Belgian FN .303 box


#1

Why does the box indicate “FN 1951” when the cartridge is “FN 50”? And what is C.T.N.?


#2

The packet was packed (and probably loaded) in 1951, but the cases were produced in 1950. It is quite normal to find a years difference between production and loading/packaging.

“CTN” is the British military abbreviation for “CARTON” and simply means the rounds are packed in cartons (Boxes) rather than in bandoleers which were abbreviated to “BDR”. FN used the same abbreviations on their own production of .303 as they had seen on the British supplied ammo immediately after WW2.

Regards
TonyE


#3

Tony - I hve no better idea of what C.T.N. means on the box, but are you sure it is an abbreviation for “Carton.” The periods after each letter would indicate that it is the abbreviation for three words. Is that simply an error in punctuation by the label maker? I also ask because there is no English on that label, only the usual Flemish and French.

John Moss


#4

I also thought C.T.N. stood for Carton.
This is a bad photo of some cartons I used to own. Note the different colour label, and they are P.R.B not Bofors, but basically have the same wording.


#5

I believe Bofors indicates the powder. Indicating it contains a batch of 1951 powder and puts the headstamp into doubt.


#6

I guess unless the factory would tell us, the quickest way to confirm would be to find a box of rifle ammo from FN with the same sort of label, but packed on clips. Still hard to believe the C.T.N. with a period after each letter stands for Carton, which would only represent the French Language I think (what is “Carton” in Dutch - is it spelled the same way or with a “K”?) on a dual-language label. I’m not aware of this being a standard way to abbreviate something in any of the Romance languages. Am not saying it doesn’t mean “Carton.” I can’t say that because I haven’t the foggiest what it does mean. But, I wonder why the abbreviation for Cartridge, shown as “Cart.” on the French side of the label, doesn’t then say say “C.a.r.t.” Maybe the meaning of that needs a little more research. Just playing Devil’s Advocate, but it sure is an odd way in any language to abbreviate one word.

John Moss


#7

Cartouche Traceur Normale?
Believe the TRAC and LICHTSP on the label would indicate tracer.


#8

Why all the confusionary interpretations when Tony had the right answer anyway???

The label is plainly a FN Bilingual label…French and Flemish ( Not “Dutch”).

The Correct abbreviations (Cart==Cartouche==Patr.==Patroon) are used, as is the Traceuse/Lichtsspoor Indication (Tracer)

The Fact that the Packet label is Red tinted is also correct for FN Tracer…another standard FN usage ( Ball labels are White Paper).

CTN is simply “Carton” ( in British Usage)…The French usage would be “en Boite” (in boxes). Flemish I don’t know…
But since Belgium ( and many other European Allies) received .303 British from the UK directly after WW I, the Use of CTN, BDR, and BLT ( Cartons, Bandoleer, Belt) would be quite well known…
Just yesterday I came across some Combat Packs of .303 CTN, which had been Repacked by Hirwaun (Wales) from South African made .303 ( U diamond); the Packs are marked in Red" [color=#FF0000]South African Ammunition,for Land Use ONLY Not to be used in Browning MGs[/color]"…The Outer Ply Liners and the Steel Chests are marked “HN -31-12-45” but the ammo was all "U or “U Diamond” ( Pretoria or Kimberley)

NB, Hirwaun did not make or fill .303 at all (Only 9mm MkIIz, IIR)…Mark “HN” or “H^N”.
These combat packs were from Greece (Out steel cans also carry Greek Inspection markings of the 1980s, although the ammo is 1944-45 vintage.

“PRB” instead of “Bofors”…“Poudrerie Royale de Bourges” ( Royal Belgian Powder Factory of Bourges, Belgium, where FN also shifted its cartridge plant from Liege sometime in the 1950-60??s…also the site of the Royal Army’s Proving grounds ( where the M1889 Rifle was tested, as was the ammunition initially supplied by Deutsche MetallpatronenFabrik in 1889-90s, before FN started cartridge manufacture.)

The Current “FNB” headstamp is both indications: Fabrique Nationale–Belgique" and also, FN-Bourges (Cartoucherie) to Distinguish it from FN-Herstal ( the Gun factory) even though they are both under the same corporate umbrella.

Regards,
Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


#9

D
oc - the confusion is that in no language from Western Europe that I know of would C.T.N. (PLEASE NOTE that unlike any other abbreviation on the box there is a period after each letter) be the abbreviation for a single word. CTN as you are writing it would make absolute sense for “Carton” but C.T.N. does not. Again, I am not saying it is not. I am just questioning whether anyone has any real documentaion of the meaning of that, or if we are all assuming something. If you know of any country that when abbreviating a single word, puts a period behind every letter of that abbreviation, let me know. The French do not normally do so, nor do the Flemish, or the “Patr.” abbreviation on the label would be writtern like the C.T.N. as P.A.T.R.

Its not a big deal. Its just that my own “common wisdom” has been wrong often enough that I no longer accept something as true simply because a lot of people think it is, especially when there is a discrepency in usage as there is if one excepts C.T.N. as the abbreviation for a single word.

