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THE

.303 BRITISH SERVICE

CARTRIDGE

Introduction

The .303 British Service cartridge, commonly known as the .303 or .303 British was adopted by Britain along with the Lee - Metford Rifle in 1889. This round, as originally adopted, consisted of a 215 grain, round nosed, cupro nickel jacketed bullet in front of 71.5 grains of RFG2 Blackpowder. This powder charge being pressed into a pellet with both ends slightly rounded and pierced with a flash hole through the centre. There was a glazeboard wad on top of the charge to protect the base of the bullet. It initially had a small boxer type primer and was officially designated Cartridge, S.A., Ball, Magazine Rifle, Mark 1.C. Solid Case, .303inch. This round had a muzzle velocity of 1830 feet per second and a chamber pressure of about 19 tons per square inch.

Cordite was used as a propellant from 1891 and the first adopted cordite cartridge, the Cartridge S.A. Ball, Magazine Rifle Cordite Mark 1, had a 215 grain round nosed cupro-nickel jacketed bullet giving a muzzle velocity of about 1970 feet per second at a chamber pressure of about 17.5 tons per square inch. Cordite consisted of 58% Nitro-glycerine, 37% Nitro-cellulose and 5% Mineral Jelly and was normally pressed into cord form but tubular, tape, flaked and sliced cordite were also used. Nitro-cellulose was first used as a propellant in the .303 cartridge during 1894 although it was not officially approved for service until 1916. This propellant, however, was not considered to be as stable as cordite in the tropics and cordite was, therefore, still retained as a propellant in military cartridges for the remainder of the cartridges service life. Nitro-cellulose propellant however was extensively used during the first and second world wars. The last .303 ball cartridges manufactured at Radway Green in 1973 were loaded with nitro-cellulose powder and not cordite, cordite having last been used for the .303 cartridge in the 1960s.

The round nose bullet form of the Black Powder Mark 1 and 2 and of the Cordite Mark 1 and 2 were felt by many servicemen to have less man stopping effect than the old lead .45 inch Martini bullet, the predecessor in service of the .303 cartridge. This was confirmed by experience gained in the Chitral and Tirah expeditions of 1897/98 on the North West Frontier of India where the round nose ball round compared poorly against the .303 inch Dum Dum rounds specially issued in 1897. This cupro-nickle jacketed bullet, produced at the Dum Dum ammunition factory in India, had an exposed lead nose which gave rapid expansion on impact and therefore greater wounding effect when it hit a body. Following experimentation to increase the effectiveness of the ball cartridge the British Government adopted a 215 grain cupro-nickle jacketed hollow pointed bullet in 1897 as the Cartridge S.A. Ball .303 inch Cordite Mark III. Similar jacketed hollow point bullets were used in the Mark IV and V rounds. These soft nosed and hollow pointed bullets were considered however to be in contravention of the St Petersburg Declaration and the Hague Convention, in 1903 they were withdrawn from active service and were afterwards to be used solely for target practice. The Mark VI round was introduced in 1904 with a 215 grain jacketed round nosed bullet similar to the Mark II bullet but with a thinner jacket.

In 1910 the 174 grain pointed Mark VII bullet was adopted and the muzzle velocity was increased to 2440 feet per second. This mark of bullet remained the standard ball round for the remainder of the .303 cartridges service life.

In 1938 the .303 Mark VIIIZ round was approved to obtain greater effective range from the Vickers Medium Machine Gun. This round had a nitro-cellulose powder charge with a 175 grain boat tailed, streamline, jacketed bullet having a muzzle velocity of 2550 feet per second. Chamber pressure however was higher at 20 - 21 tons per square inch compared to the 19.5 tons per square inch of the Mark VII round.

Tracer, armour piercing and incendiary cartridges were adopted by the British Government during 1915, explosive bullets having been approved for service in 1916. These rounds were extensively developed over the years and saw several Mark numbers. The last tracer round introduced into British service was the G Mark 8 round approved in 1945, the last armour piercing round was the W Mark 1Z introduced in 1945 and the last incendiary round was the B Mark 7 introduced in 1942. Explosive bullets were not produced in the UK after about 1933 due to the relatively small amount of explosive that could be contained in the bullet limiting their effectiveness, their role being successfully fulfilled by the use of Mark 6 and 7 incendiary bullets which were also of a less complicated construction.

In 1935 the .303 O Mark 1 Observing round was introduced for use in machine guns. The bullet to this round was designed to break up with a puff of smoke on impact with a target or the ground . It was intended as a training aid only, for the observation of long range shooting where accuracy of fire was not always easily defined, even if tracer ammunition was used. The later Mark 6 and 7 incendiary rounds could also be used in this role if required.

Since the introduction of the .303 cartridge in 1889 it has been manufactured in at least 20 countries and in nearly 200 military variants as well as in numerous experimental and sporting cartridge configurations. It may be of some interest to learn that during the First World War more than 7,000 million Mk 7 ball cartridges were produced by British factories alone.

Although the United States of America did not officially adopt a .303 rifle, it did produce, under the Lend - Lease scheme of World War 2, nearly a third of the wartime production of No 4 rifles used by British troops. US Lend - Lease production for the UK was 1,196,706 No 4 rifles whereas the total British wartime production of this rifle was 2,021,913. This of course was not the total number of .303 rifles produced in the UK during WW2, as the SMLE Rifle No 1 was still being manufactured, BSA alone producing nearly a quarter of a million No 1 Mk III and III* rifles. The USA had also produced the .303 Pattern 1914, also known as the Rifle No 3 Mk 1 or 1*, for the British Government during the First World War. The USA should therefore, along with Australia, India and the United Kingdom, be considered as one of the major producers of both .303 rifles and ammunition

The following pages attempt to identify the manufacturers of the .303 cartridge and whilst it is acknowledged that this may not a complete listing I hope it will give some insight into this historically important cartridge. Should the reader be aware of any omissions in this manufacturer's listing then the author would be very pleased to hear from them. My thanks to John Kindred for clarification on the monograms used on Australian small arms ammunition

E-mail: Rtebbutt@aol.com

 

 

KNOWN MANUFACTURERS OF .303 BRITISH CARTRIDGES

HEADSTAMP CODE MANUFACTURER

A Pretoria West Metal Pressings Pty., Pretoria, SOUTH AFRICA. ( A standing for Armscore ). Known to have produced 7.7 x 56R ball cartridges, which are interchangeable with the .303 cartridge post 1961.

