.303 ID Help please


The C for cordite was dropped c1908 as the need to distinguish between cordite and blackpowder was no longer needed as blackpowder had just about disappeared from service use (apart from some blanks used by the Navy).
Actually the offical order to ‘drop’ the C from the headstamp was not given until 1913!



Later 303 rounds included z after the type/mark to identify rounds loaded with smokeless powder.


Hi Darren, a minor point but probably worth clarifying. Use of the ’z’, first authorised in the UK for use on .303 headstamps in 1916 I believe, was to signify the use of an alternative load to the normal Cordite (a double-base smokeless propellant,) namely replacing it with a single base smokeless propellant (therefore having nitrocellulose as the primary ingredient.) It wasn’t to differentiate between black powder & smokeless propellant. Pete.


Hi Pere,

Yes, I should have clarified the z was to differentiate between cordite and nitrocellulose powder not black powder. I was following on from Tony’s comment to complete the timeline but obviously didn’t make that clear.

Thanks for picking that up.



Thanks Guys.