WRA .303 British chromed case

Picked up this in with some other common rounds. Usually of no interest to me, except for the fact the whole case is chromed. No holes in the case.
Bullet not original, being a 143 gr boattail.
Any ideas?



Likely someone’s metallurgy experiment. I have seen a 1942 Radway Green case that was nickel plated/chromed and assumed it to be the same sort of thing.

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John That looks more tin-plated or perhaps nickel-plated than chromed. Is the primer pocket blind (no vent holes)?

If tinned it could be a proof or drill case that got out & someone just HAD to put a bullet in it, no matter right or wrong, you know, it just need a bullet.

The case would be after Olin bought Winchester in the 1930’s and before they started using the Super Speed brand, so perhaps early 1930’s to the war? as wild guess?
I have it in sporting ball rounds, brass case & red primer annulus seal.

You could be right. Its very bright nickel/chrome plating and looks quite professional.

My photography is still pretty woeful. One day I hope to get better at it.
The plating as I said to Guin is very bright, smooth and looks professional.
Obviously someone just had to insert a bullet, I wonder if it originally had one or not. Will never know.
The primer pocket has a centre flashhole.
I appreciate your comments about the likely date of manufacture. Completely out of my field of knowledge.

Does that appear to have a military style ring crimp, or remnants of one?

So we’ve confirmed it’s a civilian case and not a military one? Wasn’t the name .303 “British” not commonly used in the 1930s?
A military contract case would have a year on it anyway.

When did factory nickel plated cases first come into mainstream production?

I don’t think the small mark around the primer pocket indicates a primer crimp.
I believe both Winchester and Remington used the designation .303 British on commercial ammo.
Nickel plating was being used mid 1880s, and chrome plating commenced mid 1920s.
Unfortunately I’m not knowledgeable enough to know the difference.

Personally I think this started out as a normal brass case. Was fired and later plated. The bottom of the primer pocket does not show any evidence of the plating, so the primer could have been removed later. As I said, it’s not my area of expertise.


This may help,
Nickel was first used in the mid 1870’s as a plating “metal” normally used to preserve metals that rusted (i.e. Steel) Plated nickel has a faint yellow tinge to it (when viewed in natural light)
Chrome did not come out until the late 1920’s and was not commercially used in any volume until the 1940’s and although used for mechanical reasons also was largely used for decorative purposes with a side use for protection (think of old car bumpers and trim etc.). Plated chrome has a bright silver finish (when viewed in natural light).
Also if we think of the coatings as a mirror, then the chrome will reflect much more detail than nickel. So if you were to stand a Vernier scale on the surface, you would see the reflected image higher up the scale on the chrome as apposed to the nickel.

So if you date accurately your case from the head stamp then the dates are self explanatory until it meets in the twin time period, then the colour/finish will be your best guide.

You could go on and on with mechanical description, it could fill a few pages but as a brief summation I hope that helps.



Thanks, after your explanation I’m convinced the actual case was made in the 1940s, as per Pete’s information. At sometime later, after the war, it was chrome plated. The finish is much too shiny to be nickel.
Without knowing the who and where of the plating I think we have come as far as we can.

Thanks to all for your input

If it was chrome, I’d think it would look like the bumper of a car. The photo you show has very irregular plating coverage. Chrome I’d think would be solid coverage?

Then the general color of it looks tinned to me, & why I thought it was.

Still an interesting case

PS I said the date would be ca 1930’s to the war not in the 1940’s

Here is a box showing “Division of Olin Industries, Inc.”, circa 1946 - 1954. There is no date code ink stamped anywhere on the box. Cartridges have headstamp exactly as shown by John K., with no periods.



I agree the photo doesn’t look like chrome, but that is my lousy photography. Sorry I have difficulty getting the lighting effective, particularly on plated items. In real life it does look like a car bumper and is extremely bright and reflective.

Thanks for the box image, very nice.


Leica cameras dropped nickel finish in 1933 and went to chrome; my unguaranteed opinion is that by 1937 a new nickel-finished camera was a pretty rare article. Jack

A general comment, not necessarily specific to this thread since I have no knowledge of this particular round. Nickel plating, initially at least, was often to protect cases from a build up of Verdigris (green waxy fouling) when the rounds were expected to be held in leather belt loops for purposes of carry. Usually associated with some form of uniform.
Chrome or nickel rounds were sometimes associated with dress uniform, honour guards or ceremonial uniforms.
Not British as far as I’m aware, RCMP maybe?

Hi Vince,
I’m fairly sure this cartridge case was chromed with no specific purpose in mind, other than making it look pretty. Whether it was done privately, or professionally I guess we will never know unless a batch turns up with some documentation.

Nice belt. Any markings on the links ?

Thanks in advance

Those you show are nickel plated.
Here are bottom to top, a REM-UMC tin-plated dummy, an R . P nickel-plated new empty case and top, another of the more polished nickel-plated round in question.
With a close look with a glass will show areas of the duller colored finish of Nickel plating, which also is not as smooth as chrome.

Pete, thanks for the reply to the pics I posted on the site. Unfortunately the text part did not follow through, no doubt my error. The pics were in response to an item posted by JohnKindred in Feb 2018, showing the chrome case. There was discussion as to who did it or when etc. I saw these in a mates collection and took the opportunity to photo them and add to the conversation. He cannot remember where they came from or any relevant information. I can confirm the same bullet weight and shape though. The links are marked M1 over BLM. The shells have a bit of handling wear etc but when cleaned are shiny and smooth.