.303 British

The .303 British (designated as the 303 British by the C.I.P.[2] and SAAMI[3]) 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.[4] It was the standard British and Commonwealth military cartridge from 1889 until the 1950s when it was replaced by the 7.62×51mm NATO.[2]

.303 British (7.7×56mm Rimmed)
6.5x50mm Japanese with .303 British & .30-06
Left to right: .303 British, 6.5×50mmSR Arisaka and .30-06 Springfield soft point ammunition
TypeRifle
Place of originUnited Kingdom
Service history
In service1889–present
Used byUnited Kingdom and many other countries
Wars
Production history
Produced1889–present
Specifications
Case typeRimmed, bottleneck
Bullet diameter7.92 mm (0.312 in)
Neck diameter8.64 mm (0.340 in)
Shoulder diameter10.19 mm (0.401 in)
Base diameter11.68 mm (0.460 in)
Rim diameter13.72 mm (0.540 in)
Rim thickness1.63 mm (0.064 in)
Case length56.44 mm (2.222 in)
Overall length78.11 mm (3.075 in)
Case capacity3.64 cm3 (56.2 gr H2O)
Rifling twist254 mm (1-10 in)
Primer typeLarge rifle
Maximum pressure (small arms ammunition pressure testing365.00 MPa (52,939 psi)
Maximum pressure (small arms ammunition pressure testing337.84 MPa (49,000 psi)
Maximum CUP45,000 CUP
Ballistic performance
Bullet mass/type Velocity Energy
150 gr (10 g) SP 844 m/s (2,770 ft/s) 3,463 J (2,554 ft⋅lbf)
174 gr (11 g) HPBT 761 m/s (2,500 ft/s) 3,265 J (2,408 ft⋅lbf)
180 gr (12 g) SP 783 m/s (2,570 ft/s) 3,574 J (2,636 ft⋅lbf)
Test barrel length: 24
Source(s): Accurate Powder[1]

Cartridge dimensions

The .303 British has 3.64 ml (56 grains H2O) cartridge case capacity. The pronounced tapering exterior shape of the case was designed to promote reliable case feeding and extraction in bolt action rifles and machine guns alike, under challenging conditions.

.303 British

.303 British

.303 British maximum C.I.P. cartridge dimensions. All sizes in millimeters (mm).

Americans would define the shoulder angle at alpha/2 ≈ 17 degrees. The common rifling twist rate for this cartridge is 254 mm (10.0 in) 10 in), 5 grooves, Ø lands = 7.70 millimetres (0.303 in), Ø grooves = 7.92 millimetres (0.312 in), land width = 2.12 millimetres (0.083 in) and the primer type is Berdan or Boxer (in large rifle size).

According to the official C.I.P. (Commission Internationale Permanente pour l'Epreuve des Armes à Feu Portatives) rulings the .303 British can handle up to 365.00 MPa (52,939 psi) Pmax piezo pressure. In C.I.P. regulated countries every rifle cartridge combo has to be proofed at 125% of this maximum C.I.P. pressure to certify for sale to consumers.[2] This means that .303 British chambered arms in C.I.P. regulated countries are currently (2014) proof tested at 456.00 MPa (66,137 psi) PE piezo pressure.

The SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute) Maximum Average Pressure (MAP) for this cartridge is 49,000 psi (337.84 MPa) piezo pressure (45,000 CUP).[5]

The measurement .303-inch (7.70 mm) is the nominal size of the bore measured between the lands which follows the older black powder nomenclature. Measured between the grooves, the nominal size of the bore is .311-inch (7.90 mm). Bores for many .303 military surplus rifles are often found ranging from around .309-inch (7.85 mm) up to .318-inch (8.08 mm). Recommended bullet diameter for standard .303 British cartridges is .312-inch (7.92 mm).[6]

Military use

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.[7] The bolt thrust of the .303 British is relatively low compared to many other service rounds used in the early 20th century.

