The .303 British (designated as the 303 British by the C.I.P.[2] and SAAMI) or 7.7×56mmR, is a .303-inch (7.7 mm) calibre (with the bore diameter measured between the lands as is common practice in Europe) rimmed rifle cartridge first developed in Britain as a black-powder round put into service in December 1888 for the Lee–Metford rifle. In 1891 the cartridge was adapted to use smokeless powder. It was the standard British and Commonwealth military cartridge from 1889 until the 1950s when it was replaced by the 7.62×51mm NATO.

AP                       Armour Piercing

APNC                  Armour Piercing, Nitro Cellulose

APMKVII.P         Armour Piercing Mk VII.P

APMKVII.W        Armour Piercing Mk VII.W

APMKVII.W.Z     Armour Piercing Mk VII.W.Z

B                         Ball

BBPMK2            Ball, Black powder Mk 2

BCMK2              Ball, Cordite Mk 2

BCMK4              Ball, Cordite Mk 4

BCMK5              Ball, Cordite Mk 5

BCMK6              Ball, Cordite Mk 6

BCMK7               Ball, Cordite Mk 7

B7756MNC        Nitro Cellulose 7.7 x 56 M917 Ball (interchangeable with .303)

B7756R               7.7 x 56R ball (interchangeable with .303 after 1973)

BNC                     Ball, Nitro Cellulose

BNCMK7Z          Ball, Nitro-cellulose Mk 7Z

BLK                     Blank

BBLK                  Bulleted Blank

BBLKMK6          Bulleted Blank Mk 6

BLKBPMK3        Blank, Black powder Mk 3

BSRP                  Ball, Short Range Practice

CRGBHMK1       Cartridge Rifle Grenade, Ballistite H Mk 1

CRGBHMK1Z    Cartridge Rifle Grenade, Ballistite H Mk 1Z

D                         Drill

D7756R              Drill 7.7 x 56R interchangeable with .303

DMK3                 Drill Mk 3

DMK6                 Drill Mk 6

DMK6D              D Mk 6, Dummy

DPMK6               Drill Premark 6

DUMK5               Dummy- U Mk 5

EAPA                   Experimental Armour Piercing Ammunition

EPSAMK2           Explosive PSA Mk 2 (VII.AA)

HE                       High Explosive

GLB                     Grenade Launching Blank

I                           Incendiary

IAPT7756R         Incendiary Armour Piercing- Thermite filling

IAPP7756R        Incendiary Armour Piercing- Phosphorus filling

IBIKMK1            Incendiary, BIK (VII.K) Mk 1

IBMK6                Incendiary, B Mk 6

IBMK6Z              Incendiary, B Mk 6Z

IBMK7                Incendiary, B Mk 7

IBMK7Z             Incendiary, B Mk 7Z

IP                        Incendiary (phosphorus)

LTBLK                 Line Throwing Blank

MK7NC              Nitro Cellulose Mk 7

TR                       Tracer

TR7756R            7.7 x 56R Tracer

TRGMK2            Tracer- G Mk 2

TRGMK3            Tracer- G Mk 3

TRGMK4            Tracer- G Mk 4

*The 'Z' suffix Refers to graphite glazed nitro-cellulose propellant

A (Armscore)
Pretoria West Metal Pressings Pty. SA... B7756R. The photo of the 7.7 R1M3Z.

A or AI
Artillerie Inrichtingen, Hembrug, Netherlands. Became Nederland Wapen & Munitiefabrik'de Kruithoorn' NV,'s Hertogenbosch Later became Eurometaal. BNC, BLK, BBLK, LTBLK, TR.

Arsenal do Ejercito, Lisbon, Portugal... B7756MNC.

Bombrini, Parodi et Delfino, Rome, Italy. Used on military .303 carts supplied to Egypt in the period 1948 - 1954... BNC, MK7NC, TR.

Atelier de Construction de Puteaux, France. Manufactured during 1918... BNC, APNC,TR.

The 1931 round may not be crimped at all, yet the 1918 round has a very heavy crimp.


A - VE
Atelier de Construction de Valence, France... B.

Atelier de Fabrication de Vincinnes, France... B.

B,J,M or N
Birmingham Metal and Munitions Co Ltd. Birmingham, UK. Company formed in 1897, a wholly owned subsidiary of Nobels explosive company who also owned a further Ammunition plant, fully acquired in 1907, at Waltham Abbey, Essex. BM&M had ceased Ammunition manufacture by 1920. The company was taken over in 1918 by Explosives Trades Ltd which became Nobel Industries, which was in turn was to become part of the new giant Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd when it was formed in 1926.

The headstamp code B denoting the manufacturer should not be confused with B as in BVIIZ which indicates incendiary Ammunition.

BE or BE??
Royal Ordnance Factory, Blackpole, Worcester, UK. This factory was part of the 1939 - 1945 war emergency expansion plan and was situated at Blackpole on the site of the earlier Government Cartridge Factory No 3 of 1916. Initially ICI Ltd were to have operated this plant but they were advised in 1940 of the change in plans and the factory was run as a Royal Ordnance Factory by the Ministry of Supply. This factory made and marked cases but filling was carried out at the Royal Ordnance Factory Swynnerton, Staffs. cartridges produced with the BE cases from 1941 to 1945 were... BCMK7, CRGBHMK1Z, DUMK5, IBMK6Z, IBMK7Z, TRGMK2, TRGMK3, TRGMK4.


J Blanch & Sons of Fenchurch St, London, UK. Made dummy drill rounds with a one piece tinplate case and bullet, having a crimped on base, in 1915.


British Munitions Co Ltd, Millwall, London, UK. Believed to have manufactured... BBPMK2 from 1890.

Bombrini, Parodi et Delfino, Rome Italy. In addition to the .303 cartridges manufactured for Egypt this company also manufactured nitro-cellulose loaded 7.7 x 56R cartridges, which are interchangeable with the .303 round and are known to have been made in... B7756R, D7756R, IAPT7756R, IAPP7756R, TR7756R.

Browning Arms Co. Manufacture thought to have been by Fabrique Nationale (National Weapons Factory) at Herstal in Belgium.


Pirotecnico di Capua, Italy. Manufactured 7.7 x 56R bulleted blanks that are interchangeable with the .303 British.

