Odd Iraqi .303


#1

A guy posted this on another site. Bad Iraqi h/s, but the bullet is odd. He describes it as “swagged lead”. Is it a ball round that lost its jacket, or some kind of gallery load?


#2

[quote=“Jon C.”]A guy posted this on another site. Bad Iraqi h/s, but the bullet is odd. He describes it as “swagged lead”. Is it a ball round that lost its jacket, or some kind of gallery load?
[/quote]

Jon,

Is the primer still properly crimped, it looks as if it may have been opened up and re-primed in the photo? The bullet looks like no .303 load that I have ever seen, could it be a reload?

gravelbelly


#3

Jon - that word should be “swaged” rather than “swagged”. It does appear to be a swaged bullet rather than cast lead.

I don’t recognize the headstamp. Does anyone have a picture of a round with the same headstamp but clearer. As it is shown, it doesn’t look like any of the Iraqi headstamps I had when I collected .303 - not the same letter style, or even the same content.

Wonder if this is a Darra, Pakistan load. They do some “exciting” reloading, and occasionally headstamp stuff in weird and wonderful ways.

They use any brass they can get, and sometimes take off the headstamp. They also have turned cases out of brass. I have a partially finished .32 auto case from Darra, and it is turned, not drawn. This case looks drawn, and the case itself looks a little better than what I have seen from Darra, although a recent TV show on that town showed some of the shops getting a bit more sophisticated than when my friend was there. More electricity and more modern machinery.

Just another point of investigation. The headstamp is intriguing.


#4

It’s OK, John, I said it right, just spelled it wrong.
I have the exact same headstamp in a normal ball load. The guy describes his as a factory load. The primer looks kosher to me, but I can’t see the neck crimp very well.
Gravel, I guess it could be a reload, but tough to tell without a hands-on.


#5

I am beginning to see the Iraqi headstamp. It is oriented improperly and I didn’t notice, due to the poor stamping, that the figures at the bottom that should be the top are the normal Iraqi military property stamp. I still don’t have a handle on that figure that looks like a hooked “L”. Any ideas. Doesn’t look like a number, but may be. It seems very “square.”


#6

I think it’s ^G 49 7.


#7

You are going to have problems with a swaged ( ie soft) lead bullet at normal rifle velocity. Its not going to grip the rifling. Therefore my guess goes in favour of some kind of reduced load.

Even hard cast gas check bullets struggle beyond about 1600 fps in a .303 because of the fast twist. You have to pick your load very carefully. Possibly not a luxury available to whoever made this cartridge.

Also, note it has the big .303 primer but no lacquer. Is that a firing pin mark in the centre? Has the primer been re-used? Its reasonably difficult to get the berdan primer out of a .303 without destroying it in the process.

I would like to see the base of the cartridge about a quarter of an inch up from the rim. In a fired .303 this is the place where the cartridge stretches when it is fired and the metal takes on a different texture.


#8

Sorry, but I think not. Apart from the font being all wrong, there would be no broad arrow on a 1949 dated case and the positioning is wrong.

I have not seen that headstamp before, but I agree it seems likely to be a reload. However, I cannot offer any more constructive answer than that!

Regards
TonyE


#9

Sorry Tony, but I was just trying to make a quick “illustration” of the headstamp. It is the Iraqi govt. triangle with the Arabic letter that goes with it, the number “49” in Arabic, and a Western “7”.
I hope that is more acceptable to the audience.


#10

[quote=“Vince Green”]You are going to have problems with a swaged ( ie soft) lead bullet at normal rifle velocity.

Even hard cast gas check bullets struggle beyond about 1600 fps in a .303 because of the fast twist. You have to pick your load very carefully. Possibly not a luxury available to whoever made this cartridge.

Also, note it has the big .303 primer but no lacquer. Is that a firing pin mark in the centre? Has the primer been re-used? Its reasonably difficult to get the berdan primer out of a .303 without destroying it in the process.

[/quote]

Vince,

Whilst agreeing with you about this not being a high velocity load I disagree about all swaged bullets being softer than cast bullets. A good swaging press has no trouble at all in swaging lead alloys as hard as Linotype metal.

I too noted what looks like a light pin mark on the primer but I doubt that a primer cup could be reused and remain that neat. Years ago I tried removing the primer marks from loose primers and it was a dismal failure. I was left with a half-depth dent of thin stretched metal, very ugly.

It could be that the round has been chambered and the striker let down on the cap before ejection. The mark looks like a Bren striker but who would try lead bullets in a Bren?

gravelbelly


#11

Tony - I think Jon was probably trying to reproduce the Iraqi Triangle mark, not a broad arrow, and the Arabic letter that is used to denote Army Property. those two symobols make up MOST (not all) of the Iraqi .303 I have seen.

I am still puzzled by that odd character that looks somewhat like a squarish “7.” They usually don’t mix numering systems on these headstamps.