Propellant

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 Ballistite, Cordite, and Rifleite.[8][9][10] Ballistite was a stick-type smokeless powder composed of soluble nitrocellulose and nitroglycerine.[10] 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.[9][10] Unlike Cordite, Riflelite was a flake powder, and contained no nitroglycerine.[10] 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.[8] After extensive testing, the Committee on Explosives selected Cordite for use in the Mark II .303 British service cartridge.[8]

Projectile

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.[11]

Mark II – Mark VI

Mk VI .303 cartridge diagram Treatise on Ammunition 1915
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.[11] 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.[11] Similar hollow-point bullets were used in the Mk IV and Mk V loadings, 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.[11] 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.[11] The Hague Convention of 1899[11] 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 defense 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 authorization.[12]

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.[13][14]

Mark VII

Mk VII .303 cartridge diagram Treatise on Ammunition 1915
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 bullet 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.[15]

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 gr (11.28 g) pointed bullet with a flat-base. The .303 British Mark VII cartridge was loaded with 37 gr (2.40 g) of Cordite MDT 5-2 and had a muzzle velocity of 2,440 ft/s (744 m/s) and a maximum range of approximately 3,000 yd (2,743 m).[4][16][17] 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.[18] 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 VIIz (and later Mk VIIIz) rounds have versions utilizing 41 gr (2.66 g) Dupont No. 16 single-base smokeless powder based on nitrocellulose flake shaped 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 bullet weight of 175 gr (11.34 g)) and in headstamps.[19]

.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.[20]

Mark VIIIz

In 1938 the Mark VIIIz "streamline ammunition" round was approved to obtain greater range from the Vickers machine gun.[21] The streamlined bullet was slightly longer and heavier than the Mk VII bullet at 175 gr (11.34 g), the primary difference was the addition of a boat-tail at the end of the bullet and using 37 to 41 gr (2.40 to 2.66 g) of nitrocellulose smokeless powder as propellant in the case of the Mk VIIIz, giving a muzzle velocity of 2,525 ft/s (770 m/s). As a result, the chamber pressure was higher, at 40,000 to 42,000 psi (275.8 to 289.6 MPa), depending upon loading, compared to the 39,000 psi (268.9 MPa) of the Mark VII(z) round.[[22][23] The Mark VIIIz streamline ammunition had a maximum range of approximately 4,500 yd (4,115 m).[24] Mk VIIIz ammunition was described as being for "All suitably-sighted .303-inch small arms and machine guns" – rifles and Bren guns were proofed at 50,000 psi (344.7 MPa) – 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 when low flash was important and in emergencies[25] As a consequence of the official prohibition, ordnance personnel reported that every man that could get his hands on Mk VIIIz ammunition promptly used it in his own rifle.[21]

Tracer, armour-piercing and incendiary

Tracer and armour-piercing cartridges were introduced during 1915, with explosive Pomeroy bullets 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[26] Wing Cmdr. Frank Brock RNVR, its inventor, was a member of the Brock fireworks-making family. Anti-zeppelin missions typically used machine guns loaded with a mixture of Brock bullets containing potassium chlorate, Pomeroy bullets containing dynamite, and Buckingham bullets containing pyrophoric yellow phosphorus.[27] 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.[28]

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.[29]

Military surplus ammunition

Military surplus .303 British ammunition that may be available often has corrosive primers, given the mass manufacture of the cartridge predates Commonwealth adoption of non-corrosive primers concurrent with the adoption of 7.62 NATO in 1955. 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. The safe method for all shooters of military surplus ammunition is to assume the cartridge is corrosively primed unless certain otherwise.

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 cordite powder 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.

