.303 150 grain question

I was pulling dud .303 MK VII Ball ammo today and found a bullet unknown to me. The round was loaded in 1918 and the bullet is a “light” 150 grains rather than a 173/5 grain bullet I normally see with MK VII Ball ammo.
Z- loaded with a stick powder( perforated grains.) similar to IMR-4350.
The bullet 'mikes out at .309. It also has a very deep cup base. All the other “normal” bullets were .310 and were almost twice as long to ride on the rifling.
Was the idea that the “skirt” would open up in a SMLE rifle and seal/obdurate in the much larger bore of the rifle?
So far I’ve found two of the same bullets and both are .309

Those Bullets look like Russian M1908 LPS Bullets, and their Measurements match the drawings posted a few days ago here.

Since you have a “fired” ( or Misfired) case shown, it could be a “put-together”, or it could actually be a “Over-run” of .303 loaded with Left-over Russian Projectiles in 1918. ( Several factories, incl. Kynoch, loaded 7,62mm Ball M1908 for the Imperial Russian Gov’t until Mid 1917.). If it was loaded with a stick nitro-powder, that could either be Dupont MR 16 or 16-1/2, or Nobels Rifle Neonite.

What is the source of this cartridge? is it out of the Baltic states? ( 1919-1930s supplied by Kynoch/British Gov’t). It is known that “Battlefield Salvage” .303 was repacked in Ex-7,62x54R cartons ( Wedge shaped Box with three chargers). I have several examples of these boxes (Came from a clean-out of an Australian Army Ammunition Depot, in the late 1960s…every Packet contained Mixed UK & US headstamps, from 1914 to 1918, and included many US contract Rounds. There was also a lot of “Loose” ammo ( the disposal was in 44 gallon Drums, for “burning”.)…a friendly truck driver saved a Bin full, ( to shoot off) and I exchanged Recent .303 MkVII on a “one for one Basis” when I found him at the range, happily popping off all these collectibles…I got something like 50-60 individual HS samples and Variations, as well as a Lot of Mark II chargers. Kept me in “swaps” for many years, as well as Cartridge analysis ( Pull down and Testing). Sadly, since I got out of serious .303 et al collecting, I still have the memories…

Doc AV

Since the bullet has either a jacket of GM or GMCS is likely is post 1918, and not original to the cartridge case. Jack

The bullet was tightly crimped into the case with stab crimps. It does not look like a reload. Rounds had not fired in two different rifles as the firing pin “dent” were not in the same place.
The two rounds I found so far were the same “K” case and year. They are from 5,000 rounds I bought from Navy Arms 20 years ago and listed as " Battlefield Pick-up" from the India / China boarder wars when I talked to them on the phone.
Head stamps are from 1909 to the early 60’s.
No boxes, had been loose packed in heavy duty cardboard box with many markings from several countries.
There are all types of ammo other than ball.
The “Left over Russian” bullets almost makes sense as they are not MK. 7 ball by anything in writing I can find.
I will try to find others as I’m sure there has to be a few more in the thousands left.

That sure looks like a 7.62x54r projectile.

Possible Darra, Pakistan reloads?

DocAV’s theory seems like a good one. Kynoch were making 7.62x54R For Tzarist Russia up until 1917.

The projectiles are the same diameter as .303 (.311") so they may have simply loaded them to use them up.

Are the jackets gilding metal or GM clad steel? Jack

One bullet is GM the other is cu-pro-nickle,neither are attracted to a magnet.

Rob: Thanks for the additional information. Maybe someone who really knows the story of these will come forward and demystify us. Jack

As we all are interested in history,we know that the British Government and their Military did not hold their colonial armies in high regard.
India in particular. Sending them ammo loaded with too small bullets and have the head stamps show Mk VII Ball sounds like something they would pull on the "substandard forces " of the Indian Army.
A good way to get rid of the Russian bullets and fulfill the contracts for ammunition to the colonies.
It will be good to see what the facts really are.

Rapid Rob, don’t spout Hogwash.
The British Indian Government had ample supplies of its own Ammunition made at “Dum Dum” Arsenals, Northern and Southern Circuits ( near Calcutta (Or “Kolkata” to modern Indians.) The Dum Dum factory was run and managed by some of the Best Technical Officers of the British Army, with full Scientific and Technical Backup of Britain. The ammunition of the Arsenals and the Rifles from RFI (founded in 1907) had to match the standards of the same made at “HOME” in Britain…none of this “substandard Garbage” if you please…equipment and ammunition had to be interchangeable with British ( and also Aussie) made equipment… In fact, the Lithgow made SMLEs (Pratt & Whitney Machinery) were “Better made” than RSAF and BSA examples… and the RFI came in a close second.