Colonial Ammunition Co., Auckland, New Zealand. Produced .303 cartridges in... BCMK2, BCMK4, BCMK6, BCMK7, B (Mk 6 Match),BNCMK7Z,CRGBHMK1Z,BLK (Mk 6 and 6 converted), BLK (Mks 3, 5, 5z), BLK (Commercial), D (D Mk 9), Dummy (Mks 3, 4), Dummy (Non Regulation), Practice (Gaudet), Practice (short range... NZ pattern), 215 gr RNSP, 180 gr PSP, 180 gr HP, 174 gr PSP, 150 gr PSP, 130 gr PSP and 150 gr HP Sporting Ammunition, Mks 4 and 5 (Big Game Exploder) Sporting Ammunition, H.V. (Exploder) Sporting Ammunition.

Colonial Ammunition Co., Melbourne, Australia. Known to have produced during 1920-21 the .303 cartridges in... BCMK7, Dummy.

Crompton Parkinson Ltd, Guiseley, Yorkshire, UK, although filling took place at Doncaster (see below). This factory set up as part of the 1939-1945 war emergency expansion plan. Produced .303 cartridges during the period 1940 - 1944 in:- AP (W Mk 1), BCMK7.

Crompton Parkinson Ltd, Doncaster, Yorkshire, UK. Production of Ammunition ceased in 1944. Known to have produced .303 cartridges in... AP W Mk, AP W Mk 1 Special, EAPA (1942), BCMK7

Dominion Cartridge Co., Brownsburg, Quebec, Canada are known to have produced .303 ball cartridges.

D|, DF, N| or S|
Indian Government Ammunition Factory, Dum Dum, Calcutta, India. This factory manufactured cartridges for use by the British Army in India as well as the Indian Army. In 1918 this factory was capable of producing at the rate of about 10 million rounds per month. The example at right is of their manufacture. The far right image shows the unusual neck crimp consisting of three parts of the circumference of a circle and three small triangular indents. They produced .303 cartridges in... BCMK2, BCMK2 Special, BCMK6 and BCMK7, BSRP I.P. Mk 1*, BLK, Dummy Drill Mk 1. IP,and IP No 2 Mk 1

Dominion Arsenal, Montreal, Canada made .303 cartridges in... Ball, Cordite Mk 6
Blank, Nitro-cellulose L Canadian Mk 1 (1955 & 1956)

Dominion Arsenal, Quebec, Canada manufactured .303 cartridges in... AP (W Mk 1), BCMK6, BCMK7, Ball, Match
Ball, Nitro-cellulose Mk 7Z (Late Pattern)
Blank, Cordite Mk 5 (Canadian Pattern)
Blank, Nitro-cellulose L Mk 5Z (Canadian Pattern)
Drill, D Mk 6 and D Mk 9
Drill D 1942 (Canadian Pattern)
Incendiary, B Mk 7
Proof, Q Mk 4
Tracer G Mk 1 (Canadian Pattern)
Tracer G Mk 1Z (Canadian Pattern)

The 1939 DAC Mk VII is a match grade (turquoise bands) made for the Dominion Rifle Association (the Canadian equivalent to NRA) clubs and was intended for target shooting.


Dominion Arsenal, Lindsay, Ontario, Canada. Produced .303 cartridges in... BCMK7.

Defence Industries, Brownsburg, Quebec, Canada made .303 cartridges in... Gallery Practice Mk 1 (Black powder - Canada) Gallery Practice Mk 1 (Smokeless - Canada) Gallery Practice Mk 2 (Canada)

Dominion Cartridge Company, military production was a simple D with a C-broad arrow for the Brownsburg plant which later became the Dominion Ammunition Division of Canadian Industries Ltd. They operated factories in Brownsburg, Quebec and Montreal, and the illistration is a sporting cartridge. The DOMINION headstamp was used on commercial ammunition from 1911 untikl 1955. They also produced .303 cartridges in... Ball, Cordite Mk 2, 4, 6 and 7

Ball, Nitro-cellulose Mk 7 (Canadian WW1 contract pattern) 1914-16
Ball, Nitro-cellulose Mk 7Z (Canadian Pattern)
Drill D 1942 (Canadian Pattern)
Tracer G Mk 2Z, G Mk 4Z (Canadian Pattern)

Dominion Cartridge Company, Montreal plant, dates and types unknown

Defence Industries, Verdun, Canada. Known to have produced .303 cartridges in... Ball, Nitro-cellulose Mk 7Z (Canadian Pattern)
Ball, Nitro-cellulose Mk 8Z (Canadian Pattern)
Cartridge Rifle Grenade, Ballistite H Mk 1Z (Canadian Pattern)
Drill D 1942 (Canadian Pattern)
Tracer G Mk 2Z, G Mk 4Z, G Mk 6Z (Canadian Pattern)

Hirtenberg Patronenfabrik factory at Dordrecht, Netherlands produced .303 ball cartridges.

Made by CIL (Canadian Industries Limited) in Quebec between 1911 and 1955. They later switched to the headstamp "Imperial" (listed below)

Deutsche Waffen Und Munitionsfabrik, Karlsruhe, Germany produced both ball and blank .303 cartridges.

E or EB
Eley Brothers, Edmonton, London, UK. Factory in operation 1828 - 1919. During WW1 Eley produced in excess of 209 Million .303 Mk 7 cartridges. Eley Brothers produced cartridges in... Armour Piercing Mk VII.W
Ball, Cordite Mks 1, 2, 4, 6 and 7
Ball, Nitro-cellulose Mk 7Z
Ball, Short Range Practice (Gaudet)
Cartridge Rifle Grenade, Ballistite Mk 1
Cartridge Rifle Grenade, Ballistite H Mk 1Z
Drill, Mk 3, Drill Mk 3 Expedient
Explosive Pomeroy Mk 1, PSA Mk 1, PSA (VII.A) MK 1
PSA Mk 2 and PSA (VII.AA) Mk 2
Incendiary BIK (VII.K) Mk 1
RL Tracer Mk 1, Tracer SPK Mk VII.T and SPG (VII.G) Mk 1Z

E (reversed) or unstamped
Yokosuka Naval Arsenal, Japan. Fabricated nitro-cellulose loaded Imperial Japanese Navy Year Type 92 Machine Gun Ammunition, which is interchangeable with the .303 cartridge in... Armour Piercing, Ball, Incendiary- [Phosphorus filling] & Tracer

F or AF or SAAF
Small Arms Ammunition Factory, Footscray, Melbourne, Australia. Known to have produced .303 cartridges in... Ball, Cordite Mk 7
Cartridge Rifle Grenade, Ballistite H Mk 1Z
Drill, D Mk 6

Federal Cartridge Co, Anoka, Minn., USA. Known to have produced nitro-cellulose loaded .303 jacketed soft point sporting Ammunition with 180 gr and 150 gr bullets.

