Kynoch/IMI info hard to find?

Perhaps it’s just me, but it would seem like there would be a lot of info freely floating around the 'net about Kynoch and later ICI/IMI, such as ammunition manufactured, history, plant info, etc. However, it seems like there’s very little out there that’s easy to get a hold of.

With a brand that old and prolific one would think a quick Google search for Kynoch would turn up more documentation.

Is it just me? Am I just not using the correct search terms? Looking in the wrong places? Not being specific?


Well in the former ICCA Newsletter and now the IAA Journal there are around 30 articles/entries concerning Kynoch.

From the IAA cumulative index (Numbers = Newsletter-Journal number/page):

Kynoch 1884 Paper Cartridges 376/34
Kynoch 1902 Manufacturing (from Kynochland) 481/48
Kynoch 1919 Cordite Loads 454/25
Kynoch Adaptor 449/18
Kynoch Air Gun Pellets 505/42
Kynoch Axite and Smokeless Box Variations 503/26
Kynoch Box Dating 442/50
Kynoch Cap Usage and Composition 1969 451/30
Kynoch Cartridge Board Vol 2 No 4/cover, 356/cover
Kynoch Cartridges made in Brazil 472/46
Kynoch Ceasing Production 177/2
Kynoch Early Box dating 449/38
Kynoch Factory Tools 425/19
Kynoch H8, H10, L10 Headstamps 460/37
Kynoch Headstamp Evolution 328/18
Kynoch History Vol 2 No 4/2
Kynoch Holford Works Aerial Photos 1921 504/72
Kynoch KB Brand Shotshell Box 326/back
Kynoch Letterhead 433/5
Kynoch Matchbox 487/10
Kynoch Mettax Shotshells 450/29
Kynoch Mirror 486/24
Kynoch Percussion Cap Sample Tin 458/3
Kynoch Small Shotshell Sample Case 496/62
Kynoch Swift Trademark 466/44
Kynoch Tombstone 337/43
Kynoch Witton Aerial Photos 1921 504/74
Kynoch, Win The War Day Floats/Displays 497/1
ICI / Eley-Kynoch Desk Blotter 475/16
ICI Americas Black Power Plant 478/12
ICI Headstamps 158/3
ICI Primer Packets 448/30
IMI (Kynoch) Non-Corrosive Priming 474/8
IMI Headstamps 471/59
IMI Product News 422/36, 415/32, 425/42

Also if you click on the “SEARCH” function at the top right of this page and type in a word such Kynoch or ICI or IMI in the box. Then click on the Search button. This should bring up all the Forum threads containing the word you typed into the search box.

I typed in IMI in the search box, hit Search and was provided with a 39 page list of Forum threads containing IMI. Clicking on the Topic line for each entry will take you to that thread. One thing about “IMI” is that you will get both the IMI/Kynoch related threads and the Israeli Military Industry (IMI) threads.

This is the situ as of today:

[quote=“EOD”]This is the situ as of today:[/quote]

Thats not really Kynoch, they bought the name but are trading on it very cleverly. What in particular were you looking for on Kynoch?

I use this site quite often for reference … ochV2A.htm

Actually they started out making ammunition but it soon became a small sideshow to their other activities and they clearly didn’t put much effort or investment into developing it. There was more money in making plumbing supplies and rolling brass for the Birmingham automobile industry to make radiators.

Yes, I know they did but that is all what is left of them in todays business.

And dont forget the most Excellent book - “KYNOCH” by a late IAA editor Dale Hedlund. (Armory Publications) also a lot to be found in Bill Hardings book on the Birmingham Cartridge Manufacturers.

Thanks, guys! Not looking for anything in particular at the moment, except maybe some subcontractors, just thought it was odd that I couldn’t readily find much via Google.

When did the “original” Kynoch cease production?

I believe it was over a somewhat extended period of time, From the mid-1960s to I believe, & could well be wrong, the mid 1970’s
Think certain lines were dropped, depending on demand and stock-on-hand.

I 1967-8 Tom Wilkes came back to the shop with perhaps a yard of red and yellow .600 3" NE 5 round boxes, said he bought the last of it. However I’m pretty sure the plain white 600 box came after the red & yellow & they had the same contents. I bought a full mint box for $25, which was what he paid equivalent in pounds. He would only sell me one as they had guns in the works.

Pete, thanks a lot! This helps much in narrowing it down.
Now I wonder about a lot number on a .50 tracer box saying Lot No 1-86.
On top it says “Kynoch” and further down then “Eley Ltd”.
Would it be correct to assume that “86” is 1986 here?

