Help with .303 Britt ID


Several years back,when Navy Arms was going by-by, I bought what was advertised as " Battle Field pick-up" .303 Britt ammo. I bought it by the barrel full and ended up with about 50,000 rounds. There were many unserviceable rounds as well as like new ammo in the mix.
I don’t have any head stamps older than 1909, most being early WWII. There are several hundred WWI as well.
I found one interesting round I can find no data on. It looks in all respects to be loaded in this manner for training or some other purpose rather than combat. The round is live,the crimp is in place and tight. The bullet looks to be swagged lead and is not cast. The casing is brass. The weight of the cartridge shows there is a powder charge of about 44 grains of something. ( empty case weight plus the estimated bullet weight of around 190 grains ) What looks like a firing pin strike is not, its a shallow gouge from another bullet point or has been dropped.
I only get baloney answers on other sights, I’m hoping you guys may have an idea.


Ammunition xith Arabis markings (by Ken Elks, 1979)


Probably reload.
headstamp interesting


Thank you for the information on the Iranian .303. The stab crimp looks to be original and never blown out from firing.


I think TonyE is the only person who could answer this. If he doesn’t pick up the thread PM him and ask him to comment. It doesn’t look like a reload from the crimp.
What would be very interesting would be to know where it was “picked up”.It doesn’t look as though it has been in the ground. All the WW1 stuff is corroded and although in the early days of WW1 almost anything could be be found around the early fighting in Mons, even quite possibly training rounds (desperate times) this doesn’t fit the profile. A UK training round maybe found in Mons, its not beyond the realms of possibility but not with that headstamp.

Indian army rounds near Loos, (north of the canal bridge) again maybe but they would be corroded.

My guess and its only a guess is an Indian arsenal clearout. Ammo brought out of Persia (Modern Iran) when the British left. But tony will know for sure.

The primer and crimp look British but thats as far as I can go


The way I read Ken’s book that is an Iraqi headstamp with a 1949 date, not Iranian. Am I wrong?

Ken said at the last St. Louis show that he is working on a new edition of his Arabic book. It’s something that is surely needed!!


As Phil says, it is Iraqui not Iranian and dates from 1949.

It could be an Iraqi short range/training round although I have never heard of or seen such. However, never say never.

Generally, as Iraqi .303 was made on British supplied machinery it looks quite similar to British produced rounds, although oftn not as well made, and they followed the tradition of using a purple annulus for ball rounds.

It could also be a reload as suggested.

Now that Ken has finished Part 2 of his Japanese book he is working on the final draft of the one on Chinese ammunition which is very near complete. There are a few photos still needed that hopefully I will be taking for him at Bill’s next week. After that he will probably start on the new Arabic book, but don’t hold your breath!


PS Thanks for the plug, Vic!


The mention of “1909” makes me suspicious that the so-called cartridge is actually a 1959 Iraqi cartridge, where the Arabic script looks like “1909” to the non-arabists amongst us, but is actually translatable to “1959” in Western dates. The photo cartridge I can’t see well enough to interpret, except to say it is Iraqi ( from the Gov’t mark)

The swaged lead bullet makes me think of a “gallery” round, using an existing Ball round ( unfired) and using it and its cordite filling ( all Iraq ammo was cordite filled in .303, seeing that the machinery was all Greenwood and Batley, 1930s).
Iraqi .303 still used the pre-WW II mid-neck crimp method ( changed to Mouth crimp in 1944-45 by Britain and Australia and Canada)

Years ago, before these present “end of Saddam” wars, large quantities of Iraqi milsurp made its way to the US and Australia ( Vz52 and Vz52/57, ammo of all types, Mausers, etc) and this is probably the remains of that shipment series. The “biscuit tin” ammo containers were soldered up from used BP 4 gallon Petrol cans ( I had one still with the impressed “BP”)

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.
Brisbane Australia.