Exported MkVII type Ammunition in the 1950s from Italy.

Fabrique National d'Armes de Guerre, Herstal, Belgium produced nitro-cellulose loaded .303 cartridges in... Ball, FN 8/7
Bulleted Blank
Cartridge Rifle Grenade, H Mk 7Z, M11 and M12
Tracer L83
Jacketed soft point sporting Ammunition

Fabrique Nationale Herstal, Herstal, Belgium This FNB headstamp round was equipped with a 174 gr, Mk VII bullet.

Fabrica Nacional de Municoes e Armas Legeiras, Moscavide, Portugal. Known to have produced nitro-cellulose loaded 7.7 x 56R ball Ammunition which is interchangeable with the .303 cartridges

Fabrica Nacional de Espana, Palencia, Spain. Made .303 cartridges in... Ball Mk 7Z.

G, GB or GBF
Greenwood and Batley, Leeds, UK. This company manufactured Ammunition from an early stage, finally ceasing production in the late 1950s. They had a filling factory at Abbey Wood and later during the 1939-45 war a filling factory at Farnham. The headstamp code G, denoting manufacturer, should not be confused with G as in GIV indicating a tracer cartridge. During WW1 Greenwood & Batley are known to have produced in excess of 705 million .303 Mk 7 cartridges. They are known to have manufactured .303 cartridges in... Ball, Black powder Mk 2
Ball, Cordite Mks 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7
Ball, Match
Ball, Nitro-cellulose Mk 7Z
Bulleted Blank Mk 6
Drill, D Mk 6, D Mk 9
Dummy, Drill Mk 5
Proof OSP

Grenfell and Accles Ltd, Perry Barr, Birmingham, UK. The company was formed in the early 1890s having acquired the Holford Works of the National Arms and Ammunition Company and was in existence for only a short time. Known to have manufactured Black powder Ball Mk 2 .303 cartridges from 1891 - 1896.

G18F1 or C18F1
Government Cartridge Factory No 1, Blackheath, Staffs., UK. This factory was built in 1916 and was administered on behalf of the Government by the Birmingham Metal and Munitions Co. .303 cartridge production started in early 1918 and continued until late 1918 when the factory ceased production altogether. Type in production... BNCMK7Z.

G..F3 or C..F3
Government Cartridge Factory No 3, Blackpole, Worcestershire, UK. This factory was built in 1916 and was administered on behalf of the Government by the Kings Norton Metal Co. Production of .303 cartridges did not start until late 1918 and the production of all Ammunition ceased in early 1919. Known to have manufactured .303 cartridges in... Ball, Nitro-cellulose Mk 7Z and SPG Tracer (VIII G)

GKB or K
George Kynoch, Birmingham, UK. This company was first formed in 1862 and manufactured percussion caps. It became G. Kynoch & Co Ltd in 1884 and by then was manufacturing metallic Ammunition. It became Kynoch Ltd in 1897. Prior to the formation of Kynoch Ltd (see Kynoch) it produced .303 cartridges in... Ball, Black powder Mks 1 and 2.

Gevelot & Gaupillat Freres, Paris, France. produced .303 ball cartridges for export.

Hornady manufactured their Custom brand of nitro-cellulose loaded .303 Ammunition in the following sporting cartridges... 150 gr Spire Point Soft nosed and 174 gr Round Soft nosed.

Royal Ordnance Factory, Hirwaun, South Wales, UK. This factory was set up as part of the 1939-45 war emergency expansion plan. It was involved in the production of .303 cartridges in only a very limited way and is known to have manufactured Tracer G Mk 2 (in cases dated 1943 and 1944).

Greek Powder and Cartridge Co, Athens, Greece made nitro-cellulose loaded .303 cartridges in... Ball, L1A1 to British Government contract(1982-85)
Ball (1969)


Canadian Industries Ltd, Montreal, Canada and Plattsburg, NY, USA. Produced nitro-cellulose loaded .303 sporting Ammunition in 180 gr jacketed soft point. The imperial headstamp is from was used in the 1955 - 1976 era.


Thought to have been manufactured by Fabrique Nationale Herstal, Herstal, Belgium for Interarmco of Virginia, USA.

Kynoch & Co, Witton, Birmingham, UK. This firm was first formed by George Kynoch at Witton in 1862 as a manufacturer of percussion caps. It was changed to a limited company in 1884 as G. Kynoch & Co Ltd and by then was manufacturing metallic Ammunition. A further reorganisation and expansion followed in 1889 when George Kynoch was ousted from the management and this then culminated in a further change of title to Kynoch Ltd in 1897. During the period ending with the 1914-18 war Kynoch, which by then was the largest of the British commercial Ammunition manufacturers, owned rolling mills at Witton, at Lodge Road, Birmingham and at Eyre Street, Birmingham. At various times it had propellant factories at Arklow, County Durham, making cordite, at Warsboro Dale, Yorkshire, making black powder and at Kynochtown, Stanford Le Hope, Essex, making smokeless powder. In addition to these plants the original cap production was maintained at Witton. Later, effective tracer and incendiary composition operations were also carried out at Witton. After the war in 1918 Kynoch Ltd, in common with most other British small arms Ammunition manufacturers, was merged into Explosives Trades Ltd, later to become Nobel Industries. In 1926 when Nobel Industries became part of the new Imperial Chemical Industries, the old Kynoch factory at Witton was retained as the Ammunition centre as part of the Metal Group within ICI. The propellant interests being concentrated mainly at Ardeer within the Nobel Division of ICI. In 1962 the Metals Division of ICI was reorganised as a separate company known as Imperial Metal Industries (Kynoch) Ltd. During WW1 Kynoch produced in excess of 2,373 million .303 cartridges.

