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.450 Nitro Express
Type Rifle
Place of origin England
Production history
Designer John Rigby & Company
Designed 1898
Produced 1878
Case type Rimmed, straight
Bullet diameter .458 in (11.6 mm)
Neck diameter .479 in (12.2 mm)
Base diameter .545 in (13.8 mm)
Rim diameter .624 in (15.8 mm)
Rim thickness .040 in (1.0 mm)
Case length 3.25 in (83 mm)
Overall length 4.11 in (104 mm)
Primer type Berdan #40
Ballistic performance
Bullet weight/type Velocity Energy
465 gr (30 g) Lead 2,150 ft/s (660 m/s) 4,770 ft·lbf (6,470 J)
480 gr (31 g) Lead 2,150 ft/s (660 m/s) 4,930 ft·lbf (6,680 J)
Source(s): "Cartridges of the World" [1]

.450 Nitro Express designed for the purpose of hunting large game such as elephant. This cartridge is used almost exclusively in single shot and double express rifles for hunting at the Tropics or hot climates in general and is a cartridge associated with the Golden Age of African safaris and Indian shikars. A prominent user was Frederick Courteney Selous, whom using this cartridge in Farquharson rifle was the inspiration for the character of Allan Quatermain.[2]

.450 Nitro Express 3.25 in[edit | edit source]

The .450 Nitro Express 3.25 in (83 mm) was the first Nitro Express, developed around 1898 by John Rigby. This cartridge was based on the then popular .450 Black Powder Express case with 70 grains (5 g) of Cordite and a 480-grain (31 g) jacketed bullet. Muzzle velocity is listed at 2,150 feet per second (655 m/s) with 4,909 ft·lbf (6,656 J) of muzzle energy. This straight case has a length of 3.25 in (83 mm) with a .670 in (17.0 mm) rim.[1]

Early cartridges used the black powder case that was designed for around 22,000 psi and not the 34,000 psi that the Cordite load generated. Case extraction was difficult, especially in warmer climates such as Africa and India where the cartridge was primarily used. To remedy this problem, a reinforced case was produced and Kynoch made a reduced load to lower the case pressure.

.450 Nitro Express #2 3.50 in[edit | edit source]

The .450 Nitro Express #2 was developed by Eley Brothers in 1903.[1] This cartridge used several loadings between 70 and 80 grains (4.5–5.2 g) of Cordite with a 480-grain (31 g) bullet. The lighter loadings were typically used by Jeffery rifles for regulation.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Barnes, Frank C. (2006) [1965]. Skinner, Stan. ed. Cartridges of the World (11th Edition ed.). Iola, WI, USA: Gun Digest Books. pp. 398–399, 409, 411. ISBN 0-89689-297-2. 
  2. The life of Frederick Courtenay Selous, D.S.O., by J. G. Millais, pub. Longman, Greens & Co., London 1919

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