My .458 Flanged Cartridge Collection (Article by Werner Booysen)

I think most sportsman do own a collection of some sorts, cartridges, trophies, rifles or bows. What ever we collect does not really matter. It is our collection and we collect things because we want to. I love the big bores and started to collect articles and technical information of the .458 range of cartridges. There are a huge number of them, especially in rimless cartridges. Ever since the .450 Watts a never ending rat race developed in the rimless arena for the ultimate .458 design. Biggest in bolt belonging to the .458 Express.

My collection started to get momentum when I did some research for a book on the .458 Express. The place where it all started was the .450 NE 3 inch, and my wish to create the Perfect Doublet for the .458 Express took shape and form by cutting back the .450 NE 3 inch to a 3 inch case and I called it the .458 Express R (rimmed). This is by no means a new design, it simply my design for the Perfect Doublet on the flanged side. There is no better cartridge to use as a parent case than the world famous .450 NE 3. So I did exactly that.

Two other .458 cartridges deserves mentioning, the .500/450 NE 3 designed by Holland and Holland at the turn of the century is one of them. I made contact with Holland & Holland to enquire about the cartridge and the Doubles built on it. The world famous Roosevelt Gun of the USA President Teddy Roosevelt. I received the relevant information and will write more about this later in a separate article. The second cartridge is very special in its own way as it preludes the .450 NE 3. The 577/450 Martini Henry as its commonly known plays a crucial part in military weapon design at the turn of the century and tells a story of black powder progressing to smokeless propellants, Mr. Martini and Mr. Henry getting together as a combination and off course the ever present .458 caliber bullet. Many articles describe the 500/450 Martini Henry as a .451 caliber.

With the South African history rich in war history with the British Empire and the Big Five animals roaming around, I could not ignore the opportunity to do more research and learn more about the cartridges that shaped our modern history in warfare and hunting safaris.




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