When did the British outlaw the .450 for India and Sudan?


#1

Which year, that is? Also, why did this impact the big-bore rifle cartridges as well? I understand this move was made to make re-supply for .450 MH cartridges more difficult – but you can’t use components of, say, the .500/450 in that anyway, or can you? Many thanks for any pointers!

Cheers

HANS


#2

Edited:

Having looked through some books I now think that the ban in India begun about November 1899.


#3

The ban on the possesion of Military Bore (aka Calibre) Firearms in India and The Sudan began soon after the Liberation of Khartoum ( Siege of Omdurman, 1898) along with the continuing Chitral campaign in the North West Frontier provinces of India (now Pakistan).
It was aimed mainly at .577 and .450 calibre weapons, as well as the newer .303 rifles.
The line of thought was as follows…if we ban the Barrel Bore(calibre) then the components also won’t be available for loading or reloading ammo for stolen Military weapons ( ?ever heard of "cast your own??); also loaded ammo from civilian sources in Military dimensions would also not be readily available…
So the British Gun trade, by 1907 (the cut-off date for India) developed the Lee Enfield Sporting rifle in 8x50R Mannlicher, and Double rifles in .465 Express, 450/400 Express, and for the realy “big Boys” the 577/500 Rewa etc.

It seems strange that they only “banned” British calibres ( as the use of the Austro-Hungarian 8x50R shows)… shows how stupid attempts at British gun control have always been…
The natives of the tribal areas continued making their own ammo and rifles, and also supplying a flourishing Black market trade into greater India.

This has continued on into Indian Independance, with the centre-fire Legitimate calibre being “.315 Indian” (aka 8x50R) and limited Pistol/revolver calibres based on the old .32 and .38 cartridges of the early 1900s.

Pakistan has a much more liberal approach, given that the KhyberPass area falls within Pakistan, of allowing free rein in the tribal areas, with moderate restrictions elsewhere in the country.— ever tried to separate a Hill tribesman from his guns ??----“over my dead body”.

regards, Doc AV
AV Ballistics

(PS, I have a very nice BSA “India Trade” Lee Enfield Rifle in 8x50R, which actually came from India in the 1980s).


#4

Hi all
In August 1899 the Government of India prohibited gun dealers from importing .303, .577/.450 MH & .577 Snider riflers and ammunition, to deny dissidents from obtaining said items. Indian residents with authority to possess firearms, i.e. Europeans basically, were exempt from this ban and continued to import/export freely.
In February 1901 the Government of India completely banned the importation of .303 calibre rifles and Martini-Henry rifles in .577/.450 calibre and .577 Sniders. (there were obvious loopholes in the law here as observed by ‘The Field’ newspaper in 1901. Legally you could import into India a double rifle in .577/.450 calibre.) Under the new provisions of 1901, Indian residents in possession of the banned firearms could obtain a licence to buy up to 200 rounds per year and selected European and a few Indian gun dealers were licenced to stock up to 25,000 rounds of ‘banned’ ammunition for sale to licence holders.
How far did this affect import of firearms and ammunition into India? To some degree - because customs officials and others could not discern and difference between .450 and .577/.450 - but how many sportsmen would be using the obsolete .577 Snider and .577/.450MH by 1901??? Not many. Mostly I suspect the India ban was a useful marketing ploy for British gun and ammunition makers. H&H’s .465 ‘India’ cartridge was introduced 6 years after the ban - and its ‘Velopex’ bullet was amore important development than its calibre.
Sorry don’t have anything in Sudan.
Doc - can you date that 8mm x 50R LE from the Proof marks - I suspect 1919 onwards - but would be interesting to know.
Regards JohnP-C