Nice Kynoch .303 Box

Rummaging around in my storage boxes I often find things I had completely forgotten about. Tonight, while looking for something else I found this very nice sealed full .303 box, which is actually in somewhat better condition than the picture shows:

I thought I had sold this 25 years ago, but evidently I did not. I think I got it in the late 1960s-early 1970s, but I don’t remember where or how. I know little about .303 ammunition history. There is no date or other markings anywhere on it, aside from a small Kynoch symbol on each side (lion’s head in circle). It does not appear to be military issue, but it does state it is Mark VII in charger clips. I am guessing it is pre-WWII (I don’t want to open it to see the HS), but may not be military. Possibly it was made for export to the colonies for civilian use? So what do I have and is it unusual?

Hi Dennis,

It looks a little like this box. I recall seeing ball (red label) and AP (green label). They were all dated 1928. The headstamp associated to this smoke tracer incendiary round is ‘K28 VIIB’. These rounds were not in chargers. I’d assumed that they were for export.




There are some significant differences in the label legends, and I would guess my box is from a later date. My 50 round box is 4-1/2" X 3-1/2". I have to wonder why the period (decimal point) is at the top of the leading 3 in 303 instead of the bottom - on both boxes.

The name Kynoch ltd officially disappeared in 1929 when it was merged into the newly formed ICI Metals Ltd *. So your box is post '29. Note its not cordite its nitro powder. My take on it is non military but the term is a bit ambiguous because in those days of Empire there were railway companies and the like that would have had rifles in every station and on every train. Uprisings and ‘local difficulties’ were common. No doubt they were selling it mostly to organisations rather than individuals

  • after that it was a technically only a trademark although a pretty enduring one because in the ammo world it was used in preference to ICI or IMI right through and still exists today in different ownership

The London on the grey box refers to Millbank the headquarters of ICI post 1926. It was an office with no manufacturing There was a Kynoch London address which appeared from time to time but it referred to a house in Queens Gate that was little more than a mailbox address

As Vince says, terminology can be a bit ambiguous. The fifty round box is almost certainly made for a foreign military contract (note the use of the phrase “BRITISH MARK VII MODEL”) so is it commercial or military?

Looking through the Kynoch contract books for the 1920s and 30s there are orders from literally all over the globe, from both British administered territories and foreign governments. The use of a red label for ball is also indicative of a military order, as this is a continuation of the British military practice of packing ammunition made to a higher tolerance as “Red Label” ammo.

Paul’s packet of incendiary rounds dating from 1928 is typical of those supplied to the many countries that acquired British aircraft and/or used Vickers guns in that period. The rounds are similar to the Buckingham Mark II with the spitzer bullet but have the Kynoch patented serated plug insted of the B Mark II lead type.

Much of this ammo was supplied to the Baltic states and Scandinavia. I have a similar packet dated 1927 that was supplied to the Norwegian Air Force for their British built fighters.


One additional piece of the puzzle. I took the box out in the daylight this morning and found a very faint stamping on one side of 4 31, so I guess that dates it precisely.

Dennis: The raised decimal point is a common typographic feature in British printed material. Jack