The use of the 154 grain bullet had been experimented with before WW I, during the development of the Mark VII projectile ( 174 Grains, but with inner point of aluminium or pressed paper in WW I).
The Russian Projectile, being “undersized” by a couple of thou’ of an inch, was not an issue to the .303/.311 SMLE Barrels… the “skirt” acted Minie-style, to engage the rifling, just as it did on the wide variety of Russian M91 Bores and grooves.

IN 1918, Kynoch saw that the Russian contracts were finished (By the Revolution,) and with Millions of LPS Projectiles on hand, simply loaded them as if they were “Mark VII”…and straight to the Battlefield. They knew from previous testing that the 150-odd grain bullet (without a “filler”) had the same Centre of Mass as the 174grain, and so would fly in a similar trajectory; and at a few hundred Yards, that was all that mattered…This was a “Trench War” after all, not a Napoleonic Battle.

Some readers and Posters are too “Picky” on the few thousandths of an inch here or there… We are talking Combat ammo here, made in Millions ( if not Billions) of rounds and NOT Benchrest Anality. And I might say the R word as well…through ignorance, not necessarily from bad faith.

Doc AV
Down Under… Curmudgeon in a Bear Cave…the Grizzly took off!!!.

Thanks Doc…nicely put! :-)

The bullet is a Russian-type “L” bullet. Not LPS, which has mild steel core, boat tail.

The “L” type bullet on the picture due to the cannelure is the “new” 1930 re-designed type. It was highly likely made after 1930. I put my penny on that the jacket is magnetic.



I forgot about: I used to shoot these russian L bullets handloaded into .303 from the 2-groove barrel of my No.4 MK1* with full success. Stabil, acceptably accurate bullet up to 300 m (the max range I shot it).

From the same rifle all the boat tail bullets thumbled before the 100 m target… Only flat base bullets and these russian Ls worked fine.

Doc: To me the crux of this matter isn’t dimension but rather being asked to believe that copper jacketed ball bullets were made in Great Britain in 1918. All the British-contract (Kynoch, RL, national ctg factories) 7.62 m/m I’ve seen were cupro-nickel jacketed. Jack

No offense meant Doc AV. It was just a theory with tongue in cheek… Why mark the brass Mk VII Ball and it is not?

During WWI large quantities of the M1908 cartridge with the Type “L” bullet as pictured were manufactured in the UK and the US both Cupro Nickel and Guilding metal envelopes were made, with a lead antomony core. In the UK they were manufactured by Eley Brothers, Greenwood and Batley, Royal Labs & Kynoch so it is very possible it could be an pukka round just using up spare bullets as Doc has said and as for the cannelur the use or lack of and the milled or plain cannelur is no way to set dates due to the fact that various cannelurs have been used on and off at various times.

As you say the 3 stab crimps on the neck are intact and were holding the bullet firm, I would say that is a good indicator of origonal loading and not a reload, this is the frustrating part about our hobby we will never know everything will we.

all the best

Thank you Richard for your reply. In the 50 years of shooting Enfield rifles the rounds stopped me in my tracks as being so odd.

what is the interesting and informative discussion.
Let’s me share my humble opinion.
Many British factories produced 7.62x54R rounds with pointed bullets for Russian contract in 1917-1918.
We found a lot of these cartridges and bullets in Ukraine left after Civilian War. As per headstamps all those rounds were produced by Kynoch, RL, Birmingham Metal and Munitions Co, Eley, Greenwood and Batley, Government cartridge factories.
And all those 7.62x54R rounds produced in Britain till 1918 have only bullets with cupronickel jacket without cannelure at all. Bullet was fixed with 3-stub crimp.
And I have a 7.62x54R round headstamped as “K-32 7.62”. And this round has exactly the bullet described by Rapidrob. It is “L” bullet with GM (tombak) jacket and plain grooved cannelure. This round was found at the battlefields of Soviet-Finnish war of 1939. It gives an idea that Kynoch produced the 7.62 rounds for Mosin-Nagant rifle with “L” bullet during 30’s years. Probably Finnish contract.
And they could easily utilize the leftovers of GM jacketed 7.62 bullets with “old” .303 shells to produce .303 rounds for somebody. Which fully supports the assumption of RichT. But I guess this production could started not earlier than 1920 as all British-produced bullets before 1918 differ. As I wrote above they have cupronickel jacket and knurled cannelure.
And one note.
In local official publications all 7.62 bullets produced for Mosin-Nagant by any factory before 1920 are called as “bullet type 1908”. The name " L" bullet (with means Light) appiered in late 20’s when Soviet Union started to produce different types of bullets and it was needed to differentiate all those variety.
Bullet “LPS” which stands from Russian as Light bullet with Steel Core has nothing common with discussed bullet and appeared only in 1953 and has been producing till 1988. But LPS bullet has different sizes and design.