A61 7.7 R1 M3Z Ball

 

A or AI Artillerie Inrichtingen, Hembrug, NETHERLANDS. This Military Arsenal became Nederland Wapen & Munitiefabrik'de Kruithoorn' NV,'s Hertogenbosch and later became Eurometaal. Known to have produced nitro-cellulose loaded .303 cartridges in:

Ball

Blank

Bulleted Blank

Line throwing blank

Tracer

 

AE Arsenal do Ejercito, Lisbon, PORTUGAL. Known to have produced nitro-cellulose loaded 7.7 x 56 M917 ball ammunition, which is interchangeable with the .303 cartridge

 

AF Small Arms Factory, Footscray, AUSTRALIA. Manufactured .303 cartridges with this headstamp January 1924 to February 1925

 

AOC Bombrini, Parodi et Delfino, Rome, ITALY. Used on military .303 (7.7 x 56R) cartridges supplied to Egypt in the period 1948 - 1954. Known to have produced nitro-cellulose loaded cartridges in:

Ball, Mk 7

Tracer

 

APX Atelier de Construction de Puteaux, FRANCE. Known to have produced nitro-cellulose loaded .303 (identified on headstamp as 7.70) cartridges during 1918 in:

Armour Piercing Tracer

Ball

Also known to have produced ball rounds in the 1920s and 30s

 

A - VE Atelier de Construction de Valence, FRANCE. Known to have produced .303 ball cartridges

 

A.VIS Atelier de Fabrication de Vincinnes, FRANCE. Known to have produced .303 ball cartridges in 1924

 

B,J,M or N Birmingham Metal and Munitions Co Ltd., Birmingham, UNITED KINGDOM. This company was formed in 1897 and was a wholly owned subsidiary of Nobels explosive company who also owned a further ammunition plant, fully acquired in 1907, at Waltham Abbey, Essex. Birmingham Metal and Munitions had ceased manufacture of ammunition by 1920. The assets of the company were taken over in 1918 by Explosives Trades Ltd which soon after was renamed Nobel Industries, this new organisation having been founded to amalgamate most of the explosives and ammunition interests of the many separate companies operating in Britain at that time. Nobel Industries in turn was to become part of the new giant Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd when it was formed in 1926.

The headstamp code B denoting the manufacturer should not be confused with B as in BVIIZ which indicates incendiary ammunition. The following types of .303 cartridges are known to have been produced during the period 1897 to 1919:

Armour Piercing Mks VII.P, VII.W and VII.W.Z

Ball, Blackpowder Mk 2

Ball, Cordite Mks 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7

Ball, Nitro-cellulose Mk 7Z

Ball, Short Range Practice

Blank, Blackpowder Mk 3

Bulleted Blank Mk 6

Cartridge Rifle Grenade, Ballistite H Mk 1

Drill, D Mk 6

Dummy, Drill Mk 3, Premark 6, Mk 6

Explosive PSA Mk 2 (VII.AA)

Experimental Armour Piercing Ammunition

Incendiary, BIK (VII.K) Mk 1

 

BE or BE Royal Ordnance Factory, Blackpole, Worcester, UNITED KINGDOM. This factory was part of the 1939 - 1945 war emergency expansion plan and was situated at Blackpole on the site of the earlier Government Cartridge Factory No 3 of 1916. Initially ICI Ltd were to have operated this plant but they were advised in 1940 of the change in plans and the factory was run as a Royal Ordnance Factory by the Ministry of Supply. This factory made and marked cases but filling was carried out at the Royal Ordnance Factory Swynnerton, Staffs. .303 cartridges known to have been produced with the Blackpole headstamped cases from 1941 to 1945 are:

Ball, Cordite Mk 7

Cartridge Rifle Grenade, Ballistite H Mk 1Z

Dummy, U Mk 5

Incendiary, B Mk 6Z and B Mk 7Z

Tracer, G Mks 2, 3 and 4

 

BLANCH J Blanch & Sons of Fenchurch St, London, UNITED KINGDOM. Made dummy drill rounds with a one piece tinplate case and bullet and having a crimped on base in 1915.

 

BM British Munitions Co Ltd, Millwall, London, UNITED KINGDOM. This company is believed to have manufactured .303 Ball, Blackpowder Mk 2 cartridges from 1890

 

BPD Bombrini, Parodi et Delfino, Rome ITALY. In addition to the .303 cartridges manufactured for Egypt this company also manufactured nitro-cellulose loaded 7.7 x 56R cartridges, which are interchangeable with the .303 round and are known to have been produced in:

Ball

Drill round

Incendiary Armour Piercing with Thermite filling

Incendiary Armour Piercing with Phosphorus filling

Tracer

 

C.. Pirotecnico di Capua, ITALY. Known to have manufactured 7.7 x 56R bulleted blanks, which are interchangeable with the .303 cartridge

 

CAC Colonial Ammunition Co., Auckland, NEW ZEALAND. Known to have produced .303 cartridges in:

Ball, Cordite Mks 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7

Ball Mk 6 Match

Ball, Nitro-cellulose Mk 7z

Blank, Mk 6 and 6 converted

Blank, Mks 3, 5, 5z

Cartridge Rifle Grenade, Ballistite H Mk 1Z

Commercial Blanks

Drill, D Mk 9

Dummy Mks 3, 4

Dummy, Non Regulation

Gaudet Practice

Short Range Practice ( New Zealand Pattern)

215 gr RNSP, 180 gr PSP, 180 gr HP, 174 gr PSP, 150 gr PSP, 130 gr PSP and 150 gr HP Sporting Ammunition

Mks 4 and 5 Big Game Exploder Sporting Ammunition

H.V. Exploder Sporting Ammunition

 

CAC Colonial Ammunition Co., Melbourne, AUSTRALIA. Believed to have manufactured .303 ammunition as early as 1898 until 1918. After May 1918 the CAC monogram was used with two arrows . Production gap from Jan 1921 to March 1921 after the factory was leased to the Government Known to have produced during 1920-21 the .303 cartridges in:

Ball, Cordite, Mk 7

Dummy

 

 

CP Crompton Parkinson Ltd, Guiseley, Yorkshire, UNITED KINGDOM, although filling took place at Doncaster (see below). This factory was set up as part of the 1939-1945 war emergency expansion plan. Known to have produced .303 cartridges during the period 1940 - 1944 in:

Armour Piercing W Mk 1

Ball, Cordite Mk 7

 

C-P Crompton Parkinson Ltd, Doncaster, Yorkshire, UNITED KINGDOM. This company was already in existence but unconnected with ammunition manufacture when the 1939 - 1945 war broke out. It was selected to produce small arms ammunition as part of the 1939-1945 war emergency expansion plans. Production of ammunition ceased in 1944. Known to have produced .303 cartridges in:

Armour Piercing W Mk 1 and W Mk 1 Special

Ball, Cordite Mk 7

Experimental Armour Piercing (1942)

 

D Dominion Cartridge Co., Brownsberg, Quebec, CANADA. Known to have produced .303 ball cartridges.

