It looks like a 303 but it is not a 303

Indian Ordnance Factory is still is making 8mm x 50R Mannlicher ctgs - though they call it the .315"/8mm. At least they list it in their current catalogue together with colour photo’s of the GM SP ctgs + ballistic data matching standard 8mm x 50R. They also still make a .315"/8mm sporting rifle based on the SMLE action.

Be interested Doc in any info you can find on on your Indian contact & his 8mm rifle.

I went to the Indian Board of ordnance Factories website this morning, and you are correct, JP-C.

Those are definitely 8x50R Austrian cartridges in the photo, and also the specs as well. And that webpage is dated 2006 .

Well, our firm is interested in some other (military) products of OBI, for film use, so a request for prices for a few thousand “.315” won’t go amiss.

Thankyou all for the discussion which has (a) corrected a mistaken opinion of mine and (b) led me to a possibly profitable business opportunity.

Doc AV
AV ballistics.

BTW, did you notice they also make .30/06 (Linked) as well as .303 Mark 7z???

Regards again.

Another one I have broght to the top. There was a lot of comment on this thread and a lot of good history, but I cannot find anything positive in the thread that resolves the issue of what the cartridge with the lower shoulder is. I would think that were it simply a malformed .303 caused by poor adjustment of the die, that the shoulder would be bulged out (crushed somewhat). I don’t know factory machinery well, but that is what generally happens in normal dies for individual’s reloading, as the neck runs out of a place to go in the die if the shoulder is set back to far. Further, even if this doesn’t happen, I would think the shoulder should be the relatively normal shape. The forming die would form the shoulder to the same basic shape but simply at a different height. The shoulder on the round in question is quite well formed, and with a much longer slope and different angle than the normal .303 shown to the left of it. I know there was comment that the shoulders vary on .303s, but never this much. I collected .303 and had about 1600 in my collection, from many factories and many countries, and the shoulders on all of them were very similar, although not always precisely the same. None had the shape of the cartridge in question on this thread.

So, to make a long story short, and without the need to repeat all the good information already on the thread, what is this thing? Is it a “.315 Indian.” (I can find next to nothing about the .315 Indian anywhere in my library, including the fine book by Labbett on British Sporting, or in the .303 books he wrote, or in Hoyem Volumes I thru 4, etc.). Dead silence, I suppose, will be an indication that no one really knows what it is. One thing is for sure - it is not a 8 x 50R, although I suppose it could have been an attempt to make one out of .303 brass.

Does anyone have a source for detailed information of the .315 Indian cartridge - case length, dimensions, pictures of the cartridges, headstamps if any were made other than on fired brass, etc.?

Dear JM, I repeat what I mentioned in my previous Post, above yours of 18th.
The cartridge shown is a .303 with the shoulder “badly formed” by one means or another.

NO relationship to the .315 Indian, which IS a 8x50R (Austrian Mannlicher) with a soft point round nose Projectile. The clear photographs on the Indian Board of Ordnance Factory website are quite clear as to the ID of the cartridge.

Now as to how the case shoulder was “deformed” to such an extent… an attempt to chamber it in an 8x50R Chamber ( very possible, given that the case in Question IS a Khirkee Arsenal made cartridge…) or even trying to chamber it in a normal .303 which has a separeted neck/shoulder remnant still in the chamber (Not an uncommon occurrence with Cordite Loaded ammo, having shoulder separations due to the Non-annealed nature of Cordite loaded cases and how they are formed.

One must remember that India has had the 8x50R as a sporting cartridge since just after 1907 (The(British) Military calibre Banning Laws) and of course during WW II, used a large quantity of 8x50R chambered Rifles, Carbines and MMGs derived from Italian sources in East Africa, so much so that Khirkee made the ammo for them, as well as using up Italian captured stocks.

To get the force necessary to “swage” a cartridge to have a neck and shoulder similar to an 8x50R would require the thrust of an MG (the Schwarzlose in this case), as a simple Straight-Pull Boilt action would not have the force to do it…

Jusr as an aside, my first attempt at making 8x50R cases ( i did reload Berdan original cases) was to sleeve a .303 case, having set the shoulder back using a .308 die first, and trim and fire form… quite good working cases (See Nonte’s Book on Cartridge Conversions.) This was back in 1967-8, the year Nonte’s book was first Published.

