303 Match?

I have a 303 which to me looks like it is a Match, Target or one of the Swift range, the headstamp is B PATENT POINTED I guess the B is for Birmingham Metals & Munitions and this is their Match bullet, with long nickel jacket, it is a scarce headstamp so it may not have been a success, Can some one please give me a little info , when introduced and what was it called , thanks Randy

I don’t know anything about this cartridge so I can’t add anything useful on that score. However, I do know a bit about British target shooting. At that time all target shooting in Britain was very military in its setup. You could only shoot with the current service rifle (Enfield) and all ammunition was issued.

Although the rifles were privately owned they were not allowed to be customised but they were extensively tuned.

Similarly with the ammunition, although there was a lot of awareness of makes and batches it all had to be service issue and everyone was given. their ammunition on the day. You couldn’t bring along your favourite batch, even if it qualified. That still goes on to this day although the rules regarding the rifles have long since been abandoned.

The point I am getting to is this, within those constraints there wasn’t really any market for commercial match ammunition.

However, with an extensive Empire lots of British people lived in or visited far flung corners of the world and many .303 rifles were privately bought and would have needed ammunition.

My guess, and its only a guess, is that it was probably made for that market.

What you have said Vince about ammunition used in competition is absolutely true, but only for service rifle competitions.

For match rifle competition there was (or is) not any such constraint, and there were a number of different match cartridges developed in Britain between the 1890s and the First World War.

Match rifle competition was a very important part of ammunition development in the UK and many different types of rifles were used, particularly Mannlichers and Ross rifles.

I am not by any means a specialist in these early match rounds, but hopefully John P-C will answer this thread. Meanwhile, if you have any early Eley catalogues look at cartridges like the “Marksman” and others.


I have just received the latest IAA Journal this morning and lo and behold a superb article by John P-C on British match ammo!

I am sure John will be interested in your Birmingham round which I am sure stems from this period when each of the major British manufacturers was trying to establish their own version of the new spitzer bullets with the match rifle community.