.303 inch British "R15 VII"


#1

The headstamp is “R15 VII”, so obviously 1915 Mark VII, but who made it? Do you think it is Royal laboratory, Cartridge Factory 5, Woolwich and is just missing the “L”? Also, why two sets of stab crimps, is it possibly a reload?

Joe




#2

Also if you could help identify this .303" round. Similar weight to above Mark VII and also non magnetic, but just a “15” on the head? Most likely 1915, but by whom? Also possible reload as different extra set of neck stab crimping again.

Joe

Edit: Both rounds seem to have swaged primer pockets.





#3

Your first round could be R 15 L VII with the L not stamped it does tie in with the date, I have not seen the double crimp before but I am no expert but the spacing between the R and the 1 looks right it also lines up with the VII to be R 15 L and the 15 dated round I have also has the primer crimp ring. BUT it could also be R 15 W VII but I haven’t seen any of these dates with the primer ring only RL but like I say I am not an expert

as for the 2nd round it could be same manufacturer but just a broken bunter stamp ???

hope this helps

Rich


#4

Without doing extensive research, could these be British factory reloads? In other words, were reloads authorized in this time period or there after?

joe


#5

Both the US & the British would put the date a 12:00 & RichT is likely right about the top one.

The lower one could by any number of makers with a K-, U-, R/|\ L, G-, KN- or perhaps others makers date format.

Get out the really good glass & see what you can see.

As to the two sets of crimps I don’t like them, look to casually put on.

but i can’t speak to factory / arsenal reloads

Not sure what you mean by the primer pocket being swaged, you mean opened up?


#6

BY late 1915, There arose a requirement for .303 ammo to have the Primers “Ringed” ( crimped or swaged) into place, for use in Aircraft MGs to prevent primer expulsion and subsequent jamming of MG mechanism. Prior to this, .303 cases had rounded(domed) primers and no crimp. With the adoption of “Ringing”, the Flat cup primer was adopted.

Exact timings for these modifications can be found in Labbet’s book “The .303”

As to the “double crimp” of the Bullet neck, that was probably also instituted as part of the " strengthening" of the .303 cartridge for Air Use; The cartridges look simply as if they were just “run through” the Neck crimper machine a second time. This would explain the different orientations of the crimp stabs.

During WW I, the only “re-manufacture” of British ammo was that undertaken in France by the French Air Ministry ( using both Components and Loaded ammo) for French Airforce MGs ( both British and US contract ammo was utilised). British Munitions were “down graded” to Blanks, if the Ball was found to be defective, but usually the questionable ammo was either used up in Training or simply Burnt/dumped at sea.

Offset bunters, Bunters missing letters or numbers, un-buntered Cases were very common in WWI, especially in the early years, when the rapid expansion of both Gov’t Factories and New Commercial operators led to an influx of untrained people into the workforces…and every complete cartridge was important…

Doc AV


#7

[quote=“PetedeCoux”]Both the US & the British would put the date a 12:00 & RichT is likely right about the top one.

The lower one could by any number of makers with a K-, U-, R/|\ L, G-, KN- or perhaps others makers date format.

Get out the really good glass & see what you can see.

As to the two sets of crimps I don’t like them, look to casually put on.

but i can’t speak to factory / arsenal reloads

Not sure what you mean by the primer pocket being swaged, you mean opened up?[/quote]

Pete, you know, taking the military crimp out for reloading. dillonprecision.com/content/ … _Swage_600


#8

Pete,

I just looked at it again out side in the Phoenix blistering sun light and indoors under several different light sources with up to 25X and it is just the “15” alone. I see no sign of anything else impressed by machine.

The crimps on both cartridges have been removed by swaging. The pockets are now rounded and the original ring crimp pushed back. Also I can see where the case has been resized, as the base above the rim shows signs of such.

joe


#9

Doc,

Thanks for the “re-manufacture” info.

