.303 British "Interarmco 303"


I am sure this is not a new subject. Why did Interarmco produce its own headstamp while there was a glut of military surplus .303?



I don’t know why Interarms had cases made with their headstamp, which they did, but it is a second headstamp. They also had old headstamps removed and their own stamped in its place. I am not quite sure from your photo which one it is you picture - I don’t have my .303 collection anymore, in which I had both types. I believe from the box label that it is the latter, though. You will note that your label says “bullet changed in Finland,” a dead giveaway that these were military loads, perhaps British from the purple primer seal and the “look” of the primer, converted to soft-nose hunting rounds.

By the way, there has not been a continuous glut of .303 surplus ammo on the market in the last forty years. It has been an on again, off again situation, with sometimes as much as a year or so when inexpensive .303 ammo was hard to find, a bad situation when one is shooting British Enfields, as the chamber specs and resultant case head expansion is not conducive to long case life for safe reloading.

John Moss



After WWII and again after the Korean War, milsurp ammo started showing up all across the fruited plain. As did, milsurp arms and milsurp equipment. As did cheap imports from other countries on all sorts of things, from fishing hooks to transistor radios to automobiles. Much of this stuff acquired a reputation for poor quality, some deserved and some not. Some importers elected to add their own logo to stuff in an attempt to give the appearance of better quality, and to increase sales. Some of them were big outfits, like Sears & Roebuck, Montgomery Wards, Herters, etc.

So, bottom line, it was all about the $$$$.

Your cartridge, BTW, is one where the original headstamp was removed in a lathe and the new one stamped in.



I found this single un-altered round in the box, but the box was open.


These boxes came taped in pairs. Why? Was this done by the importer? Also, what’s the meaning of “loan” and numbers on the side?


A lot of this stuff was rehandled in Finland. Here in Britain the supply of Milsurp .303 has been erratic. Most recently when the Russians were in Afganistan and large amounts of our .303 reserves were given to the Pakistan government with the intention that it would find its way over the border to the Afgan irregulars fighting the Russians. Much of that ammo has since found its way back to Britain through the surplus channels but by then it had been cooked by years of storage in 100 + degrees temperature and is useless.


Getting Back to the original Post, regarding the Lathe Cut and re-stamped Ammo: THis was done in the 1960s, and the “cutting out” of the original HS was a " Cartridge origin" thing…obviously the seller to Interarms did not want to be connected with the sale via the headstamp, for whatever reason (or source of the ammo). The triangular (Wedge) shapped Boxes are of a type used in Finland for 7,62x54R, and are also similar to the type of boxes used in 1917-1918 for packing contract 7,62x54R made in the (British) Government Cartridge Factories (CF or GF) for the Imperial Russian and later Kerensky Government. Packing two together gave a 30 round lot, and made Case filling easier.

THis remarking is the only one I have seen on Surplus Mil.Ammo of any calibre handled by Interarms…a lot of “proprietary” distributors had their own labelled Packets with Interarms Milsurp ammo in them, but NONE went to the extent of “cut and restamp” Military Surplus…from What I can gather, the Project with IA was also short lived, as not being economical in the long term. Eventually .303 Milsurp was Packed in Lapua (Red) packets of 20 rounds after “re-bulleting”.

BTW, any connection of this item with the Later “Mujaheddin” against Soviets in A’stan is completely “off track.”

Most of the 303 ammo supplied during the fight against the Soviets came from the “Arms trade”; Egypt ( restarted making .303 specifically for the Muj.), and some from Pakistan directly ( all under the guidance of “Charlie” Wilson ( now dec’d) the US Congressman who spearheaded US Support against the Soviets.). Interarms was Long Defunct by the time these events became current. ( 1990s)

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.

Doc AV


While they are not surplus, I have a box of 32 Specials from Centennial that have the original headstamp milled off like the .303 above. No markings were re-applied, though.