Samiksha Jaiswal (Editor)

.470 Nitro Express

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Type  Rifle
Designer  Joseph Lang
Produced  1907-Present
Place of origin  England
Designed  1900
.470 Nitro Express

Parent case  .500 Nitro Express 3¼ in

The .470 Nitro Express is a cartridge developed by Joseph Lang in England for very large or dangerous game hunting. This cartridge is used almost exclusively in single shot and double express rifles for hunting in the tropics or hot climate. It is in wide use in the Southern and Central-East African region, favoured by hunting guides, primarily while out for Cape buffalo and elephant.



The .470 NE was originally designed by Lang's as a replacement for the .450 Nitro Express. This was because the .450 NE had been banned in several countries such as India. Not because the .450 NE was underpowered or inadequate but because its bullets could be removed from loaded rounds for use by natives in stolen .577/.450 Martini Henry rifles. Because of the heavy bullet and powder charge, the gun has significant recoil but this is mitigated by the low velocity, resulting in recoil being delivered as a strong push rather than a violent blow. Rifles chambered for this cartridge tend to be heavy double-gun style, and are typically quite expensive.

The .470 NE continues to be popular and is the most popular of all the Nitro Express cartridges. Ammunition and components are readily available.


Like other 'dangerous game' cartridges, ammunition is expensive compared with standard hunting cartridges, often costing up to 10 times more per shell than typical cartridges such as the .30-06. Because of this many shooters choose to handload the .470 NE. Brass can be obtained from a variety of sources, and like most reloading components varies in quality. Lighter loads for practice can be created that are more enjoyable and cheaper to shoot.

  • Author and adventurer James S. Gardner provides a realistic, detailed account of the capabilities of a Nitro Express during an ill-fated Safari, and again in a graphical account of a desperate firefight against men and a helicopter in his book, The Lion Killer. Seen here:
  • "The Lion Killer" from James Gardner
  • References

    .470 Nitro Express Wikipedia