I have a Kynoch question as well, can anyone tell me when the “KYNOCH” headstamp was first used I believ it was only used on Commercial ammo but I have seen a photo of a “KYNOCH .303” headstamp with a primer ring crimp but I thought that was only done on military rounds. I have lots of very early Kynoch catalalouges and journals but they have gone for scanning so I cant check anything.


As a guess I would say your year assumptions are right about the lot number. It was likely an IMI product which had rights to both names, and so used them.

Sorry but can’t say when it was first used but both centerfire rifle and both paper and all-brass shot gun shells exist with a raised headstamp. The 1882 catalog doesn’t show any headstamps, but no reason to think as the technology existed it wasn’t applied? Unless it was a question of MoNeY ?

As to the ringed primer crimp, I have one with a CNCS-jacketed, copper tipped MK VII shaped bullet. My again guess, is it might have been made on one of the military lines with just a bunter change being need to start production? Or perhaps the gun maker who contracted this bullet and whose packet it might have been in specified the crimp? All just conjecture.
Pretty sure I got this when at Wilkes. & thoughts on the bullet are Rigby’s, but no proof.

Thanks Pete


Regarding ring crimps, was just looking at some Westley’s .425’s & see some with and some without a ring crimped primer. Those examples had a W.R. .425 headstamp, so it seems Westley’s must have felt this primer crimp was needed.

The .425 rifles were very likely built on a Mauser action modified with ears to keep the cartridge(s) from jumping in the rear when coming out of the magazine and missing the bolt face when cycled through the action.

Those wouldn’t have been run through a military production line as I suggested might have been the .303’s reason & to my mind squashes that theory.


Your .50 cal could very well be 1986 with that date code.
The last batch of .50 cal was sent out by Kynoch in November 1988.
Most other metallic ammo production had ceased much earlier but they continued with .50 cal as they were Govt. orders.

Jim Buchanan

Hi Jim, thanks! That is interesting info! So that one is quite late then and also for export as a UK govt order would have had the military L-designator on right?


I cant confirm the L designation it, but I would assume so, (I am a shotshell collector myself).

The date info in my previous post came from an old friend of mine, ex proofmaster at Kynoch who still has the order books which show the .50 cal.
He remembers dispatching the last lot in 1988. and would have worked on yours dated 1986 also.

Jim Buchanan

Its hard to give a specific date for when they actually ceased production. It tailed away to nothing rather than actively stopping on a particular date. Probably early to mid 70s but it varied by calibre, for decades their volumes had dwindled to the point that they were only producing the odd batch on demand from a ‘shed’ on a back lot.

All they were producing by the end were the specialist British calbres that couldn’t be sourced elsewhere, The amounts were hardly worth starting the machinery up for; they had already more or less lost the market for the more mainstream calibres to Norma (in the UK). The British centrefire market was always small and with the loss of the Empire they just saw it as having no potential.

In the last decade or so the business could not have even been profitable, I believe they just saw it as honouring old obligations.

Compare that to the Birmingham automobile industry which was still bouyant and everyone was installing central heating in their homes. They saw their future in hot water tanks and automobile radiators.

I believe they finally sold the tooling to the man who started Bertram in Australia.

[quote=“RichT”]I have a Kynoch question as well, can anyone tell me when the “KYNOCH” headstamp was first used I believ it was only used on Commercial ammo but I have seen a photo of a “KYNOCH .303” headstamp with a primer ring crimp but I thought that was only done on military rounds. I have lots of very early Kynoch catalalouges and journals but they have gone for scanning so I cant check anything.


I might be able to shed some light on that but my answer is not definitive.

Every year the NRA Bisley place a private contract for the ammunition to be used in their competitions because all competitors have to use issued ammunition and it has to be military spec.

This year, for example, the ammunition is supplied by GGG, the previous few years it has been RUAG.

Tony would have been much better than me at this, but I can tell you Kynoch did get that contract for several years around the 50s when the service calibre was still .303. Maybe other years too

I think early to mid-70s is a good bet for the date when hey were ramping down production. In the mid-70s Gordon Conway had a lot of odd Kynoch items he bought as they were cleaning out bunkers. This is about the time the 9mmP Kynoch tracers from the pre-WII Suomi test showed up. Previously only a single round and cutaway were known in the Woodin Laboratory collection. A handfull of rounds showed up at Kynoch that had fallen behind the storage racks in a bunker when they were cleaning it out.

My only real datapoint. They had quit making 9mmP components by the early 1970s. I have seen boxes marked made the UK from Sweden components. The earliest box I have seen is 1971 and the latest is 1979. A 1967 box only said made in the UK. Thet would imply they quit making components in 1970 and quit making the ammo as early as 1980.

I have no insight into other calibers.