 

D, DF, N or S Indian Government Ammunition Factory, Dum Dum, Calcutta, INDIA. This factory manufactured cartridges for use by the British Army in India as well as the Indian Army. In 1918 this factory was capable of producing at the rate of about 10 million rounds per month. It is known to have produced .303 cartridges in:

Ball, Cordite Mk 2, Mk 2 Special, Mk 6 and Mk 7

Ball, Short Range Practice I.P. Mk 1*

Blank

Dummy Drill Mk 1. IP,and IP No 2 Mk 1


DA Dominion Arsenal, Montreal, CANADA. Known to have produced .303 cartridges in:

Ball, Cordite Mk 6

Blank, Nitro-cellulose L Canadian Mk 1 (1955 & 1956)

 

DAC Dominion Arsenal, Quebec, CANADA. Known to have manufactured .303 cartridges in:

Armour Piercing W Mk 1

Ball, Cordite Mks 6, 7

Ball, Match

Ball, Nitro-cellulose Mk 7Z ( Late Pattern )

Blank, Cordite Mk 5 ( Canadian Pattern )

Blank, Nitro-cellulose L Mk 5Z ( Canadian Pattern )

Drill, D Mk 6 and D Mk 9

Drill D 1942 ( Canadian Pattern )

Incendiary, B Mk 7

Proof, Q Mk 4

Tracer G Mk 1 ( Canadian Pattern )

Tracer G Mk 1Z ( Canadian Pattern )

DAL or LAC Dominion Arsenal, Lindsay, Ontario, CANADA. Known to have produced .303 cartridges in:

Ball, Cordite Mk 7

 

DC Defence Industries, Brownsburgh, Quebec, CANADA. Known to have produced .303 cartridges in:

Gallery Practice Mk 1 ( Black powder - Canada )

Gallery Practice Mk 1 ( Smokeless - Canada )

Gallery Practice Mk 2 ( Canada )

 

DC Dominion Cartridge Company which later became the Dominion Ammunition Division of Canadian Industries Ltd. Known to have produced .303 cartridges in:

Ball, Cordite Mk 2, 4, 6 and 7

Ball, Nitro-cellulose Mk 7 ( Canadian WW1 contract pattern ) 1914-16

Ball, Nitro-cellulose Mk 7Z ( Canadian Pattern )

Drill D 1942 ( Canadian Pattern )

Tracer G Mk 2Z, G Mk 4Z ( Canadian Pattern )

 

DI Defence Industries, Verdun, CANADA. Known to have produced .303 cartridges in:

Ball, Nitro-cellulose Mk 7Z ( Canadian Pattern )

Ball, Nitro-cellulose Mk 8Z ( Canadian Pattern )

Cartridge Rifle Grenade, Ballistite H Mk 1Z ( Canadian Pattern )

Drill D 1942 ( Canadian Pattern )

Tracer G Mk 2Z, G Mk 4Z, G Mk 6Z ( Canadian Pattern )

 

Do Hirtenberg Patronenfabrik factory at Dordrecht, NETHERLANDS. Known to have produced .303 ball cartridges .



DWM Deutsche Waffen Und Munitionsfabrik, Karlsruhe, GERMANY. Known to have produced both ball and blank .303 cartridges

 

E or EB Eley Brothers, Edmonton, London, UNITED KINGDOM. Factory in operation 1828 - 1919. During WW1 Eley produced in excess of 209 Million .303 Mk 7 cartridges. Eley Brothers are known to have produced .303 cartridges in:

Armour Piercing Mk VII.W

Ball, Cordite Mks 1, 2, 4, 6 and 7

Ball, Nitro-cellulose Mk 7Z

Ball, Short Range Practice ( Gaudet )

Cartridge Rifle Grenade, Ballistite Mk 1

Cartridge Rifle Grenade, Ballistite H Mk 1Z

Drill, Mk 3, Drill Mk 3 Expedient

Explosive Pomeroy Mk 1, PSA Mk 1, PSA (VII.A) MK 1

PSA Mk 2 and PSA (VII.AA) Mk 2

Incendiary BIK (VII.K) Mk 1

RL Tracer Mk 1, Tracer SPK Mk VII.T and SPG (VII.G) Mk 1Z

 

Yokosuka Naval Arsenal, JAPAN. Known to have produced nitro-cellulose loaded Imperial Japanese Navy Year Type 92 Machine Gun ammunition, which is interchangeable with the .303 cartridge in:

Armour Piercing

Ball

Incendiary - Phosphorus filling

Tracer

 

F or AF or SAAF Small Arms Ammunition Factory, Footscray, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA.

Known to have produced .303 cartridges in:

Ball, Cordite Mk 7

Cartridge Rifle Grenade, Ballistite H Mk 1Z

Drill, D Mk 6

 

F Small Arms Ammunition Factory, Footscray, AUSTRALIA. Manufactured .303 cartridges with this headstamp March 1925 to April 1926

 

FC Federal Cartridge Co, Anoka, Minn., UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Known to have produced nitro-cellulose loaded .303 cartridges in:

180 gr jacketed soft point sporting ammunition

150 gr jacketed soft point sporting ammunition

 

FN Fabrique National d'Armes de Guerre, Herstal, BELGIUM. Known to have produced nitro-cellulose loaded .303 cartridges in:

Ball, FN 8/7

Blank

Bulleted Blank

Cartridge Rifle Grenade, H Mk 7Z, M11 and M12

Incendiary

Tracer L83

Jacketed soft point sporting ammunition

 

FNM Fabrica Nacional de Municoes e Armas Legeiras, Moscavide, PORTUGAL. Known to have produced nitro-cellulose loaded 7.7 x 56R ball ammunition which is interchangeable with the .303 cartridges

 

FNT Fabrica Nacional de Espana, Palencia, SPAIN. Known to have produced .303 cartridges in:

Ball Mk 7Z

 

G, GB or GBF Greenwood and Batley, Leeds, UNITED KINGDOM. This company manufactured ammunition from an early stage, finally ceasing production in the late 1950s. They had a filling factory at Abbey Wood and later during the 1939-45 war a filling factory at Farnham.

