R 1 m 2 303?


I think these may be South African , I have 2 rounds with headstamps A 78 R 1 M 2 7.7 fmj bullet , ringed in primer, and A 78 R 1 M 3 Z 7.7 this round also with fmj but the brass primer has 3 stake crimps, both have Purple primer seal , maybe just different models of ball round ,what dose the A in frount of the date stand for Thanks Randy


Randy - the A is the factory designator, and stands for Pretoria Metal Pressing (PMP). The R1M3, etc. is there “Mark” (Model) system, somewhat like that of the British, but not a direct copy Mark for Mark.


Thanks John, can any one help with a list of the PMP Marks ,Thanks Randy


Randy - Unfortunately, while I have a couple of really good lists of headstamps for RSA, one of which is just on 9mm Para and is a very good work, I have seen no comprehensive list, including for my own field, that explains what changes were made in each cartridge. The list would have to be very long, I think. I believe the Mark Numbers are caliber-specific, meaning they repeat in various calibers.

Perhaps this is a project RSACCA should look into. I don’t know if we have anyone from that country on this forum. Perhaps I will email Will Reuter with the suggestion, although I seem to recall that Will reads and has contributed to this Forum.


Howdy John, it would be good to get some detailed info on South African 303’s,I have picked up a lot of it over the years and most of it ends up in a “too hard box”, simply because I have no literature to help correctly identify it ,there may be books available in SA ,if so I would be happy to purchase them , regards Randy


Randy, I am not familiar with any real comprehensive lists of the “Mark” numbers used by RSA. If you find out about any, I would be interested as well. I would welcome any book on RSA ammunition. It is varied and interesting. As I mentioned, there has been a lengthy article on the 9mm Para in the RSA, but it didn’t directly address the model designation system. It did show different types, but for instance in ball rounds, didn’t explain the changes that caused different designations. there was also a special anniversary issue of the RSACCA Bulletin that listed every South African headstamp known at the time of publication, but again, did not explain the headstamping system.

Will Reuter - are you listening?


Sorry, I don’t lpook at the Forum every day, I nearly missed this one all together. Here is the answer:
South Africa followed the British pattern of Mark 7 cartridge. This is a flat based spitzer bullet with a lead base and a tip filler. During the Second World War this tip filler was some kind of bakelite or clay type material (see sectioned bullets, one with black tip) but after the war they resumed the regulation aluminium tip filler. Bullet weight of the later (aluminium) models is about 11.27g.
Major model variations: U with two digit date indicates Pretoria manufacture, with a glazeboard wad under the bullet, for land service use. The four digit date indicates a strawboard wad under the bullet suitable for both land and air service use. From 1944 only strawboard wads were used and the 4 digit date discontinued by 1945.
In 1946 the model number was changed to Arabic numerals (from Roman).
“R1M2” indicates a change to a brass VH2 dimple primer.
“R1M3Z” indicates a change to a 7.62 brass primer and RP41 nitro cellulose propellant.
“R1M4Z” indicates a change to ball powder.

I have a lot of info like this, which is constantly being updated as I find out new information, new dates etc. I would like to post it onto the internet somewhere. Can someone out there who is clever with computers help me find a place that is convenient for everyone and free? I have Front page so should be able to make the website content myself but I don’t really want to pay for web-hosting.


Will-If you could write up an article (of any length) it could be posted as a Feature article on the Home page of the IAA. Click on IAA Home above.


Will - I hope you can do as Ron mentions. I would love to see a synopsis of the “mark” numbers used on 9mm Parabellum. (Of course, also on 7.62 NATO, etc.).



Adobe PDF files in data like that are always nice. Easier to download and keep a copy than a web page.