280 / 30


I picked up some 280/30 cartridges at our local show

Headstamps are:
No1: RG 280/30 49
No2: RG 280/30 50
No3: RG 280/30 51
No4: FN 7MM 52

can anybody tell me what the colour codes mean and if any of them are
rare or valueble ?


Hope this is of use:

Pink tip= Bullet type C, MS core
Yellow tip= Bullet type B, 140 gr MS core
Green tip= Bullet type B, 140 gr MS core
Brown tip= Bullet type AA, MS core

These sell for

To add a little more detail to your query:

The light blue tipped round is a 130 grn. armour piercing to design DD/L/759. There were two types of core, one pointed (DD/L/760) and one blunt (DD/L/581). The tip colour was officially called eggshell blue and consideration was given to changing this to black over green, a combination of British and American codes, but no action was taken.

The white tip is a tracer with a 115 grain bullet.

The plain tipped FN round has the 140 grn. S12 bullet, often referred to in British records as the “Continental Mauser” bullet.

The centre yellow tipped round is as posted, a Type “B” ball round, but the second from left with a yellow tip and the RG 51 headstamp is not. This is the final version of the .280/30 which was adopted as the “Cartridge SA Ball 7mm Mark 1z” in August 1951.

It has the FN 140 grn. S12 bullet and can be distinguished from the Type B bullet by the CN envelope. The Type B is only found with a GM envelope.

Velocity was 2550 fps, ME 2019 ft/lbs and remaining velocity at 2000 yards was 637 fps.

Although adopted for service unilaterally by Britain, the decision was reversed by the new Conservative government under Churchill in April 1952 and the EM2 rifle and cartridge were never actually issued for service.

Any load other than ball in .280/30 is getting hard to find these days, especially the AP. Other rounds to look out for are the API (black tip) and Observing (red tip).


Hi Tony, Armourer,

thx for your answers.

in your answer in the Topic : results of th eearly 1970s UK ammunition trials, you show a picture of a 7mm 1st optimum. Is that the same cartridge as my number 3 ??

together with these 280/30’s I also gota 7mm 2nd optimum and a 7mm HV.
I guess that together with some 4.85’s I have, this makes a nice example of post WW2 british ammo.


[quote=“Flying Dutchman”]together with these 280/30’s I also gota 7mm 2nd optimum and a 7mm HV.
I guess that together with some 4.85’s I have, this makes a nice example of post WW2 british ammo.[/quote]

You just need a 6.25x43 ;-)

Pic below from my article on the the history of assault rifle ammo, on my website.

Some experiments since the 1970s: 6mm SAW, 6mm SAW aluminium-cased, 6.25mm British, 6.45mm Swiss, 6.5x43 German, 6.8x43 Remington SPC (commercial soft-point bullet loading: military bullets are shorter to match the overall length of the 5.56x45), 6.5mm Grendel, 5.56x45 for scale

The 7mm Optimum was also known as the 7mmS and was only used in the Yukon trials. Essentially it has the same ballistics as the 7mm Mark Iz round, but has the bullet seated less deeply in the case to allow room for a little more propellant and presumably a higher velocity at some stage in the future.

Since the Mark Iz is found with and without a yellow tip, the only way to distinguish a 7mm Optimum is by the overall length. The normal oal for a .280/30 is 2.54 ins (65.42mm ) and for the optimum it is 2.6ins (66.04mm). Allowing for tolerances etc that is a pretty difficult call.

With respect to the 6.25 x 43mm British, remember this was only a ballistic vehicle for development of the projectiles, based on a necked down .280/30 case. Had the development gone further, the final round would have looked rather like the US 6mm SAW (and some say that is not a coincidence and that the SAW was cribbed from the 6.25mm).

No actual rounds of this type were produced, but RSAF Enfield made some turned brass mock-ups for demonstration purposes.


Thx Tony !!

I guess I don’t have to look further for any 6,25x43’s then.