The headstamp code G, denoting manufacturer, should not be confused with G as in GIV indicating a tracer cartridge. During WW1 Greenwood & Batley are known to have produced in excess of 705 million .303 Mk 7 cartridges. They are known to have manufactured .303 cartridges in:

Ball, Blackpowder Mk 2

Ball, Cordite Mks 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7

Ball, Match

Ball, Nitro-cellulose Mk 7Z

Bulleted Blank Mk 6

Drill, D Mk 6, D Mk 9

Dummy, Drill Mk 5

Proof OSP

 

GA Grenfell and Accles Ltd, Perry Barr, Birmingham, UNITED KINGDOM. The company was formed in the early 1890s having acquired the Holford Works of the National Arms and Ammunition Company and was in existence for only a short time. Known to have manufactured Black powder Ball Mk 2 .303 cartridges from 1891 - 1896.

 

G18F1 or C18F1 Government Cartridge Factory No 1, Blackheath, Staffs., UNITED KINGDOM. This factory was built in 1916 and was administered on behalf of the Government by the Birmingham Metal and Munitions Co. .303 cartridge production started in early 1918 and continued until late 1918 when the factory ceased production altogether. Known to have produced .303 cartridges in:

Ball, Nitro-cellulose Mk 7Z

 

G..F3 or C..F3 Government Cartridge Factory No 3, Blackpole, Worcestershire, UNITED KINGDOM. This factory was built in 1916 and was administered on behalf of the Government by the Kings Norton Metal Co. Production of .303 cartridges did not start until late 1918 and the production of all ammunition finally ceased in early 1919. Known to have manufactured .303 cartridges in:

Ball, Nitro-cellulose Mk 7Z

SPG Tracer (VIII G)

 

GKB or K George Kynoch, Birmingham, UNITED KINGDOM. This company was first formed in 1862 and manufactured percussion caps. It became G. Kynoch & Co Ltd in 1884 and by then was manufacturing metallic ammunition. It became Kynoch Ltd in 1897. Prior to the formation of Kynoch Ltd (see later entry) it was known to have produced .303 cartridges in:

Ball, Blackpowder Mks 1 and 2

 

GEVELOT Gevelot & Gaupillat Freres, Paris, FRANCE. Known to have produced .303 ball cartridges for export.

 

Hornady Hornady have manufactured their Custom brand of nitro-cellulose loaded .303 ammunition in the following sporting cartridges:

150 gr Spire Point Soft nosed sporting cartridge

174 gr Round Soft nosed sporting cartridge

 

HN Royal Ordnance Factory, Hirwaun, South Wales, UNITED KINGDOM. This factory was set up as part of the 1939-45 war emergency expansion plan. It was involved in the production of .303 cartridges in only a very limited way and is known to have manufactured these cartridges in:

Tracer G Mk 2 (in cases dated 1943 and 1944)

 

HXP Greek Powder and Cartridge Co, Athens, GREECE. Known to have manufactured nitro-cellulose loaded .303 cartridges in:

Ball, L1A1 to British Government contract(1982-85)

Ball (1969)

Blank

 

IMPERIAL Canadian Industries Ltd, Montreal, CANADA and Plattsburg, NY, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Known to have produced nitro-cellulose loaded .303 cartridges in:

180 gr jacketed soft point sporting ammunition

 

K or KYNOCH Kynoch & Co, Witton, Birmingham, UNITED KINGDOM. This firm was first formed by George Kynoch at Witton in 1862 as a manufacturer of percussion caps. It was changed to a limited company in 1884 as G. Kynoch & Co Ltd and by then was manufacturing metallic ammunition. A further reorganisation and expansion followed in 1889 when George Kynoch was ousted from the management and this then culminated in a further change of title to Kynoch Ltd in 1897. During the period ending with the 1914-18 war Kynoch, which by then was the largest of the British commercial ammunition manufacturers, owned rolling mills at Witton; at Lodge Road, Birmingham and at Eyre Street, Birmingham. At various times it had propellant factories at Arklow, County Durham, making cordite; at Warsboro Dale, Yorkshire, making blackpowder and at Kynochtown, Stanford Le Hope, Essex, making smokeless powder. In addition to these plants the original cap production was maintained at Witton. Later, effective tracer and incendiary composition operations were also carried out at Witton. After the war in 1918 Kynoch Ltd, in common with most other British small arms ammunition manufacturers, was merged into Explosives Trades Ltd, later to become Nobel Industries. In 1926 when Nobel Industries became part of the new Imperial Chemical Industries, the old Kynoch factory at Witton was retained as the ammunition centre as part of the Metal Group within ICI. The propellant interests being concentrated mainly at Ardeer within the Nobel Division of ICI. In 1962 the Metals Division of ICI was reorganised as a separate company known as Imperial Metal Industries (Kynoch) Ltd. During WW1 Kynoch produced in excess of 2,373 million .303 cartridges.

The following .303 cartridges are known to have been produced by Kynoch:

Armour Piercing Mks VII.S, VII.P, VII.W, W Mk 1 and W Mk 1Z

Ball, Blackpowder Mk 2

Ball, Cordite Mks 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7

Ball, Match

Ball, Nitro-cellulose Mks 7Z and 8Z

Ball, Short Range Practice

Ball, Nitro-cellulose Mk 8z with Aluminium Case

Blank, Ballistite L Mk 9Z

Blank, Blackpowder Mk 2

Blank, Cordite Mks 4 and 5

Blank, Nitro-cellulose L Mk 5Z

Bulleted Blank, Blackpowder Mk 1

Bulleted Blank, Mk 6

Bulleted Blank, L Mk 7

Bulleted Blank, L Mk 10

Cartridge Line Thrower H Mk 2

Cartridge Rifle Grenade, Ballistite H Mk 1Z

Drill, D Mk 6, D Mk 8, D Mk 9 and D Mk 10

Dummy, Drill Mk 4

Greener Triplex Cartridge

Incendiary Buckingham Mk VII.B

Incendiary B Mk 3, B Mk 4Z*, B Mk 6, B Mk 6Z,

B Mk 7 and B Mk 7Z

Practice Tracer PG Mk 1

Proof Q Mk 3

Tracer, Self Destroying

Tracer Mk VII.G, G Mk 1, G Mk 2, G Mk 2Z, G Mk 3,

Tracer G Mk 3Z, G Mk 4, G Mk 5, G Mk 6, G Mk 6Z,


G Mk 7, G Mk 8 and G Mk 8Z

Triple Ball Experimental (1918)

180 gr Jacketed soft point sporting ammunition

Streamlined Pattern 1927 Match Cartridge

Streamlined Pattern 1936-37 Match Cartridge

Streamlined Pattern 1947 Match Cartridge

Bulleted blanks for Bren, Lewis and Vickers

French Drill Cartridge

Experimental armour piercing

Experimental semi-armour piercing

Experimental armour piercing tracer

Experimental armour piercing incendiary (1956)

