The .303 British ammo Service cartridge, commonly known as the .303 or .303 British was adopted by Britain along with the Lee – Metford Rifle in 1889. This round, as originally adopted, consisted of a 215 grain, round nosed, cupro nickel jacketed bullet in front of 71.5 grains of RFG2 Blackpowder.
This powder charge being pressed into a pellet with both ends slightly rounded and pierced with a flash hole through the centre. There was a glazeboard wad on top of the charge to protect the base of the bullet. It initially had a small boxer type primer and was officially designated Cartridge, S.A., Ball, Magazine Rifle, Mark 1.C. Solid Case, .303inch. This round had a muzzle velocity of 1830 feet per second and a chamber pressure of about 19 tons per square inch. 303 British Ammo for sale
Cordite was used as a propellant from 1891 and the first adopted cordite cartridge, the Cartridge S.A. Ball, Magazine Rifle Cordite Mark 1, had a 215 grain round nosed cupro-nickel jacketed bullet giving a muzzle velocity of about 1970 feet per second at a chamber pressure of about 17.5 tons per square inch. Cordite consisted of 58% Nitro-glycerine, 37% Nitro-cellulose and 5% Mineral Jelly and was normally pressed into cord form but tubular, tape, flaked and sliced cordite were also used. 303 British Ammo for sale
Nitro-cellulose was first used as a propellant in the 303 British Ammo during 1894 although it was not officially approved for service until 1916. This propellant, however, was not considered to be as stable as cordite in the tropics and cordite was, therefore, still retained as a propellant in military cartridges for the remainder of the cartridges service life.
Nitro-cellulose propellant however was extensively used during the first and second world wars. The last .303 ball cartridges manufactured at Radway Green in 1973 were loaded with nitro-cellulose powder and not cordite, cordite having last been used for the 303 British Ammo in the 1960s.