Joe


#10

Hi Joe
a new headstamp to me, but like DocAV says in the heat of getting these out the door…

It would also seem that he has provided the answer to the double crimps & the re-manufacture marks your finding?

That’s a neat machine Dillon offers. They sure do some great stuff.


#11

[quote=“xjda68”]

The crimps on both cartridges have been removed by swaging. The pockets are now rounded and the original ring crimp pushed back. Also I can see where the case has been resized, as the base above the rim shows signs of such.

joe[/quote]

I have 100’s of original untouched .303 rounds with this ring primer crimps and many have rounded edges, there is also no evidence of resizing on either of these two rounds the darkening at the bas is most likely from being on chargers. I reload hundreds of rounds a month and resizing a round even with lots of lubrication will leave scratches and a definite ring around where the base of the sizing die stops on the round. These primer pockets are original.

Rich


#12

I have seen several examples of the “R 15” headstamp that have been very poorly stamped. It should be “R 15 L VII”.


#13

On the subject of reloading. There is absolutely no evidence (that I am aware of) that the British ever embraced reloading. Even though it would “kind of” made sense.

There is a problem with cordite, the cordite is put in before the case is fully formed so the process is not repeatable.

That round to me, with all its dinks and dents has the hallmarks of a “guard duty” round. issued and handed back day in day, day out.

Not a Home Guard round though, they had .30-06 P17s


#14

[quote=“RichT”][quote=“xjda68”]

The crimps on both cartridges have been removed by swaging. The pockets are now rounded and the original ring crimp pushed back. Also I can see where the case has been resized, as the base above the rim shows signs of such.

joe[/quote]

I have 100’s of original untouched .303 rounds with this ring primer crimps and many have rounded edges, there is also no evidence of resizing on either of these two rounds the darkening at the bas is most likely from being on chargers. I reload hundreds of rounds a month and resizing a round even with lots of lubrication will leave scratches and a definite ring around where the base of the sizing die stops on the round. These primer pockets are original.

Rich[/quote]

Rich, the case always stretches unless its fired in a Ross, Martini or P14 but the base “ring” is a product of the dies used and it doesn’t occur with dies like my old NDFS full length resizer which really does resize down to the rim. But its slow


#15

[quote=“RichT”][quote=“xjda68”]

The crimps on both cartridges have been removed by swaging. The pockets are now rounded and the original ring crimp pushed back. Also I can see where the case has been resized, as the base above the rim shows signs of such.

joe[/quote]

I have 100’s of original untouched .303 rounds with this ring primer crimps and many have rounded edges, there is also no evidence of resizing on either of these two rounds the darkening at the bas is most likely from being on chargers. I reload hundreds of rounds a month and resizing a round even with lots of lubrication will leave scratches and a definite ring around where the base of the sizing die stops on the round. These primer pockets are original.

Rich[/quote]

Rich,

Thanks for the comments. On the darkening about 1/3 the way up, not what I am referring to. There seems to be in the right lighting a definite bulge left just above the rim from say resizing. I can’t seem to reproduce it with the camera, sorry.

joe


#16

I think I can just see in the photo what you mean it is a little further down the case than the darkening, When you resize a case you tend to resize right down to the rim so it will fit any chamber size which would usually push the shoulder back and sharpen the shoulders to a nice shoulder shape this doesn’t look like that and to stop the resizing short of the bottom makes no sense. The suggestion of a guard round used over and over but not fired makes a lot of sense with the marks and the bulging you say you can see if the round was repeatedly chambered and un-chambered it could easily have bulged a bit with the rough usage.

I really don’t think it is a reload, I think you have a badly stamped round that has been used a great deal but never fired.

only my opinion though :-)

Rich


#17

With most conventional resizing dies a rimmed case can’t be sized down to the rim because about a sixteenth of an inch of the case immediately in front of the rim is within the shell holder and thus can’t be touched by the resizing die. With rimless cartridge cases this is less of a problem, because the portion of the case immediately above the rim is the extraction cannelure and isn’t to be resized. Jack