Headstamps and colour-coding

.303ammunition.jpeg
.303 British Cartridge (Mk VII), manufactured by CAC in 1945
Headstamp ID Primer Annulus Colour Bullet Tip Colour Other Features Functional Type
VII or VIIZ Purple None None Ball
VIIIZ Purple None None Ball
G1, G2, G3, G7 or G8 Red None None Tracer
G4, G4Z, G6 or G6Z Red White None Tracer
G5 or G5Z Red Gray None Tracer
W1 or W1Z Green None None Armour-Piercing
VIIF or VIIFZ None None None Semi-Armour Piercing (1916-1918)
F1 Green None None Semi-Armour Piercing (1941)
B4 or B4Z Blue None Step in bullet jacket Incendiary
B6 or B6Z Blue None None Incendiary
B7 or B7Z Blue Blue None Incendiary
O.1 Black Black None Observing
PG1 or PG1Z Red None Blue band on case base Practice-Tracer
H1Z None None Front half of case blackened Grenade Discharger
H2 None None Entire case blackened Grenade Discharger
H4 None None Case blackened 3/4" inch from each end Grenade Discharger
H7Z None None Rear Half of case blackened Grenade Discharger (v.powerful load)

Japanese 7.7 mm ammunition

7.7 mm Japanese navy
Cutaways of the five types of ammunition produced in Japan.

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.[30]

  • Ball: 174 grains (11.3 g). Cupro-Nickel jacket with a composite aluminium/lead core. Black primer.
  • Armour-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.

Note: standard Japanese ball ammunition was very similar to the British Mk 7 cartridge. The two had identical bullet weights and a "tail-heavy" design, as can be seen in the cut-away diagram.

Civilian use

The .303 cartridge has seen much sporting use with surplus military rifles, especially in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and to a lesser extent, in the United States and South Africa. In Canada, it was found to be adequate for any game except the great bears. In Australia, it was common for military rifles to be re-barreled in .303/25 and .303/22. However the .303 round still retains a considerable following as a game cartridge for all game species, especially Sambar deer in wooded country. A recent change.org petition seeking Lithgow Arms to chamber the LA102 centerfires rifle in .303 as a special edition release has attracted considerable attention both in Australia and worldwide. In South Africa .303 British Lee–Enfield rifles captured by the Boers during the Boer War were adapted for sporting purposes and became popular with many hunters of non-dangerous game, being regarded as adequate for anything from the relatively small impala, to the massive eland and kudu.[31]

Commercial ammunition and reloading

303 British stripper clip, civilian sporting rounds
Commercial soft point .303 British loaded in a Lee–Enfield five-round charger.
303 British
Civilian soft point .303 ammunition, suitable for hunting purposes.

The .303 British is one of the few (along with the .22 Hornet, .30-30 Winchester, and 7.62×54mmR) bottlenecked, rimmed centerfire rifle cartridges still in common use today. Most of the bottleneck rimmed cartridges of the late 1880s and 1890s fell into disuse by the end of the First World War.

Commercial ammunition for weapons chambered in .303 British is readily available, as the cartridge is still manufactured by major producers such as Remington, Federal, Winchester, Sellier & Bellot, Prvi Partizan and Wolf. Commercially produced ammunition is widely available in various full metal jacket bullet, soft point, hollow point, flat-based and boat tail designs—both spitzer and round-nosed.

Reloading equipment and ammunition components are also manufactured by several companies. Dies and other tools for the reloading of .303 British are produced by Forster, Hornady, Lee, Lyman, RCBS, and Redding. Depending on the bore and bore erosion a reloader may choose to utilize bullet diameters of .308–.312" with .311" or .312" diameter bullets being the most common. Bullets specifically produced and sold for reloading .303 British are made by Sierra, Hornady, Speer, Woodleigh, Barnes, and Remington. Where extreme accuracy is required, the Sierra Matchking 174-grain (11.3 g) HPBT bullet is a popular choice. Sierra does not advocate use of Matchking brand bullets for hunting applications. For hunting applications, Sierra produces the ProHunter in .311" diameter. The increasingly popular all-copper Barnes TSX is now available in the .311" diameter as a 150 gr projectile which is recommended by Barnes for hunting applications.

With most rifles chambered in .303 British being of military origin, success in reloading the calibre depends on the reloader's ability to compensate for the often loose chamber of the rifle. Reduced charge loads and neck sizing are two unanimous recommendations from experienced loaders of .303 British to newcomers to the calibre. The classic 174-grain (11.3 g) FMJ bullets are widely available, though purchasers may wish to check whether or not these feature the tail-heavy Mk 7 design. In any case other bullet weights are available, e.g. 150, 160, 170, 180, and 200-grain (13 g), both for hunting and target purposes.

