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Old 04-03-2006, 09:59 PM
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i have an approximately 1915-1920 smith and wesson n frame in caliber 455 eley. is ammunition reasonably easy to find or difficult?
also, is there a way that a seasoned handloader can manufacture this ammunition from other caliber components?
thanks
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Old 04-03-2006, 09:59 PM
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i have an approximately 1915-1920 smith and wesson n frame in caliber 455 eley. is ammunition reasonably easy to find or difficult?
also, is there a way that a seasoned handloader can manufacture this ammunition from other caliber components?
thanks
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Old 04-04-2006, 03:39 AM
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lonewolf may be able to point you toward new .455 brass. You can shorten .45 Colt brass and thin the rim on the front side slighty to make your own.
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Old 04-04-2006, 04:12 AM
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Just kind of wondering how you know its in .455 Eley, and not 455 Webley MkIV or what ever. I used to know the differences, and I think the one you've specified is a tiny bit shorter. But most 455 Triple Locks and 455 2nd models were in the much more common British service cartridge.

Back when I was buying early N frames I was also looking for 455 ammo. There were friends that were astounded that I was having trouble finding it. What I learned at that time is that its a regional cartridge. Up along the Canadian border its much more common, but you can't find it in the south.

I did manage to find and buy several boxes of "455 Colt", which is just about the same thing.

If you're reduced to the level of making your own, I would suggest you just try shortening 45 Colt cases. While spec's say the rim is too thick, sometimes the headspace is adequate to use it. Regardless, if you load it modestly the brass will last a long time.
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Old 04-04-2006, 06:40 AM
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Ah!, the .455 "family" of cartridges. More than likely what you have is a .455 Webley Revolver MkII which is a shortened version of the .455 Webley Revolver MkI. (The shorter cases were more efficient with cordite or smokless powder). The MkI was also loaded in this country as the .455 Colt and sometimes known as the .455 Enfield.
Confused yet? An earlier version was known as the .476 Revolver MkI which was a replacement for the .450 Revolver. According to Barnes these are all pretty much interchangeable although you aren't likely to run across any of the older ones.
Dominion (in Canada) loaded .455 MkI and MkII up until a number of years ago.
Fiocchi still loads MkII, but it is pricey. I've heard rumors of new brass being available, but can't point you in the right direction.
Lee Precision make dies at a reasonable price. .454 Long Colt 250-60 grain lead bullets work well. There is a "correct" 265 grain mold available, but costs an arm and a leg.

Dean
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Old 04-04-2006, 07:18 AM
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Graf&Sons sells the Hornady MkII brass.
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Old 04-04-2006, 11:09 AM
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A little more information:

My understanding is that the .455 Eley, the .455 Revolver Mk I, and the .455 Colt are all basically the same cartridge. The case length is 0.890".

Originally a black powder round, ".455 Revolver Mark I" was the British Army's designation for the cartridge when they adopted it in 1892. Perhaps Eley wanted to put their own name on the round for commercial sales to civilians? Colt of course always hated to put anybody else's name on their barrels.

When smokeless powder was introduced, the British Army went to the shorter, more efficient Mk II version, with a case length of somewhere around 0.770", depending on the reference you are looking at. Colt continued to make the longer round, using smokeless powder of course, up until around WWII or shortly thereafter.

Buffalo Arms has both cases. The .455 Colt is $38/100 and the .455 Webley Mk II is $25/100. When I bought mine a few years ago, they were made from .45 Colt brass cut down to 0.890" and with the rim properly thinned.
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Old 04-04-2006, 09:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jack Flash:

Buffalo Arms has both cases. The .455 Colt is $38/100 and the .455 Webley Mk II is $25/100. When I bought mine a few years ago, they were made from .45 Colt brass cut down to 0.890" and with the rim properly thinned.
Here is some Buffalo Arms .455 Colt brass loaded with 255 gr Kieth type SWC's:


Here's another pic for reference:


When I got the Buffalo Arms brass I decided to go with the longer .455 Colt case since our bullets, like the one shown above, have more of the bullet in the case than the original type bullets do and I felt it would give me a little more 'room for error' since I'd never loaded the .455 before. They work well.
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Old 04-05-2006, 05:34 AM
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Those are excellent pictures, ButchG. Thanks for posting them.

