450 SHORT C.F.

The 450 Short Center Fire is very often a neglected part of many collections and given the fact that this cartridge has been loaded more or less continuously since 1867, it most certainly demands more respect than it sometimes receives from collectors (me included). The history of the 450 CF begins in the mid 1860’s when Britain started with the conversion to breech loading revolvers. This page contains only a synopsis of the development of the 450 Revolver, but there is an excellent book written on the subject of the 450 Center Fire Revolver by Chris Punnett and I would urge any collector to try and get it for it is a fascinating look into the history of this cartridge and its many variations. (Erlmeier, Brandt Ref. 454)


• Mid 1860’s – The British Government start pursuing the conversion of the 54 bore (.450 cal) revolver to breech loading cartridge.
• John Adams working on converting the 54 bore percussion revolver designed by his cousin Robert Adams
• Col. Edward Boxer, who was the superintendent at the Royal Laboratory at Woolwich Arsenal in London was tasked, amongst other duties with ammunition development
• Col. Boxer assigned his cartridge design patents to Eley Brothers
• The Adams percussion revolver was converted to a breech loading revolver in 1868 and adopted as the “PISTOL BL REVOLVER ADAMS MARK 1”
• The Adams Mark I had an iron base disk, brass case and copper primer with a 225 grain lead bullet.
• The Adams Mark II was adopted on the 15th of September 1877 and differed from the Mark I only in that it used a brass disk instead of an iron disk, with no cotton wad.
• The Adams Mark III approved for service in 1909 and had a one-piece drawn brass case with Berdan primer with cannelure to hold the bullet.
• In the historical timeline, the gap between the Adams Mark II (1877) and the Mark III (1909) was filled by the 476 Enfield, 455 Webley Mark I-III and the 442 Revolver.
• Declared obsolete in July 1927
• Commercial production continued because of the popularity of the cartridge by various manufacturers both in Europe and the US





Denmark did not officially use the 450 Short CF revolver, however the 11mm Danish Ordnance Revolver is for all practical purposes identical to the 450 Short and according to Danish sources also based on it.




Adams’s Patent Small Arms Company – made for them by ELEY   

F. Joyce & Co. Ltd.   Wilkinson Sword. Made by Eley in all probability and their headstamp was used until 1914


This last headstamp is very faint, but reads 450  C.F,   Puncture warning Device

Gaupillat Primed



The G W H headstamp is by Gebrüder Webendörfer Hamburg with cases in all probability made for them by Braun & Bloem


H. Alard, Fils & Co.







     These two specimens might be attributed to Eley, but not confirmed

Assumed to be Czechoslovakian

Assumed to be RWS