British "L" Codes


#1

Can anyone provide me with a full list of the modern British “L” codes for various types of small arms ammunition, eg. L2A2 For 7.62 Ball, L13A1 and L13A2 for 7.62 blank, and L42A1 for 7.62 Match. I have seen these codes used on 7.62 x 51, 5.56 x 45, and .50 BMG.


#2

I have most of them, but there are an awful lot! I will try to put the list together over the next few days and post it.

Regards
TonyE


#3

Thanks, your efforts are appreciated, it would also be a handy thing for someone trying to specialise in British ammo like me to have.


#4

Little bit off-topic (sorry) but I have recently found a list of US ammunition codes (M-codes). Might be useful as well.

http://www.totse.com/en/bad_ideas/guns_and_weapons/ordnance.html


#5

This list is not complete:

L1 Drill
L1 Grenade Blank
L2 Ball
L3 Inspection dummy
L4 Proof
L5 Tracer
L10 Blank
L11 Ball
L13 Blank
L14 Practice
L15 Ball
L16 Ball
L18 Ball
L30 Ball
L31 Blank
L37 Ball
L38 Match Ball
L40 Ball
L42 Match Ball


#6

[quote=“Simon”]This list is not complete:

L1 Drill
L1 Grenade Blank
L2 Ball
L3 Inspection dummy
L4 Proof
L5 Tracer
L10 Blank
L11 Ball
L13 Blank
L14 Practice
L15 Ball
L16 Ball
L18 Ball
L30 Ball
L31 Blank
L37 Ball
L38 Match Ball
L40 Ball
L42 Match Ball[/quote]

That list will be useful to collectors of recent UK cartridges. I liked the old British system, where L meant blank in any small arms calibre, B meant incendiary etc. it suited my simple mind. The current system seems designed to confuse and have no logic in it anywhere. L10 can be a blank in one calibre but not in another. That being said the US “M” system left a me cold too. Reading of an M1 rifle, firing M1 cartridges, having an M1 sling, carried by an M1 soldier wearing M1 boots etc…!

gravelbelly


#7

Trying to make a comprhensive list of the UK’s ‘L’ codes would be a considerable undertaking - certainly I can think of literally hundreds of variations in my collection alone and it’s a far from complete collection. What is interesting, and very frustrating, is the way the same code has been applied for totally different loads making the ‘system’ very complicated to follow. Some examples that I have and which illustrate this are as follows;
L3A1 - I have 5.56mm L3A1 Ball (early Austrian contract for UK), 7.62mm L3A1 Inspectors Dummy, and 9x51mm L3A1 SMAW Spotter Tracer. Clearly three very different loadings but with the same L3A1 code.
L10A1 - Similary I have .30 Browning L10A1 Blank, 7.62x51mm L10A1 Blank, but then I also have 6.5mm L10A1 Sub-calibre Tracer!
In 9mm Ball I have L7A1, L12A1, L16A1, L18A1 and there are others in this calibre that I don’t have. I certainly can’t see any clear pattern!
Jim


#8

As promised, here is a list of British L codes I know of. I know it is incomplete so if others can add to it well and good.

Remember that the military make a distinction between a “Round” which has a bullet, and a “Cartridge” that does not. That is why there are two 7.62mm L1A1 designations, one is a round, one is a cartridge.

The MOD has allocated a lot of codes to manufacturers on a “just in case” basis. These are marked with an asterisk and it is uncertain if they have ever been manufactured.

Sorry this is so long!

