The manufacture of 0,303" Enfield Chargers

In this thread Doc AV asks whether Enfield chargers were folded up or rolled during production;

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Rather than take over that thread I thought it might be best to start another one … information on the subject is very hard to find and I’ve little idea of the processes involved, at least on an industrial scale.

I believe that they were folded from the limited information I’ve happened across, a couple of years ago I sorted through several thousand microfiche copies of drawings from RSAF Enfield, a lot of which showed tooling and pattern gauges used in the production of items at Enfield, none of which involved chargers … unfortunately.

In the absence of anything definitve here’s all that I have on the subject, firstly two illustrations from a brochure of workshop equipment from Taylor & Challen Ltd who were engineers with works in Birmingham;

Next is a drawing, I believe from Kynoch showing an “exploded” charger from a contract for Lithuania dated 1936 … it’s a low resolution scan but it’s the only one I’ve ever seen. Interestingly enough it gives all dimensions, including the rifle calibe, in millimetres;

Estonia

Lastly, here’s a charger from British Pens that shows numerous parallel lines where the steel has worked against something whilst being formed, the lines are only on the bulge that accomodates the cartridge rim, they don’t carry onto the flat wall of the charger, so they’re not a blemish present on the steel strip before the charger forming started … they have to be an artifact from being worked, probably being pressed vertically … if the chargers were formed by rolling I’d expect to see the marks as axial, along the length of the charger, but that’s just a supposition on my part.

Fingers crossed that the more knowledgeable can chip in with something definite.

Pete

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Here’s something I’d forgotten, it’s an entry from the Directory of Manufacturers in the Engineering and Allied Trades, compiled for the Ministry of Munitions and published by His Majesty’s Stationery Office (HMSO) in 1917.

In the entry it mentions “Cartridge Clips” which I thought at first might be for Mauser pattern chargers, but further delving showed that the clips involved were largely used on the base of large calibre shells to protect the primers in transit … an example of official nomenclature meaning different things to what you and I believe now … very confusing at times.

This was my first hint, lots of years ago, that chargers were formed from strip steel … there are over 16,000 entries in the volume, so it took three days of sorting to find the charger related entries.

Pete

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Very nice information Pete, Ta very much!

Peter,
Have you ever seen any unfinished charger stages? The only ones I know are from different production stage boards in musea. West Point has them. But I never saw these for sale at gun shows, Meanwhile I have a ton of different calibre unfinished cartridge stages.

Whilst I’ve got quite a few pictures showing charger “draw-stages” and I’ve seen a few complete ones mounted on boards, usually with a set of components for their associated cartridge, I’ve never yet seen one for sale. The best I have is a set showing shewing most of the stages in the production of an SFM 7x57 charger … if it was a complete set it’d have been mounted in a good frame by now, just the thing to hang on a wall.

Pete

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Thanks, Enfield56 for the detailed information about .303 chargers.
I can see that the sides are folded up, then pressed inwards to get the Inverted “T” slot. I already use that method for forming up Berthier/Carcano/Comm.88 clips to impress the side curves and ridges. With the thicker .303 metal, pressing lines will show up, as you mentioned.
Those presses are probably still around somewhere, but the tooling won’t be; although Pakistan or India might be a possibility.
Maybe repurposed to other non ordnance stamping.
I will be putting .303 chargers on my company’s list of future projects.
Would like to see your 7mm clip draw set, please.
Doc AV