By the way, you will note that in an earlier reply on the thread I used the word Flemis to describe the second language. The truth is, it is all Dutch to me!

If I ever find time, I will pursue this for my own amusement. In the interim, everyone is free to completely except Carton as the answer, to conditionally accept it, or to not accept it. I am in the middle.

John Moss


#10

My two cents on this subject:

CTN is simply “Carton” ( in British Usage)…The French usage would be “en Boite” (in boxes). Flemish I don’t know…

But why use the term “carton” printed in a carton… that would make sense in a crate, but a 20-round packaging is obviously not to contain ammo in bandoliers or machine gun belts…

“PRB” instead of “Bofors”…“Poudrerie Royale de Bourges” ( Royal Belgian Powder Factory of Bourges, Belgium, where FN also shifted its cartridge plant from Liege sometime in the 1950-60??

I have always thought that PRB stands for Poudreries Réunies de Belgique. (Name used from 1919 to 1990, factory located in Clermont).


#11

[quote=“DocAV”]Why all the confusionary interpretations when Tony had the right answer anyway???..

…Just yesterday I came across some Combat Packs of .303 CTN, which had been Repacked by Hirwaun (Wales) from South African made .303 ( U diamond); the Packs are marked in Red" [color=#FF0000]South African Ammunition,for Land Use ONLY Not to be used in Browning MGs[/color]"…The Outer Ply Liners and the Steel Chests are marked “HN -31-12-45” but the ammo was all "U or “U Diamond” ( Pretoria or Kimberley)

NB, Hirwaun did not make or fill .303 at all (Only 9mm MkIIz, IIR)…Mark “HN” or “H^N”.
These combat packs were from Greece (Out steel cans also carry Greek Inspection markings of the 1980s, although the ammo is 1944-45 vintage…

Regards,
Doc AV
AV Ballistics.[/quote]

Thanks for the agreement Doc.

Is there any chance of a picture of the pack labels with the overprint please?

A minor point, but Hirwaun made quite large quantities of .303 inch G Mark II Tracer in 1944, and also experimental quantities of .30-06 cases.

Regards
TonyE


#12

I remember Ray Meketa explaining once a long time ago why there is a large light area at the top of this cartridge body below the mouth. Something to do wth the drawing process. But I forgot what he said. May I have an explanation one more time?


#13

That is where the case has been annealed (heat treated) to reduce work hardening of the brass from the draeing process. This prevents neck cracks.


#14

a small addition from my side:

One box 303 Ball ammo. This box is marked C.T.N.
And two 30-06 boxes. The Ball Ammo is without C.T.N., The Tracer box is marked C.T.N.

The boxes with C.T.N. are all dated 1951. Maybe they stopped with that in 52 or 53 ?
Other interesting thing is that the 30-06 tracer box is also marked for MG BREN.
Was there a Bren in 30-06 ? I only know 303 and 7,62 NATO versions.
The later 30-06 box is only marked for MG !!

cheers
René


#15

The white label with C.T.N. is certainly ball. I dismantled the 100 or so that I had in the late 90’s and reused the heads for reloading as the ammunition was in poor condition.

There were no .30-06 Brens that I’ve ever heard of, but I will ask a friend that is a Bren collecting specialist. At that time there would only have been .303" and 7.92 (Mauser). The 7.62 came later, as did various conversions worldwide.


#16

T.

While you are at it…ask your friend if there were ever any .30-40 Krag Brens…as I have Stembridge blank boxes marked as such…

Randy


#17

“Bren Gun Saga” Dugelby shows a 30-06 Bren made on Taiwan.
Is the C.T.N mark only on FN made tracer boxes but not ball?


#18

The C.T.N. mark is on ball boxes too.

The question of .30-40 blanks in Stembridge boxes marked “Bren Gun” was addressed not too long ago on another
thread on this Forum. You can use the search mode to find it. I am not so good at wording it correctly so I will leave that up to someone else.

John Moss


#19

Re .30/06 Brens: The Italians experimented with an extended Receiver Bren in .30/06 in the early 1950s, as a possible LMG replacement; the Nationalist Chinese (Taiwan) designed and made a Type 41 ( 1952) Bren in .30/06 as well…Numbers made are unknown. (Dugelby, “The Bren Gun Saga”)

Whether the label was just a “Typo Mistake” or for use with .30/06 directed to the Italian .30 Bren Trials, one only guesses.

One suggestion about European Abbreviations: “Cart.” and “Patr.” are shortened whole versions of entire words, thus the Period follows the word; If a word has letters missing within it, then the missing letter/s are represented by Period/s ; where-as in English, they would (anciently) be represented by apostrophes, as in c’t’n ( or y’s v’y sinc’ly for “Yours very sincerely” )
With modern Print, the apostrophes are ommitted, and the letters capitalised.

Regards,
DocAV
AV Ballistics.


#20

Yes, John…I realize there is another thread addressing this subject…and we both contributed to it, but we never received a definitive answer as to the existence of Bren guns chambered for .30-40 Krag…

Randy