Experimental tank piercing (1940)

Experimental Tracers

Experimental Observation

Experimental Bulleted Blanks

 

K2 Imperial Chemical Industries Kynoch factory at Standish, near Wigan, Lancs, UNITED KINGDOM. This factory was set up as part of the 1939-45 war emergency plans and produced its first complete .303 rounds in October 1940. Known to have manufactured .303 cartridges in:

Armour Piercing, W Mk 1 Special

Ball, Cordite Mk 7

Shot Cartridge

Tracer G Mk 2, G Mk 3and G Mk 6

 

K4 Imperial Chemical Industries Kynoch factory at Yeading, Hayes, Middlesex, UNITED KINGDOM. This factory was also set up as part of the 1939-45 war emergency expansion plans. Cartridge cases were being produced by late 1940 but the ball bullets were still being imported into the factory in 1941. Known to have produced .303 cartridges in:

Ball, Cordite Mk 7

Tracer G Mk 2,G Mk 3, G Mk 4, G Mk 5 and G Mk 6

 

K5 Imperial Chemical Industries Kynoch factory at Kidderminster, Worcestershire., UNITED KINGDOM. Set up as part of the 1939-45 war emergency expansion plans. Known to have produced .303 cartridges in:

Armour Piercing, W Mk 1

Ball, Cordite Mk 7

Incendiary B Mk 7Z

Tracer, G Mk 2, G Mk 3 and G Mk 6

 

KF or K Indian Government Ammunition Factory Kirkee (or Kirkee Arsenal), near Poona, INDIA. In 1918 this factory had the capacity to produce about 5.4 million rounds per month. It is known to have manufactured .303 cartridges in:

Armour Piercing W Mk 1 and W Mk 1 IP

Ball, Cordite Mk 2, Mk 2 Special, Mk 6 and Mk 7

Ball SB Mk 1

Blank

Cartridge Rifle Grenade, Cordite H Mk 3 and H Mk 5

Drill, D Mk 6 and D Mk 7

Lachrymatory Cartridge

Observation O Mk 2 and O Mk 3

Tracer G Mk 1 and G Mk 2

 

KN Kings Norton Metal Co., Birmingham, UNITED KINGDOM. This company was formed in 1890 at Kings Norton, it owned its own rolling mills and had a loading plant at Abbey wood in Kent. Cases were made in Birmingham then assembled and loaded at the Abbey Wood Factory, next to Woolwich Arsenal. Known to have produced .303 cartridges up to 1919 in:

Armour Piercing VII.F, VII.FZ and VII.W

Ball, Cordite Mks 2, 4, 5, 6, 7

Ball, Match

Ball, Nitro-cellulose Mk 7Z

Blank Cordite Mk 5

Bulleted Blank Mk 6

Dummy, Drill Mk 3, Mk 3 Expedient, Mk 5

Explosive RTS (VII.R) Mk 2

Incendiary BIK (VII.K) Mk 1

Incendiary Buckingham (VII.B) and B Mk 3

Tracer SPG Mk VIIG Mk 1 and Mk 1Z

Experimental RTT Explosive Cartridge

Experimental Blank Cartridges

 

L There is some confusion over this headstamp code as both Lorenz Ammunition and Ordnance Co, Millwall, London, UNITED KINGDOM and Ludlow and Co, Wolverhampton, Staffs, UNITED KINGDOM are believed to have used a L as their code and both manufactured .303 cartridges between 1887 and 1890. Both firms are believed to have manufactured .303 Blackpowder Mk 2 Ball Cartridges



L-E or U Remington UMC, Bridgeport, Conn., UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. On UK Government contracts 1914 - 1915. Known to have manufactured nitro-cellulose loaded .303 Ball, Mk 7 cartridges

 

M Nobel Explosives Ltd., Manchester, UNITED KINGDOM. Known to have produced .303 cartridges 1914 - 1918 in:

Ball, Cordite Mk 7

Explosive, PSA Mk 2

 

MAXIM Maxim Arms Co.,London, UNITED KINGDOM. The cases were made by BSA for Maxim machine guns in the 1890s. Cartridges known to have been manufactured in:

Ball, Cordite Mk 2

 

MEN Maschinenfabrik Elisenhutte, Nassau, WEST GERMANY. This producer is now known as Metallwerk Elisenhutte GmbH Nassau. Known to have produced .303 ball cartridges during 1988.

 

MEXICO Fabrica National de Munitions, Mexico City, MEXICO. Known to have produced .303 ball cartridges

 

MF or AF Small Arms Ammunition Factory No 1, Footscray, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA. They used the MF monogram May 1926 to 1945 and the AF monogram from January 1924 to February 1925. The monogram MF1 was used for a short time in 1940 when the Gordon Street Factory commenced production. The Gordon Street Factory used the monogram MF2 for a short time during 1940 Between 1988 and 1992 the Gordon Street factory used the monogram AFF. Known to have manufactured .303 cartridges in:

Armour Piercing W Mk 1

Ball, Cordite Mk 7

Blank, Cordite L Mk 5

Blank, Mk 9Z

Cartridge Rifle Grenade, Cordite H Mk 4

Drill, D M 7/N

Incendiary B Mk 7

Proof Q Mk 3 and Q Mk 4

Tracer G Mk 2 (Australian Pattern)

 

MG / MF2 Small Arms Ammunition Factory No 2, Gordon Street, Footscray, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA. 1940 - 1949. The MG monogram was changed to MF in 1949 which was used until 1962. There was no production of .303 ammunition in 1961. Known to have manufactured .303 cartridges in:

Ball, Cordite Mk 7

Incendiary B Mk 7

Rifle Grenade H1Z

Proof Q3

Dummy / Drill DV1*





MH Small Arms Ammunition Factory No 3, Hendon, AUSTRALIA. Monogram in use 1940 to 1945. Known to have produced .303 cartridges in:

Ball, Cordite Mk 7

Blank, Cordite L Mk 5

Tracer G Mk 2 (Australian Pattern) (projectiles were filled by MS at Salisbury)

Incendiary B Mk 7

Armour Piercing W Mk 1

 

MI Societe Meridionale d'Industrie, Robert Paulet & Cie ( formerly called Cartoucherie Leon Paulet), Marseille, FRANCE. Known to have produced 7.7 x 56R ball cartridges which are interchangeable with the .303 cartridge.

