I have a key to British ammunition pre-1954 bullet-type letter codes (B = Inceniary, W = AP, G = Tracer etc.) It lists “SPG = Tracer (Pre 1927)”. Is this a genuine marking, if so what calibres is it found on? Can anyone post any photos of headstamps with this mark in?
SPG tracer was the designation of the final and most succesful .303 inch tracer introduced in WWI. It followed the RL tracer and Mark VIIT “Sparklet” rounds.
It was approved in October 1916 as “Cartridge SA Tracer SPG .303 inch (VIIG) Mark Iz” and was only loaded with NC. The very earliest rounds were not identified in the headstamp but the vast majority were headstamped “VIIG”.
In 1927 when the nomenclature of British SAA was changed and the load suffix became a prefix and each type was given its own Mark number, the SPG VIIG became the G Mark I or Iz, Cordite having been approved in 1924. The headstamp changed accordingly.
The Gi continued in service until WW2 when it was replaced in 1938 by the GII. The last GI date I have is 1939. Kynoch continued to manufacture the round as the VIIG for export and headstamped it as VIIG throughout the thirties.
The VIIG bullet was the first to havw a copper tracer canister but did not have the brass washer of later types. Instead the base was formed into a rounded shape with a central hole for the tracer.
Pictures of the three types below.
L. to r,
Cartridge SA Tracer .303 inch Mark I (known as the RL tracer)
Cartridge SA Tracer SPK .303 inch Mark VIIT (known as the Sparklet)
Cartridge SA Tracer SPG .303 inch (VIIG) Mark Iz
Thanks, that clears that up. So you will never actually see this marking on a headstamp?
That is right, SPG was only part of the title and only the “G” got to the headstamp. It was of course the origin of the G code for all British tracers as they were all patterned on the VIIG in terms of composition until newer types came into service in WW2