The following .303 cartridges were produced by Kynoch... Armour Piercing Mks VII.S, VII.P, VII.W, W Mk 1 and W Mk 1Z
Ball, Blackpowder Mk 2
Ball, Cordite Mks 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7
Ball, Match
Ball, Nitro-cellulose Mks 7Z and 8Z
Ball, Short Range Practice
Ball, Nitro-cellulose Mk 8z with Aluminium Case
Blank, Ballistite L Mk 9Z
Blank, Black powder Mk 2
Blank, Cordite Mks 4 and 5
Blank, Nitro-cellulose L Mk 5Z
Bulleted Blank, Black powder Mk 1
Bulleted Blank, Mk 6
Bulleted Blank, L Mk 7
Bulleted Blank, L Mk 10
Cartridge Line Thrower H Mk 2
Cartridge Rifle Grenade, Ballistite H Mk 1Z
Drill, D Mk 6, D Mk 8, D Mk 9 and D Mk 10
Dummy, Drill Mk 4
Greener Triplex Cartridge
Incendiary Buckingham Mk VII.B
Incendiary B Mk 3, B Mk 4Z*, B Mk 6, B Mk 6Z,
B Mk 7 and B Mk 7Z
Practice Tracer PG Mk 1
Proof Q Mk 3
Tracer, Self Destroying
Tracer Mk VII.G, G Mk 1, G Mk 2, G Mk 2Z, G Mk 3,
Tracer G Mk 3Z, G Mk 4, G Mk 5, G Mk 6, G Mk 6Z,
G Mk 7, G Mk 8 and G Mk 8Z
Triple Ball Experimental (1918) See... Pawnbroker special
180 gr Jacketed soft point sporting Ammunition
Streamlined Pattern 1927 Match Cartridge
Streamlined Pattern 1936-37 Match Cartridge
Streamlined Pattern 1947 Match Cartridge
Bulleted blanks for Bren, Lewis and Vickers
French Drill Cartridge
Experimental armour piercing
Experimental semi-armour piercing
Experimental armour piercing tracer
Experimental armour piercing incendiary (1956)
Experimental tank piercing (1940)
Experimental Tracers
Experimental Observation
Experimental Bulleted Blanks

Imperial Chemical Industries Kynoch factory at Standish, near Wigan, Lancs, UK. This factory was set up as part of the 1939-45 war emergency plans and produced its first complete .303 rounds in October 1940. Known to have manufactured .303 cartridges in... Armour Piercing, W Mk 1 Special
Ball, Cordite Mk 7
Shot Cartridge
Tracer G Mk 2, G Mk 3and G Mk 6

Imperial Chemical Industries Kynoch factory at Yeading, Hayes, Middlesex, UK. This factory was also set up as part of the 1939-45 war emergency expansion plans. Cartridge cases were being produced by late 1940, but the ball bullets were still being imported into the factory in 1941.This factory produced... Ball, Cordite Mk 7
Tracer G Mk 2,G Mk 3, G Mk 4, G Mk 5 and G Mk 6

Imperial Chemical Industries Kynoch factory at Kidderminster, Worcestershire., UK. Set up as part of the 1939-45 war emergency expansion plans. Known to have produced .303 cartridges in... Armour Piercing, W Mk 1
Ball, Cordite Mk 7
Incendiary B Mk 7Z
Tracer, G Mk 2, G Mk 3 and G Mk 6

KF or K
Indian Government Ammunition Factory Kirkee (or Kirkee Arsenal), near Poona, INDIA. In 1918 this factory had the capacity to produce about 5.4 million rounds per month.

They manufactured .303 cartridges in... Armour Piercing W Mk 1 and W Mk 1 IP
Ball, Cordite Mk 2, Mk 2 Special, Mk 6 and Mk 7
Ball SB Mk 1
Cartridge Rifle Grenade, Cordite H Mk 3 and H Mk 5
Drill, D Mk 6 and D Mk 7
Lachrymatory Cartridge
Observation O Mk 2 and O Mk 3
Tracer G Mk 1 and G Mk 2

Kings Norton Metal Co., Birmingham, UK. This company was formed in 1890 at Kings Norton, it owned its own rolling mills and had a loading plant at Abbey wood in Kent. Cases were made in Birmingham then assembled and loaded at the Abbey Wood Factory, next to Woolwich Arsenal.

Produced .303 cartridges up to 1919 in... Armour Piercing VII.F, VII.FZ and VII.W
Ball, Cordite Mks 2, 4, 5, 6, 7
Ball, Match
Ball, Nitro-cellulose Mk 7Z
Blank Cordite Mk 5
Bulleted Blank Mk 6
Dummy, Drill Mk 3, Mk 3 Expedient, Mk 5
Explosive RTS (VII.R) Mk 2
Incendiary BIK (VII.K) Mk 1
Incendiary Buckingham (VII.B) and B Mk 3
Tracer SPG Mk VIIG Mk 1 and Mk 1Z
Experimental RTT Explosive Cartridge
Experimental Blank Cartridges

There is some confusion over this headstamp code as both Lorenz Ammunition and Ordnance Co, Millwall, London, UK and Ludlow and Co, Wolverhampton, Staffs, UK are believed to have used the letter L as their code and both manufactured .303 cartridges between 1887 and 1890. Both firms are believed to have manufactured .303 Black powder Mk 2 Ball Cartridges

L-E or U
Remington UMC, Bridgeport, Conn., USA. {On UK Government contracts 1914 - 1915}. manufactured nitro-cellulose loaded .303 Ball, Mk 7 cartridges

Nobel Explosives Ltd., Manchester, UK. Manufactured .303 cartridges between 1914 - 1918 in... Ball, Cordite Mk 7 and Explosive, PSA Mk 2

Maxim Arms Co.,London, UK. The cases were made by BSA for Maxim machine guns in the 1890s. Cartridges known to have been manufactured in: Ball, Cordite Mk 2

Maschinenfabrik Elisenhutte, Nassau, West Germany. This producer has now become Metallwerk Elisenhütte GmbH Nassau. This company produced .303 ball cartridges during 1988

Fabrica National de Munitions, Mexico City, Mexico produced .303 ball cartridges.