 

MJ Small Arms Ammunition Factory No 4, Hendon, AUSTRALIA. Monogram in use 1941 1945. Known to have produced .303 cartridges in:

Ball, Cordite Mk 7

Incendiary B Mk 7

Tracer G Mk 2

Blanks

 

MJB Incendiary Annexe to MJ Hendon, AUSTRALIA. Known to have produced .303 cartridges in 1942 only. Cases were supplied by MJ

Ball Mk 7 (loaded into cases with BVI head stamp)

Incendiary B Mk IV

 

MKE Makina ve Kimya Endustrisi, Kuruma, TURKEY. Known to have produced 7.7 x 56R ball cartridges, which are interchangeable with the .303 cartridge.

 

MQ Small Arms Ammunition Factory No 5, Rocklea, AUSTRALIA. Used the monogram 1942 to 1943. Known to have produced .303 cartridges in:

Ball, Cordite Mk 7

 

MS Explosives Factory, Salisbury, AUSTRALIA. Known to have produced .303 cartridges in:

Tracer G Mk 2Z (Australian Pattern)

(The metal components for these rounds were manufactured by MH and MJ at Hendon)

 

MW Small Arms Ammunition Factory No 6, Welchpool, AUSTRALIA. Used the monogram 1942 to 1945. Known to have produced .303 cartridges in:

Ball Mk 7

Blank L Mk 5

 

NORMA or norma Norma Projectilfabrik, Amotfors, SWEDEN. Known to have produced nitro-cellulose loaded .303 cartridges in:

Bulleted blank

130gr, 150gr, 180gr and 215 gr jacketed soft point sporting ammunition

 

OFN Government Ordinance Factory, Lagos, NIGERIA. Known to have produced .303 ball cartridges

 

P or PC Peters Cartridge Co., Kings Mills, Ohio, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Known to have produced nitro-cellulose loaded .303 cartridges in:

Ball, Mk 7. British military contracts 1914 - 1917

Ball, Mk 7Z (Canadian Pattern). On British military contracts 1940-45 180 & 215 gr jacketed soft point sporting ammunition

 

PMP Pretoria Metal Pressings (Pty) Ltd., Pretoria, SOUTH AFRICA. Known to have produced nitro-cellulose filled .303 cartridges in:

174 gr Full jacket boat tail bulleted ammunition

150 and 174 gr jacketed soft point sporting ammunition

 

POF Pakistan Ordnance Factory, Rawalpindi, PAKISTAN. Known to have produced .303 cartridges in:

Ball

Blank

Grenade Launching Blank

Proof Mk 3

 

PPU or nny Prvi Partizan, Titovo Uzice, YUGOSLAVIA. This factory is known to have produced .303 cartridges in:

Ball, Mk 7, 7Z , 8 and 8Z

 

PS or S Pirotechnico Militar de Seville, SPAIN. Known to have produced 7.7 x 56R cartridges which are interchangeable with the .303 cartridge in:

Ball

Tracer ( Green tip)

 

RA Remington Arms Co.,Inc., Bridgeport, Conn., UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Nitro-cellulose filled .303 American WW1 Contract Pattern cartridges were produced during the period 1914 - 1917 as.

Ball, Mk 7

 

RA Raufoss Ammunisjonsfabrikker, Raufoss, NORWAY. Known to have produced .303 ball cartridges c 1934

 

RG Royal Ordnance Factory, Radway Green, Cheshire, UNITED KINGDOM. This factory was part of the 1939- 45 war emergency expansion plans being situated near Crewe and is still in operation. Production of the .303 cartridge commenced in 1940 and the last known production of this cartridge was in 1973 with Mk 7Z Ball and Dummy Drill cartridges. Initial Radway Green production used a single arrow as the headstamp code and this was replaced in 1942 by the RG code. Known to have produced .303 cartridges in:

Armour Piercing W Mk 1, W Mk 1 Special and W Mk 1Z

Ball, Cordite Mk 7

Ball, Nitro-cellulose Mks 7Z and 8Z

Blank, Ballistite L Mk 9Z

Blank, Cordite L Mk 5

Blank, Nitro-cellulose L Mk 5Z

Bulleted Blank, Nitro-cellulose L Mk 10Z

Cartridge Rifle Grenade, Cordite H Mk 2, H Mk 4 and H Mk 4Z

Drill, D Mk 10

Dummy Drill 1973 Pattern

Dummy, U Mk 5

Incendiary B Mk 6, B Mk 6Z, B Mk 7 and B Mk 7Z

Proof, Q Mk 3

Tracer G Mk 2 and G Mk 8

 

RH Raleigh Cycle Co, Nottingham, UNITED KINGDOM. Known to have produced .303 cartridges 1941 - 1945 in:

Ball, Cordite, Mk 7

 

RL Royal Laboratory, Woolwich Arsenal, Kent, UNITED KINGDOM. Woolwich Arsenal, of which the Royal Laboratory was only a part, is situated in South East London on the River Thames. The Arsenal dates from 1670 and has manufactured many different items of warlike stores for the armed forces. Ammunition was made at Woolwich long before the adoption of the .303 cartridge in 1889. Ammunition production ceased completely at Woolwich in 1957, the last known production of .303 ammunition there being Mk 7 Ball in 1957.
The Woolwich site apart from containing all the supportive facilities for the research, design, development, inspection and testing of ammunition also included an extensive range complex on the Plumpstead Marshes. In addition there was a filling area not far away in the vicinity of Abbey Wood.

The following .303 cartridges are known to have been produced since 1889:

Armour Piercing Mks VII.S, VII.P, VII.PZ, VII.W, VII.WZ, W Mk 1,

W Mk 1 Special and W MK 1Z

Ball, Blackpowder Mks 1,and 2

Ball, Cordite Mks 1, 2, 2*, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7

Ball, Match

Ball, Nitro-cellulose Mks 7z, 8z & 7z RC ( reduced charge )

Ball, Short Range Practice, Cordite Mks 1,2,3 and 4

Ball, Short Range Practice ( Gaudet )

Blank, Blackpowder Mks 2 and 3

Blank, Cordite, Mks 2, 3, 4, 5

Blank, Cordite L Mk 5

Bulleted Blank, Black powder Mk 1

Bulleted Blank, Cordite Mks 1, 6

Bulleted Blank, L Mk 7

Bulleted Blank, L Mk 10Z

Cartridge Rifle Grenade, Cordite Mks 1 and 2

Cartridge Rifle Grenade, Cordite H Mk 2

Cartridge Rifle Grenade, Ballistite H Mk 1Z

Cartridge Discharger, Blackpowder E Mk 1T

Drill, Magazine Rifle Mk 1 and 2

Drill D Mk 6, D Mk 6*, D Mk 7, D Mk 8 and D Mk 9

Dummy, U Mk 5

Dummy Drill Mks 3, 4, 5, 6

Dummy Version of Explosive R Mk 3*

Inspectors Dummy Mk 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Explosive R Mk 1, R Mk 2, R Mk 3, and R Mk 3*

Incendiary Buckingham (VII.B), B Mk 1, B Mk 2Z, B Mk 4,B Mk 4.

