Some British Military Boxes I need help with


#1

I have a few empty early British Military boxes. I am trying to find out what cartridge goes with them. Any help would be appreciated!


#2

Hi Dak21,

.450 No 2 Musket. This was a bottlenecked case, and an improvement on the original cartridge, in that the case was lengthened by 1/10 of an inch and the shoulder moved slightly forward.

The Braendlin 500/450 was developed for the Cadet Corps. The designation shows that it was basically a .500 necked down to .450. It was a single shot, lever actioned, falling block rifle. The colony of New South Wales in Australia purchased them for the use of the cadet forces, however, the other States purchased lighter weight rifles such as the Francotte and the small .310 Martini Cadet rifles. New South Wales eventually followed suit and the .310 Martini became the standard with some 80,000+ being purchased.

Very nice packets, pity they aren’t full.

Cheers
John


#3

Hi Dak21

Had to look up a little on the Westley Richards packets.

The packet you show on the right is the earlier of the two versions. Used in the Westley Richards capping breech loader, a hinged block breech loader with a percussion cap nipple, known as the Monkey Tail. You will note the requirement on the packet which says they must be used with WR caps.

The left had packet I believe is for use in the next iteration of this rifle, which, instead of having the cap nipple on the breech block, had a firing pin in it’s place. Again, it was fired by an external hammer.

John


#4

Hi John,

Thanks for the information. Do you happen to have a drawing, or even pictures of these cartridges? I’d like to know what to look for to find a round for each. Sadly, they were empty when I got them. One has “sell, $2 each” penciled on the back!! Looks like it was written a long time ago. You would think they would have saved one to go with the box!

Thanks,
Dave


#5

“British Military Boxes” is a bit of a misleading statement. They are all “Commercial Cartridges, and Packets” since None of the Packets shown were for British War Office Officially adopted Firearms.

Also, None of the Packets show official acceptance by the B^O or the W^D at that time.

Even the NSW 500/450 was Not a British Official Issue. ( rifles were acquired “Through the Trade” by the NSW Colonial Govt, as was the Ammunition).

All these Packets and calibres were available on the Commercial market, as were the Firearms they were made for.

Doc AV


#6

Dave,

Sorry I don’t have either drawings or pictures on hand. I recall that I had a sample of the No.2 Musket and the Braendlin in my collection, so may be able to get photos for you. It would likely be many weeks before this happens.

Cheers
John


#7

The significant feature of the Westley Richards .450 Carbine* (sometimes also called Musket) was that it was slimmer than the military 577/.450 cartridge although in every other way more or less identical.

The slimmer body allowed them to sleeve old military surplus snider rifles to .450 and sell them on as trade rifles. Hence the carbine or musket part of its name. Sniders were carbines, shortened when they were converted to breechloader by the military, and the word musket still carried over from the Enfield musket which they originally were.

The calibre took on a new lease of life after the Snider trade because military calibres were banned in India for civilians. This was over very real fears of rebellions and indeed there were many.

You do see some immaculate rifles coming up at auction in that calibre even today. Mostly Martini rifles, identical to the military version they were bought by people going to live or work in the colonies but often never/hardly used.
Thats presumably why Eley chose to describe it as “for military rifle” on their box. Its inaccurate but convenient shorthand.

Wesley Richards never made its own ammunition AFAIK but used all of the UK manufacturers at different times. By far the largest amount came from Birmingham Metals. Because it was popular enough it was also made and listed by the various ammo makers independently.

*actually there were at least three varients but the no2 predominates by far