British L Codes

.303 inch

Cartridge Blank
L10A1 HXP for Cadets

Round Ball
L11A1 HXP for Cadets

7.62mm

Round Drill
L1A1
L1A2

Round Ball
L2A1
L2A2 Strengthened case
L2A3 Modified Cap composition
L2A4 Ball Powder
L11A1 Raufoss Norway
L15A1 Hirtenberger
L16A1 Raufoss
L17A1 FFV*
L18A1 Hirtenberger*
L19A1 SFM*
L20A1 FN*
L21A1 FNM
L22A1 Raufoss*
L30A1 MEN*
L37A1 FNM
L38A1 Match Ball
L40A1 ?
L42A1 Match Ball
L42A2


#9

Further to TonyE’s extensive list I add some comments: The FN manufactured 7.62mm L10A1 blank has a red paint tip seal to the crimp and an FN headstamp without the L10A1 marking included. The L10A2 7.62mm blank was made by RG and had a red varnish tip seal initially, later changed to green. Some were made with a clear seal, almost invisible. Wasn’t there also an L11 7.62mm blank?

gravelbelly


#10

You’ve put a lot of effort into that Tony, well done and thank you for the info. I can add a few more from my collection as follows;
5.56mm Ball L15A1 (RG mfr)
5.56mm Blank L1A3
5.56mm Blank L18A1
7.62mm Round Drill L41A1

Perhaps we should also include the 4.85mm? I can offer 4.85mm Ball XL1E1 and 4.85mm Tracer XL2E1.

Why are some of your list followed by a question mark? If it helps the 7.62mm L40A1 is termed a ‘High Performance semi-AP’.
Jim


#11

Thanks everyone for your info, I printed the list out today, as I imagine it will come in handy.


#12

The question marks are because the info I have is incomplete. For example the 9mm L10A1 is listed as German so I showed it as DAG?. it could be DAG or it could be MEN for example.

Gravelbelly - it is possiblre that there is an L11A1 blank, but I do not know of it. It would be “Cartridge L11A1” (no bullet) as the Raufoss manufactured item is “Round L11A1”.

JIm

I need all of the rounds you listed, and am particularly interested in the Drill L41A1. Can you post pictures?

PM me off board aif you can help.

Regards
TonyE


#13

Are You sure there exists a L41A1 drill round?
or are you confused with the L42A1 inspection round used in 2004? at the Bisley competition.

headstamp of this 7.62 round is RG L42A1 04 and it was stored in the box showed below…

(image made by Hank Baks ammopix.com )

Joost


#14

Joost,
It is very definitely an L41A1 Drill as used in the UK’s Chain Gun. I’ll post some pics and details this evening as and when my wife allows me more time on the computer!
Jim.


#15

The 7.62mm L41A1 Drill Round is made by Systems Design & Evaluation in the UK and it is machined from a single piece of non-magnetic silver-coloured alloy. There are two distinct recognition grooves around the body and there is also a tiny 0.5mm hole drilled in the side of the bullet but only going part-way through it. There is no headstamp and there is a large machined brass ‘cup’ inserted in place of a primer pocket. A very unusual dummy round. Jim


#16

Jim,

Thanks for the information, very interesting. I had never heard of this round before…

It looks a little like the L14A1 .223 drill round. Also made out of one piece.

Do you know in what year(s) this L41A1 round is produced?

all the best,
Joost


#17

At an airshow last year, I saw a belt of 50 of those solid drill rounds in the GPMG on the side of an RAF AS 330 Puma helicopter that was there for the children to climb on. I went over to have a look at the gun, as it was the first opportunity I’d had to have a close up look at a GPMG. It seemed that I knew more about the workings of the gun than the crew when I asked them. I saw him count the drill rounds in the belt after I’d been there, he obviously thought I might have pinched one.


#18

[quote=“TonyE”]Gravelbelly - it is possiblre that there is an L11A1 blank, but I do not know of it. It would be “Cartridge L11A1” (no bullet) as the Raufoss manufactured item is “Round L11A1”.

Regards
TonyE[/quote]

I looked up Peter Labbetts’ TAG for 7.62mm and he stated that the L11A1 blank was a lighter case version to replace the L10A2 but the nomenclature was changed to L13A1 to avoid possible confusion with the L11 ball round. It is probable that no blanks were headstamped L11A1

gravelbelly