B Mk 5, B Mk 6, B Mk 6Z and B Mk 7

Instructional Mk 6

Machine Gun Blank, Cordite Mk 1

Machine Gun Dummy Mks 1 and 2

Observing O Mk 1

Proof, Cordite Mk 1, Mk 2, Mk 3, Q Mk 3, Q Mk 4 and Q Mk 5

Shot Cartridges

RL Tracer Mk 1

Tracer SPK(VII.T) and SPK(VII.TZ)

Tracer SPG(VII.G) Mk 1 and SPG(VII.G) Mk1Z

Tracer G Mk 1, G Mk 1 Special, G Mk 2, G Mk 3 and G Mk 4

Experimental steel anti fouling bulleted rounds

Experimental Armour Piercing Tracer (1917-18)

Experimental Armour Piercing Cartridges

Experimental Bulleted Blanks

Experimental Explosive, RTS and RTT Cartridges

Experimental Grenade Launching Cartridges

Experimental Lachrymatory Cartridge

 

RNRA Rhodesia National Rifle Association. On nitro-cellulose loaded .303 Mk 7z Ball cartridges made by FNM of Moscavide, PORTUGAL.

 

R-P Remington Arms Co, Bridgeport, Conn., UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Known to have produced nitro-cellulose loaded .303 cartridges in:

180 & 215 gr jacketed soft point sporting ammunition

 

RR or RRCO Ross Rifle Co, Montreal, CANADA. Produced .303 Mk 7 ball ammunition in cases believed to be made by Eley

 

RTS Richard Threlfall and Sons, UNITED KINGDOM. On explosive anti - Zeplin cartridges.

 

R..W Rudge Whitworth Ltd., Tyseley, UNITED KINGDOM. This company represents the only new commercial ammunition manufacturer put into business by the Government as a result of demand in the 1914- 18 war. They received their first Government contract for the supply of Mk 7 Ball ammunition in 1915 and continued to produce until the end of 1918 at their new factory at Tyseley. Manufactured .303 cartridges from 1915 - 1918 in:

Ball, Cordite Mk 7

Dummy, Drill Mk 5

Incendiary Buckingham (VII.B), B Mk 1, B Mk 2Z

Tracer SPG (VII.G) Mk 1Z

 

SAAF Small Arms Factory Footscray, AUSTRALIA. Known to have produced .303 cartridges with this headstamp April 1921 to December 1923, although some also produced in March 1924. Also manufactured Mk VI Dummy cartridges

 

SBR Sellier & Bellot, Riga, LATVIA. Known to have produced .303 ball cartridges c 1937

 

SFM Societe Francaise des Munitions, Issy - les - Moulineaux, FRANCE. Known to have manufactured nitro-cellulose loaded .303 ball cartridges for export pre 1939

 

SMI Societa Metallurgica Italiana, Campo Tizzoro, ITALY. Known to have produced nitro-cellulose loaded 7.7 x 56R ammunition which is interchangeable with the .303 cartridge in:

Ball

Tracer

 

SR Royal Ordnance Factory, Spennymoor, Durham, UNITED KINGDOM. This factory was part of the 1939-45 war emergency expansion plan. It began production of .303 ammunition in 1941 initially with the headstamp code of two arrows replacing these in 1942 with the code SR. The Spennymoor ammunition was filled at the Royal Ordnance Factory, Aycliffe, Durham. Known to have produced .303 cartridges in:

Ball Mk 7 and 8Z

Blank L Mk 5

Incendiary B Mk 6, B Mk 6Z, B Mk 7 and B Mk 7Z

 

TM..B Pirotechnia di Bologna, ITALY. Known to have produced nitro-cellulose loaded 7.7 x 56R ammunition, which is interchangeable with the .303 cartridge in:

Tracer

Ball

 

T.BLAND & SONS Commercial .303 ammunition loaded by T. Bland & Sons, London, UNITED KINGDOM in ball and sporting configurations

 

U or SAM South African Mint, Pretoria, SOUTH AFRICA. Used code U from 1939 - 1961 and SAM thereafter. When U used with a diamond this indicates manufacture in a subsidiary factory at Kimberley. Known to have manufactured .303 cartridges in:

Ball, Cordite Mk 7

Jacketed soft point sporting ammunition

Semi Armour Piercing F Mk 1

Tracer G Mk 2

 

US United States Cartridge Co, Lowell, Mass., UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Known to have produced nitro-cellulose loaded .303 Ball Mk 7 cartridges during the period 1914 - 1918.

 

VE Cartoucherie de Valence, FRANCE. Known to have produced nitro-cellulose loaded .303 Ball cartridges

 

VIS Atelier de Chargement de Vincennes, FRANCE. Known to have produced nitro-cellulose loaded .303 Ball cartridges 1923

 

 VPT Valtion Patruunatehdas, Lapua, FINLAND. Known to have produced Ilmavoimat Konekivaarin Patruuna Kal 7.70 machine gun cartridges, which are interchangeable with the .303 cartridge in:

Special Ball

Special Armour Piercing

 

W or WRA Winchester Repeating Arms Co., New Haven, Conn., UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Known to have produced nitro-cellulose loaded .303 cartridges:

Ball, Mk 7 for 1914 - 1917 military contracts

Ball, Mk 7Z ( American WW2 Contract Pattern )

Scott multiball ( duplex ) cartridge

180 gr jacketed soft point sporting ammunition

 

WCC Western Cartridge Co., East Alton, Ill., UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Known to have produced nitro-cellulose loaded .303 cartridges in:

Ball, Mk 7Z ( American WW2 Contract Pattern )

 

W-W Winchester Western Division of Olin Industries, New Haven, Conn., UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Known to have produced nitro-cellulose loaded .303 cartridges in:

180 gr Jacketed soft point sporting ammunition

 

y Toyokawa Naval Arsenal, JAPAN. Known to have produced nitro-cellulose loaded Imperial Japanese Navy Year Type 92 Machine Gun ammunition which is interchangeable with the .303 cartridge in:

Armour Piercing

Ball

Incendiary, phosphorus filled

Tracer

 

ZV Zbrojovka Brno, Brno, CZECHOSLOVAKIA. Known to have produced .303 cartridges in:

Ball, Mks 7 and 8Z. This ammunition is known to have been commercially exported by the manufacturer post 1950 to Afghanistan and India

 

CHINA is known to have produced some 7.7mm rimmed ammunition for use in captured Japanese machine guns from 1945 onwards. This cartridge is interchangeable with the .303 British cartridge.

