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.303 headstamp again!


Well-Known Member
Hi all,
Picked up this .303" ball? case today on my walkabout, it is by Radway Green, has no Mk number but is marked 303 & 5/ or 57 or 51? At first I thought it was a commercial round until I got home & cleaned it up and noticed that it had been fired by a Bren(oval fireing pin),bit over the top for poaching a deer! so very likely that the army had fired it!
Anyone Know if this is a commercial case or was there another reason for this type of headstamping?
Cheers Tony


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Interesting that you found that. It is an early version of the L10z bulletted blank for the Bren gun. The date is actually 1951.

I thought that these were only used for experimental work and did not get out into general service. A nice find.

I can post a picture of an unfired round if you wish.

Hi TonyE,
Thanks for that,yes please to the photo,going to try & restore it now,pic would be very helpful,found it on abandoned range with other run of the mill 50,s Mk 7, no L10Z's
Cheers Tony
.303 bulletted blanks

Here is the picture of the round you have a case for.

The history of bulleted blanks in British service is slightly convoluted. The L Mark VII was introduced in the late 1930s for automatic firing and had a wood bullet filled with lead oxide. It was not very successful as a misfeed tended to break the bullet and the gun filled up with lead oxide dust. It fell out of use early in WW2, and the only blank used then was the L.5 and L.5z short crimped blank.

In about 1948 interest in a bulleted blank for MG use started again and a number of different types were tried. This included a round developed at Kirkee in India which it was claimed needed no blank firing adaptor and had been adopted by them as the Blank 8 (By then India was independent) It aroused some interest and a small lot were manufactured at Radway Green. The round had a plain wood bullet and was unheadstamped. This is the left hand round in the picture. It was not adopted as it was considered unsafe, but the L.Mark 8 slot in the British nomenclature was never allocated.

The L Mark 9z was the re-worked short crimped L mark 5z and so the next bulleted blank became the L.10z, which was based on some trials with Swedish wood bullets.

The second left blank in the picture is an experimental L.10z and is unheadstamped apart from the coloured cross.

Next to it is a loaded round of the first lot of the L.10z, which is what you have. Headstamp is "RG 51 .303" and a 1950 date is also known. Quite why they decided to include the calibre is a mystery.

The right hand round is also odd and is obviously some kind of test or proof round. Although it is headstamped as a normal RG 59 L.10z, the annulus colour is red when it should be clear, and as you can see the bullet appears to have been stained red as well as the normal blue colour. No other information is known.

Hope this is of interest,


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Many thanks TonyE,
Very intresting, I think the experimental bug has bit!!!,by the way went to work this morning and sorted through three sandbags full of 5.56mm casings,not one L17A1! they do exist I have the box as you know,they must be scarce or rare now,still hav'nt given up yet!!!
cheers Tony

I know what you mean about the experimentals. It is always nice to have the experimental before the production version of a round. Thatw ay one has the complete story.

It is always good also to have the full sequence of rounds, Mark I, II, II etc, but it is very difficult to achieve. I have managed it for drill rounds and for tracers, but none of the other loads. Oh well, just keep looking.

the hunt

The hunt is the juice for me, if it were easy it would hardly be worth the endeavor. this covers all areas of collecting incidently. You are always one keystroke away from scoring something meaningful .........Dano
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The hunt is the juice for me, if it were easy it would hardly be worth the endeavor. this covers all areas of collecting incidently. You are always one keystroke away from scoring something meaningful .........Dano

Or in my case the next mole hill I kick! Found another one yesterday! but in much worse condition....bugger!!!!:tinysmile_cry_t4: