"Colt" links for 303 British and the M1919

I was at the Ventura CA gun show over the weekend and found a few .303 British rounds with Colt stamped links. I had never heard of this combo but after reading online, I now have more info in my head.

My question to the group is, are these links still fairly common? I would love to have a bag full.

Also, does anyone know how long Colt made at least the links?


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The Colt links were originally supplied to Britain in the late 1930s when the RAF adopted the Colt made export version of the US AN-M2 aircraft gun. The Brits converted the design to .303 feed plate and breechblock and barrel,and they were made by BSA and Vickers initially. After 1939, John Inglis of Toronto also made large numbers of them.
The plated links were typical of Colt’s export production…Colt made several calibers of aircraft Brownings for Western Hemisphere countries, whilst FN supplied European and Asian customers…303 was a popular Air MG Calibre in the 1920s and 30s (Vickers, Lewis, Darne, and Browning and ZB )

What is the Headstamp of the Cartridges??? If it is US CONTRACT …303, then definitely supplied to Britain in WWII.
BRITISH made links are Blued and bear UK makers marks and " Mark"indication

Btw, due to case diameter differences, .303 links are slightly smaller than.30 cal. Links.
Theoretically they are not interchangeable, but a M1919
Link can be crimped( rear and middle rings) and the front ring expanded slightly or left as is to fit and feed .303 ( in a Browning .303 Mark I/II/III gun).

Doc AV.

During the late 1980’s, Century Arms imported a large quantity of .303" on these very links. I have a friend with an ANM2 .303" aircraft gun that was ecstatic when these became available. He bought thousands of rds. and still uses the links. JH.

An interesting nugget of information concerning the .303 Browning aircraft gun: while the US model fired from a closed bolt, the British one fired from an open bolt. This was because in flight testing of a closed-bolt prototype, after firing a long burst the round left in the chamber eventually cooked-off - and the cordite didn’t just burn, it exploded, wrecking the gun and nearly causing the plane to crash!

As the .303 gun retained the original front-sear as well as having a new rear-sear, it was unusual in combining open-bolt firing with synchronisation: when the pilot pressed the firing button the rear sear released, thereby chambering a round. The front sear, which released the firing pin, was trigged by the synchro system when the propeller blades were out of the way. The Rheinmetall-Borsig 7.92mm MG 17 (standard Luftwaffe fixed MG) had a similar system.

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I would really like some of these colt links if anyone knows of any for sale


Here is an older post on Colt links. In my collection, I have .50 BMG, .030 British and 8mm (7.92x57) links.