Stab crimps on .303 cases

How are stab crimps x 3 formed on the necks of .303 cases to hold the projectile in place. I wonder if anyone has made a hand tool to form such a crimp style to restore the original look of .303 rounds rather than re size the neck with the modern style of the top edge of the mouth of the case.

You could maybe look at modifying a factory neck crimp die to make your own… just of the top of my sometimes fuzzy brain:):):)

Can’t say I’m excited to see someone trying to duplicate original crimps & “restore” .303’s, or any other collectible rounds.

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Matter of opinion. Would be nice to fit a head back on a case so it doesn’t slide to the bottom. If the original crimp can be reformed as per original i don’t see it as a problem. As for originality i see hundreds or original mint wartime and older rounds being fired by enthusiasts, the heads lost for ever and smashed to pieces in the butts only the cases remain, rounds that would make nice collector pieces and original, why not fire modern day round and keep the vintage stuff. I find many war time rounds in the ground from the war where the cases are corroded but the heads are as mint the day they are made, so nice to be able to put the heads in a matching manufactured war time fired case re form the crimp. but done professionally.

As for making a tool, i thought about modifying a machine collet but wondered if there was something already.

Head is the base of the case where the primer sits!
The Bullet or Projectile is that which is fixed the the Neck of the cartridge case.

Crimp : up to the latter part of WWII,all British Commonwealth .303 ammo had Bullets with a cannelure (aka crimp groove) corresponding to half the neck length on relative position.( ie eith the bullet seated to depth in the neck, the groove corresponded to
Half the neck length.
This is where a tree point stab crimp took (120 degrees spacing) was applied horizontally and at right angles to the cartridge axis by a tapered sleeved die which pressed the stab tools inwards contemporaneously
The crimp tools were springloaded to extract automatically once the downward taper sleeve was retracted.
This system was used from the 1890s to about 1944-45.
After the war, segmental taper mouth crimping was used by way of a 4 petalcollet, also activated by a tapered draw sleeve. The Bullet’s groove was then placed in the Normal position ( as other non .303 ammo).

If you are in UK or in some parts of Europe beware that some Bullets (Tracer ; Armour piercing; Incendiary etc) are prohibited…even in an empty dummy.

Doc AV

My opinion is based on being a collector (and an auctioneer with a hopefully, good reputation) of original rounds.

If a round has had crimps re-applied & sold as an original then it is a FAKE, in my opinion & why I’m not crazy about it.

I’ve seen cap-tins with Xerox-ed labels selling for $300. People wrapping boxes saying they are full & when you un-wrap they hold 49 rounds, and other examples of wrong doing.

Rounds with wrong bullets or re-crimped bullets already exist but are not permanently marked as such, why make more unless money is the object. Thankfully some folk do put a BB inside, or drill a hole or stamp the case with a small “R”.

A further problem exists that folks will say, it’s in my collection & I know it’s a re-worked example so it’s OK, it’s for me, but life goes on, we all die & unless it’s marked it stands a very good chance of being passed on as the real thing by the unsuspecting heir.

As far as seeing folks shooting original ammo with new ammunition being available, why don’t you buy some new & offer them a trade?


As a researcher of nearly 60 years I agree totally with Pete.
It’s bad enough trying to research and authenticate unusual .303s without having to deal with homemade stuff which I also consider a FAKE.
Putting any old bullet in the case doesn’t make it correct, refer to Doc’s comments.
Leave the case as it is as the headstamp (base mark) will give most of the information needed.


Unfortunately outside the serious collecting world it happens. I have seen many a case and bullet shoved together and not done neatly, destroying both in the process for reenacting purposes for display or for someone who wants a bullet belt with heads attached for show. Some people can’t keep live rounds without a licence so in some cases use fired or pulled rounds or even fire off the primer without the bullet and powder charge causing the primer in some cases to bulge out, which doesn’t look right, but it happens. I have seen pulled rounds using pliers or a vice not a proper bullet kinetic hammer. If you live in a country with strict laws, most now place a BB to rattle around. If a bullet head is going to be placed in a case then if its done properly then i have no problem with that rather than a bodge up, marking the projectile or case, as for fake to most collectors who collect other ordnance, German dropped items or mines or grenades would be content with a standard round put together in the best possible way as long as the bullet is the correct one for case not a 7.62 NATO head shoved into a 303 case . Done right, keeping with the original would be much preferred than shoving anything together. This is also refers to larger artillery rounds where collectors have restored rounds filling painting, you name it they have done it which would be considered much more FAKE and home made that getting a crimp correct as per original. As i have mentioned before a matter of opinion in the collecting world not just small arms ammunition but i understand where you are coming from as a purist researcher and collector point of view…

Pete and John are dead right. If you want to re-crimp a 303 with a bullet that isn’t original, have the courtesy to drop a BB in the case first so it is obvious.


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Large artillery or large bore rounds are another entire field.
I don’t collect them but am aware of what / how those that do have to do it.

Very often they get a case or a projectile and then have a search / hunt to find the other half or perhaps missing pieces like a fuze. Rarely do they get a complete round, unless it’s a drill.

So to have a complete round to display thay often re-paint / restore & such. Other collectors of artillery & large bore ammunition are well aware of the nature of that collectable and understand / look for / at the restored bits so it’s not a problem.

On the other hand even scarce or rare small bore rounds are very often found complete so ‘restoration’ is not necessary and doing so is looked on as faking.

I always come across nice wartime fired .303 cases. at shows or car boot sales, a friend of mine finds unfired rounds near a beach which are mint but the brass cases have had their zinc leeched from them and tend to crumble apart. all whats left is a base of the case showing date and maker stamp and a mint projectile with cordite and top card. What i do is put the projectile from say a DA or WRA knackered crumbling case and place it with a fired matching case of the same maker and date, even the top card and always place a BB or two in the case, so not only do people know it a fire case but empty inside by the rattle of the BBs. Unfortunately these mint matching unfired projectiles fall to the bottom of the case as the case doesn’t hold the bullet. When i talk about re crimping i don’t mean forming new crimps just crimping the old one to hold, i certainly don’t want to glue either , placing in a long wooden dowel to support the projectile will defeat the object of using BBs. What would you guys suggest as a way to keep the projectile in place. Its easy to do on a live round that has been pulled and cordite removed as the neck tension is still there as well as the crimps and not forced flat when fired.

Hi, as I reload I raise my decapping pin up (as berdan primer holes break decapping pins) into my die and neck size the case only using lube and my single stage press. I have a 303 and 308 die set. With the 308 die I can neck size any .30 caliber (7,62) cartridge. I then measure case length and insert new projectile in using my seating die. I always leave fired primer in.