.303 identification

Hello all,
I just got those .303 not in very good condition and I’m not sure they are the same or not.
The bullet shapes are not exactly the same.
Both headstamps are E.16 VII.

The third one is headstamped G.B.31 and empty; any idea about it ?


Both the top two are Pomeroy Mark I. The shape of the copper warhead differs quite a lot between individual examples as they were all virtually made by hand. The Mark II Pomeroys are usually found on cases headstamped “VII.A.A.”.

The GB case is quite often found in the unfinished state. Around that time GB did a great deal of work on different extrusion methods and there are all sorts of headstamp variations with different “dots” to indicate different tests. I have a couple of similar unfinished examples myself.

Of course, it could be an unfinished case for a .303 Gerlich, but then again probably not!


Are the upper ones explosive loads for aircraft machine guns maybe?
The lower could be a derivate for explsoive devices (fuzes etc.), or just a an unloaded case. The .303 specialists here will tell us soon…

Yes, the Pomeroy was an explosive load for Air Service. The copper warhead contained what was basically dynamite, nitro-glycerine in keiselguhr.

Recently I was involved with filming a documentary on WWI and fired a Pomeroy bullet that had been recovered from the ground at an old airfield and was in similar condition to the top cartridge illustrated. I reloaded the bullet in a modern .303 inch case and fired it at a thick card target at about 100 metres.

Amazingly it still detonated as it went through the target after ninety years in the ground and we filmed it on high speed video.


Very interesting Tony, is that clip available in the web somewhere?

No, it is not yet as the film is still in post production for broadcast later this year. I have a copy of it and other rather spectacular clips, but as it is the TV company’s copyright and they paid me I had better wait until later to put it in the public domain!

However, once it has been broadcast I will post some details.


Great, thanks!

Many Thanks
About Pomeroy, it means I have to take care not to shock them !
Regarding the third one, the case is empty but there is a cap. I thought the cap was placed after the end of case forming.
Isn’t it possible this case was for trials such as Gerlish ?

Philippe, Pete had one of these empty cases in his auction 7 of 2003. Maybe he can tell us more about the origin and/or identification of his.

The one from my sale 7 was from Jim Tillinghast’s duplicates. He had / has a copy of Peter Labett’s Cartridge Corner column from the Feb. 1983 Guns Review identifying it as a Gerlich experimental.

edited once to be more accurate

Thanks all,
I can add two photos of that case.
One, I didn’t post at the beginning because I thought it was a fake, is what is written on the other side of the case.
I do not remenber where I found this case but it was about 15 years ago I think at an ECRA meeting.
Second one is the H/S.

Does anyone has a copy of Peter Labell’s cartridge corner columm of Guns Rewiew you speak about Pete ?


No problem with this case, which comes from my former collection (with my handwriting on the side!!!).
I obtained it from Gordon Conway years ago, and I do not know to who it was re-sold, but first, I had its origin confirmed by Peter Labbett, PJF Mead and John Munnery and Herbie Woodend… Unhappily, several of these dear friends passed away… such is the life.

Anyways, a pure goodie…



So funny to find who wrote this !
Thanks all

I recently saw an unfinished .303 draw piece with the headstamp “R/|\L 1941 VII”.

It looked very similar to this case. I will be checking anything I see in future that I think is a draw piece!

A great find Rafale!

I was only half serious when I mentioned it could be an unfinished Gerlich case, but then I did not know it was capped nor that it had the inscription on the other side!


303s that even a 9mm collector can appreciate!!!

Thanks for the thread.

Rafale, My guess is those Pomeroys probably came from a crashed plane site? Historically interesting but potentially very instable. Being in the ground will have kept them at a constant temperature for the past 90+ years but come high summer when the temperatures in France hits 100 Farenheit I wouldn’t want anything containing old nitroglycerine in the house.
I would suggest, if you want to keep them put them in a sealed plastic food container and rebury them in the back yard.

I’ll keep them outside my collection.