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Help with what I dug up in my gargen. Possible .303


New Member
I found this in my garden at the weekend. Its quite corroded but I have cleaned up the head end and found the marks R /|\ L c II or IV. I have found that it comes from the Royal Laboratory, Woolwich but its the tip and the way its crimped on that I cannot find reference to. It also appears to have not been fired.

More information would be appreciated.

Thanks Mark

See 2 attached pictures


  • Bullet side 1.jpg
    Bullet side 1.jpg
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  • Bullet endstamp 2.jpg
    Bullet endstamp 2.jpg
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It looks to me like a blank cartridge with a mock bullet. Mark VI. L.

Deemed obsolete in 1907.

I am sure the resident experts will pipe up to confirm or deny...:tinysmile_shy_t:

just my 2 cents...

Yes, it is a fired Blank Mark VI, made from a Ball Mark II case with the brass mock bullet crimped on.

These only saw service for a short time before the mock bullets were ordered to be removed and the rounds used as normal short blanks. The problem was that either the mock bullet left the barrel when the round was fired and so was dangerous at short range or it remained in the barrel with severe consequences if a ball round was fired later.

It was actually approved in late 1901 and the service letter was "C" for Common (army and navy) and not "L" for Land (army only).

Thanks for the reply, that was a quick response.

If it has been fired why is there no obvious mark where the firing pin goes ?


I think that the end of the mock bullet has rotted away which gives the round the appearance of having been fired or the round has been in a fire that has set off the charge.

The primer does not appear to have been hit with a firing pin.
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Spud Gun is probably correct. I did not enlarge the picture and in the thumbnail it looks like there is a light strike on the cap.

If it has not been fired the rosette crimp on the case inside the mock bullet will still be intact.


Thanks TonyE, Are the "Land" versions marked with an "L"?

A very late reply to this one.

No, the rounds were not marked with an "L" for Land service.

However, after 1926 when code letters were assigned to each type of loading, "B" for incendiary, "G" for tracer etc., blanks were assigned the letter "L". Thus any blank made after that date (and not using reject ball or other cases) had "L" in the headstamp, e.g. R^L 1937 LVII.

THEN, to add even more complication, in 1954 when the new NATO type system of nomenclature was introduced, rounds were given "L" numbers with an "A" suffix, e.g. Ball L2A2 etc.

It has often been said that the "L" represents "Land", but I gave not seen any official documentation to support this, plus the same "L" numbers are used whether the item is used by the army, navy or air force.

If anyone has anything to support "L" meaning "Land" in this context I would be interested in seeing it.