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577-450 Martini Herny

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An early example of a factory modification to an existing case design, the 577/450 Martini-Henry was introduced in 1871. It used a lengthened and bottlenecked, 45-caliber, version of the 577 Snider case. The original load launched a 480-grain bullet at 1350 fps, giving it even more energy than the 577 and putting it ballistically on par with anything then in use as a battlefield gun and far ahead of most.

Original cases were made from coiled brass formed into a tube attached to a steel base. These were expensive, prone to failure and corrosion, and were generally not reloadable. These were eventually replaced with conventional drawn-copper cases, and later, cases made from drawn cartridge brass.

Recoil was brutal with such a heavy charge of blackpowder launching such a heavy bullet from a relatively light rifle.


With the introduction of the 303 chambering in the Lee-Enfield rifle in 1895, the 577/450 began to join the ranks of the 577 as both moved toward obsolescence. It remained in Military service in some places until 1918 and was used by hunters long after that. It was widely appreciated by professional hunters in Africa well into the 20th Century.


The text associated with the cartridge description reflects opinions and conclusions of the author, M.L. (Mic) McPherson. Lee Precision and its employees do not necessarily either agree or disagree with any of his comments. We present these with due deference to his recognized expertise in the firearms field. His acumen extends to handloading and all aspects of ballistics - internal, external, and terminal.
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