.303" questions

I’m new on this forum and come back to the collection after having stopped for many years.
My English is not as good as you; for sure I’m French.
I recently found some cartridges I’m not sure about their identification.
From left to right, I think it is:

  • Explosive RTS Mark III
  • ???
  • RL Tracer
  • Dummy Drill Mark I
    Can someone give me some more information and tell me if I’m right !
    Third photo is the bullet of the first cartridge.


Many thanks,

The flat nosed bullet in the first picture is I think a sporting bullet. I forget which patent it is, but I have a similar round. It is not an RTS Mark III, the headstamp is the wrong period as the RTS Mark III dates from around 1927. A picture of the RTS is attached and you will see the copper warhead which is the distinguishing feature.

No.2 is a match cartridge with the special target bullet, based I believe on the American Thomas bullet. Kings Norton loaded this type of bullet in a number of calibres.

Third is indeed an RL Tracer, and is a very nice scarce item.

Fourth is as you say, a Dummy Drill Mark I. It is the later type made after the adoption of the Berdan case, the earlier type used the original .303 Boxer cap chamber.



Hello, Philip…

The second from left definitely appears, as Tony says, to be an “American Style” Thomas “Pencil Point” bullet. (Thomas was one of the “big guys” at Union Metallic Cartridge Company for many years)…


Just taking one of my little pet subjects again. Look at those four rounds side by side and look at the variations in shoulder profile.

Result of a cartridge that does not headspace on the shoulder, Vince, and therefore the shape and even the position of it is not particularly critical, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the bolt locking completely shut.

The first round match H. W. Holland Patent No. 6880 from April 3, 1895. There are small variations of this round with the same headstamp as yours but loaded with different sizes of steel nails (a “tapering peg” according to the patent).

The second round is loaded with a match bullet designated by King’s Norton as “S.P.”. Kynoch described this bullet as “special pointed” and “staple point” but their boxes says “Solid Pointed”. Does anyone know for sure which was the original KN designation?

Thanks Fede. I was pretty certain it was the Holland patent bullet but as I could not immediately confirm that I did not post it. Nice to know the old grey cells were still working!


Many thanks for answers,
Just a last question about the first round:
What means H.W? in H.W. Holland Patent n°. 6880?
Have you got any drawing of this patent?
Was this round manufactured by Kynoch and loaded with Cordite ?


Philip, the patent was assigned to “Henry William Holland Gun Maker, 98 New Bond Street, London W.”. There is a brief description of the invention but no drawing at all:

This invention has reference more particulary to metal covered hollow point bullets used for sporting purposes. To ensure the bullet expanding or breaking up with greater certainty than has hitherto been obtainable, I insert into the hole in front of the bullet a taper or wedge shaped piece of metal or other suitable substance. When this bullet strikes an animal the wedge is forced further into the bullet thereby expanding or breaking open the front point”.

It also exists with HOLLAND CORDITE .303 K headstamp.

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I copied Tony Edwards’ picture for my question. Did they use magnifying glass to load these explosive bullets or just their young eyes were good enough?

Looking closely at the picture posted by Philippe, I noticed that the tracer MkII ( #3) have primer crimps, which look like really french for me.