Small Arms Ammunition Factory No 1, Footscray, Melbourne, Australia. manufactured .303 cartridges in... Armour Piercing W Mk 1
Ball, Cordite Mk 7
Blank, Cordite L Mk 5
Blank, Mk 9Z
Cartridge Rifle Grenade, Cordite H Mk 4
Drill, D M 7/N
Incendiary B Mk 7
Proof Q Mk 3 and Q Mk 4
Tracer G Mk 2 {Australian Pattern}

Small Arms Ammunition Factory No 2, Footscray, Melbourne, Australia. 1940 - 1949. Known to have manufactured .303 cartridges in... Ball, Cordite Mk 7 and Incendiary B Mk 7.

Small Arms Ammunition Factory No 3, Hendon, Australia. Known to have produced .303 cartridges in... Ball, Cordite Mk 7
Blank, Cordite L Mk 5
Tracer G Mk 2 {Australian Pattern}
Incendiary B Mk 7

Societe Meridionale d'Industrie, Robert Paulet & Cie, formerly called Cartoucherie Leon Paulet, Marseille, France made 7.7 x 56R ball cartridges.

Small Arms Ammunition Factory No 4, Hendon, Australia produced .303 cartridges in... BCMK7.

Makina ve Kimya Endustrisi, Kuruma, Turkey manufactured 7.7 x 56R ball cartridges.

Small Arms Ammunition Factory No 5, Rocklea, Australia... made .303 BCMK7.

Small Arms Ammunition Factory No 7, Salisbury, Australia... made .303 BCMK7 and TRGMK2Z {Australian pattern}.

Small Arms Ammunition Factory No 6, Welchpool, Australia.

nny See PP

NORMA or norma
Norma Projectilfabrik, Amotfors, Sweden produced nitro-cellulose loaded .303 cartridges in... BBLK, 130gr, 150gr, 180gr and 215 gr jacketed soft point sporting rounds.

Government Ordinance Factory, Lagos, Nigeria produced .303 ball cartridges.

P or PC
Peters Cartridge Co., Kings Mills, Ohio, USA. Produced nitro-cellulose loaded .303 cartridges in... Ball, Mk 7. British military contracts between 1914 & 1917, Ball, Mk 7Z (Canadian Pattern). On British military contracts 1940-45 180 & 215 gr jacketed soft point sporting Ammunition

Suggestions as to what PMC stands for are 'Precision Made Cases' or 'Precision Metallic Cartridge', but I now know it is 'Precision Made Cartridge' here is a link to their website. I picked up the illustration at right from and would comment that the head stamping is hardly what I would call 'precision'. I think it unlikely that it is 'Poongsan Metal Manufacturing Company' Ltd., Seoul, Republic of Korea Angang Ammunition Plant. As the 'M' is not shaped like an upside 'W'. Eldorado Cartridge Corporation (was Patton and Morgan Corp., and Pan Metal Corp.) PO Box 62508, Boulder City, NV 89006. The PMC head stamped Ammunition for ECC has been made in Korea, the Philippines, Mexico and the Republic of South Africa. I am also told that PMC originally stood for "Pan Metallic Corporation" and they were initially made in Korea.

Pretoria Metal Pressings (Pty) Ltd., Pretoria, South Africa made nitro-cellulose filled .303 cartridges in... 174 gr Full jacket boat tail bulleted Ammunition
150 and 174 gr jacketed soft point sporting Ammunition.

Pakistan Ordnance Factory, Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

Known to have produced .303 cartridges in... B, BLK, GLB, Proof (Mk 3).

PP or nny 
Prvi Partizan, Titovo Uzice, Yugoslavia. (Yugoslav arsenal code PPU, which in Cyrillic looks like 'nny'.) Their latest address is... Prvi Partizan, Milosa Obrenovica 2, 31000 Uzice, SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO, Phone: +381 31 511 382, Fax: +318 31 515 350 Email: The Prvi Partizan company was founded in 1928. In those days it was operating under the name FOMU - Arms and Ammunition Factory Uzice involved in shotgun Ammunition manufacture. The factory had developed pistol and revolver Ammunition production by the year 1938. This factory has produced .303 cartridges in... Ball, Mk 7, 7Z , 8 and 8Z and various sporting loads. Since the break up of Yugoslavia the factory is in Serbia and Ammunition is sold in boxes that have the Wolf brand... 

PS or S
Pirotechnico Militar de Seville, Spain made 7.7 x 56R cartridges which are interchangeable with the .303 cartridge in... Ball and Tracer (Green tip).

Remington Arms Co.,Inc., Bridgeport, Conn., USA. Nitro-cellulose filled .303 WW1 Contract Pattern cartridges were produced during the period 1914 - 1917 as. Ball, Mk 7.

Raufoss Ammunisjonsfabrikker, Raufoss, Norway produced .303 ball cartridges c 1934

Remington-Union Metallic Cartridge 1911-1960, then became R-P (Remington Peters)

Royal Ordnance Factory, Radway Green, Cheshire, UK. This factory was part of the 1939 - 45 war emergency expansion plans being situated near Crewe and is still in operation. Production of the .303 cartridge commenced in 1940 and the last known production of this cartridge was in 1973 with Mk 7Z Ball and Dummy Drill cartridges. Initial Radway Green production used a single arrow as the headstamp code and this was replaced in 1942 by the RG code.

Armour Piercing W Mk 1, W Mk 1 Special and W Mk 1Z
Ball, Cordite Mk 7
Ball, Nitro-cellulose Mks 7Z and 8Z
Blank, Ballistite L Mk 9Z
Blank, Cordite L Mk 5
Blank, Nitro-cellulose L Mk 5Z
Bulleted Blank, Nitro-cellulose L Mk 10Z
Cartridge Rifle Grenade, Cordite H Mk 2, H Mk 4 and H Mk 4Z
Drill, D Mk 10
Dummy Drill 1973 Pattern
Dummy, U Mk 5
Incendiary B Mk 6, B Mk 6Z, B Mk 7 and B Mk 7Z
Proof, Q Mk 3
Tracer G Mk 2 and G Mk 8

Raleigh Cycle Co, Nottingham, UK. Made BCMK7... 1941 - 1945.

