Greenwood and Batley headstamp question


I have a .303 round with the head stamp - G28 VII.
I now its 1928 mk7

G is for Greenwood and Batley I am presuming but I thought the G head stamp was only until 1920 ??

ie - G-1890 - 1920

  • GB - 1890 - 1958

Hope someone can clear this up.



This is definitely one for TonyE


I am afraid I cannot offer you an explanation for why the change was made between “GB” and “G” over the years.

From examination of many examples, “GB” was first used for the Powder, Ball Mark II and then onwards to the Cordite Mark VI. At some stage before 1907 (when dates came into headstamps) it was changed to “G”. Mark VI ball headstamps start with “GB C VI” but change to “G VI” and continue through to the Mark VI dated years.

Mark VII headstamps are the same and use just “G” until at least 1927. However, by 1932 “GB” was back in use and that continued until the end of Greenwood & Batley’s production in 1957.

Unfortunately I have found nothing in the records to explain the reason for this.



I think it came with the circa-1927(Gov’t) change from “VIIG” ( tracer) to “G.I.” ( Tracer Mark I G)…In order to avoid confusion in HS when dealing with Greenwood & Batley-made ammo (“G”) the firm was reverted to the old “GB” headstamp. IMO, the most likely and logical reason for the “G” to “GB” change.

(Even though G&B made hardly any Tracer during the 20s and 30s, still their ammo could be “misinterpreted” with those of other makers of “Tracer” for the British Gov’t.)

Any ideas on my supposition?

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


my 2¢ worth is agreeing with Doc AV reasoning as it makes practical sense.


I agree that there is some merit in Doc’s suggestion, although I am not totally convinced. Post 1928 tracers were headstamped “G.I” so would a round headstamped “G1930 VII” be confused with a tracer? I would have thought there might have been more confusion during WWI when there were ball rounds marked “G17 VII” and tracers marked “VIIG”, complicated by Governement Cartridge factories using “G17F3” for example.

Also, I would like to know why the headstamp was changed from “GB” to just “G” around 1907? I have wondered if it was to standardise on single letter codes like K, B, G, but then where does KN fit in?

As an aside, I don’t think GB ever made any tracer ammunition. Does anyone have an example?