Treasure trove of .303 ammo

Thanks for Ian Thompson’s Basic Ballistics article in the March edition of Australian Shooter on specially selected ‘red label’ .303 ammunition. His description of how the mechanism worked on controlled or synchronised machine guns on aircraft is the first I’ve read that actually makes sense.

I was fortunate to inherit a batch of .303 ammunition some years ago along with a mint-condition No.4 Long Branch two-groove Lee Enfield rifle that would otherwise have been surrendered and destroyed.

The ammunition is in a steel container, in excellent condition and packed in a 250-round webbing ‘stripless’ belt. I assume this refers to the lack of pressed steel reinforcing ‘strips’ between each round  that I’m familiar with for ground-mounted Vickers machine guns. The big question is though: what aircraft was still in service that had synchronised guns when the ammunition was manufactured in 1950?

Of interest is the ammunition had a use-by date in said synchronised guns of just two years from its date of manufacture. The belted ammunition carries a Canadian head stamp DAC Mk7Z and is Berdan primed. The previous owner was a full-bore shooter and the appeal of such ammunition to target shooters is self-evident based on its consistency of ignition. 

Other rounds in the consignment I inherited were ‘batched‘ in elaborate Radway Green cardboard 32-round boxes and included boxer-primed Canadian Mk VII ammunition and other Berdan-primed Mk VII with head stamps from plants GB (Greenwood and Batley), K5  (Kynoch) and RG (Radway Green) in the UK, and MH and MJ (Hendon, SA) and MF (Footscray, Vic). To top it off are 25 round-nose Mk VI head-stamped CAC. The Australian ammo all has nickel-jacketed projectiles (including the Mk VI).

Steve Larkins, SA

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