.577 cal. Enfield Bullets by Ludlow
While at a cartridge show year ago, I came across some loose .577 cal. Enfield bullets by E & A Ludlow, Birmingham, England. As can be seen in the photograph, they were paper patched and contained a boxwood plug. The paper patch was wrapped around the bullet, and then twisted closed over the wood plug. Then a light lubricant applied to the paper patch.
This set of measurements is for the patched ball with wood plug
Weight 536.5 grs.
This set of measurements is for the bare ball without wood plug or paper patch
Weight 527 grs.
Boxwood plug 4.5 grs.
Very interesting bullets.
My question (and it may be a dumb one), how do you determine that these were patched bullets and not just the bottom of a cartridge that was torn, or cut, loose from the powder? The paper looks like it has the same type of tie that would be on the base of an enfield cartridge.
That is a good question. First, the patch that is on this bullet is not torn away, but made from a cut piece of paper. If someone cut it while on the bullet, there likely would be a mark left in the lead. Second, the fellow had a wooden box that they were shipped in and probably about 25 or more bullets remained, all with paper patch on the ball.
The unfortunately thing is that the box was not marked, and I did not buy all he had. I have located him, but have been unsuccessful in getting him to dig them out and sell me the remainder, box and all.
Thanks for the scan of the Ludlow Cartridge patched bullet.
I have a question about the "Ludlow Cartridges."
It is my understanding that the cartridges were put together at the Ludlow facility.
The "Ludlow Cartridges' seem to all have a plug base bullet marked with a L, L1 or L2 and variant such the L Dot.
Did Ludlow make the bullets?
I have no information on the Enfield bullets being made outside the Royal Laboratory or the Enfield facilities.
Terry, Great pictures. wish mine would come out that sharp!
I was curious as to the purpose of the wooden plugs used in the enfield bullets. I understand enfield bullets were 'upside down' in the cartridges. Was it to protect the shape of the base of the bullet or some other purpose?
Thanks for the info, I didn't know that Ludlow sold patched bullets in addition to cartridges.
The bullet is a great example showing all the machining marks from the die, punch and sizing die. Not something that you get to see very often.
BTW: If you ever talk the seller into getting rid of the rest keep me in mind.
The plug was driven into the cavity by the propellant to widen the base of the bullet and help engage the rifling in the barrel.
I have been unable to locate any information on Ludlow, so determining where they procured their bullets is difficult. If they were like some of the United States ammunition manufacturers, they may have cast or pressed there own, and perhaps purchase. England had the technology to manufacture pressed bullets, so it is possible Ludlow did their own. So, in answering your question, I don’t know.
From the “bundle” wrapper that contained five packets of 10 cartridges, or 50 cartridges total, gave Birmingham as location of E & A Ludlow. If you would like, I can post images of the “bundle” labels.
For those wishing more on Enfield cartridge information, Thomas Publications reprinted the book “Rifle Ammunition” which is full of excellent information.
Tom is correct, the plug expanded the base of the bullet to engage the rifling.
Thank you for answering the question.
I too have been trying to find out about the Ludlow Bros., Sheerness and a few other makers of Enfield rifle cartridges but have not found anything out as of yet.
About 2-1/2 years ago I purchased from the London Library after extensive research, a copy of the original works. "Rifle Ammunition. Notes on the Manufactures connected therewith as conducted in The Royal Arsenal, Woolwich. by Arthur B. Hawes. Captain (r.h.p.), Bengal Army, LONDON; W.O. Mitchell, 39, Charing Cross. 1859."
I have a copy of the book put out by Thomas Publications called "Rifle Ammunition. Notes on the Manufactures connected therewith as conducted in The Royal Arsenal, Woolwich. by Arthur B. Hawes."
I do appreciated the new book due to the added pictures of the bullets.
Again thank you for your reply.
Here is one of two different Ludlow Enfield labels that I will post. The labels are on the “sleeve” or outer wrapper that contained 5 wrapped packets of 10 cartridges, totaling 50 in the bundle.
Here is the second of two different Ludlow Enfield labels that I will post. The labels are on the “sleeve” or outer wrapper that contained 5 wrapped packets of 10 cartridges, totaling 50 in the bundle.