.303 British Round Vet bring back


#1

A friend of mine (Army Green Beret) captured an Enfield rifle in Afganastan. Inside were standard looking rounds except the base had numerous serations all around instead of the standard flat base with stamped information.
(I have pictures posted on Jan Still’s Luger Forum under off topic discussions but can’t seem to figure out how to get the pictures here).

Is anyone familiar with the history behind these rounds? Are these meant to obscure the original info on the base or maybe to accomodate variations in head spacing?

Any help would be great.

Thanks,
Jim


#2

James
You need to be a member of that forum to see the photo’s.
There was a recent discussion on how to post photos on forums that don’t allow direct upload, on this thread viewtopic.php?f=8&t=7848
The same technique that works here (see above) will also work on the Luger forum BTW.


#3

Jim

Until you can post a photo, can you tell us - are the “serations” crudely made with a tool like a file, or, are they possibly made with a machine such as knurling?

Ray


#4

The serations are very consistent and strong. Some sort of machine must have been used.

Jim


#5

Images posted for Jim:



#6

I saw a very similar .303 some years ago. I believe that these rounds were supplied covertly to support the Afghans in their fight against the Russians. The headstamps have been milled off to prevent the cartridges being attributed to a specific source. That said I have no proof that this the case.

Buster


#7

Those certainly look machine made. The reason I asked is because there are known 30-40 cases with knurled heads. I hope our resident Krag expert will chime in on this one.

Randy???

Ray


#8

I suspect tha Buster is on the right track. That certainly looks like a British military Mark VII round judging by the purple annulus and general cap characteristics.

I also seem to recall a similar round recently, but I cannot remember where.

Regards
TonyE


#9

I have two different .30-40 Krag cases that were turned into .303 British, and intricately machine marked on the case heads with a waffle pattern, but not the same as this…I will try to post a drawing of same later today…

Randy


#10

[quote=“Buster”]I saw a very similar .303 some years ago. I believe that these rounds were supplied covertly to support the Afghans in their fight against the Russians. The headstamps have been milled off to prevent the cartridges being attributed to a specific source. That said I have no proof that this the case.

Buster[/quote]

I think it’s mostly some kind of decoration. What would be the point of hiding the origin of a cartridge with probably half a century of age? Where this ammo could be tracked to? During the spanish civil war, certainly aside many covert headstamps, tons of surplus ammo made in dozens of countries showed up. And, for example, nobody in the Nationalist side thought of blaming the United States for the supply to the Republicans of US 16 VII headstamped .303 ammo.

Also, for erasing an existing headstamp, is much easier and faster to turn a ring in the case head that erases just the headstamp, than to carve an intricate pattern of sunflower-like slits. But then, we’re speaking from our western point of view…


#11

30-40 Krag cases altered to .303 British…

Randy


#12

[quote=“schneider”]

I think it’s mostly some kind of decoration
. What would be the point of hiding the origin of a cartridge with probably half a century of age? Where this ammo could be tracked to? During the spanish civil war, certainly aside many covert headstamps, tons of surplus ammo made in dozens of countries showed up. And, for example, nobody in the Nationalist side thought of blaming the United States for the supply to the Republicans of US 16 VII headstamped .303 ammo.

Also, for erasing an existing headstamp, is much easier and faster to turn a ring in the case head that erases just the headstamp, than to carve an intricate pattern of sunflower-like slits. But then, we’re speaking from our western point of view…[/quote]

I’d go with decoration as well.

I’ve seen local tribesmen in the Middle East with similar looking rds stuck in their bandoleers. (is that spelt right ?)


#13

Could they perhaps be old stock from Pakistan supplied to the Afghan side. Possibly out of an old armoury in Taliban held Pakistani territory? Maybe that’s why the headstamp had been removed. Pakistan made similar .303 to original British production.


