Kalpana Kalpana (Editor)

.577 Black Powder Express

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Type  Rifle
Designed  1870s
Bullet diameter  .584 in (14.8 mm)
Place of origin  United Kingdom
Case type  Rimmed, straight
Neck diameter  .608 in (15.4 mm)

The .577 Black Powder Express is actually a series of black powder cartridges of varying lengths including 2½-inch, 2¾-inch, 3-inch and 3¼-inch.



The .577 BPE originated around 1870 with the 2½-inch variant.

The 3-inch cartridge has survived to the current day as the .577 Nitro for Black, the same cartridge loaded with mild loadings of modern smokeless powder, carefully balanced through trial to replicate the ballistics of the Black powder version.

The 2¾-inch, 3-inch and 3¼-inch cartridges were later loaded with smokeless cordite to create the .577 Nitro Express, with the 3-inch version becoming the most popular.


These cartridges were used for heavier non-dangerous and occasionally dangerous game, especially lions and tigers.

In his African Rifles and Cartridges, John "Pondoro" Taylor describes the .577 Black Powder Express as the most popular cartridge for shooting tiger in India and that many of the greatest lion hunters in Africa preferred it to anything else. He further states "If I was concentrating on tiger or man-eating lion to the exclusion of anything else, I shouldn't hesitate: I would almost certainly have a double .577 [Black Powder Express] built....".

Prominant users

Sir Samuel Baker's favourite rifle was a .577 Black Powder Express built by Holland and Holland, with which he hunted various game all over the world.

Arthur Henry Neumann preferred the .577 Black Powder Express to all other other calibres for hunting elephant until the introduction of the .450 Nitro Express.

The specialist lion hunter, George "Yank" Allen, rated by "Pondoro" Taylor as one of the most successful lion hunters ever, shot most of his lions with a .577 Black Powder Express double rifle.


.577 Black Powder Express Wikipedia