The .303 British Service Cartridge - Headstamp Codes

It's usually the headstamp code, which is punched into the base of the cartridge during manufacture, which identifies a cartridge case or round. This is particularly true when you need to identify the country of manufacture. There were a huge number of manufacturers producing this type of cartridge, so this is by no means a complete list, but we hope it does contain the more common headstamps found on ammunition manufactured by commonwealth countries during WWI and WWII. Headstamps show: Manufacturer and year plus type i.e. standard, incendiary or tracer.

Stamp Manufacturer
/|\ Royal Ordnance Factory, Radway Green, Cheshire, U.K. (1940 -1942)
AF Small Arms Ammunition Factory, Footscray, Melbourne, Australia
A/|\F Small Arms Ammunition Factory, Footscray, Melbourne, Australia
B Birmingham Metals & Munitions Co. Ltd., Birmingham, U.K.
  1920 name changed to Nobel Industries
BE Royal Ordnance Factory (ROF), Blackpole, Worcester, U.K.
B/|\E Royal Ordnance Factory (ROF), Blackpole, Worcester, U.K.
BM British Munitions Co. Ltd., Millwall, London, U.K.
CAC Colonial Ammunition Co., Melbourne, Australia
CAC Colonial Ammunition Co., Auckland, New Zealand
CP Crompton Parkinson Co. Ltd, Guiseley, Yorkshire, U.K. (1939-1945)
C-P Crompton Parkinson Co. Ltd, Doncaster, Yorkshire, U.K.
D Dominion Cartridge Co., Brownsburg, Quebec, Canada
DA Dominion Arsenal, Montreal, Canada
DAC Dominion Arsenal, Quebec, Canada
DAL Dominion Arsenal, Lindsay, Ontario, Canada
DAQ Dominion Arsenal, Quebec, Canada
DC Dominion Cartridge Co., Canada
D/|\C Defense Industries, Brownsburg, Quebec, Canada
DF1 Indian Government Ammunition Factory, Dum Dum, Calcutta, India
DI Defence Industries, Inc., Verdun, Canada
D1 Indian Government Ammunition Factory, Dum Dum, Calcutta, India
E Eley Brothers Ltd., Edmonton, London, U.K.
EB Eley Brothers Ltd., Edmonton, London, U.K.
F Small Arms Ammunition Factory, Footscray, Melbourne, Australia
G Greenwood & Batley, Ltd., Leeds, U.K.
GA Grenfell & Accles Ltd., Perry Barr, Birmingham, U.K.
GB Greenwood & Batley Ltd., Leeds, U.K.
GBF Greenwood & Batley Ltd., Leeds, U.K.
GKB George Kynoch, Birmingham, U.K.
G18F.1 Government Cartridge Factory N°1, Blackheath, Staffordshire, U.K., 1918
G18F.3 Government Cartridge Factory N°3, Blackpole, Worcester, U.K., 1918
H/|\N Royal Ordnance Factory (ROF), Hirwaun, South Wales, U.K. (1939-1945)
J Birmingham Metals & Munitions Co. Ltd./Nobel, Birmingham, U.K.
K Kynoch & Co. (Imperial Chemical Industries, Ltd.), Birmingham, U.K.
K2 Kynoch (I.C.I.), Standish, Lancastershire, U.K. (1943-1944)
K4 Kynoch (I.C.I.), Yeading, Hayes, Middlesex, U.K. (1942-1944)
K5 Kynoch (I.C.I.), Kidderminster, Worcester, U.K. (1944)
KH Royal Ordnance Factory (ROF), Khamaria Arsenal, Jubbulpore, India
KIF Indian Government Ammunition Factory, Kirkee Arsenal, India (1940-1945)
KN Kings Norton Metal Co. Ltd., Birmingham, U.K.
KYNOC Kynoch & Co. Ltd. (Imperial Chemical Industries, Ltd.), Birmingham, U.K.
L Lorenz Ammunition & Ordnance Co., Millwall, London, U.K.
LAC Dominion Arsenal, Lindsay, Ontario, Canada
M Nobel Explosives Co. Ltd.., Manchester, U.K.
MAXIM Maxim Arms Co., London, U.K.
MF Small Arms Ammunition Factory N°1, Footscray, Melbourne, Australia
MG Small Arms Ammunition Factory N°2, Footscray, Melbourne, Australia
MH Small Arms Ammunition Factory N°3, Hendon, Australia
MJ Small Arms Ammunition Factory N°4, Hendon, Australia
MQ Small Arms Ammunition Factory N°5, Rocklea, Australia
MS Small Arms Ammunition Factory N°7, Salisbury, Australia
MW Small Arms Ammunition Factory N°6, Welchpool, Australia
NA National Arms & Ammunition Co., Birmingham. U.K.
N1 Indian Government Ammunition Factory, Dum Dum Arsenal, Calcutta, India
P Peters Cartridge Co., Kings Mills, Ohio, U.S.A.
PC Peters Cartridge Co., Kings Mills, Ohio, U.S.A.
RA Remington Arms Co., Bridgeport, Connecticut, U.S.A.
RG Royal Ordnance Factory (ROF), Radway Green, Cheshire, U.K.
R/|\G Royal Ordnance Factory (ROF), Radway Green, Cheshire, U.K.
RH Raleigh Cycle Co., Nottingham, U.K.
RI Royal Laboratory, Woolwich Arsenal, Kent, U.K.
R/|\L Royal Laboratory, Woolwich Arsenal, Kent, U.K.
ROF.B Royal Ordnance Factory (ROF), Blackburn
RR Co Ross Rifle Co., Montreal, Canada
RW Rudge Withworth Co., Nottingham. U.K. (1914-1918)
SAAF Small Arms Ammunition Factory, Footscray, Melbourne, Australia
SR Royal Ordnance Factory (ROF), Spennymoor, Durham, U.K.
S/|\R Royal Ordnance Factory (ROF), Spennymoor, Durham, U.K.
TR Dominion Rubbers Munitions Co., Three Rivers, Quebec, Canada
U South African Mint, Pretoria, Republic of South Africa
US US Cartridge Company, Lowell, Mass., U.S.A.
VC Defence Industries, Ltd., Verdun, Quebec, Canada
W Winchester Repeating Arms Co., New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.A.
WCC Western Cartridge Co., East Alton, Illinois, U.S.A.
WRA Winchester Repeating Arms Co., New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.A.
   
         
Headstamp I.D. Primer Annulus Bullet Tip Other Features Functional Type
 
VII or VIIZ Purple None None Light Ball
VIIIZ Purple None None Heavy Ball
G1, G2, G3, G7 or G8 Red None None Tracer
G4, G4Z, G6 or G6Z Red White None Tracer
G5 or G5Z Red Grey None Tracer
W1 or W1Z Green None None AP
B4 or B4Z Blue None Step in bullet jacket Incendiary
B6 or B6Z Blue None None Incendiary
B7 or B7Z Blue Blue None Incendiary
O.1 Black Black None Observing
PG1 or PG1Z Red None Blue band on case base Practice Tracer
H1Z None None Front half of case blackened Grenade Launching
H2 None None Entire case blackened Grenade Launching
H4 None None Case blackened 3/4" from each end Grenade Launching
H7Z None None Rear half of case blackened Grenade Launching
         

The suffix "Z" indicates that graphite-glazed, single-base nitrocellulose propellant was used
The absence of the suffix "Z" means that the propellant is unglazed, double-base cordite

         
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