One other note:

I would advise against buying the Fiocchi rounds if your intention is to save the brass and reload it.

A few years back, I bought some Fiocchi .455 Mk II ammunition and shot it in my New Service. Several of the cases split on their initial firing (ie, factory fresh, not reloaded). On examination, I could see that the case walls are really thin.

I only had this case splitting problem with ammo from one box; the rounds from another box did not split. Still, I would never reload this thin-walled Fiocchi brass.

One other oddity - Fiocchi uses small pistol primers for this round. I don't know how much an issue this is, but it seems odd for such a large diameter cartridge to use small primers. In any event, the reloading data I have seen calls for large pistol primers.

Does anyone know what size primers the new Hornady .455 Mk II brass uses?
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Old 04-05-2006, 08:01 AM
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Good pics.....some of you Smith owners are really good photographers...

Re: Fiochhi 455/small primers.......maybe saves them money? Not had any split even when reloaded, albeit with very light loads and fired thru my Triplelock and/or Webley Mk VIs.
I seem to remember reading about Colt had to offset/angle the chambers due to 455 rim o/d being slightly larger than Colt 45?


DCC UK

Quote:
Originally posted by ButchG17:
Quote:
Originally posted by Jack Flash:

Buffalo Arms has both cases. The .455 Colt is $38/100 and the .455 Webley Mk II is $25/100. When I bought mine a few years ago, they were made from .45 Colt brass cut down to 0.890" and with the rim properly thinned.
Here is some Buffalo Arms .455 Colt brass loaded with 255 gr Kieth type SWC's:


Here's another pic for reference:


When I got the Buffalo Arms brass I decided to go with the longer .455 Colt case since our bullets, like the one shown above, have more of the bullet in the case than the original type bullets do and I felt it would give me a little more 'room for error' since I'd never loaded the .455 before. They work well.
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Old 04-06-2006, 07:39 PM
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The Hornady brass uses large pistol primers. I bought 200 of them and have loaded them 4 times with no splitting or other problems.

Will the longer MK I cases chamber in S&W's chambered for .455 Webley?
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Old 04-07-2006, 04:39 AM
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Quote:
Will the longer MK I cases chamber in S&W's chambered for .455 Webley?
There is an easy way to find out.

If you don't have a fired .455 Mk I case, get a fired .45 ACP case and insert it to test for chamber length. If it goes in flush, or nearly so, with the back of the cylinder then the .455 Webley Mk I will also fit since its case length is the same.

Of course, just because a round will chamber does not mean it is safe to fire it in that particular revolver. Remember that many British revolvers were made during the black powder era and it is not safe to shoot smokeless rounds in them.

Also, some revolvers were converted to accept .45 ACP when they were imported to the US. These conversions were done to increase sales, often with little or no regard for safey.

It may be wise to do a thorough investigation, including advice from a knowledgable gunsmith, before shooting one of these old revolvers.
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Old 08-06-2007, 11:14 AM
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Hello folks. I have been using the 'find' function the last few days, looking for info on brass for use in a .455 S&W that I just acquired. Thus, I have resurrected this thread from April of some year?

My findings, while somewhat confusing, have helped somewhat.

It appears that Buffalo Arms modifies .45 colts to work as MkI's...ie: narrower rim thickness & ~.890 case length.

Also Hornady made some MkII's ie: 0.770 case length.

Starline talked about making one or the other or both, but apparently never did.

I guess the Fiocchi's are not worth messing with.

So, here is where I'm at:

It seems like headspace average for non-recessed S&W's is ~0.066 (no cartridge) and the average rim thickness is ~0.060, so I am shooting for 0.006" with brass for this thing.


.45 auto rim are closer in length to MkI and have plenty of rim to narrow (.090 to .040)
Diameter is a little under though. Kinda scarce too, although available.

.45 Schofields @ 1.109 have the largest diameter rim but also would be the most expensive to modify.