EGYPT is known to have produced .303 ball ammunition at the Government Arsenal Shoubra, United Arab Republic and Factory No 10 at Alexandria, Egypt.

ETHIOPA is known to have produced .303 ball cartridges c 1959

FINLAND is known to have produced .303 inch cartridges in various loadings including Armour Piercing, Ball, Incendiary, Tracer and Drill rounds

FRANCE manufactured several variants of the .303 cartridge, including: Ball, Tracer, Armour piercing, Armour piercing / Tracer and Incendiary rounds

IRAQ is known to have produced .303 Ball cartridges

ISRAEL is known to have manufactured .303 ball cartridges at the Government Arsenal, Tel Aviv, Israel. c 1948

JAPAN is known to have manufactured nitro-cellulose loaded Imperial Japanese Army Year Type 89 Machine Gun ammunition, which is interchangeable with the .303 cartridge, without any headstamp codes in:

Armour Piercing

Tracer

JAPAN is also known to have manufactured nitro-cellulose Imperial Japanese Navy Year Type 92 Machine Gun ammunition, which is interchangeable with the .303 cartridge, at their Aichi Naval Arsenal, Toyokawa Naval Arsenal and Yokosuka Naval Arsenal in the following configurations

Armour Piercing,

Ball

High Explosive, (Violet Primer)

Incendiary, Phosphorus

Tracer

SPAIN manufactured .303 ammunition and used it on a limited scale during and after the Civil War of 1936 - 39

COLOUR CODING of .303 AMMUNITION

Colour coding appears in several forms on small arms ammunition. The most common system with the .303 cartridge used coloured bullet tips or colour around the annulus of the primer cap. Other methods include colouring of part or the whole of the cartridge case. Originally colour markings arose from the need to make a quick visual check of the arrangements in a machine gun belt and they are now almost universally applied. Most countries do not, unlike Britain, identify the bullet by the headstamp, so such colour markings are often the only way to identify the bullet in use. As a general rule the absence of a colour coding indicates a standard ball cartridge.

BELGIUM - used bullet tip code

Bullet Type

Incendiary - Light blue tip

Tracer - Red tip

FINLAND - used bullet tip code

Bullet Type

Armour Piercing - Light blue tip

ITALY - used both bullet tip and annulus codes

Bullet type

Armour Piercing - Green annulus

Armour Piercing Incendiary (Phosphorus filled) - Blue tip

Armour Piercing Incendiary (Thermite filled) - Green tip

Observation - Black tip

Tracer - Red tip

 

JAPAN - Used annulus code

Bullet Type

Armour Piercing - White annulus

Ball - Black annulus

High Explosive - Purple annulus

Incendiary - Green annulus

Tracer - Pink / red annulus

UNITED KINGDOM AND COMMON WEALTH COUNTRIES BEFORE c 1955,

ie Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, and South Africa

 Bullet Type

Armour Piercing - Green tip, Green annulus

Ball - Purple annulus

Incendiary - Blue tip, Blue annulus

Observing - Black tip, Black annulus

Proof - Yellow annulus

Tracer Short Range - White tip, Red annulus

Tracer Dark Ignition - Grey tip, Red annulus

Tracer Long Range - Red tip, Red annulus

 

When cap annulus colours were first introduced in 1918 the Ball Mk VIIz had the annulus coloured black while the Ball Mk VII had the entire cap area coloured purple. This distinction was abandoned in May 1920 and thereafter all ball rounds had the purple annulus.

 

Coloured bands on the cartridge case are not common but the following have been used:

One inch blue band - Reduced charge ball to simulate stoppages in Vickers aircraft guns.

Quarter inch blue band - Practice tracer

Quarter inch green band - Canadian made tracer

Wide green band at equator of case - Canadian made Match Ball (1922)

Six purple bands around equator of case - Canadian Match Ball (1926)

Ball round with case blackened quarter inch back from the mouth - Short Range Practice Mk 1 (1895 - 1897), or Mk 2 (1899 - 1912) (continued over)

Case completely blackened with brass dummy bullet - Blank with mock bullet Mk 6

Blank case all black - Rifle grenade blank Mk 2

Blank, front half black - Rifle Grenade, Ballistite

Blank, front and rear thirds black - Rifle grenade Mk 4 for Grenade No 85

Blank, rear half black - Rifle grenade blank Mk 7z or Smoke discharger Mk 1T

Ball, reddened case - Proof round Mks 1 to 3


In addition to colour coding, British and Commonwealth .303 ammunition had a letter code pre 1955 to denote the type of bullet as well as the type of propellant charge. These should not be confused with the manufacturer's identification code.

A A On cartridges c 1917 indicated a Pomeroy explosive incendiary Mk 2 bullet

B denoted an Incendiary bullet,

C on early pre 1912 cartridges denoted a Cordite propellant charge

D denoted a Drill round,

E denoted a Smoke bomb projector,

F denoted a Semi armour piercing bullet,

G denoted a Tracer bullet,

H denoted Grenade Discharger,

K On cartridges c 1918 indicated a Brock explosive incendiary bullet

L denoted Blank,

O denoted an Observation bullet,

P denoted a practice round,

Q denoted a proof round,

R denoted an Explosive bullet,

U denoted a Dummy round,

W denoted an Armour piercing bullet and

Z indicated a nitro-cellulose propellant charge in the cartridge.

 

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Used the same annulus colour coding as United Kingdom for ammunition supplied under contract to the British Government during both the First and Second World Wars.



Bibliography

.303 inch by P. Labbett & P.J.F. Mead

Identification Manuals Nos 1, 2, 3, and 4 on the .303 British Service Cartridge by B.A. Temple

The Cartridge Guide by Ian V. Hogg

Collectors Cartridge Catalogue No 29 by Conjay Arms Company Ltd

Whitney's Heritage, A Study of Cartridges Manufactured by The Colonial Ammunition Company in New Zealand. By Barry W. Gracia

Personnel communications

 

Other web links on .303 ammunition:

http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Hangar/8217/fgun/fgun-in.html an article on WW2 fighter armaments

http://www.vickersmachinegun.org.uk/world.html an extensive website on the Vickers machine gun

http://www.csd.uwo.ca/~pettypi/elevon/gustin_military/fgun.html an article on the WW2 fighter gun debate

http://www.public.asu.edu/~roblewis/SMLE/IIID2a11a4.html an article on handloading for the .303

 

 

Copyright Harrington Aviation Museum Society 2001 - 16

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