purple patched and nine red-patched rounds (the length of which varied significantly).
  4. Ball, Carbine, Cordite (Indian Pattern): 410gr RN PPL, pink patch with black lines

I have heard of - but not laid eyeballs on - an English cordite carbine round with a Boxer case and green patch.

Solid-drawn cased rounds generally followed the same pattern: white for Rifle (or MG), red/purple for carbine (orange is also found), and green for cordite.

That’s the short version, LOL!


#8

Dan - that’s great. It is more than we had before without having to find it step by step in two or three books. Now we have a quick, concise list that can be referenced in seconds! That’s what it is all about.


#9


Hi Cyberwombat,
May not be of interest but I had a look at some of my rounds after reading your post, the only one I know the manufacture of is the third from bottom, next to the riot ball, it came out of a packet [string tied wrapper] marked Colonial Ammunition Co. New Zealand 1899 Mark 111
but the second from top has the remains of a "green patch ", tried to rub clean but stopped as wanted a little bit there as a reference
The riot ball 476, and the striped patch round are Indian and the Mark 1 476 has 476 over lined and a V with a long version of the broad arrow crossed.
Terry.
Missed the first time, not sure hat happened, must have pressed the wrong button.


#10

Terry,
I’d be interested to know the headstamps of the top three solid-drawn cases if you’d oblige please? Great picture by the way!
Jim


#11

Terry - nice lineup.

Here’s a small photo I have showing the range of colors that can be found on the MH Boxer carbine:

I need to dig into my MH drawer and take better photos!