I guess .45 Long Colt is it then.
So I shortened 6 to 1.000 OAL.
They go in the cylinder but still have the stock rim thickness (~.060)...too thick.
I tried them 1 at a time so as to not have to tear the gun apart to get a cylinder-full out of the gun. At the .060 rim thickness, they begin to bind-up when coming into the firing position. So, I figure out a way of holding them in my lathe & cut the rim back from front a little at a time. I did not want to go directly to ~.039 if I didn't have to as that is pretty thin and I still have to load them.
I got 6 of them rotating freely @ about ~.050 rim thickness & 1.000 case length (no bullet).

I depth miked the cylinder & it is ~0.946 which explains why I am able to get these in & rotate them.

I intend to shorten them further...but am not sure to what length?

I found some reloading data using Fiocchi brass in the MkI style that mentions case length as being 0.910 (can't believe they stretched from 0.886) so it must be mfg. tolerances?

I can handle 0.910 so I may go to that interimly?

I have read that the MkI (the longer of the 2) was a black powder cartridge pre-1900's, and that the Brit's found that with the shorter MkII case (0.770) smokeless loads were more efficient.
(sort of like the current trend of the SSM's in rifles)

I don't like the looks of the 0.770 case, so I will probably stay inefficient...ha ha

Sorry to bore any of you, but if someone has an un-rechambered .455 and can depth-mike the cylinder from entry-end to the step, I'd like to know what they come-up with?

Open for any criticism or thoughts.


Thanks
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Old 08-06-2007, 12:36 PM
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I just bought an old .455 HE2 from HandEjector (as good and professional internet transaction as I've ever encountered, I might add. Thanks, Lee).

It's a bit tricky miking the chamber because it's not a nice right-angle transition from chamber to throat. It's more like a funnel or angled shoulder on a bottleneck cartridge. As near as I can tell, mine mikes out at .945" from the rear of the cylinder to where the chamber ends.

Out of curiosity I checked the same reading on my unconverted .455 Webley Mk VI and got the same reading within a thousandth or so.

I guess if you really enjoy all that lathe turning on the cases then have at it, but those Hornady Mk II cases are very well made, readily available, and burn cleaner with medium powders than the longer case due to the better loading density.

Also, I'd turn the rim thickness down to .030". If you leave them thicker then you may encounter significant cylinder drag after firing a box or so of ammo as carbon starts building up.

-Bob
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Old 08-06-2007, 02:28 PM
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I have several boxes of original rounds. Email me if you are interested.

Thanks
Joe Sharpe
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Old 08-06-2007, 03:32 PM
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Thanks Bob...same or at least similar readings.

Like I said, I don't like the .770 look even if they work best...(I may get there soon)

I will email Bowie & see what he has

Thanks
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Old 08-06-2007, 03:33 PM
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Thanks Bowie, what do you have?
I can email if this don't work?

thanks
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Old 08-06-2007, 04:25 PM
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I have been loading for a HE 2nd model in .455. I have had good results with the Hornady brass and Remington lead bullets for the .45 Colt. Using these components and 5.2 grains of Unique with an OAL of 1.114, I get 785 fps. Reducing the load to 4.5, I get 680. The Fiochi ammo makes 630 fps, and the Hornady clocks 575 fps. Hope this is of interest. Dean
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Old 08-06-2007, 05:33 PM
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1960s vintage Lyman Manuals have loading data for both the longer Mk I and the shorter Mk II cartridges.

Old manuals are usually available at gun shows if you look for them.

Also, Pet Loads by Ken Waters has a lot of very useful information and load data on the .455 Eley/Colt/Webley.

By the way, if you are interested in the history of this cartridge "family", Cartridges of the World is a good place to start.
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Old 08-08-2007, 12:23 PM
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I have a Colt SAA in 450 Eley. I found a box of Dominion 455 Colt empty brass on Auction Arms at a very reasonable price. I have noticed more on there and on Gunbroker at various times.
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Old 08-08-2007, 08:43 PM
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I bought several boxes of loaded Dominion .455 Colt from a local gun shop. They said they got it from another little shop that went out of business. It pays to keep your eyes open.
[Shown below with Fiocchi Mk II for comparison. Note the small pistol primers on the Fiocchi rounds.]
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