Royal Laboratory, Woolwich Arsenal, Kent, UK. Woolwich Arsenal, of which the Royal Laboratory was only a part, is situated in South East London on the River Thames. The Arsenal dates from 1670 and has manufactured many different items of warlike stores for the armed forces. Ammunition was made at Woolwich long before the adoption of the .303 cartridge in 1889. Ammunition production ceased completely at Woolwich in 1957, the last known production of .303 Ammunition there being Mk 7 Ball in 1957. The Woolwich site apart from containing all the supportive facilities for the research, design, development, inspection and testing of Ammunition also included an extensive range complex on the Plumpstead Marshes. In addition there was a filling area not far away in the vicinity of Abbey Wood.

The following .303 cartridges are known to have been produced since 1889... Armour Piercing Mks VII.S, VII.P, VII.PZ, VII.W, VII.WZ, W Mk 1,
W Mk 1 Special and W MK 1Z
Ball, Black powder Mks 1,and 2
Ball, Cordite Mks 1, 2, 2*, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7
Ball, Match
Ball, Nitro-cellulose Mks 7z, 8z & 7z RC (reduced charge)
Ball, Short Range Practice, Cordite Mks 1,2,3 and 4
Ball, Short Range Practice (Gaudet)
Blank, Black powder Mks 2 and 3
Blank, Cordite, Mks 2, 3, 4, 5
Blank, Cordite L Mk 5
Bulleted Blank, Black powder Mk 1
Bulleted Blank, Cordite Mks 1, 6
Bulleted Blank, L Mk 7
Bulleted Blank, L Mk 10Z
Cartridge Rifle Grenade, Cordite Mks 1 and 2
Cartridge Rifle Grenade, Cordite H Mk 2
Cartridge Rifle Grenade, Ballistite H Mk 1Z
Cartridge Discharger, Black powder E Mk 1T
Drill, Magazine Rifle Mk 1 and 2
Drill D Mk 6, D Mk 6*, D Mk 7, D Mk 8 and D Mk 9
Dummy, U Mk 5
Dummy Drill Mks 3, 4, 5, 6
Dummy Version of Explosive R Mk 3*
Inspectors Dummy Mk 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
Explosive R Mk 1, R Mk 2, R Mk 3, and R Mk 3*
Incendiary Buckingham (VII.B), B Mk 1, B Mk 2Z, B Mk 4,B Mk 4
B Mk 5, B Mk 6, B Mk 6Z and B Mk 7
Instructional Mk 6
Machine Gun Blank, Cordite Mk 1
Machine Gun Dummy Mks 1 and 2
Observing O Mk 1
Proof, Cordite Mk 1, Mk 2, Mk 3, Q Mk 3, Q Mk 4 and Q Mk 5
Shot Cartridges
RL Tracer Mk 1
Tracer SPK(VII.T) and SPK(VII.TZ)
Tracer SPG(VII.G) Mk 1 and SPG(VII.G) Mk1Z
Tracer G Mk 1, G Mk 1 Special, G Mk 2, G Mk 3 and G Mk 4
Experimental steel anti fouling bulleted rounds
Experimental Armour Piercing Tracer (1917-18)
Experimental Armour Piercing Cartridges
Experimental Bulleted Blanks
Experimental Explosive, RTS and RTT Cartridges
Experimental Grenade Launching Cartridges
Experimental Lachrymatory Cartridge

Rhodesia National Rifle Association nitro-cellulose loaded .303 Mk 7z Ball manufactured by FNM of Moscavide in Portugal.

Remington Arms Co, Bridgeport, Conn., USA made nitro-cellulose loaded .303 cartridges in:- 180 & 215 gr jacketed soft point sporting forms.

Ross Rifle Co, Montreal, Canada. Produced .303 Mk 7 ball Ammunition in cases believed to have been made by Eley.

Richard Threlfall and Sons, UK... explosive anti - Zeplin cartridges.

Rudge Whitworth Ltd., Tyseley, UK. This company was the only new commercial Ammunition manufacturer put into business by the Government as a result of demand in the 1914 - 18 war. They received their first Government contract for the supply of Mk 7 Ball Ammunition in 1915 and continued to produce .303 cartridges from 1915 - 1918 in... BCMK7, DUMK5, I (Buckingham VII.B), I (B Mk 1),I (B Mk 2Z), TR (SPG VII.G), TR (Mk 1Z).

Sellier & Bellot, 180 gr full metal jacket and 150 gr soft point sporting, both types boxer primed


Sellier & Bellot, Riga, Latvia... produced .303 ball cartridges c 1937

Societe Francaise des Munitions, Issy - les - Moulineaux, France manufactured nitro-cellulose loaded .303 ball cartridges for export pre 1939.

Societa Metallurgica Italiana, Campo Tizzoro, Italy made nitro-cellulose loaded 7.7 x 56R Ammunition types B7756R and TR7756R.

Royal Ordnance Factory, Spennymoor, Durham, UK. This factory was part of the 1939-45 war emergency expansion plan. It began production of .303 Ammunition in 1941 initially with the headstamp code of two arrows replacing these in 1942 with the code SR. The Spennymoor Ammunition was filled at the Royal Ordnance Factory, Aycliffe, Durham. Types... B, MK7, MK8Z, IBMK6, IBMK6Z, IBMK7, IBMK7Z,LTBLK (Mk5) were manufactured.

is a Winchester trademark, no other details as far as the .303 brass pictured here. 

Pirotechnia di Bologna, Italy produced nitro-cellulose loaded 7.7 x 56R Ammunition, interchangeable with the .303 in... B and TR.

THOMAS BLAND & SONS (stamp require verifying) made .303 ball and sporting Ammunition.

U or SAM
South African Mint, Pretoria, South Africa... U code from 1939 - 1961 and SAM 1962 onwards. (When U is used with a diamond this represents the Kimberley factory... B, BCMK7, TRGMK2, Semi AP (F Mk 1), Jacketed soft point sporting.

United States Cartridge Co, Lowell, Mass., USA made nitro-cellulose loaded .303 Ball Mk 7 cartridges during 1914 - 1917.

The finishing date has been called into question... By finds made by 'Juergen' from Magdeburg, the four headstamps illustrated at right were all found in the same cache of Ammunition that was made between WWI and WWII.

Cartoucherie de Valence, France have produced nitro-cellulose loaded .303 Ball cartridges

Valtion Patruunatehdas, Lapua, Finland produced Ilmavoimat Konekivaarin Patruuna Kal 7.70 machine gun cartridges, which are interchangeable with the .303 cartridge in... 'Special' B, 'Special' AP.

