303 Wooden case

Digging around in my basement I found this empty wooden 303 case. The only markings were the side and the top.
Any thoughts on when it was issued or any other information about it?



Maker of the ammunition was Radway Green. ball Mk VII (the pointed bullet) and I may well be wrong but it is ca. 1952

Neat crate, The two clasps on the top are new to me.

Standard outer plywood liner ( inner solder sealed “spam can” contains ammo;
288 ctgs indicates packed in 32 Rd boxes;
Date is Packing date of lot.
The lockdown straps hold the removable top of the box into the body.
Two of these were fitted into the large steel canister for storage and transfer in this case 576 cartridges.
Same ply liner used for 250 rd Vickers Belt can, and 300 round Bandoleer (50 rds In chargers) can.
Part of the simplification of Ammo supply containers developed during WWII.
The system was still in use in the 1960s ( L10 7,62 Blanks by RG) although there was already a move to the US .30 cal Tin, and later the Narrower British 7,62 width Tin.
Doc AV
Doc AV

It’s an H.51 Box that generally contained a solder sealed inner H.52. Two H.51s fit in a metal H.52 box. At one time, the majority of U.K. S.A.A. was packed in these.

The straps are superfluous. The lid is designed to be held firmly in place by the catches at each end and handle brackets either side in the middle.

Is that lid from that box? Do the cloth seals match up? Either way can you tell me what is printed on the side (not the ‘RG’ on the top) - TIA.

Some of those cases are “banded” as well as the end clasps. Two fit in a metal case with two friction clasps. I still have a half dozen or so of the full metal cases.

The strap locks could be “Wired”
with a twisted steel wire and crimped lead seal.
This tamper proof sealing method was used especially for Overseas shipments.
The use of wire and lead seals continued on the newer US type cans after WWII …esp. in Australia.
Proved the can had not been opened since manufacture.
Doc AV

Back in the old (blackpowder) days theft was a huge problem (on top of the normal) and many measures were taken to prevent or at least complicate theft.
In addition punishment was severe (varying from country to country) - like in wartimes where theft of powder was rewarded with death penalty.


The lid does appear to be original to the box. The seals match up.
303 crate label
For what it’s worth there is also impressed markings on the wooden bottom, as well as what I assume to be the packing materials.

The (single) empty cases I have are all of much earlier vintage & so the clasps were new to me.


Your box was made by SB Ltd - Shrager Bros, of Bridport Road, Edmonton, London, N18. Telephone: Tottenham 5404. Cables: “Shragbros, London”

‘SV’ is the prefix of the drawing number. The loose pieces are, as you assume, packing pieces.

The Station label ‘FID RG’ denotes the box was sealed at ROF Radway Green, I’ll make an educated guess that ‘FID’ is something on the lines of ‘Final Inspection Department’.

There is no need for these straps to be “wired” the integrity of the box is ascertainable from the diagonally placed ‘Station Labels’ it is essentially impossible to open the box without damaging the labels.

In the UK (and some of its Dominions etc.,) the use of these labels on packages containing Government explosives is required by regulations to provide a ready means of indicating if the packages have been opened since they were last examined. Under the statutory regulations for the conveyance of Government (UK) explosives the use of these labels, showing which establishment is responsible that the explosives are properly packed is a legal requirement.

p.s. The cloth seals have long been superseded by the likes of plastic seals, ‘Golden Sentry Seals’, Twister seals etc.


Your cases do appear older. I don’t think all of mine had the straps. Everything is on 250round Vickers belts.

None of the cases / crates shown are mine?
The case in question is ca. 1952 & all I have are from WW II.

Hi Tim,
the ‘cloth’ seal, with wire and metal seal, is still used on the 1,000 round wood ‘box’ of L18A1 5.56mm blank cartridges today…the term box may be a bit generous of me as it is formed by separate pieces of ply wood held together with ‘fence’ wire.


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Thank you for that information of which I was unaware. It comes as a bit of a surprise in light of the advances in ‘tamper proofing’ seals. However, the cloth system worked for many years and it’s cheap.

I took a case off the pile I have and it had been opened before as were some of the others. I don’t know if customs randomly opened them when they were imported years ago. Some are still sealed.

Processing: BB9578EF-3792-4FC9-BD84-52CF54D61BFD.jpeg…


The headstamp


Very interesting solothurn, Guess the examples of mine original spring-clasps got lost when opened.

I saved several [10 or so] of these from Potomac Arms in the mid-1980s’, dated between 1950 and, I think, 1956. Nice ammo crates, but every one that I had the bands rusted through closest to the latch where it bent around the top of the box.
We received probably 25 of these, all had thebands intact, more or less, and the wood was in excellent condition.
I still have a couple with the inner tin cans, (empty of .303), several of these ctayes were given away as gifts.

The R^L 1945 7 cartridges were part of a delivery to the Royal Hellenic Army, in a civil war with Communist partisans since 1944, after German withdrawal.
Headstamps include various British, Indian, Canadian and, Australian makes. Some were repacked at Hirwaun, in Wales.
Much of this remained in store till the 1980s, when most was surplussed to USA and Australia.
A lot of the large steel containers have red Greek periodic Inspection marks. ( 5 year rule).
A lot of HXP ammo came out as well, but in Greek copies of Canadian 1248 round crates.(48 round Packets).
Interesting Period.
Doc AV

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You are correct in that I purchased most of that in the 80’s. The Greek HXP came in around that time as well in .303 and .50BMG. The HXP is great shooting ammo as well as reloadable. I still have some of the 48rd boxes of .303.