Hunting use

The .303 British cartridge is suitable for all medium-sized game and is an excellent choice for whitetail deer and black bear hunting. In Canada it was a popular moose and deer cartridge when military surplus rifles were available and cheap; it is still used. The .303 British can offer very good penetrating ability due to a fast twist rate that enables it to fire long, heavy bullets with a high sectional density. Canadian Rangers use it for survival and polar bear protection. In 2015, the Canadian Rangers began the process to evaluate rifles chambered for .308 Winchester, as the Canadian Department of National Defence expects the currently issued Lee–Enfield No. 4 rifles will soon be very difficult if not impossible to maintain due to parts scarcity.[32]

The .303 British as parent case

.303 Epps

Canadian Ellwood Epps, founder of Epps Sporting Goods, created an improved version of the .303 British. It has better ballistic performance than the standard .303 British cartridge. This is accomplished by increasing the shoulder angle from 16 to 35 degrees, and reducing the case taper from .062 inches to .009 inches. These changes increase the case's internal volume by approximately 9%. The increased shoulder angle and reduced case taper eliminate the drooping shoulders of the original .303 British case, which, combined with reaming the chamber to .303 Epps, improves case life.[33]

Firearms chambered in .303 British

See also

References

  1. ^ ".303 British" (PDF). Accurate Powder. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 December 2008.
  2. ^ a b c C.I.P. TDCC datasheet 303 British
  3. ^ "SAAMI Drawing 303 British" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 December 2014. Retrieved 25 December 2014.
  4. ^ a b David Cushman. "History of the .303 British Calibre Service Ammunition Round".
  5. ^ ANSI/SAAMI Velocity & Pressure Data: Centerfire Rifle Archived 15 July 2013 at WebCite
  6. ^ Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading, Rifle-Pistol, Third Edition, Hornady Manufacturing Company, 1980, 1985, p.253-254.
  7. ^ Temple, B. A., Identification Manual of the .303 British Service Cartridge - No: 1 - BALL AMMUNITION, Don Finlay (Printer 1986), p. 1. ISBN 0-9596677-2-5
  8. ^ a b c Chisholm, Hugh, Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.), New York: The Encyclopædia Britannica Co., Vol. 23, (1911) p. 327
  9. ^ a b Sanford, Percy Gerald, Nitro-explosives: a Practical treatise Concerning the Properties, Manufacture, and Analysis of Nitrated Substances, London: Crosby Lockwood & Son (1896) pp. 166-173, 179
  10. ^ a b c d Walke, Willoughby (Lt.), Lectures on Explosives: A Course of Lectures Prepared Especially as a Manual and Guide in the Laboratory of the U.S. Artillery School, J. Wiley & Sons (1897) pp. 336-343
  11. ^ a b c d e f Ommundsen, Harcourt, and Robinson, Ernest H., Rifles and Ammunition Shooting, New York: Funk & Wagnalls Co. (1915), p. 117-119
  12. ^ A Way Forward in Contemporary Understanding of the 1899 Hague Declaration on Expanding Bullets - SAdefensejournal.com, 7 October 2013
  13. ^ "REJECTED MARK IV. BULLETS".
  14. ^ "Dum Dums". Archived from the original on 25 September 2008. Retrieved 21 August 2008.
  15. ^ 8x50R Lebel (8mm Lebel)
  16. ^ "Rifle, Short Magazine Lee–Enfield". The Lee–Enfield Rifle Website. Retrieved 13 May 2010.
  17. ^ The Vickers Machine Gun Range Tables
  18. ^ "The Deadly .303 British and The Box O' Truth". Box of Truth website. 13 June 2014.
  19. ^ "The .303 British Cartridge". Archived from the original on 29 April 2007. Retrieved 13 May 2007.
  20. ^ "The .256 Inch British: A Lost Opportunity" Archived 6 June 2013 at the Wayback Machine by Anthony G Williams
  21. ^ a b Dunlap, Roy F., Ordnance Went Up Front, Samworth Press (1948), p. 40. ISBN 978-1-884849-09-1
  22. ^ .303 inch Ball Mark VI to VIIIz & L1A1
  23. ^ Dunlap, Roy F., Ordnance Went Up Front, Samworth Press (1948), ISBN 978-1-884849-09-1 p. 40: There appear to have been two distinct loadings of the Mark VIII cartridge: one small arms expert serving with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps at Dekheila noted that Mk VIIIz ammunition he examined had a claimed muzzle velocity of 2,900 ft/s (884 m/s), furthermore, primers on MK VIIIz fired cases he examined looked "painted on", normally indicating a pressure of around 60,000 psi (413.7 MPa).
  24. ^ The Vickers Machine Gun 1939 Range Tables
  25. ^ Temple, B.A. Identification Manual on the .303 British Service Cartridge No.1 - Ball Ammunition.
  26. ^ Labbett, P.; Mead, P.J.F (1988). "Chapter 5, .303 inch Incendiary, Explosive and Observing Ammunition". .303 inch: a history of the .303 cartridge in British Service. authors. ISBN 978-0-9512922-0-4.
  27. ^ "The Brock Bullet Claim" (PDF). flightglobal.com. Flight Aircraft Engineer Magazine. Retrieved 12 August 2018.
  28. ^ The Battle of Britain - Excerpts from an Historic Despatch by Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding,Flight, 19 September 1946, p323
  29. ^ Featherstone-Haugh, JJ. (1973). "Appendix VII, page IV, "British Military Output WWI"". Home Front - Untold Tales of British Workers during the Great Wars. OUP.
  30. ^ Walter H.B. Smith, Small Arms of the World, Stackpole Publications.
  31. ^ Hawks, Chuck. "Matching the Gun to the Game". ChuckHawks.com. Archived from the original on 20 August 2010. Retrieved 6 September 2010.
  32. ^ https://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/defence-watch/here-it-is-the-new-sako-rifle-for-the-canadian-rangers Here it is – the new Sako rifle for the Canadian Rangers
  33. ^ "303 Epps - Notes on Improved Cases". Archived from the original on 2 July 2017. Retrieved 23 April 2018.