W or WRA
Winchester Repeating Arms Co., New Haven, Conn., USA. Known to have made nitro-cellulose loaded .303 cartridges for 1914 - 1917 military contracts as... B, and Mk 7.
During WW2... B, Mk 7Z (Contract Pattern),Scott multiball (duplex) and 180 gr jacketed soft point sporting Ammunition.

Western Cartridge Co., East Alton, Ill., USA. Known to have produced nitro-cellulose loaded .303 cartridges in... B, Mk 7Z (WW2 Contract Pattern).

Winchester Western (unsure which factory) 180 gr 'Power Point', brass trimmed to 2.208", Boxer primed, overall length 3.055", muzzle velocity 2367 fps

Winchester Western Division of Olin Industries, New Haven, Conn., USA. Produced nitro-cellulose loaded .303 180 gr Jacketed soft point sporting Ammunition.

Toyokawa Naval Arsenal, Japan. Known to have produced nitro-cellulose loaded Imperial Japanese Navy Year Type 92 Machine Gun Ammunition which is interchangeable with the .303 cartridge in... AP, IP, TR, B.

Zbrojovka Brno, Brno, Czechoslovakia made .303 cartridges in... B, Mk 7, MK 8Z

History and development

During a service life of over 70 years with the British Commonwealth armed forces the .303-inch cartridge in its ball pattern progressed through ten marks which eventually extended to a total of about 26 variations. The bolt thrust of the .303 British is relatively low compared to many other service rounds used in the early 20th century.


The original .303 British service cartridge employed black powder as a propellant, and was adopted for the Lee–Metford rifle, which had rifling designed to lessen fouling from this propellant. The Lee–Metford was used as a trial platform by the British Committee on Explosives to experiment with many different smokeless powders then coming to market, including BallistiteCordite, and Rifleite. Ballistite was a stick-type smokeless powder composed of soluble nitrocellulose and nitroglycerine. Cordite was a stick-type or 'chopped' smokeless gunpowder composed of nitroglycerine, gun-cotton, and mineral jelly, while Rifleite was a true nitrocellulose powder, composed of soluble and insoluble nitrocellulose, phenyl amidazobense, and volatiles similar to French smokeless powders. Unlike Cordite, Riflelite was a flake powder, and contained no nitroglycerine. Excessive wear of the shallow Lee–Metford rifling with all smokeless powders then available caused ordnance authorities to institute a new type of barrel rifling designed by the RSAF, Enfield, to increase barrel life; the rifle was referred to thereafter as the Lee–Enfield. After extensive testing, the Committee on Explosives selected Cordite for use in the Mark II .303 British service cartridge.


The initial .303 Mark I and Mk II service cartridges employed a 215-grain, round-nosed, copper-nickel full-metal-jacketed bullet with a lead core. After tests determined that the service bullet had too thin a jacket when used with cordite, the Mk II bullet was introduced, with a flat base and thicker copper-nickel jacket.

Mark II – Mark VI

Longitudinal section of Mk VI ammunition 1904, showing the round nose bullet

The Mk II round-nosed bullet was found to be unsatisfactory when used in combat, particularly when compared to the dum-dum rounds issued in limited numbers in 1897 during the Chitral and Tirah expeditions of 1897/98 on the North West Frontier of India. This led to the introduction of the Cartridge S.A. Ball .303 inch Cordite Mark III, basically the original 215-grain (13.9 g) bullet with the jacketing cut back to expose the lead in the nose. Similar hollow-point bullets were used in the Mk IV and Mk V loading's, which were put into mass production. The design of the Mk IV hollow-point bullet shifted bullet weight rearwards, improving stability and accuracy over the regular round-nose bullet. These soft-nosed and hollow-point bullets, while effective against human targets, had a tendency to shed the outer metal jacket upon firing; the latter occasionally stuck in the bore, causing a dangerous obstruction. The Hague Convention of 1899 later declared that use of expanding bullets against signatories of the convention was inhumane, and as a result the Mk III, Mk IV, and Mk V were withdrawn from active service. The remaining stocks (over 45 million rounds) were used for target practice.

The concern about expanding bullets was brought up at the 1899 Hague Convention by Swiss and Dutch representatives. The Swiss were concerned about small arms ammunition that "increased suffering", and the Dutch focused on the British Mark III .303 loading in response to their treatment of Boer settlers in South Africa. The British and American defence was that they should not focus on specific bullet designs, like hollow-points, but instead on rounds that caused "superfluous injury". The parties in the end agreed to abstain from using expanding bullets. As a result, the Mark III and other expanding versions of the .303 were not issued during the Second Boer War (1899–1902). Boer guerrillas allegedly used expanding hunting ammunition against the British during the war, and New Zealand Commonwealth troops may have brought Mark III rounds with them privately after the Hague Convention without authorisation.

To replace the Mk III, IV, and V, the Mark VI round was introduced in 1904, using a round nose bullet similar to the Mk II, but with a thinner jacket designed to produce some expansion, though this proved not to be the case.

Mark VII


Longitudinal section of Mk VII ammunition circa 1915, showing the "tail heavy" design

In 1898, APX (Atelier de Puteaux), with their "Balle D" design for the 8mm Lebel cartridge, revolutionised bullet design with the introduction of pointed "spitzer" rounds. In addition to being pointed, the round was also much lighter in order to deliver a higher muzzle velocity. It was found that as velocity increased the bullets suddenly became much more deadly.

In 1910, the British took the opportunity to replace their Mk VI cartridge with a more modern design. The Mark VII loading used a 174 grains (11.3 g) pointed bullet with a flat-base. The .303 British Mark VII cartridge had a muzzle velocity of 2,440 ft/s (744 m/s) and a maximum range of approximately 3,000 yd (2,700 m). The Mk VII was different from earlier .303 bullet designs or spitzer projectiles in general. Although it appears to be a conventional spitzer-shape full metal jacket bullet, this appearance is deceptive: its designers made the front third of the interior of the Mk 7 bullets out of aluminium (from Canada) or tenite (cellulosic plastic), wood pulp or compressed paper, instead of lead and they were autoclaved to prevent wound infection. This lighter nose shifted the centre of gravity of the bullet towards the rear, making it tail heavy. Although the bullet was stable in flight due to the gyroscopic forces imposed on it by the rifling of the barrel, it behaved very differently upon hitting the target. As soon as the bullet hit the target and decelerated, its heavier lead base caused it to pitch violently and deform, thereby inflicting more severe gunshot wounds than a standard single-core spitzer design.In spite of this, the Mk VII bullet was legal due to the full metal jacket used according to the terms of the Hague Convention.

