Hello, and Bren rounds info request


Hello ammunition experts,
I’m currently researching the Bren Gun (WW2), and was wondering what kind of .303 rounds it took?
Could it fire incendiary, explosive, armour piercing, etc?
Any help would be appreciated.


Yes a Bren gun could fire any type of .303 round, they were interchangeable. However, in normal lines of supply in a combat arena such ammo would not be available to regular infantry units. Anti aircraft use “perhaps” for AP and maybe even incendiary, but a bren gun was not normally used as a front line anti aircraft weapon.

An explosive round would have caused serious concern in a magazine fed machine gun but it would have been theoretically capable, if not actually advisable. Such things would have been incredibly rare if they ever happened at all but your question was were they capable of being fired and the answer is yes.


Brilliant, many thanks Vince. As you say, an explosive round would’ve been very undesirable in that scenario, which I hadn’t considered! So I gather that the common ammo would be simple cordite .303 rounds.
I’m very interested in all kinds of rounds, but I’m only a beginner, so your answer was very helpful.
I’ll soon be researching cutaways of all the types of round the Bren could fire, to find out their composition. So far I have noticed that they are very similar to the rounds an aircraft model WW1 Lewis Gun could fire. Would that be the case?


The Bren was originally designed for a rimless 7.92x59mm, but adapted for use by Britain and Commonwealth countries, to use the ,303 Mark VII Ball round. In later years they were converted to use the 7.62x51mm Nato cartridge.
From my weak memory of 60 years ago, as a cadet, the strip down went:
piston, barrel, butt, body, bipod and reverse that to assemble. Could be wrong but that has stuck in my mind.

Why not google “Bren Gun” Wikipedia will have heaps of info.


Thanks John. What a good memory you have regarding the strip down - I can barely remember the WHTs I did as a cadet, and that was only 30 years ago!
I already have the cutaways of the weapon, I’m now looking for cutaways of the actual rounds, but only the earlier ,303s


Hi Ket

Am not sure what you mean by only earlier .303 rounds. The most commonly used would be the .303 Ball Mark 7, and possibly the Ball Mark 8, and maybe the Armour Piercing W Mark 1. Maybe the Trader G Mark 2

I haven’t, done a study on this subject, sorry.



Hi Tripehound,

Here’s a pic of a sectioned AP round John references.



Thanks John, apologies, I should’ve been clearer. By early ,303 rounds, I meant before they upgraded to the metric calibre.
I did find a reference for cutaway on this forum, but any info shared on this thread would be much appreciated.


Brill, thanks Paul, great detailed work - I think I can ID what is lead/brass/steel/cordite, but more detailed labelling is nescessary - tomorrow I’ll upload a pic of the '303 Lewis Gun rounds I researched and drew, which will give an impression of the info I hope to gain from this forum.


Thanks John.
By the earlier rounds, I meant the .303 rounds which were in use before the 7.62
Thanks for your info, Kirsty


Hi Paul,
I was looking for reference pictures detailing the internal composition of the rounds, so I can produce artwork similar to that I have already done for the .303 rounds the aricraft model Lewis gun would’ve fired. Pics below.
Cheers, Kirsty



Hi Kirsty, probably the best solution to you problem would be to get hold of the book ‘.303 inch’ by Peter Labbett & Freddy Mead. If you are in the UK your local library might be able to source you a copy. Another option would be to get hold of factory drawings. Several variations of these would have been published on this site by the late Tony Edwards and may still be available with a bit a searching.


Send me a PM, I will give you my email address. I have a lot of .303 drawings I may be able to help.