External links

7.62 mm caliber

7.62 mm caliber is a nominal caliber used for a number of different cartridges. Historically, this class of cartridge was commonly known as .30 caliber, the imperial unit equivalent, and was most commonly used for indicating a class of full power military main battle rifle (MBR) cartridges. The measurement equals 0.30 inches or three decimal lines, written .3″ and read as three-line.The 7.62 mm designation refers to the internal diameter of the barrel at the lands (the raised helical ridges in rifled gun barrels). The actual bullet caliber is often 7.82 mm (0.308 in), although Soviet weapons commonly use a 7.91 mm (0.311 in) bullet, as do older British (.303 British) and Japanese cartridges.

7.7×58mm Arisaka

The 7.7×58mm Arisaka cartridge, Type 99 rimless 7.7 mm or 7.7mm Japanese was a rifle cartridge which was used in the Imperial Japanese Army's Arisaka Type 99 rifle and machine guns, and was the standard light cartridge for the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service, such as the Type 89. The Imperial Japanese Navy (and Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service) never shared weapons or ammunition with the army, instead adopting the 7.7x56mmR, a direct copy of the .303 British round. The cartridge was designed to replace the aging 6.5×50mm Arisaka after seeing the effectiveness of the MG 34 GPMG in action (firing 8×57mm IS full power military rifle ammunition) in China during 1937. Due to a lack of materials, the plan to phase out the 6.5 mm Arisaka cartridge by the end of the war was not completed.

Bren light machine gun

The Bren gun, usually called simply the Bren, are a series of light machine guns (LMG) made by Britain in the 1930s and used in various roles until 1992. While best known for its role as the British and Commonwealth forces' primary infantry LMG in World War II, it was also used in the Korean War and saw service throughout the latter half of the 20th century, including the 1982 Falklands War. Although fitted with a bipod, it could also be mounted on a tripod or vehicle-mounted.

