.303 Brit "R.16.W. VII" with 3 stab crimps

“Here you go again” (Ronald Reagan).
So, it is Rudge Withworth Co. UK made round (totally non-magnetic) re-worked by French in WWI? Martin Golland thought it was a tracer (when he examined it personally at SLICS).

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Did Martin say why he thought it was a tracer? Not disputing it but curious as to why.

No. He just checked the bullet with a magnet and said: “I think it is a tracer”.

Mk 1 Tracer was indeed loaded into that particular headstamp but so was ball. In order to differentiate betwen the two loadings tracer rounds should have the ‘VII’ inverted although this was not always the case. I actually have a ball round loaded into a case with an inverted ‘VII’. The stabs in the neck and the unusual shiny finish of the bullet suggest that Martin is correct and this is a tracer. However, I am surprised that Martin did not pick up on the primer crimps as these are certainly not British nor are they original to the round. I’d suggest again, this has been reloaded by France circa 1916-18 for use by their airforce.


Would an X-ray help for definitive ID?

An x-ray would certainly help. Only other way is the pull the bullet.

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Mine says R.16.W VII shiny non magnetic bullet but it does not have the 3 stab crimps. Tom

I was told it’s an A. P.

From the info I have from The reference collection and some from Tony Edwards personal files this is definitly an Incendiary I will attach a table showing UK & US reloads & re-crimped rounds.


I do have more info on the French “re-worked” rounds, I will try and find it and upload it. The tables states that Tracers did not have the neck stabs as this round does.



Thanks for posting the table Rich, that’s cleared this one up nicely!

The French Aviation produced
.303 started when Britain supplied France with Lewis and Synchronised Vickers Guns to
Replace the mixture of French 8mm Portatives, and occasional CS 1913 guns.
The ammo supplied was US contract ammo, mostly unreliable, so the French broke these up, added primer crimps for MG use, and loaded with French Powder( flake).
Tracer and AP bullets were acquired from Greenwood & Batley. LATER supplies of Berdan R^L and R^W cases were acquired primed & formed, but no cordite. At the same time, the French started producing their own 7.7 cases,
And loading their own developed AP and Tracer.
But G&B supplies ran into 1917 and even 1918.
By that time France was self sufficient in .303 Ball ammo and cases and had also developed
the Darne Aviation MG ( high R.o.F) to replace the Lewis Guns.
Doc AV

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Inside view (from my dentist). Looks like a ball round to me.

I don’t think there is enough penetration but there appears to be a horizontal line that sits well above the neck of the case. This demarcates an area of increasing density above, which follows the contour of the envelope. This would suggest that something less dense sits below this line.

Darn, I did not think of radiation strength. My 1st time dealing with X-raying ammo. So it is still inconclusive? Any tips of how to adjust X-ray signal to get a good imaging result?

Pull the bullet Vlad!

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I’d try increasing the penetration but I’m not familiar with dental x-ray machines. They may not have the oomph. Here is what I see when looking at the image. The bottom section is much less clear to my eye than the top but it is suggestive of a tracer.


As Jim said, you could always pull the bullet, as that will provide you with the most definitive answer.

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Is there any danger in pulling an incendiary/tracer?

For this particular calibre I would confidently say that there is no risk involved in simply pulling the bullet. I know it is not your intention but I would add that you should not cut into the bullet itself as it may contain phosphorous.

No intention to cut here. Just a hit with a kinetic hammer.

A long time ago I had a similar problem with a cartridge,and still have with some now,however at that
time I was at good terms with my Dentist just like you,and he shot some pics and I learnt right there
and then that their Machines are not powerfull enough to do the job.This in itself is quite a problem
to simply say Xray it that is more easy said then done.Unless you have a friend in the Welding field
that has excess to their technicians things can become expensive and more what the whole thing is
worth.I know I worked in that environement

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