303 Charger


#1

I recently examined a .303" charger not corresponding to any British mark. It has four equal size holes in the sides and the end springs are solid like the MkI charger. The back does not have holes and it has no maker’s mark. Is this a Portugese charger?


#2

These 0,303" chargers with the solid ends and the base with no holes are Portuguese. They come in a variety of finishes, I’ve seen phosphated, black enameled, nickle plated and tinned. The picture is of a phosphated one.

They’re an interesting sub-variety.

Happy collecting, Peter


#3

Thank you, did any other foreign maker produce their own version of the charger/


#4

There were the Commonwealth countries. Australia, Canada, New Zealand, India and South Africa all made chargers.

Of the others, you’ll find examples from Italy, France, Holland and Belgium as well as Portugal.

I’d dearly love to know what the loading doctrine was for these Lithuanian troops using 0,303" P’14 rifles in a 1931 exercise.

The rifle was designed for charger loading so it would seem sensible for them to do so. I don’t suppose we’ll ever know.

Peter


#5

Are you sure these are not Latvian troops?


#6

Errrrr… no, I’m not.

It probably matters quite a lot as I seem to remember that Sellier & Bellot produced 0,303" at Riga, the capital of Latvia.

Here I’m straying beyond my sum of knowledge so I can only cast myself and my memory into the deep waters of the Forum’s collective wisdom.

Happy collecting, Peter


#7

Latvia and Estonia were armed with .303 Enfields, Lithuania was not (supposedly). From where did the photo come?


#8

Absolutely no idea.

It was sent to me by e-mail when I was in correspondence with someone about P’14 rifles supposedly re-chambered to 7,92x57 by the firm of Soley Grimard & Co. I’ve had the picture on file since then.

I’m interested in it because it is a rifle designed to be charger loaded. Indeed, it’s not at all convenient to load it with loose rounds. Has anyone seen packaging from 0,303" ammunition used by any of the Baltic States that might show if it was supplied loose or loaded in chargers?

Happy collecting, Peter


#9

Here are pictures of the four variants of Portuguese .303 inch chargers from my collection. The loaded one contains the original Portuguese cartridges headstamped AE * * 1933.
The upper charger has a light (zinc) finish, the next is a dull grey surface finish and the third is painted or lacquered black on top of bright tin plating. All of these three are made from 0.5mm thickness plate.

The fourth one has the dull/matt grey finish, four holes through the bottom, and a different arrangement of sidewall holes. It is also made of thicker steel plate.

gravelbelly


#10

Enfield56 I didn’t know about the Eastern European use of .303s but that would explain why S&B have been producing .303 ammunition since before I can remember. You learn things on this forum.

The pouches on those soldiers belts look rather like they could be holding chargers. About the right size.


#11

Vince - Sellier & Bellot had a production facility in Riga and produced ball and tracer rounds there in the 1930s. The Riga rounds can be spotted by the “R” in the 6 o’clock position of the headstamp.

There are also .303 rounds from an unknown maker in one of the Baltic states, allegedly Lithuania, that are headstamped “H25 V”. Since Lithuania is supposed not to have used .303 this is questionable. I have both ball and AP loadings by this manufacturer.

Regards
TonyE


#12

To add to TonyE’s post, the “H25 V” .303 is an almost exact copy of a British round, in bullet, crimping, primer and headstamp lettering style. Apparently when the rounds first showed up they were thought to be British.


#13

[quote=“TonyE”]There are also .303 rounds from an unknown maker in one of the Baltic states, allegedly Lithuania, that are headstamped “H25 V”. Since Lithuania is supposed not to have used .303 this is questionable. I have both ball and AP loadings by this manufacturer.

Regards
TonyE[/quote]

Hi Tony,

Which other years does this headstamp appear in (assuming H25 is the year)?.

I have both “H25 V” and “H26 V”, were there others?

Interestingly, one “H25 V” fired case i have has a slotted firing pin indent which i have been led to believe is indicitive of use in a BREN gun, is this correct? If not, which weapon would make this indent?

Cheers,

Magpie


#14

Magpie,

If the firing pin impression is a very nice, elongated oval, that round was fired in a Bren.

John Moss


#15

Thanks John,

you’ve confirmed what I’d previously been told, that H25 V was fired in a Bren gun.

Are other “dates” than 25 and 26 known for this headstamp?

Cheers,

Magpie


#16

[quote=“magpie”]Are other “examples” other than H25 V and H26 V known for this headstamp?

Cheers,

Magpie[/quote]

Does anyone have an answer to this question?

Cheers and Seasons Greetings!

Magpie


#17

In addition to those, I have both ball and AP with an “H28 V” headstamp. What I do not know however is what the external identifying features of the AP is supposed to be, as both ball and AP look identical.

Regards
TonyE


#18

[quote=“magpie”]

Which other years does this headstamp appear in (assuming H25 is the year)?.

I have both “H25 V” and “H26 V”, were there others?

Interestingly, one “H25 V” fired case i have has a slotted firing pin indent which i have been led to believe is indicitive of use in a BREN gun, is this correct? If not, which weapon would make this indent?

Cheers,

Magpie[/quote]

Are these the ‘H’ headstamped 0,303" cartridges that were thought to be of Dutch production? Has information come to light casting doubt on the Dutch making them?

Happy collecting, Peter


#19

I am fairly convinced that these are of Baltic origin, and most likely Latvian. I have not seen them described as Dutch before, and the headstamp is not like the normal Dutch .303". Presumably they were thought to be a product of Hembrug.

Also, the elongated firing pin impression is a feature of most Czech machine guns, so it does not necessarily mean they were fired in a Bren; it could be a Czech ZB chambered for .303".

Regards
TonyE


#20

[quote=“TonyE”]Also, the elongated firing pin impression is a feature of most Czech machine guns, so it does not necessarily mean they were fired in a Bren; it could be a Czech ZB chambered for .303".

Regards
TonyE[/quote]

Thanks for the heads up on the ZB having the same firing pin impression, Tony.

Next question is, why were they elongated and not a “pin”?

Cheers,

Magpie

ps; received your book on .303 for christmas, only a year after i hinted about wanting it… fantastic book thanks!