Type of powder in 7.62 NATO RORG 93 ammo?


#1

Does anyone know what specific powder (or powders) may have been used by the British Royal Ordnance Radway Green in the 7.62x51 ammo?

This ammo came linked and has 43.8 grains of an unknown ball type powder. I believe the bullet weight to be 147 gr. but have not confirmed.


Thanks!


#2

jj

Every question deserves an answer, even if it’s “I don’t know”. I’m surprised that none of our Brit members have checked in on this one.

I have never seen detailed specs for the RG ammunition loaded with ball powder. I would assume it is a non-canister lot, ordered in huge quantities. Since most ball powders have a very similar appearance, you cannot really tell by looks. The US NATO ammunition is usually loaded with a non-canister lot of WC846.

Ray


#3

Some more information that may help…

Here is the ammo can that it came in - linked L2A2 Ball ammo. Does anything on the can indicate a powder type?




#4

As a Brit collector I’d better take Ray’s subtle hint and jump in here to say that I nothing about the powder type! As far as I can tell there’s nothing on the can relating to the powder type either but I can think of at least three collectors who are going to know a whole lot more about this subject than I do.
The only thing I can add is that the markings do indeed show the can to have contained linked L2A2 Ball along with L5A3 Tracer.
Sorry I can’t be of more help.


#5

The question of the propellant usd in Britsh 7.62mm NATO is not easy to answer in brief, but I shall try.

The specification for Ball L2A2 calls for a 144 grn bullet with a charge of approximately 44 grns of NRN (Nobel’s Rifle Neonite) propellant which is a flake powder.

Ball L2A4 was similar except that the charge was about 44 grns of Ball powder. This was approved in 1970, made only by Radway Green and very little was produced. Ball powder, despite its advantages in manufacture never became standard for Uk manufactured 7.62mm.

All this applied up until the late 1980s when Royal Ordnance became a commercial organisation and eventually part of British Aerospace. Commercial imperatives now applied and all sorts of cross border contracts came into operstion.

The most important of these was that with Hirtenberger of Austria who made large quantities of 7.62mm ball and blank from around 1987. These were headstamped as “RG” and loaded with a slightly heavier bullet weighing about 146 grns (from three different dated specimens) and around 45 grns od ball powder. The headstamp format was the “universal” one of “RG”, date and Nato symbol which meant cases could be used for ball or tracer etc. However, despite the fact the these rounds were closer to the old L2A4 with ball powder, they were still packaged as L2A2.

Since the main purpose of the headstamp is to identify the manufacturer in the event of problems, the MoD wanted these contract cases changed so in the 1990s Hirtenberger started using “HP” on British contract 7.62mm Ball, blank and 9mm ball and drill rounds. Also, new “L” numbers started being allocated to any changes in manufacturer, propellant, primer or bullet. Examples from this period are L21A1 and L37A1 ball from FNM in Portugal.

Now, every minor change is allocated a new code, so the RG sniper/target ammunition can be found as L42A1, A2 and A3, the differences being powder and primer supplier.

Recently more and more contracts have been placed, the latest with CBC, and we are up to L47A1 in the numbering.

To return to your original question, the round you show is one of those manufactured by Hirtenberger with an RG headstamp.

Regards
Tonye


#6

After this extensive expose’ on RG manufacturing practices ( and off-shore contracting, as it seems the Brits are not capable of making ammo any more, just like the French!), here is a bit of “Powder” info…from the 1970s (maybe even earlier) Australia’s Mulwala Powder Factory supplied Britain with Bulk lots of Tubular (AR) type Powders for ammunition Loading ( both SAA and Artillery) by the Tons…still doing it recently (1990s.).
Don’t know what the situation (Britain) is now, but “MW” is also supplying the US commercial Powder factories (Brands) with Aussie-made Powders under their own labels and specifications).

Regards,
Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


#7

The problems with Radway Green go way back, and not all were of their own making. As other ammo manufacturers went out of business RG became the sole manufacturer of full-bore rifle, pistol and MG ammo in the UK. You would think that this would put them in a good position to win every military contract in the UK but it didn’t work out that way.

Each contract was open to bidders from overseas, in competition with RG, and the bids were evaluated by someone in the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and then a contract was placed with the winner. RG bid for everything and was repeatedly turned down so they tried to cut their prices ready for the next bid, and were turned down again! Naturally, if you are running a plant at below capacity, it is hard to keep overheads and other costs down but they tried. Eventually RG was forced to close down the .50 calibre line, then the 9mm lines as they couldn’t get work for them.

Then an influential man in the MOD Procurement was arrested for illegally selling ammunition and was found to have a huge store of mis-appropriated ammunition in his garage and at his home. His finances didn’t add up, he lived well past his means and had a lot more wealth than his salary could ever have made possible. He had been accepting bribes for years to give the ammo contracts to overseas companies irrespective of which was the best deal for the UK military, feathering his own nest whilst destroying the livelihoods of the RG employees. The company has never recovered from this betrayal.

gravelbelly


#8

Wow! You guys are amazing.

The wealth of information frequently shared on this forum is fascinating!

BTW, I was able to measure the bullet today and it weighs 144gr.

Thanks for the fantastic information!

Jeremy