.303 cartridge internal stamps.

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MilitaryMetalMagnut
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.303 cartridge internal stamps.

Post by MilitaryMetalMagnut » Thu Nov 28, 2019 12:16 am

Hi all,

I thought I would share with you all a method of cartridge manufacturer ID, which isn't very widely known about. I hope you might find interesting!

Perhaps a little known fact of most Second World War British produced .303 cartridges is that inside the case is an internal manufacturers stamp. These two examples below were Mk 5 blanks, without any of the usual manufacturers headstamps on the base. The internal stamps can be found in between the two ‘flash holes‘ (holes where a jet of flame emits from the detonator to ignite the main charge, when the gun is fired).
Without having my own endoscope/borescope, I had to cut the bottom off of the cartridges in order to take the picture! These two cartridges are marked inside as;

'R' - Radway Green, Crewe, Cheshire.

'4' - Kynoch Factory No.4, Hayes, Middlesex.


Image

Image


The internal stamps are really very difficult to see with ground dug cartridges, but they’re more than likely there! Internal stamps can come in handy. For example; the ROF Blackpole (Worcester) factory relied, in part, on the supply of cartridges from both the Kynoch No.4 and Radway Green factories. Although the cartridges supplied to Blackpole by Kynoch No.4 and Radway Green are marked with ‘BE’ (Blackpole) initials and have distinguishing variations in the headstamp on the base, the internal stamp confirms exactly which factory that cartridge was originally made at.

It is unclear (even by the most nerdiest of .303 nuts!), what exactly the purpose of these internal stamps were intended for, other than providing a means of identifying a source of supply, perhaps.
The internal stamps follow along the same lines as the 'conventional' headstamps on the base, for gaining an ID. For example;

'K' internal stamp - Kynoch & Co, Witton, Birmingham. 'K' headstamp.
'2' internal stamp - Kynoch Factory No.2 Standish, near Wigan, Lancs. 'K2' headstamp.
'4' internal stamp - Kynoch Factory No.4, Hayes, Middlesex. 'K4' headstamp.
'5' internal stamp - Kynoch Factory No.5, Kidderminster, Worcestershire. 'K5' headstamp.
'B' internal stamp - ROF Blackpole, Worcester. 'B/\E' headstamp.
'C' internal stamp - Crompton Parkinson, Doncaster. 'C-P' headstamp.
'P' internal stamp - Crompton Parkinson, Guiseley, Yorkshire. 'CP' headstamp.
'H' internal stamp - ROF Hirwaun, Hirwaun near Merthyr Tydfil. 'H/\N' headstamp.
'S' internal stamp - ROF Spennymoor, Spennymoor, County Durham. 'SR' headstamp.
'R' internal stamp - ROF Radway Green, Crewe, Cheshire. 'RG' headstamp.

Those are the examples I have been able to find, with a combination of my own found cartridges and a bit research. There would undoubtedly be more internal stamps! ::g


Best regards,

Simon


Military Firearms and Ammunition Historian, and published author to that effect! 13 years experience of collecting, researching military ordnance and weaponry!

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Re: .303 cartridge internal stamps.

Post by sweepstick47 » Thu Nov 28, 2019 12:19 pm

As ever, Your excellent and informative posts are always well received ::g Many thanks for sharing it. Regards ss47 ::g
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Re: .303 cartridge internal stamps.

Post by Pete E » Thu Nov 28, 2019 5:06 pm

Thanks Simon, that is something I didn’t know...Any ideas if it carried on after the war or was this practice carried out by other nations?
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Re: .303 cartridge internal stamps.

Post by Dave The Slave » Thu Nov 28, 2019 5:20 pm

Never knew these existed.
Only ever cleaned the Headstamps, rest of the casings are full of soil from the last 70 + years.
Is this something that started during WW2 or did they start doing this earlier ?
Cheers, ::g
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Re: .303 cartridge internal stamps.

Post by MilitaryMetalMagnut » Thu Nov 28, 2019 9:41 pm

Thanks chaps! ::g

Pete E wrote:
Thu Nov 28, 2019 5:06 pm
Thanks Simon, that is something I didn’t know...Any ideas if it carried on after the war or was this practice carried out by other nations?
Dave The Slave wrote:
Thu Nov 28, 2019 5:20 pm
Is this something that started during WW2 or did they start doing this earlier ?
Cheers, ::g
Dave.

Internal stamps seemed to have started at the very beginning of the war, presumably in 1939/40 when new ammunition factories were being built. I haven’t found this in pre-war cartridges. I have looked inside my various Australian, Indian and Canadian cartridges, and they don’t have any markings inside. Just British cartridges, it seems.
This certainly continued after the war. I cleaned inside 1950s ‘60s, and ‘70s dated .303’s that I’ve found, and all had internal markings.

I even seen an internal ‘R’ mark inside a Radway Green .303 dated 1974 (last year of British made .303’s). Interesting that this practice was still in force in 1974, as Radway Green was the last and only British factory left from WW2 by that time. ::g

I don’t cut my cartridges in half, like I did at the top of the thread to see the internal marks, I’ve modified an old thin paint brush and fitted copper wire into the ferrule. Quite effective, actually! ::g

Best regards,

Simon
Military Firearms and Ammunition Historian, and published author to that effect! 13 years experience of collecting, researching military ordnance and weaponry!

https://wartimedalditchcamp.wordpress.com/about/

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Re: .303 cartridge internal stamps.

Post by Pete E » Fri Nov 29, 2019 7:24 am

Thanks again Simon...Given the later dates you mention, I suppose the next question is whether 7.62Nato stamped in the same way or even 9mm??
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Re: .303 cartridge internal stamps.

Post by MilitaryMetalMagnut » Fri Nov 29, 2019 11:31 pm

Pete E wrote:
Fri Nov 29, 2019 7:24 am
Thanks again Simon...Given the later dates you mention, I suppose the next question is whether 7.62Nato stamped in the same way or even 9mm??
I've had a look in a few wartime 9mm, there wasn't anything, and I don't know about the post-war 9 mils. I also looked at a few 7.62 NATO (both blanks and ball cartridges), again, still nothing. Seems rather odd that it only applies to the .303.. ::g

Best regards,

Simon
Military Firearms and Ammunition Historian, and published author to that effect! 13 years experience of collecting, researching military ordnance and weaponry!

https://wartimedalditchcamp.wordpress.com/about/

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