The Mk VII (and later Mk VIII) rounds have versions utilizing nitrocellulose flake powder smokeless propellants. The nitrocellulose versions—first introduced in World War I—were designated with a "Z" postfix indicated after the type (e.g. Mark VIIZ, with a weight of 175 grains) and in headstamps.


.276 Enfield

.303 British cartridges, along with the Lee–Enfield rifle, were heavily criticized after the Second Boer War. Their heavy round-nosed bullets had low muzzle velocities and suffered compared to the 7×57mm rounds fired from the Mauser Model 1895. The high-velocity 7×57mm had a flatter trajectory and longer range that excelled on the open country of the South African plains. In 1910, work began on a long-range replacement cartridge, which emerged in 1912 as the .276 Enfield. The British also sought to replace the Lee–Enfield rifle with the Pattern 1913 Enfield rifle, based on the Mauser M98 bolt action design. Although the round had better ballistics, troop trials in 1913 revealed problems including excessive recoil, muzzle flash, barrel wear and overheating. Attempts were made to find a cooler-burning propellant, but further trials were halted in 1914 by the onset of World War I. As a result, the Lee–Enfield rifle was retained, and the .303 British cartridge (with the improved Mark VII loading) was kept in service.


In 1938 the Mark VIII (Mark VIII and Mark VIIIz) round was approved to obtain greater range from the Vickers machine gun. Slightly heavier than Mk VII bullet at 175 grains (11.3 g), the primary difference was the addition of a boat-tail and more propellant (41 grains of nitrocellulose powder in the case of the Mk VIIIz), giving a muzzle velocity of 2,525–2,900 ft/s (770–884 m/s). As a result, the chamber pressure was significantly higher, at 42,000–60,000 lbf/sq in (approximately 280–414 MPa), depending upon loading, compared to the 39,000 lbf/sq in of the Mark VII round.[21] The Mark VIII cartridge had a maximum range of approximately 4,500 yd (4,115 m). Mk VIII ammunition was described as being for "All suitably-sighted .303-inch small arms and machine guns" but caused significant bore erosion in weapons formerly using Mk VII cordite, ascribed to the channelling effect of the boat-tail projectile. As a result, it was prohibited from general use with rifles and light machine guns except in emergency.[22] As a consequence of the official prohibition, ordnance personnel reported that every man that could get his hands on Mk VIII ammunition promptly used it in his own rifle.

Tracer, armour-piercing and incendiary

Tracer and armour-piercing cartridges were introduced during 1915, with explosive bullets derived from John Pomeroy's work introduced as the Mark VII.Y in 1916.

Several incendiaries were privately developed from 1914 to counter the Zeppelin threat but none were approved until the Brock design late in 1916 as BIK Mark VII.K[23] Wing Cmdr. Frank Brock RNVR, its inventor, was a member of the Brock fireworks-making family. A later incendiary was known as the de Wilde, which had the advantage of leaving no visible trail when fired. The de Wilde was later used in some numbers in fighter guns during the 1940 Battle of Britain.

These rounds were extensively developed over the years and saw several Mark numbers. The last tracer round introduced into British service was the G Mark 8 in 1945, the last armour-piercing round was the W Mark 1Z in 1945 and the last incendiary round was the B Mark 7 in 1942. Explosive bullets were not produced in the UK after 1933 due to the relatively small amount of explosive that could be contained in the bullet, limiting their effectiveness, their role being taken by the use of Mark 6 and 7 incendiary bullets.

In 1935 the .303 O Mark 1 Observing round was introduced for use in machine guns. The bullet to this round was designed to break up with a puff of smoke on impact. The later Mark 6 and 7 incendiary rounds could also be used in this role.

During World War I British factories alone produced 7,000,000,000 rounds of .303 ammunition. Factories in other countries added greatly to this total.

Military surplus ammunition[edit]

Military surplus .303 British ammunition is often available in the US, notably at gun shows and from online dealers. It may or may not have corrosive primers. There is no problem with using ammunition loaded with corrosive primers, providing that the gun is thoroughly cleaned after use to remove the corrosive salts.

Care must be taken to identify the round properly before purchase or loading into weapons. Cartridges with the Roman numeral VIII on the headstamp are the Mark 8 round, specifically designed for use in Vickers machine guns. Although Mark 8 ammunition works well in a Vickers gun, it should not be used in rifles because the boat-tailed design causes increased barrel wear. The boat-tailed bullet design of Mk 8 ammunition is not in itself a problem. However, when combined with the cordite propellant used in Mk 8 cartridges, which burns at a much higher temperature than nitrocellulose, there is increased barrel erosion. The cumulative effects of firing Mk 8 ammunition through rifles were known during the Second World War, and British riflemen were ordered to avoid using it, except in emergencies. The best general-purpose ammunition for any .303 military rifle is the Mark 7 design because it provides the best combination of accuracy and stopping power.

Japanese 7.7 mm ammunition

Japan produced a number of machine guns that were direct copies of the British Lewis (Japanese Type 92 machine gun) and Vickers machine guns including the ammunition. These were primarily used in Navy aircraft. The 7.7mm cartridge used by the Japanese versions of the British guns is a direct copy of the .303 British (7.7×56mmR) rimmed cartridge and is distinctly different from the 7.7×58mm Arisaka rimless and 7.7×58mm Type 92 semi-rimmed cartridges used in other Japanese machine guns and rifles.[26]
  • Ball: 174 grains (11.3 g). Cupro-Nickel jacket with a composite aluminium/lead core. Black primer.
  • Armor-Piercing.: Brass jacket with a steel core. White primer.
  • Tracer: 130 grains (8.4 g). Cupro-Nickel jacket with a lead core. Red primer.
  • Incendiary: 133 grains (8.6 g). Brass jacket with white phosphorus and lead core. Green primer.
  • H.E.: Copper jacket with a PETN and lead core. Purple primer.