#14

It could be some aftermarket tooling done during reloading in the illegal guns markets areas of Northern Pakistan. They do tons of reloading and small-arms making by hand, and I can imagine a reloader doing this to set himself apart or whatever. They’ve got kids and indentured servants of all nature slaving all day on these sorts of things. You can see an amazing video of how the tribal areas gun & ammo markets work here (notice how one kid is seating bullets in Chinese 7.62x39 cases by hand with a hammer!):
[youtube][/youtube]


#15

DK - don’t be too critical of the kid seating bullets with a hammer. He is using some sort fixture (bullet guide). The truth is, most bench rest shooters use what we call “palm-type bullet seaters” to make precision ammunition. I use them, made by Wilson, in many calibers. They insure a minimum of run-out when made by quality makers, unlike normal presses, most of which have some flex in them. I cannot use my palm to seat my bullets, and most do not. Raises a welt in short order. I basically seat the bullets in all my rifle target loades in 7.62 x 51 (no longer - don’t have any rifles in that caliber any more), .223 for my iron-sight SAKO target rifle, and 6.5 x 55 in my Model 96 Swedish Mauser, which while straight military, is a tack drive worthy of shooting only the best ammunition

The truth is, in the absence of any automated equipment, the way that kid was seating bullets is a perfectly sound and good practice. I doubt that his seating apparatus is as precision as those avaiilable to us, but I don’t want to stand in front of the muzzle of a gun loaded with the finished product. The spring looked like it came out of a very long ball point pen! I don’t think I would have cared to shoot that pistol, although there was evidence that it had been fired a lot.

I think I recall, regarding locally-made Chinese Pistols (not major factories) Lew telling me the same thing about precision hand fitting on pistols that otherwise might be considered somewhat crude.

John Moss

I have owned a couple of Darra-made guns. While crude in finish, the two I had evidenced incredibly good handfitting of such things as the slide to the frame. They had almost zero “rattle” (up and down or side to side movement) feeling almost like the slide and frame were actually one-piece, but yet operated as smooth as a fine Colt or Browning when cocking the piece with the slide. The only reason I am usually suspect enough of these guns NOT to shoot any of them is the quality of the steel in the guns. I simply have no way to judge it. Also, some certainly had no firearms engineer figuring out such things as strength of the recoil spring and therefore the timing of the slide in a blowback 7.63 Mauser caliber, very small pistol, I had.


#16

I have seen British 7.62 rounds that have had their headstamps removed by what appears to be a skim on a lathe. The cases were almost undoubtedly RG and they turned up at Bisley about 15 years ago. The removal of the headstamp would have fooled nobody if the intention was to make them covert.
I rather assumed it was however a practice that the British resorted to on occassions for reasons of their own. The cases were quite common and I’m sure TonyE has seen them.


#17

Vince - Those rounds were subcontracted by RG to Norma and had an RG headstamp. They failed acceptance proof and RG refused to accept them. They also insisted that their headstamp was removed from the rounds before Norma sold them as surplus on the civilian market.

Regards
TonyE


#18

Interesting discussion.

On a side note I have a number of .303 stripper clips with ammo marked 1907 and have a bunch of loose rounds made in 1909, are these old rounds collectible?

Thanks,
Jim


#19

While you have not given enough information to make a positive answer, generally speaking any military ammunition that old is “collectible.” Whether it is scarce or valuable would require much more information - condition, headstamp, complete description of bullet, primer cup, and present lacquered seals, etc.

John Moss


#20

[quote=“jamesandrew”]Interesting discussion.

On a side note I have a number of .303 stripper clips with ammo marked 1907 and have a bunch of loose rounds made in 1909, are these old rounds collectible?

Thanks,
Jim[/quote]

If those .303 are Iraqui manufactured with the triangle headstamp, then those are dated in Arabic and are not 1907 or 1909. British dating of .303 did not start until 1907 but were never marked with a four digit date intil 1916, when a four digit date was adopted to indicate “Red Label” aircraft grade ammunition.

If they are British and marked only with the last two digits of the date e.g. R^L 07 VI, then they are by no means rare, but they are collectable.

Regards
TonyE