Cordite question


I just got some 303 ammunition made in Pakistan. It is dated 7-99. I took one apart and the propellant charge is cordite. I thought that cordite stopped being used as a propellant before WWI. Is it not uncommon to still find cordite being used today as a propellant?


Was your POF ammo really made in 1999, or simply repacked then? What is the headstamp on the rounds themselves?


Jon C. Yes, the headstamps are “POF” and than at bottom “7” “99”. Ammunition is bright and clean modern manufacture. A Gun Shop here in Atlanta got a crate of this ammunition. The cordite is reddish brown tubes.


Cordite was used throughout the life of the .303 inch round in the UK right up to the late 1950s. NC was used in the second half of WWI and again in WW2 but the great majority of .303 ball was cordite loaded. One reason was that cordite was a very stable propellant in storage and this was an important consideration given the far flung nature of the British forces around the world.

Post war, only the very last batches of .303 made for the cadets in the early seventies by Radway Green were NC loaded. The last .303 made at Woolwich and Radway Green for the regular forces in 1957 was cordite loaded.

I am not surprised the Pakistani forces are still using cordite, as it is well suited to their environment. The “7” in the headstamp is not the month of manufacture but the designation, Mark 7.

BTW, if you are going to SLICS next March bring me one of the rounds please!



I’m going to go out on a limb here, and bet that it’s 1966 production. A lot of Pakistani .303 has come to the US, but I haven’t seen any later than the 1960’s.


Very good point Jon. The orientation of the headstamp would be that if the “7” was interpreted as the month then the “66” would be read as “99”.

Should have thought of that!



I agree with Jon. The headstamp “POF 66 7” is very commonly found on surplus .303 and has been offered here in the U.S. for several years - they must have had plenty of it. the number “7” definitely indicates “Mark 7 Ball” and is not a month or lot number.


John and TonyE, many thanks for helping me. I bet your right, surely it must be “66” and not “99”.