.303 Headstamp Question

According to the; ‘British Small Arms Ammo,’ site the .303 MkVI production ended around 1910.

The appended images show two .303 Mk VI with a manufactured date of 1917.

On both examples the Royal Laboratory headstamps have a slightly different layout.

The neck of both cases is slightly blackened, but; it is unclear to me if this was as a result of the propellant, or intentional identification blackening.

Could a batch of Mk VI have been manufactured for older rifles, that had been pressed into wartime service?
Ref: “orange
20000 Ross MkII3* rifles purchased by the US were sighted for the .303” MkVI cartridge."

Any assistance would be much appreciated.


1 Like

I have B 14, K 11, RL 11 and an E 14 dated MK VI cases.

As to the CM blackening I’d think it to be from firing.

Interesting late date.

With your photos hard to see the differences in the in two headstamps. Both seem the same just placement on the head? One being a little lower that the other?

MkVI were not made obselete until 1928 but was still manufactured after that, where does it say it ended around 1910? MkVI match ammunition was even manufactured by Kynoch in the early 50’s. MkVII Ammunition came in to play in march 1910 but MkVI rounds were still being manufactured after the introduction of the MkVII


Fair enough.

The latest MK VI I have are Australian made and dated May 1917.

My last Australian MkV1 is CAC V1 12 17 but the last date is 1 18. (rare)

I have G 26 V1 and GB.29.V11. as MkV1 although stamped V11. Must be later ones too?


Correct, last Mk VI was dated 1 18 and production switched to the Mk VII. First delivery of which was on the 27th February 1918. Headstamp changed from CAC to ←CAC→ in May 1918.

Delay on changing over to the Mk. VII was due to a hold up in supply of 25,000,000 aluminium tips from England. (Kynoch, I believe). Delivery was held up by the Government just in case they were required in England. Correspondence at this end shows considerable frustration over the toing and froing of this order.

Unfortunately this is the best image I have.

CAC VI 1 18 Text

I was once told by the late Tony Edwards that during WW1 some second line units based in the UK were still armed with older rifles. These had sights designed for the trajectory of the round nose Mk VI bullet. Some Indian units apparently also had these rifles. There was definitley still a need for Mk VI ammunition in 1917.

1 Like

The Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) continued to be issued with the .303 Mk.VI round up until 1920, with 1.1 million rounds being scrapped by them that year.

Australia had to use the rifles sighted for the Mk VI, until supplies of the new Mk VII were available. Caused a problem as we were geared for the Mk VII well before 1918.

Not quite correct, JK,
Australian troops on Western Front were supplied with British made
Mark VII, whilst units in training in Australia were supplied with CAC
Mark VI. As to the Light Horse in Palestine etc. may have been supplied by Britain as well with
Mark VII, as were the British troops with SMLEs (mkIII).
Indian and Brit. Troops in Mesopotamia may have been supplied via Persian Gulf from India…more likely MkVI.
RN mostly supplied with MkVI as well.
Doc AV

To highlight the difference in performance between the Mk.VI & Mk.VII, here’s a couple of pages from an early military manual.


Thanks for the clarification!

Thanks a lot for sharing.