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Thread: Boys .55/.303

  1. #1
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    Boys .55/.303

    The Boys .55/.303 was first produced in 1937 with the production of short range ball ammunition. It consisted of a standard .303 Ball Mark 7 bullet loaded into a necked down .55 case.

    The .55/.303 inch cartridge usually bore either the simple headstamp "K37" or included as an alternative "K37 7416 AW" (in the latter case original prototype W Mark 1 cases were utilised), but late production ones had plain heads.

    The .55/.303 inch cartridge had been intended purely for practice and was not adopted however in November 1942 a further 2000 rounds of this ammunition were ordered from ICI for the Government, this order having cases with plain heads.

    The following photos show a fake case that someone has cleverly made. Its exactly the same profile as a real one. The clue was in the price (a lot less than a real one) and in the headstamp, which is clearly wrong for a real one (compare it to the description above).

    Prices for these seem to vary a lot. A friend of mine bought one several years ago in the UK for 200. It sold it in auction in America a couple of years later for $1000. You can see why the fakers may want to make these

    Dave.

    IMG_1944.jpgIMG_1945.jpg

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    beihan62 (7th July 2012)

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    A real one, like this you mean! My example has the 7416A W headstamp. Contrary to what has been published elsewhere, this design has nothing to do with Armstrong Whitworth. The drawing number for the case was DD/L/7416A and the "W" simply indicates armour piercing.

    The round I would like to find is the .55/7.92mm which was primarily a Canadian development but was also made by Kynoch in the UK. Unlike the .55/.303, this was not a practice round but an attempt to investigate high velocity armour piercing along the lines of the Patr.318. All I have so far are the drawings!

    Regards
    TonyE
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    Andysarmoury (7th July 2012), smle2009 (8th July 2012)

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    What a great looking round thanks for showing it Tony, i wonder what it was like to shoot as the boys was bad anough.
    Andy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andysarmoury View Post
    What a great looking round thanks for showing it Tony, i wonder what it was like to shoot as the boys was bad anough.
    Andy
    Apparently the recoil was relatively light compared to a .55 Boys so it wasn't very good for practicing.
    Dave.

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    Yes thinking about it it Probably was and thanks dave.
    Andy

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    Nice thread.
    I wonder if it had the power matched with accuracy if it would have made had a good future as a Bren/LMG type role in the right hands??
    Admittedly probably an expensive round, but appears to me to have a few practical prospects/possibilities beyond a training/practise round/

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    The main point behind the round was not so much to reproduce the recoil of the Boys, but to allow firing on regular army ranges. The Danger area for the .55 Boys was considerably greater than that of regular .303 inch ranges and this round allowed troops to practice handling and firing the Boys on those ranges.

    Similarly the .22 adaptor for the Boys allowed use in indoor 25 yard ranges.

    Regards
    TonyE

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    I've always thought that the .55/.303 was a daft idea for training. All the cost of making separate rifle barrels and cases for it, when they could have loaded a standard case with a flat-nosed light-alloy bullet if they wanted to reduce the range.

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    Which is probably why it never entered service and the full calibre lead cored reduced charge Practice Mark I did. That was followed by the P Mark II which used an aluminium cored bullet to reduce range.

    Regards
    TonyE

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    Ah - I didn't know about those two. Evidently they eventually reached an intelligent conclusion


    Or maybe the person who developed the .55-.303 was an ammunition collector who fancied something exotic!

 

 
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