.303 no headstamp and holes in casings

The 3 cases on the right do not have headstamps at all.
These 3 also have four holes in the casings. Why the holes???

The stripper clip has a logo: KN in a curved box with an oval above. These were given to me so I don’t know if the stripper clip is original to these rounds.

The cases have holes in them because the purple wood bulleted cartridges were drill rounds (dummies). Your clip was made by King’s Norton. I can’t speak off hand for the plain wood bulleted cartridge and the one with no bullet left in it. The dummies with the purple bullet were common when I was collecting .303 up until about 6 or 7 years ago.

Thank you John ~ the headstamps on the other 2 are:
Left to Right: CAC VI 5 12 and CAC VI 11 11

I have another stripper clip which has
II on the left & an E on the right. (Both on the same face)
All the cartridges in it have the headstamp: CAC VI 5 12

Regards momma

That clip in the photo is most likely put together by someone who had the clip and a few odd cartridges. The one with no bullet is a fired case, and the one with the wooden bullet may be a kind of dummy round but I’m not saying that for certain. The red wood bulleted ones are dummies as John Moss poited out.

The “CAC” headstamped rounds were made by Colonial Ammunition Co., Footscray, Australia. They are .303 Mark 6 cartridges, which had a full cupronickel jacketed bullet with a rounded profile. The first number is the month of manufacture and the second is the year eg. “5 12” is “May 1912”.

The “II E” stripper clip is a Mark 2 clip made by Eley Bros. Ltd. of London. This clip dates from before WW1.

[quote=“momma”]The 3 cases on the right do not have headstamps at all.
These 3 also have four holes in the casings. Why the holes???

The stripper clip has a logo: KN in a curved box with an oval above. These were given to me so I don’t know if the stripper clip is original to these rounds.



The clip that you show is a Mark I. Kings Norton used a logo of the letters KN within a picture of a drum (your curved box with an oval above it). It was common practice in Britain to use reject cases for drill rounds, many of these were relegated to drill use before the headstamping operation.


Falcon, thanks for the stripper clip info.
I had Googled .303 headstamps & found that CAC was also used by a New Zealand company as well as the Footscray factory.

I did know about the date stamps ~

gravelbelly ~ I did originally think that KN logo looked like a drum!

I was interested in the stripper clipper markings & now wish I had looked at the 34 full clips of live rounds that I gave to a friend.

The 34 clips were found in a loft in a shearing shed & had been sitting there since the mid 1930’s.
I wrote down the headstamps etc at the time as I also found a substantial amound of cardboard or paper shotshells.
I was worried about the stability of the .303 rounds but my friend was very happy.

There were:
18 clips HS SAAF 6 23 VII
11 clips CAC 6 18 VII
5 clips CAC 2 19 VII

As an aside, my father worked at MEF later ADI AUST in Production & Design. He designed propellants & Mulwex powder was one he was heavily involved with especially the design & reloading specifications.
As kids we were allowed to deprime & resize shotshells & then sometimes we were allowed to do reloading.
Any cases that had damaged tops were put aside for cutting down ~ he made smaller shells for quail shooting.

Thanks again for your help…momma

CAC was a New Zealand company, with initial factory in Australia and later full production of .303 in New Zealand. They were not different firms.

Live .303 rounds, even from those dates, are not likely to be a problem, even if they have been hot. Cordite was used for so long in British ammunition as it was stable in hot climates.

The SAAF headstamp was used by the Small arms ammunition factory in Footscray, Melbourne from 1921 to 1923. These rounds are all Mark 7, which means that they would have been loaded with a pointed Cupronickel Full Metal Jacket bullet with an aluminium core in the nose. The Mark 7 was by far the most manufactured .303 bullet, and was used from just before World War 1 to the end of the .303s service life.

Technically, CAC was a British company as it was incorporated in the UK in January 1888 with Whitney and Sons as only one of the shareholders along with Greenwodd & Batley and others.

It did not become a true New Zealand company until 1921 when John Whitney bought out the other shareholders and formed Colonial Ammunition Company New Zealand Ltd.

The company had originally been formed to supply the colonies of Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales with ammunition.

The factory at Footscray used the “CAC” headstamp until December 1920 when it changed to “SAAF”, the reason being that the Australian government leased the factory at that date for a period of seven years for


The three red-bullet dummies are Australian, first pattern, Mark III’s. The wood distance piece, visible inside the case, was an Australian idea, the British didn’t adopt this improvement until during WW1 with a pointed wood bullet. The same dummy (drill) can be found with CAC headstamps. This dummy was introduced C.1905 by Australia and the second pattern, with an inert primer, C.1907.

The Mark I charger clip was introduced on the 16th January 1903 and the Mark II on the 24th April 1906. So, the charger and dummies are each of the same period. Remember that dummies were re-used many times so they would be loaded in and out of chargers many times, finding an original set is rare, unless in a packet.

The cartridges are not correctly loaded in the clip. The rounds should have the rims staggered, up, down, up along the clip, with the outermost and the centre round being against the base of the clip.

What a pity you don’t have all 34 clips anymore!


I think that has nailed it between us Dave!


Thanks for all the info it has made excellent reading.

I seem to amass items especially ones that are destined for the tip simply because everything has a history & there is always someone who would like to keep that history going.
Does anyone here collect the paper wrappers from .303’s? I have a badly damaged one but if anyone wants it I would be more than happy to send it.
It is dated 1921 & a Mark VII There is a pic on my thread re paper shotshells. It’s probably very common but you never know ~ toss it out & next week someone will say they wanted one (no wonder hubby wants me to clear the shed!! Lucky he doesn’t venture near the spare room)

There was some great paperwork in that loft & some survived extremely well. The best were 3 newsletters in their original envelopes. They were from an English Live Bird Shooting Club & were circa 1913. The envelopes (& contents) looked like they were posted last week! Had the ELEY name & setters logo. Plus some early Australian gun catalogues ~ a friend pounced on those!!

gravelbelly, the cartridges were loaded correctly in the up & dowm possie ~(found that on Google) but my husband fiddled with them!!!

Thank you for all your help it has been very informative.

Regards momma

I would certainly like the wrapper if you don’t mind sending it to the UK. I will gladly pay postage.

I will PM you with my address.

and thanks,

Hi Tony, free post with thanks… momma