The Bren was a licensed version of the Czechoslovak ZGB 33 light machine gun which, in turn, was a modified version of the ZB vz. 26, which British Army officials had tested during a firearms service competition in the 1930s. The later Bren featured a distinctive top-mounted curved box magazine, conical flash hider, and quick change barrel. The name Bren was derived from Brno, the Czechoslovak city in Moravia, where the Zb vz. 26 was designed (in the Zbrojovka Brno Factory) and Enfield, site of the British Royal Small Arms Factory. The designer was Václav Holek, a gun inventor and design engineer.

In the 1950s, many Brens were re-barrelled to accept the 7.62×51mm NATO cartridge and modified to feed from the magazine for the L1 (Commonwealth version of the FN FAL) rifle as the L4 light machine gun. It was replaced in the British Army as the section LMG by the L7 general-purpose machine gun (GPMG), a heavier belt-fed weapon. This was supplemented in the 1980s by the L86 Light Support Weapon firing the 5.56×45mm NATO round, leaving the Bren in use only as a pintle mount on some vehicles. The Bren is still manufactured by Indian Ordnance Factories as the "Gun, Machine 7.62mm 1B".

Caliber

In guns, particularly firearms, caliber (or calibre in British English) is the specified nominal internal diameter of the gun barrel bore regardless of how or where the bore is measured and whether or not the finished bore matches that specification. It is measured in inches to an accuracy of hundredths or thousandths of an inch or in millimeters. For example, a ".45 caliber" firearm has a barrel diameter of roughly 0.45 inches (11 mm). Barrel diameters can also be expressed using metric dimensions. For example, a "9 mm pistol" has a barrel diameter of about 9 millimeters. Due to the inaccuracy and imprecision of imperial dimensions "converted" to metric units, metric designations are typically far out of specifications published in decimal inches. True "caliber" specifications require imperial measure, and even when cartridge designations (often mistakenly referred to as "caliber") only specify caliber to even tenths or hundredths of an inch, actual barrel/chamber/projectile dimensions are published to at least thousandths of an inch and frequently tolerances extend into ten-thousandths of an inch.

In a rifled barrel, the distance is measured between opposing lands or grooves; groove measurements are common in cartridge designations originating in the United States, while land measurements are more common elsewhere in the world. Measurements "across the grooves" are used for maximum precision because rifling and the specific caliber so-measured is the result of final machining process which cuts grooves into the rough bore leaving the "lands" behind.

Good performance requires a concentric, straight bore that accurately centers the projectile within in preference to a "tight" fit which can be achieved even with off-center, crooked bores that cause excessive friction, fouling and an out-of-balance, wobbling projectile in flight.

While modern firearms are generally referred to by the name of the cartridge the gun is chambered for, they are still categorized together based on bore diameter. For example, a firearm might be described as a "30 caliber rifle", which could be any of a wide range of cartridges using a roughly 0.30 inches (7.6 mm) projectile; or a "22 rimfire", referring to any rimfire firearms firing cartridges with a .22 caliber projectile. However, there can be significant differences in nominal bullet and bore dimensions and all cartridges so "categorized" are not automatically identical in actual caliber.

For example, .303 British firearms and projectiles are often "categorized" as ".30-caliber" alongside several dozen U.S. ".30-caliber" cartridges despite using bullets .310-.312" diameter while all U.S ".30-caliber" centerfire rifle cartridges use a common, standard .308" bullet outside diameter. Using bullets larger than design specifications causes excessive pressures while undersize bullets cause low pressures,insufficient muzzle velocities and fouling that will eventually lead to excessive pressures.

Regardless of common practice among "shooters", caliber refers to specific, precise and crucial bore/bullet dimensions and generic categorizations involving "caliber" are of little benefit to the shooting and arms industries.

Hotchkiss M1909 Benét–Mercié machine gun

The Hotchkiss M1909 machine gun was a light machine gun of the early 20th century, developed and built by Hotchkiss et Cie. It was also known as the Hotchkiss Mark I, Hotchkiss Portative and M1909 Benét–Mercié.

