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.303 Canadian Cordite Mk IV and V Rounds


Early 1900s Canadian made .303 C Mk IV and V Hollowpoint rounds. Never seen a MK III , but MK V rounds were relatively common at gun shows here in the 1970s. Quite a few Mk IV and V cases converted to blank showed up as well....

Externally virtually identical, the MK IV is on the left.
Headstamp details:

Mark III

Both the Canadian Mark IV and V are relativrly common here in the UK also. Although they were ordered to be used up in training or converted to blank when they were withdrawn from front-line service, a lot seem to have escaped.

As for the Mark III, unless you are blessed by the Gods you will not see one. The only complete one I know in private hands was from a collection being sold following the death of a major collector and I was present when that changed hands for 3,500.


Hi Guys, what was the actual difference between these rounds? Tony.:tinysmile_grin_t:
Marks III, IV and V

The series of British hollow nosed rounds originated in complaints from troops that the 215 grn jacketed bullets used in the early .303 inch ball rounds lacked the stopping power of the old .450 lead bullet of the Martini Henry.

In 1895 Woolwich started a series of tests of hollow nosed and soft pointed bullets with the intention of improving stopping power. Meanwhile, an example of the famous Dum Dum bullet from the eponymous ****nal was forwarded to Woolwich stating that it had performed well against savage tribesmen on the North West Frontier.

Woolwich carried out tests with this and other bullets and in October 1897 introduced the Mark III in LoC Para. 9089. The bullet, to design RL 9402, consisted of a 215 grain lead cored bullet with a deep .3" cavity in the nose. Into this was inserted an open mouthed metal cup. The whole round was to design RL9762.

Almost immediately it was withdrawn from service as unsatisfactory and any rounds on hand were to be used for training or converted to blank. Woolwich only issued 119,900 rounds but some must have been issued overseas as there is a fired case embedded in a South African Boer War memorial.

Soon afterwards in February 1898 the Mark IV was introduced in the same LoC paragraph in June 1898. The 215 grain Mark IV bullet had a pure lead core with a nose cavity .1" wide and .35" deep. The cavity was punched through the envelope and core carrying a piece of the envelope to the bottom of the hole.

As these rounds had an open base, unlike modern hollow nose sporting rounds, problems were encountered with the core blowing through in the barrel and the envelope remaining in the bore. To overcome this the Mark V was introduced in LoC Para. 9861 of November 1899, the difference being that the core of the bullet was hardened by the addition of 2% antimony.

Whilst the Mark V performed well in service it was judged to contravene the Hague Convention and the St.Petersburg Declaration and so was withdrawn from front line service and the Mark II re-instated.

The last issue of the Mark V was in 1905 for an expedition to Somaliland.

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Mad Mad Mad

Has this site gone politically correct mad? It has just replaced the A R S E of "ar se nal" in my post with asterisks!

no its just a word censor that was being trialed as this site is viewed by all ages,it didnt work and is being dicarded
Ah!,i wondered what was going on when i sent a PM yesterday and re-read it today to find it was censored.
No worries,i get it now!