Canadian .303 heradstamp

Canadian .303 with headstamp DA 12 o’clock, 4 at 9 o’clock and 10 at 3 o’clock.
Type is Cordite Mk VI. at 6 o’clock

Can someone confirm that 10 = 1910 and what is the 4? Month or quarter.

I presume DA = Dominion Arsenal.

John, you are correct, that DA = Dominion Arsenal, (Montreal, Canada)
I am unsure of the date codes tho…


4 (April) 1910; correct for Cordite Mark VI ( still in production up to WW I.)

Doc AV

All the info I have says the DA headstamp is Dominion Arsenal Quebec Canada but I have 1945 - 1958 as the dates of manufacture which is obviuously wrong so can anyone give me any info on manufacturing dates at the Dominion Arsenal, Canada and where the plant was



This crown corporation used D/I\C hs from c1898-1910 and DA from then to 1967.

Sorry please excuse my ignorance but who are the Crown Corperation


Looking at websites which list headstamps etc. I am astounded at the amount of incorrect data shown. Much of it not researched, just copied from other sources, so the errors propogate.

I was under the impression DA was Dominion Arsenal, Montreal, not Quebec, but could be badly mistaken, or did they change the location of their factory. Do we have any Canadian members who are up with .303 headstamps?

Doc AV: Are you sure the 4 = April, and not the 4th Quarter. Did DA, like Australia use month and year dates on their early .303’s. I’d like to see any similar headstamps dated 5 10 or up, just to be certain.

Richard: I believe orange is referring to a Government run facility.



The confusion regarding DA is widespread!

A brief summary:

The Dominion Cartridge Factory was founded in 1882 in Quebec City (in the province of Quebec). It was renamed the Dominion Arsenal in 1900 and remained in Quebec City. It was “sold” to IVI in 1967. The Dominion Arsenal was never in Montreal. During WW1 they had a plant at Lindsay, Ontario which was dormant between the two wars.

The Dominion Cartridge Company founded in 1886 at Brownsburg just west of Montreal (in the province of Quebec). It went through a series of name changes and eventually became the Dominion Cartridge Division of C-I-L. It remained in Brownsburg, Quebec and box labels often refer to the company address as “Montreal” as Brownsburg became a suburb. It, too, was sold to IVI in 1976, though a small interest was retained in some military small arms ammunition production into the 1990s.

C-I-L had wholly-owned subsidiary, Defence Industries Ltd (D-I-L), formed in 1939. D-I-L had a number of plants of which a small one was also at Brownsburg, Quebec, right next to the commercial C-I-L production line, making 303 and other calibers. D-I-L had a number of other plants in Quebec and Ontario of which the largest by far was the one in what is now Ajax in the Province of Ontario (it covered thousands of acres and, at one time, the town was called Dilville though later renamed Ajax).

I think the Montreal versus Quebec [City] confusion comes from confusing Dominion Arsenal with Dominion Cartridge Co.

Yes I found these two on non cartridge related internet pages -

Dominion Arsenal
Dominion Arsenal, the first government cartridge and shell factory and proofing facility, established 1882 at Québec to provide the Canadian Militia with ammunition. A second arsenal was built in Lindsay, Ontario, during WWI, and other plants were built or converted to small arms and artillery-shell production during WWII by the Department of Munitions and Supply. In September 1945 these were brought together as Canadian Arsenals Limited, a crown corporation now reporting to the Department of Supply and Services.

In December 1879 the Quebec Cartridge Factory was founded, later to become the Quebec Dominion Arsenal in 1901, in order to supply the Canadian militia with small calibre ammunition and, a few years later, with artillery shells

I hope you dont mind me asking Chris but where has your information come from, please dont think I am questioning your knowledge.

Yes John after reading a bit more around the internet I worked that one out, I am a bit thick sometimes :-)


As late as 1919 Dominion Arsenal was located in Quebec City in the province of Quebec; my source was a publication of that date. Cf Chris Punnett’s post above for more details. Jack

The “C” next to the VI is not quite just a “C” as it has a broadarrow inside it. Here is what I think is yours, one with a 12, 09 date, and a 1910 dated example with the “broadarrow-C” at 0100h.

There are quite a few different dates to be found and often they are found with a softnose bullet. A Canadian company named National Cartridge Co. of Toronto turned off the CN jacket to expose the core and thus have a cheap product they could sell to hunters. However the bullet base in the original FMJ is not completely covered & as a result cores often got stuck in the bore with very unpleasant results. I think there was a past thread about this company?

At any rate those with a soft nose are it seems, more common than the original full patched examples, in my experience.

Sorry for the poor photos, getting dark here.


Thank you so much for the photos. They confirm the dating as far as I’m concerned. 4 = April.

Your explanation is great. At least we have something factual to work with, which is one of the joys of this forum.



National Cartridge Co.: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4004

Next question.

Does anyone know how many years/months were manufactured by DA?


I did a lot of research on Canadian [30-06] manufacturers during the 80s and 90s for my book on the 30-06. I also worked for C-I-L in a position that allowed me access to their records.

And, you should always question knowledge and sources as more information is always coming to light. Old company records are often full of errors or politically-motivated omissions !!

RichT A crown corporation is a govt owned business.

The style of the 1910 headstamp posted by Pete was continued at DA until at least the mid-1920s. Lindsay arsenal also used this format in its 1917 production. Jack

There is always one “last” question.
As far as I know, Canadian .303 manufacture started in1892, what was the last year of manufacture of this calibre.? Our Australian .303 manufacture ended in 1962.

Correct about double checking information. I was very lucky in my early days to have a source with access to records and personnel of the Army Inspection Service from 1910 to mid 70s. Those details I can guarantee, but there were times when I was told we didn’t manufacture this round, until I showed a specimen. Then it took considerable effort for them to locate the details of the one small batch.

The omissions can be very frustrating, as can the existence of in house tests with part of the bunter ground off for identification.

IIRC DA (DCF) was still making .577" Snider ammo in 1892 adding 577/450 that year. Earliest date I have saw on a DA 303" ball pack was 1898. Da started production of .303" blank MkI coiled in 1895.
Last production of .303" at DA was 1958.

Thank you orange.

Bob Wonch’s booklet on the Canadian .303 says Dominion Arsenal commenced MkII production from 1892 to mid 1890’s using headstamp D ↑ C C II.