Help with 303 British


#1

Hi, All…I have two .303 Brit rounds here…any ideas? Cases appear to be US made (appear UMC), Boxer primed, oval copper, with headstamp 303 BRITISH at 6 o:clock as if maker was ground off bunter. Rims on the cases differ slightly and didn’t come out well in scan. Bullets appear to be nickel clad steel with lead core…193 to 195 grains, very rusty at bottom and probably were once heavier. Some sort of match round ?


.303" British (KN 08) Mk VI
#2

What is the case length on those rounds? They look too long to be regular .303 British (56mm), they are more like the longer specialised match rounds.

The original REM-UMC headstamp of “.303 BRITISH” was on ammunition supplied to the Ross Rifle Co.

J P-C is the man to tell you more if they are the long case match cartridges, it’s not my field.

Regards
TonyE


#3

Hi, Tony…Thanks…I knew you would answer…I collect .30-40 Krag but have had these around a long time, and thought I might do some .303 collecting as well…Case length on both is 2.21", 56.13mm, so…cases are standard length ?? Randy


#4

Yes, that is standard length. Sorry about that, they just looked much longer in the picture.

I would think they certainly are some sort of match round, but I am not too au fait with that side of things. I wonder if they have to do with the fact that the Ross action was used a lot for Match rifle shooting?

Sorry I cannot be of more help.

Regards
Tony


#5

These are Ross Rifle Company match rounds, with a nominal bullet weight of 215 grains; the bullets are described as being of pointed mild steel, with the front closed and a concave base. One source describes them as “solid steel” but I don’t know if that is correct, since I never x-rayed the specimen that I had.

There is published information on these rounds, although some of it is somewhat conflicting. One source indicates they were made for the 1913 and 1914 Bisley matches. That source had encountered bullets of two lengths - 1.22" and 1.41". The headstamps for both were simply a caliber designation, “303 BRITISH.” I had one of these cartridges in my .303 collection before I parted with it. I never measured the bullet length, as I didn’t want to pull it. My notes say that the cases were made by Winchester, but I don’t know where I got that information, unfortunately, and therefore cannot stand by it as necessarily accurate.

Another source says that the rounds were used at the 1913 Palma Match, by the Canadian Team. It says that in Ross Rifle Co. correspondence, the projectile is described as “long angle nose bullet.” The bullet length given is 1.781". Evidently, the total production was 3000 rounds, with possibly all of them loaded in 1913. The round was tried in 10 Ross match Mk II** rifles and none of them would accept this round, so it was concluded that those used in the match would have had to have had a longer throat in the barrel.

Regarding the two different sources quoting different matches for the use of these rounds, they could, of course, both be correct. It seems that there were several lengths of bullets, also, but the ones used at the 1913 Palma match are described as being 1.75" in length (this is probably the 1.781" bullet, that was measured from an actual specimen).

An article is referenced in the Canadian Journal of Arms Collecting, Volume 7, Number 2, page 63, which evidently shows a letter dated September 22, 1913 from E. J. Evans, of the Ross Factory, to Sir Charles Ross. Unfortunately, I do not have that issue of the Journal in my files.

References: “Canada and the .303-British 1892-1992,” by C.R. MacDonald, of Canada, page 6, 16 (Figure 53) and 20 (appendix IV, Figures A, B and C). Secondly, “Ross Rifle Co. of Canada,” by R. Phillips, F. Dupuis and J. Chadwick, pages 213-214. 232.

There was a bit more information, but to repeat it here would take much space. I can provide more on demand, Randy.


#6

Hi, Tony and John…Thanks much for the info…John…bullets probably were 215 grain at one time…but bases are “rotted off”. When I got them years ago, both had cracked necks and no powder, so bullets are loose in the cases. They are definitely lead core as evidenced by the bases. Hard now to accurately measure bullet length because of the condition of the bullet bases. It is certainly possible these were made by WRACo, but after all those years of UMC collecting, the headstamp appears to be more UMC or REM-UMC than WRACo. John, any other info would certainly be appreciated, it might help to turn me into a .303 collector!!!. Aaarrgg!! But the Krags will still always be frontline.


#7

Little more info on the Ross cartridge and the Palma Matches:
The 1912 Palma was hosted by Canada and only they and the US competed. The match was the first time the Canada used the Ross Rifle with .303 Ross ammo - steel-jacket, 201-grain very pointed bullet. It was also the match that the US first used the Springfield in 30-06 instead of the trusted 30-40.
The 1913 match was hosted by the US at Camp Perry with Canada, Argentina, Peru and Sweden competing. The Canadian team again used the Ross Rifle with .303 Ross ammo but with the “needle-nosed” 215-grain steel-jacketed bullet.
The info comes from the research done by our friend Ted Molyneux, Curator of the NRA Bisley Museum.


#8

Asa a Krag collector I presume you have the Kynoch 1899 contract round? Headstamp K C 99 (also 98)

Regards
Tony


#9

Thanks for the info, Chris…Yes, Tony, I have both the K C 98 and 99…Have also sectioned one of these and they look neet with the Cordite…I also have two unheadstamped Krag rounds which I believe to be Kynoch…I would really like to find ANY Kynoch box for the Krag cartridges…please keep me in mind…Randy


#10

I have the Ross .303 match cartridge with this headstamp in my collection also, and was able to easily remove the bullet due to the case neck being cracked. The 197 grain bullet is quite sharply pointed, measures 1.559" long, and had a little rust on the lower 1/8 inch of the steel jacket. The base is cone shaped, and the core is quite hard, but appears to be lead. The headstamp matches headstamp A on page 170 of Dan Shuey’s WRA Co volume 1, so it would appear the Winchester case connection that John mentions has some basis.