WTS Live .55 Boys ammunition in the US

For the US collectors, I have some live .55 Boys ammo for sale. Headstamp is K 39 WI. It is in pristine condition and has been stored in vacuum sealed packs. Price for one round is $30. For a stripper clip of 5 it is $125. For a complete 10 round bandoleer it is $200.

I am a cannon shooter and always looking for cannon ammunition and spare parts. For some cool vids of the cannons in action check us out at:

E-mail me directly for the ammo or any general questions
bobianoNOSPAM@yahoo.com Remove the NOSPAM

Some interesting videos and photos on your, site, what are the large calibre rounds in the “Restorations” section? I like that reloaded 4.5" British Howitzer round, that’s one hell of a cast lead projectile!

That was an interesting project. I had never cast anything before so why not start with a 40 pound projectile. When we had the molds made we had to save weight because we were using lead. It is an enormous hollow point and about 6 inches shorter that the original 4 1/2 in projectile. We also doubled the length of the driving band so it would engage the rifling a little better. We got lucky and it weighed just under 40 pounds. 4 1/2 case are also super hard to find in good condition. We ended up taking US 90mm cases cutting them to size and grinding the base a little. It fit perfectly. It was also a whole lot more stout than the original case and was able to use the US re-loadable primers. The 4 1/2 incher was a big lobber with velocities of only around 700 feet per second. When we fired it you could see the projectile fly through the air. All in all that was one of the hardest restorations we have done. Nothing like restoring a WW1 artillery piece to museum condition then firing the thing with an experimental load.

Sounds impressive to see it fired, was the projectile later recovered? Do you have any photos/video footage related to the 4 1/2 Inch Howitzer? It does not surprise me that original cases in good condition are hard to find.

I will kick myself forever more as I saw a 4 1/2" case in average condition at a junk sale near my house for

The second cannon seen is this little compilation is the 4 1/2 gun. damagellc.com/compilationvideo001.html We have some more video of that gun just have not loaded it to the site yet.

We managed to recover one projectile after it was fired at a refrigerator. It looked like you would expect the hollow point was ripped open with a few shards missing. We melted it down and cast another projectile.

In the US we can go as big as we want. But anything over .50 has to be registered with the government and has to go through a rigorous transfer process. It is a hasle but worth it in the long run.

Originally a large cordite grain was used. We opted to use modern 105 howitzer powder. It was a little slower burning than the original powder so we gave it a good black powder priming charge. We still get some unburnt powder out the barrel but I would rather have that than too fast of an ignition.

Some of the other rounds we have reloaded and fired: the 40mm bofors, 90mm US, 3 inch navy, 20 lahti, 25mm hotchkiss, US 57mm, 55boys, 20X81 German. Right now we are working on a 105 Krupp/rheinmetall.

Looks fun to let that thing off! Do you use original .55 Boys cases or form them from .50 BMG?

With the .55 boys project we took a few once fore cases machined out the primers and adopted them to the 50bmg primer. We machined a few projectiles out of solid brass and loaded with 50 powder. They worked great and cost us about $4US to reload. Sounds expensive but a whole lot cheaper than original rounds. Most of the money comes in making the projectiles. If I were to do a huge run of projo’s the cost would come down significantly. Unfortunately I do not have a gun and the few fired cases are already sold. I thought about pulling a couple of the original rounds apart but I just could not bring myself to do that.


Did that involve making screw-in inserts for the Boys cases? Isnt the Boys primer bigger than the .50 BMG? Sorry if I am asking too many questions, but I am just interested in how this stuff is done. I have heard of Boys cases being made by necking up a boxer primed .50 BMG case, silver soldering a ring to the case head above the groove for a belt, and fire forming the shoulder. I was aware that projectiles were turned from solid brass

I dont mind the questions.

We used a simpe bushing to take up the extra space. I am sure that if the 20mm vulcan can be turned in to 20mm Oerlikon than 50 can be turned in to a 55 boys but we are not at that point yet. .55 boys is not that uncommon or expensive yet

20x102 into 20x110RB sounds like a ton of work, considering that the case diameters are so different. Wouldn’t the 20x110 Hispano case be much easier (resize/relocate shoulder and rebate the rim)???
20x102 rim 1.16", base 1.15", shoulder 1.06".
20x110RB rim .87", base .98", shoulder .95". (Orelikon)
20x110 rim .97, base .98", shoulder .94. (Hispano)

Yea, it would be way easier, but try and find a good source for Hispano Brass. For the few shooters that shoot the Oerlikon they need at least 100 rounds of ammo for it to be worth dragging out and setting up. The Oerlikon uses advanced primer ignition so the case mouths are blown out during firing. With this kind of stress you do not get many reloads if any at all. The only cheap alternative is the 20mm Vulcan.

Bob, do you know of anyone who shoots the British .50 (12.7x81) Vickers HMG, or the British/Czech 15mm BESA cannon? I would be interested to know if anyone shoots these, and how they get/form their brass. Original live BESA ammo, cases or projectiles are like chicken’s teeth, and .50 Vickers are not exactly common either. Both are also Berdan primed. What about the 13x92SR T-Gewehr, do you know of anyone who shoots one of those, and what they do for ammo?

For the most part Shooters in the US stay from cannons that originate in other countries. With a few exceptions. It is really hard to find that ammo unless it was imported in to this country like the 20mm lahti and 25mm Hotchkiss. I do not know anyone that shoot those guns. Not only is the ammo super rare but so are the guns.


I didn’t think anyonw would shoot the BESA or Vickers, but the German WW1 era Mauser T-Gewehr rifles are around in the USA. I am not sure how common they are, but I know the rifles and some original ammo are there.

Your right on the T-Gewehr I have seen a few gun but never any amount of ammo, maybe one or two rounds. I would like to find one. Nothing like a big ass Mauser to blow stuff up with.