Howell Automatic Rifle

The Howell Automatic Rifle is a semi-automatic conversion of the Lee–Enfield rifle. The weapon was reliable but unergonomic for the user as the force of the recoiling bolt interfered with handling. Similar conversions were the South African Rieder and Charlton of New Zealand origin which had full automatic capability.

Huot Automatic Rifle

The Huot Automatic Rifle was a Canadian World War I era light machine gun project.

Jungle Carbine

The Rifle No. 5 Mk I, was a derivative of the British Lee–Enfield No. 4 Mk I, designed in response to a requirement for a shorter, lighter, rifle for airborne forces in Europe. However most of its operational use was in post-war colonial campaigns such as the Malayan emergency - where it gained its common nickname of the "Jungle Carbine".

Production began in March 1944, and finished in December 1947.

Lee–Enfield

The Lee–Enfield is a bolt-action, magazine-fed, repeating rifle that served as the main firearm used by the military forces of the British Empire and Commonwealth during the first half of the 20th century. It was the British Army's standard rifle from its official adoption in 1895 until 1957. The WWI versions are often referred to as the "SMLE", which is short for the common "Short, Magazine Lee–Enfield" variant.

A redesign of the Lee–Metford (adopted by the British Army in 1888), the Lee–Enfield superseded the earlier Martini–Henry, Martini–Enfield, and Lee–Metford rifles. It featured a ten-round box magazine which was loaded with the .303 British cartridge manually from the top, either one round at a time or by means of five-round chargers. The Lee–Enfield was the standard issue weapon to rifle companies of the British Army and other Commonwealth nations in both the First and Second World Wars (these Commonwealth nations included Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India and South Africa, among others). Although officially replaced in the UK with the L1A1 SLR in 1957, it remained in widespread British service until the early/mid-1960s and the 7.62 mm L42A1 sniper variant remained in service until the 1990s. As a standard-issue infantry rifle, it is still found in service in the armed forces of some Commonwealth nations, notably with the Bangladesh Police, which makes it the second longest-serving military bolt-action rifle still in official service, after the Mosin–Nagant. The Canadian Rangers unit still use Enfield rifles, with plans to replace the weapons sometime in 2017–2018 with the new Sako-designed Colt Canada C19. Total production of all Lee–Enfields is estimated at over 17 million rifles.The Lee–Enfield takes its name from the designer of the rifle's bolt system—James Paris Lee—and the factory in which it was designed—the Royal Small Arms Factory in Enfield.

Lewis gun

The Lewis gun (or Lewis automatic machine gun or Lewis automatic rifle) is a First World War–era light machine gun of US design that was perfected and mass-produced in the United Kingdom, and widely used by troops of the British Empire during the war. It had a distinctive barrel cooling shroud (containing a finned, aluminium breech-to-muzzle heat sink to cool the gun barrel) and top-mounted pan magazine. The Lewis served to the end of the Korean War. It was also widely used as an aircraft machine gun, almost always with the cooling shroud removed (as air flow during flight offers sufficient cooling), during both World Wars. The Lewis Gun is the most recognized classic light machine gun in the world.

Light machine gun

A light machine gun (LMG) is a machine gun designed to be employed by an individual soldier, with or without an assistant, as an infantry support weapon. Light machine guns are often used as squad automatic weapons.

List of firearms

This is an extensive list of small arms—including pistols, shotguns, sniper rifles, submachine guns, personal defense weapons, assault rifles, battle rifles, designated marksman rifles, carbines, machine guns, flamethrowers, multiple barrel firearms, grenade launchers, and anti-tank rifles—that includes variants.

List of machine guns

This is a list of machine guns and their variants.

The tables are sortable.

M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle

The Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) is a family of American automatic rifles and machine guns used by the United States and numerous other countries during the 20th century. The primary variant of the BAR series was the M1918, chambered for the .30-06 Springfield rifle cartridge and designed by John Browning in 1917 for the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe as a replacement for the French-made Chauchat and M1909 Benét–Mercié machine guns that US forces had previously been issued.

