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Please Help ID (Live?) Crimped Round

Article about: Hi, I found this recently on a former British island with my metal detector. It has some interesting markings on the headstamp and I'm not sure if it is a blank or whether it was intended to

  1. #1

    Default Please Help ID (Live?) Crimped Round

    Hi, I found this recently on a former British island with my metal detector. It has some interesting markings on the headstamp and I'm not sure if it is a blank or whether it was intended to be used for launching a grenade. The length is approximately 2-3/16" and the diameter of the base is approximately 1/2". I can see an "R", "/|\" (type design), and an "L" at 12, 1:30, and 3 o'clock. A "C" or an omega at 9 o'clock. And the Roman numerals "IV" at 6 o'clock.Any info you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Please Help ID (Live?) Crimped Round

    I know very little about ordinance, but it appears to be a blank. I would treat it as live until informed otherwise.
    Ralph.
    Searching for anything relating to, Anton Boos, 934 Stamm. Kp. Pz. Erz. Abt. 7, 3 Kompanie, Panzer-Regiment 2, 16th Panzer-Division (My father)

  3. #3

    Default Re: Please Help ID (Live?) Crimped Round

    Looks like a blank, A friend of mine was a WW2 vet who died this past year, they fired a similar round at his funeral (similar in the fact the top is all crimped and such). But as rbminis said like a gun always treat it as live until informed otherwise.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Please Help ID (Live?) Crimped Round

    Welcome to the forum Erik it looks like a live 303 gernade blank to me this link may help.......http://www.google.com/imgres?hl=en&b...6&tx=103&ty=54

    Eric
    [h=3]e plu·ri·bus u·num[/h]

  5. #5

    Default Re: Please Help ID (Live?) Crimped Round

    Thanks Eric (and other posters!). Eric I saw the link that you posted, but I am still confused. According to the headstamp it appears that the crimped round I have found was manufactured by Royal Laboratory, Woolwich Arsenal, Kent, UK (see the R ^ L marking). The C at the 9 o'clock position may indicate that it used a Cordite propellant charge (pre-1912), and the Model (of what? the gun? the round?) is a Mark IV which is supposedly pre-WWII. I do not see any date code on it. Seems like it may be pre-WWI if the C refers to Cordite. Any additional help here in decyphering these codes would be greatly appreciated!

  6. #6
    ?

    Default Re: Please Help ID (Live?) Crimped Round

    Blanks can still do some nasty damage if they go off in your hand!!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Please Help ID (Live?) Crimped Round

    Quote by Erik in NJ View Post
    Thanks Eric (and other posters!). Eric I saw the link that you posted, but I am still confused. According to the headstamp it appears that the crimped round I have found was manufactured by Royal Laboratory, Woolwich Arsenal, Kent, UK (see the R ^ L marking). The C at the 9 o'clock position may indicate that it used a Cordite propellant charge (pre-1912), and the Model (of what? the gun? the round?) is a Mark IV which is supposedly pre-WWII. I do not see any date code on it. Seems like it may be pre-WWI if the C refers to Cordite. Any additional help here in decyphering these codes would be greatly appreciated!
    Pete or TonyE may be able to help you further on this I hope.

    Eric
    [h=3]e plu·ri·bus u·num[/h]

  8. #8
    ?

    Default Re: Please Help ID (Live?) Crimped Round

    It is a training blank, made as you say at Royal laboratory Woolwich some time before 1907 when dating of headstamps was introduced. The C does indeed indicate cordite and the "IV" is the mark of the cartridge.

    Now for the difficult bit! It could be a "Blank .303 inch Cordite without Bullet Mark IV" which was a very short lived blank introduced in 1893 but replaced by the Blank Mark V almost immediately. The reason for the rapid replacement is uncertain, but the List of Changes paragraph that introduced the Mark IV also introduced the Mark V, saying no more Mark IV would be made. Possibly the cordite used in the Mark IV, which had no mineral jelly in it, had proved unsuitable in storage.

    What is much more likely is that it is a "Blank .303 inch without bullet Mark V" made from a reject Ball Mark IV case. The Mark V blank was in service from 1894 until about 1945. The Ball Mark IV was introduced briefly in 1898 and replaced a year later by the Ball Mark V. Both had hollow point bullets.

    Either way, your blanks dates from the mid to late 1890s.

    As an aside, all British grenade blanks had open necks, not crimped ones from WWI until the introduction of the FN made Grenade Mark 7 in 1951.

    Regards
    TonyE
    British Military Smallarms and Ammunition
    Collector, Researcher and Pedant
    https://sites.google.com/site/britmilammo/

  9. #9

    Default Re: Please Help ID (Live?) Crimped Round

    Hi TonyE,

    Thank you so much for your very informative post! I find the whole topic fascinating and I have many more fired rounds that I have unearthed on the same former British island (though a different site) that I am now quite interested in exploring. This round was dug near a military installation that was dated to 1900; however, I also dug a dropped musket ball in the same area, so there must have been much earlier activity at this site. Is this a relatively rare blank or just a common one?

    Can you suggest a way to further clean it or it is best to leave it as is. A friend put a bit of naval jelly on it and used some steel wool to remove the crud so we could see the headstamp.

    My next question is what exactly do the "Marks" mean....let's say what differentiates a "Mark II" from a "Mark III" cartridge or better yet what is the determining factor in creating a new Mark?

    This is a great forum and you are obviously a very learned individual in this field. Can you recommend any good books that cover these fascinating headstamps?

    Thanks again, Erik

  10. #10
    ?

    Default Re: Please Help ID (Live?) Crimped Round

    Once the crud has been removed, I personally would leave it as it is, but others might differ. Unfortunately your round is not rare, but will still have some value to you in the context of where you found it. Because the Mark IV blank was so short lived, I think it unlikely any went overseas so I am quite sure you have a Mark V blank made from a reject Mark IV Ball case.

    In theory, a advance in Mark meant a substantial difference in design, but that was not always the case. For example, with your blank the only difference between teh Mark IV and Mark V was an addition of 4% mineral jelly to the Cordite formula. In contrast, when the Ball Mark VII round was introduced with the 160 grain bullet in 1911 it failed accuracy proof so a hurried redesign took place and the now familiar 174 grain bullet was introduced later that year. Despite being a substantial difference, the Mark was not advanced to avoid embarrassing questions in the Press and Parliament.

    You should also be aware that the Mark number applied only to that type of store, thus there is a Mark IV blank, a Mark IV ball round, a Mark IV drill round etc.

    With regard to books, with uncharacteristic immodesty you could do no better than my own works! I have two books on the .303, one which enables identification of each type and another which shows all the known headstamps for every Mark of every type in British and Commonwealth service.

    Of course, the "bible" for .303 collectors is Labbett and Mead's ".303" , but that is long out of print and very expensive if it can be found.

    Regards
    TonyE
    British Military Smallarms and Ammunition
    Collector, Researcher and Pedant
    https://sites.google.com/site/britmilammo/

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