Latvian 0,303" box

I found this on the internet a couple of months ago, saved the pictures and then lost them on my computer.

I’ve never seen one of these before, so I hope it’s of some interest.

There was also a pictures of two 0,303" Enfield chargers purporting to have come with the box. Both were British made, both marked ‘K’ showing they were made by Kynoch but one was an early MkII whilst the other was a MkIII so there’s a good chance these chargers were recycled.


Typical Sellier & Bellot (Riga) Factory, made .303 in British clips from the end of WWI and 1920s era; not necessarily “Recycled” (some, were) as Britain supplied Latvia and Estonia with Tons of .303 Ammunition, Chargers, SMLEs, MLEs, Lewis Guns and Vickers (Aircraft) Guns, and P14s and Ross rifles in the 1919-1930 Period. The Chargers were mostly WW I era Mark II (slotted backs) or later in the 30s, Mark III.
My first two packets came in the 1970s ( Interarms?), not out of the Baltic states (under Soviet annexation since the 1940 Occupation with a German Interlude 1941-44)but possibly elsewhere in the world (Germany, Finland, ???) They were a 1940 marked Packet with 1939 Head-stamped cases, in the typical S&B-R method ( S&B/39/R/19) and the Label a variation in typesetting, but exactly same detail as the Photo. Label on End of Packet, not on side. Packet a lot neater made.

Note that the Latvians called it “.303” and Not “7,7” as would the Finns or other European Nations. The Cartridge was a copy in design (.250" Berdan Primer etc) as the British .303, but Nitro powder Loaded (Flake)

Much of this has come out lately from Storage in the Ukraine ( late 1990s to 2010) with the sale of a lot of .303 ammo (WW I and Interwar) but no P14s etc have shown. The Soviets Confiscated all the Baltic Armory, and armed their People’s Militia (Soviet Newsreels of the Defence of Moscow ( MLEs and P14s) and Lake Ladoga Ice road (Leningrad) P14s. Much then fell into German Hands in 1941 (Ukraine) and re-fell into Soviet Hands in 1944-5. Must still be there.

The usual allocation was One Charger( sometimes two) of .303 ammo and One rifle per Militia Guard, to defend the Tank Traps around Moscow. Of Course, the troops of the NKVD (“Blue Caps”) behind them were armed with M1910 Maxims with 250 round belts (to make sure the Militia stayed at their Posts).

Interesting History Point of War in the East.

Doc AV

Neat box, never saw one of these before, how un-usual is this?

Peter, great box, thanks for posting. This label variation indicates use in a rifle (šautene) instead of a machine gun (ložmetējs).

DocAV, this box does not correspond to S&B of Riga but to Vairogs, and 1937 is the year when the former was absorbed by the latter. In this box you can find cartridges headstamped 19 / SB / 37 / R / and V — 37 —.

Can you or anyone else confirm the existence of a “19 / SB / 39 / R /” headstamp? I thought that the last known S&B Riga cartridge was made in 1937.



The MkII Enfield charger was announced in the List of Changes (LoC) in March 1906 whilst the MkIII appeared in February 1916. The far superior, though far from perfect MkIV was announced in October 1917, effectively rendering all previous Mk’s obsolete although they would have continued to be used until loaded ammunition on these earlier types was either fired off or scrapped.

Dates of introduction found in the LoC are best treated with some circumspection as the actual date of introduction into service might have been some time, maybe even a year, previously.


PS Although there is a Kynoch factory drawing dated December 1936 for a contract for Estonia showing a MkIII charger. Has anyone ever come across a packet of this contract ammunition?