Need Bullet ID-Appox .30 caliber

I’m trying to ID this bullet for a friend. I know little more than what you can see in the photos. Appears to be CN, Tracer based, and old. He bought a baggie of mixed 30-06 cartridges at a show and there were 8 of these, hand-loaded in 1960s LC cases.

Any ideas?


.308 diameter?

I don’t know Joe, but I assume it is since it was loaded in a 30-06 case. I can ask if you think it’s important. He may not have a scale or caliper. He’s only a beginning collector.

To me, the distinguishing feature is the base. Belgian? French?


Diameter would be interesting as I have pulled even .323" projectiles out of 30-06 casings that people had loaded up as 7.92x57.

Looks to me like one of the early .303 SPG tracer designs. Would need the dimensions and weight to confirm this.

Some of the .303, 7.7 m/m Japanese rimmed, and .30 '06 type tracer bullets are very similar and resemble each other very closely. The rounded base seen here can be characteristic of any of this group–and probably others. Knowing exact diameter would help narrow the possibilities. If the trace element has burned out it would also probably help to know if it has a separate trace compound capsule inside the jacket or not. Jack

Thanks everybody. I’ll try to get more details.


Dia = .311"
Weight = 153 grains
Length = 1.467
Tracer mixture appears to be in place.

What is it?


I’m sure this is a British .303" Tracer Ray. The weight & length you’ve quoted would suggest its either a Mk 3 or a Mk 4. I don’t have time at the moment to confirm this with my copy of Labbett’s but will do so tomorrow if nobody comes up with a better answer in the meantime. Definitely brit .303!

Ray: If it has a cupro-nickel jacket I’m going to vote for a Japanese 7.7 m/m tracer bullet for their rimless and semi-rimmed rounds. It would help my case if any traces of a green case mouth seal can be seen. The Japanese naval tracer is pretty similar but is ordinarily seen with an unknurled cannelure that permits crimping below the case mouth. Jack

This bullet looks pretty much as British .303 inch tracer SPG mk VII.G ( the name was changed to G mk I as of 1927). Here I would agree with Buster.
The bullet was produced till 1939. Canada also made the G mk I for longer than UK.
The envelope was made from cupro nickel and rounded over to form the tracer orifice. The bullet had a knurled cannelure and a tracer cannister in rear part without washer.
And the length was 37 mm or 1.467

Looking through the drawings and books I have I believe it will be very difficult to pin down exactly which cartridge it came from, I belive it is a .303 or 7.7mm Tracer but it’s dimensions and appearance fit a few rounds. It has the correct dimensions and shape to fit the .303 SPG Tracer but the weights is a fraction light but only a fraction, it also fits with the French Tracer drawings I have but I cant read French so I cant tell you the type/stile/mark but it fits the dimentions & shape perfectly.

The British Mk3 and 4 Tracers look to have a much flatter base and a tighter radious than this bullet so I am going for the British SPG Tracer or French 7.7mm Balle Flambante.


Thanks again. I’ll pass the information on to him. If this doesn’t turn him into a certifiable collector, nothing will.


PS - It’s been 4 or 5 years since this was last discussed, but does anyone have an explanation of “SPG” ???

This is a photo from the reference collection of the Late Tony Edwards and it is labbeled Tracer .303 SPG VIIG and it does look very similar to me



The cannelure is in a much different spot.



SPG? Not certain on this but maybe Tony Edwards provides a clue.

From Tony Edwards’ British Military Small Arms Ammo :

“Although the RL tracer had fulfilled a need, there was soon a demand for a more effective tracer. Aerators, a company best known for their “Sparklet” soda siphons were making 8mm solid bronze bullets for the French and from this developed a .303 inch tracer round which in trials at Hythe traced to 1,000 yards. “Cartridge S.A.Tracer SPK .303 inch Mark VII.T” was approved on 23rd June 1916 bit was not shown in Lists of Changes. A nitro-cellulose version “Cartridge S.A. Tracer .303 inch SPK (VIIT) NC Mark Iz” was approved in February 1917. The round was generally referred to as the “Sparklet” tracer”

“The Mark VIIT proved difficult to manufacture, particularly with respect of ensuring the tracer cavity was bored centrally so Royal Laboratory Woolwich developed a new bullet that used the same tracer compound but in a copper canister. “Cartridge S.A. Tracer SPG .303 inch (VIIG) Mark Iz” was approved on 18th October 1916…”


Checked out my Japanese army 7.7 m/m tracer bullet. Its diameter is .311 in., weight 155 gr., and OA length is 1.472 in. The bottom edge of the knurled cannelure is .55 in. from the base; the cannelure itself is about .08 in. tall. Only significant departure I see from Ray’s bullet is that the base form is more like a very short acute boat-tail than it is rounded. Ken Elks’ book on Japanese ammo, however, does depict the Japanese bullet with a rounded base, so I think mine is nothing more than a variant of the expected form. Labbett’s drawings of the .303 tracers after the mk. 1 depicts a flat base form with little or slight bevel. Jack