.303” Mark II for the Imperial Meeting at Bisley in 1900

I have been fortunate in gaining this packet of .303” Mark II rounds, made and packed for the Imperial Meeting at Bisley in 1900. The purple outer wrapper was sealed by a length of orange paper adhesive tape which has Bisley 1900 printed on it. All competitors had to use the same ammunition, from the same batch, and this coloured outer wrapper was a quick way of checking this.

The packet was already torn open at one end and had some small holes through the side through which the string and paper of the inner wrapper could be seen. So, I carefully eased the inner packet out and found that it too is marked “Bisley” and with a date of work/batch of 16 6 00.

The inner packet is intact and in perfect condition as can be seen.

Does anyone else have similar packets from other years? Did the colour change each year?


GREAT packet(s) !

Dave: In the 1920s (at least) a similar packaging was used for .303 match cartridges produced by Dominion Arsenal for the equivalent Canadian competition. Notes are not at hand, but I have a 1925 (I think) DA-produced mk.VII round with a series of green bands around the case at its midpoint; the original ten-round paper package had a label pasted on one side indicating the match for which the cartridges were produced. I think the banding was specific to each year’s match, no doubt to forestall hanky panky. Jack


Could you please advise the number of cartridges in the bundle as it appears to only hold about eight. On a ten cartridge bundle more of the printing is visible and not down the sides. A magnificent specimen - I would like to see more from other years.


Here is the bundle wrapper for the 1904 Bisley Imperial Meeting, which was the first year of Mark VI.

It did not have the coloured outer wrap with oversticker like Dave’s example but had simply a sticker on the wrapper stating “BISLEY 1904”.

These rounds had the lower third of the case blackened and I have another Bisley Mark VI with the top and bottom thirds blackened. Unfortunately I do not know the year as I do not have the wrapper. Dave, can you see if your rounds are blackened at all?

Notice the Date of Work and how close it is to the actual meetings. The Services Meeting was held at the beginning of July with the civilian Imperial Meeting following that.


A lovely find, congratulations. Do you have any idea of the manufacturer?

Since its inauguration, all ammunition used at the major Bisley meetings has to be issued at the firing point so ‘theoretically’ it never went on sale.
A question for Tony, when did they start making special batches for Bisley? or Wimbledon for that matter. The old Lee varients were fussy enough but the Martinis were worse. We cant make comparisons by shooting the old ammo today because of deterioration but from what I have read some of the quality was variable in the extreme.

An argument that still rattles around Bisley to this day but has been eased considerably in the last couple of years by the RUAG contract.

Both Dave’s Bisley bundle and mine were made at Woolwich as indicated by the “RL” in the lower left corner.

I don’t know when they started making special batches for the Imperial meeting. All the ones I have seen date from the period between 1900 and WWI. Similarly I have never seen any specially marked Martini packets.

The NRA contracted with Kings Norton Metal Company during this period to make specially selected ammunition for sale to members and for use in meetings. The rounds have a normal military Mark VI headstamp with an overstamp of “NRA”. My example is dated 1910 IIRC.