The BAR was designed to be carried by infantrymen during an assault advance while supported by the sling over the shoulder, or to be fired from the hip. This is a concept called "walking fire"—thought to be necessary for the individual soldier during trench warfare. The BAR never entirely lived up to the original hopes of the war department as either a rifle or a machine gun.The U.S. Army, in practice, used the BAR as a light machine gun, often fired from a bipod (introduced on models after 1938). A variant of the original M1918 BAR, the Colt Monitor Machine Rifle, remains the lightest production automatic firearm chambered for the .30-06 Springfield cartridge, though the limited capacity of its standard 20-round magazine tended to hamper its utility in that role.Although the weapon did see some action in World War I, the BAR did not become standard issue in the US Army until 1938, when it was issued to squads as a portable light machine gun. The BAR saw extensive service in both World War II and the Korean War and saw limited service in the Vietnam War. The US Army began phasing out the BAR in the late 1950s, when it was intended to be replaced by a squad automatic weapon (SAW) variant of the M14, and was without a portable light machine gun until the introduction of the M60 machine gun in 1957.

Martini–Enfield

Martini–Enfield rifles were, by and large, conversions of the Zulu War era .577/450 Martini–Henry, rechambering the rifle for use with the newly introduced .303 British cartridge. Whilst most Martini–Enfields were converted rifles, a number were newly manufactured as well.

Pattern 1914 Enfield

The Rifle, .303 Pattern 1914 (or P14) was a British service rifle of the First World War period. A bolt action weapon with an integral 5-round magazine, it was principally contract manufactured by companies in the United States. It served as a sniper rifle and as second line and reserve issue until being declared obsolete in 1947. The Pattern 1914 Enfield was the successor to the Pattern 1913 Enfield experimental rifle and the predecessor of the U.S. Rifle M1917 Enfield.

Rieder Automatic Rifle

The Rieder Automatic Rifle was a fully automatic Lee–Enfield SMLE rifle conversion of South African origin. The Rieder device could be installed quickly with the use of simple tools. A similar weapon of New Zealand origin was the Charlton Automatic Rifle.

While the rifle had no select fire capability, single shots could be achieved by releasing the trigger quickly. Alternatively the bolt could be operated manually if the gas vein was closed. Prototype rifles fitted with the "Rieder Attachment" or device were tested on bipod and tripod mounts and proved reliable with little maintenance, although recommendations were made to change the sight system to take account of vibration during automatic fire.

Thorneycroft carbine

The Thorneycroft carbine was one of the earliest bullpup rifles, developed by an English gunsmith in 1901 as patent No. 14,622 of July 18, 1901. This bolt-action rifle featured a bullpup action in which the retracted bolt slid back through the stock nearly to the shooter's shoulder, maximising the space available in the body of the firearm. The rifle was chambered in the contemporary .303 British service cartridge, and held five rounds in an internal magazine.

The Thorneycroft was 7.5 in (190 mm) shorter and 10% lighter than the standard Lee–Enfield rifle used by the British military at the time. However, when tested at Hythe the firearm exhibited excessive recoil and poor ergonomics, and was not adopted for military service.

Vickers machine gun

The Vickers machine gun or Vickers gun is a name primarily used to refer to the water-cooled .303 British (7.7 mm) machine gun produced by Vickers Limited, originally for the British Army. The machine gun typically required a six to eight-man team to operate: one fired, one fed the ammunition, the rest helped to carry the weapon, its ammunition, and spare parts. It was in service from before the First World War until the 1960s, with air-cooled versions of it on many Allied World War I fighter aircraft.

The weapon had a reputation for great solidity and reliability. Ian V. Hogg, in Weapons & War Machines, describes an action that took place in August 1916, during which the British 100th Company of the Machine Gun Corps fired their ten Vickers guns continuously for twelve hours. Using 100 barrels, they fired a million rounds without a failure. "It was this absolute foolproof reliability which endeared the Vickers to every British soldier who ever fired one."

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