following up - I have this from “Small Arms Ammunition Identification Codes”
there was also a discussion on this somewhere in the early 90’s on an ECRA newsletter:
“The .303” British red tipped cartridge with the headstamp ‘38 * H overstamped ’ 2 40 2 40 ’ was used in the Dutch East Indies by the KNIL (Koninklijk Nederlands Indisch Leger = Royal Dutch East Indies Army). The official name for this round was 'P.S nr.23 P’ that is ‘Patroon Scherpe nummer 23 pantser’ = 'Ball Cartridge No.23 Armor-Piercing’. This cartridge should not be confused with the ‘patroon Nr.23’ that was used in the Netherlands as this ‘nr.23’ was in 7.9x57R.
The ''P.S nr.23 P has a CNCS jacket and the bullet tip (10mm) was lacquered red. The projectile had a hard steel core with a lead sleeve between the core and the jacket. The loading was 2,5grams of smokeless powder (square flake).
The original headstamp ‘38 * H’ is a Hirtenberg factory one. Hirtenberger supplied the Department of Colonies with cases and bullet in 7,7mm.
This cartridge was used in the Dutch East Indies in the M.20 Lewis, M.23 Vickers and M.36 Colt Machine guns.
Apart from the 'P.S nr.23 P’ there was a ‘Service cartridge’ (red label). This was the same as the A-P round except that the core was of mild steel and that the tip was lacquered white. There was also the 'P.S nr.23 L’, a tracer version. In this case the bullet was lacquered green".