Anyway, the whole thing may remain a delicious mystery, but consider the evidence…and the co-incidences…Indian cartridge, use of 8x50R by India, shape and position of shoulder…need I go on?

regards, and lets’s keep digging…

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


  1. It shows no trace of being forced in a chamber.
  2. I know at least 3 ctges like this one.


I think we will have to agree to disagree. I do not believe that this case-forming job is the result of anything other than reforming the case in a good quality case-forming die. To jam a .303 cartridge into aan 8 x 50R-caliber machine gun while the gun was being fired and cycling, with the case unlubricated, could not, in my opinion, produce such a perfectly formed shoulder. I would like to see a picture of the head of the cartridge, since a jam producing enough force to form this shoulder would leave marks on the head corresponding to machine marks on the bolt face, just as can be seen with a magnifying glass on a fired case. Further, the case is still .303 length, too long for the 8 x 50R chamber which means the neck would have been jammed into the throat of the barrel, in which case it would have been pushed back and crumpled, and probably further deformed just trying to get it out of the weapon.

For myself, I am going to leave it at that and file this either in my “Wildcat” file, or my “unknown” file, as I think someone was either making a wildcat cartridge or making an attempt to form ammunition for some other caliber, perhaps even the 8 x 56R Austrian (again, the case is too long for the 8 x 50R). Of course, the .311" - .315" bullets of the .303 would not shoot well replacing the .329" - .330" bullets of the 8 x 56R, but then some people, when the ammo was not available for their SKS carbines, used .308" bullets in the 7.62 x 39 cartridge (I used 150 grain .303 bullets with excellent accuracy results/ Some loading manuals even recommended using the .308 projectiles, totally ignoring use of .303 bullets). Also, I believe the case would split above the base. I would not use this round as a basis for the Austrian cartridges, but that is not to say that no one has. Years ago, there was no ammunition nor proper diameter bullets available commercially for the 8 x 56R, even when the rifles and carbines first became available on the market.

Regardless, I do not feel we have yet identified this cartridge, or why it is in the form it is. It would be interesting though to see a picture of this cartridge next to a true 8 x 56R, rather than next to a .303.

Hi John!
Here is the picture you wanted:
the “303” between 8x 50 and 8x 56
The 56 is longer and the Mannlicher cases are fater.
Absolutely no way to obtain that by chambering a 303 in a Mannlicher.

[quote=“jean-pierre”]* On the left a 303

  • On the right the strange ctge.
    Rim, base, an neck diameters, length, bullet diameter are the same than for a 303.
    Only the neck shape is different
    Hstp : VII KF AI 4-18 (A is the harrow)

Any idea ?


DocAv described the process for loading cordite .303" rounds where the necking follows cordite charge, glazeboard/strawboard wad, bullet insertion. I have a NPE case headstamped K64 7 which has not yet been necked. The next stage would be to slightly bellmouth the case to allow the cordite to be inserted without catching on the case mouth. Then the wad is pressed onto the cordite, the bullet dropped in loose followed by the necking and crimping.

I have shown the K64 case, a typical wad, cordite charge and Mark 7 bullet. The other two .303’s are both tracers made by R^L, the one with the normal looking shoulder is headstamped: R^L 1927 VII G I; the one with the low shoulder is headstamped: R^L 1941 G IV. The black rings around the latter cartridge are possibly from a MG disintegrating link. So, factory made .303" shoulders do vary, 'though yours looks a bit extreme.


Hi !
I just posted the pictures because John Moss asked for.

I am thinking like John, it is not possible to obtain this result by chambering a 303 round in a Mannlicher chamber, the mannlicher chamber is too fat.
(I will make anyway the trial during my next trip to the US).

The explanation of DocAv was interesting because I learned something I didn’t know about the strange way the Brits and Co used to load their ctges, and because it could explain this strange case.

I am not totally convinct anyway.
(If you look at you two ctges the variation of the necks is significant, but nothing to see with the ones we found in France. It is not the same order of magnitude).

To be a willdcat, I don’t think so.
The ctges been found in France, if it was a French willdcat, the guy would used a ctge made by SFM, not an Indian round.

On the other hand, due to the fact all these rounds to my knowledge were found only in France, we can perhaps wonder if it is not coming from the samples of SFM.
Don’t forget SFM used to buy a lot of foreign rounds to analyze them and we found a lot of very scarce and strange ctges coming from abroad.

But , again, it is not my field of collection, and I just posted the picture because somebody asked for.
(I am not promoting this ctge, it is not to sell,it has not been mine anymore for two years, and I put this topic because the owner wanted to have some info).

Hi Jean Pierre,

                I have this exact variation registered in my files as ".303 British, Indian Kirkee Arsenal, Smooth Neck Version, 1918". The headstamp is also KF  1  4-18  VIII and the bullet is the same.

                Measurements are: C.L. 56,53 mm, B.L. 40,25 mm, N.L., 9,55 mm, R.D. 13,32 mm, H.D. 11,50 mm, S.D. 10,18 mm, N.D. 8,57 mm, B.D. 7,87 mm.

               I don

It’s also listed by the ECRA Caliber Data Viewer Program.