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  1. #1
    Member LHC1692's Avatar
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    .303 British Ammo

    Has anyone tried using .303 Britishicon ammo made by FNM
    Fabrica Nacional de Municoes e Armas Legeiras, Moscavide, Portugal? I have a chance to buy several boxes but I can’t find any information on it.


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    Contributing Member CINDERS's Avatar
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    Fábrica Nacional de Munições de Armas Ligeiras, (FNM), (English: National Light Weapons and Ammunition Factory), was the national manufacturer of small arms and ammunition in Portugal. It was established in 1947, and closed by the government of Portugal in 2001.

    FNM-branded ammunition continued to be sold after the closure of the factory, however it was manufactured by prvi partizan.

    Bit of a read but some info in there article from 2007;
    Portuguese .303

    Portugal has made .303 ammo since 1922 (headstamp /19/*/22/AE ) although it is called the Cartucho 7.7 Modelo 923. This had a large, Britishicon type berdan primer (.250"), and tubular MR type Powder (in 1937 they switched to Germanicon Blattchen Pulver(Flake)).

    The Projectiles varied from 190 grains to 172 grains, of British design, Winchester design and Local manufacture
    They recycled deteriorating WW I Ammo, which they got from Britain during WWI ( A Portuguese battalion fought on the Western front, with Brit. equipment) and in 1919 Portugal bought Vickers and Lewis MGs from Britain, and some SMLEs.
    Ammo (initially "Mo.919") was cast off British mark VIIz and US Contract ammo (also Nitro loaded)...The Brits disposed of this ammo to Portugal, the Baltic States, and some into the North Sea...the Early MR (Dupont) Powders used for loading both British and US "z" ammo was a bit liable to early deterioration ( in about 5 years).
    The Portuguese finally pulled down all their W 15 and W 16 ammo in 1928, and re-used the projectiles in that years Mo.923 production.(Winchester WW I.,303 bullets are recognised by their double cannelure).
    In 1937, RWS (along with Mauser etc) help Portugal re-arm with 7,9mm calibre weaponry, and re-furnished the Ammo factory as well with german Technology (Origianl machimnery had been Austrian and British). This introduced Flake Powder to the AE produced .303.

    I have not come across any .303 made during 1938 to 48 at all, from any of the Portuguese Factories.(AE, FCPQ, FNM); In 1949-50, the "New" FNM factory started making .303 ammo again, using a standard Berdan (.217) primer, same as in 7,9mm and later 7,62 Nato ammo. .303 ammo was made every few years during the 1950s and 60s, petering out by the late 60s...for use in MGs still in .303 calibre ( and new acquisitions for the colonies---mostly Bren Guns) Most of the Vickers guns had been converted to 7,9mm in the late 1930s.
    The 1950s FNM .303 is reasonable quality, compared to the 1920s and 30s ammo; although a lot of FNM ammo suffers from age neck splits and loose bullets...I pulled down about 2000 rounds without using a Bullet Puller...just my fingers. Saved the (Tubular) Powder, and re used Powder, projectiles on Boxer cases, and used the Split FNM cases to make an "8x42R" wildcat for my "Mauser-Martini-Verguiero-DocAV" single shot Hunting rifle
    ( a M04/39 MV barrel sleeved into a SMLE Barrel stub, screwed and cut for a Martini-Enfield action, and fitted with a military butt and a handmade "military style" fore-end, with Mauser type bands (and Bayo Lug) and long cleaning rod.
    Loads are like a souped up 7,62x39,(about 20% better) using Hornady .323 125 grain spirepoints...and it is regular medecine for the wild pigs in my Sugar-cane Plantation.

    Getting back to FNM .303, if it is in good condition, with little or no splits, it is as good as other FNM products.

    Strange that Century has it now, Most of the Portuguese .303 passed through Century's hands back in the 1970s and 80s, during GCA68...that's why most of it came to Australiaicon --one of my .303 crates (Portuguese made) is labelled "Lorenco marques" (Mozambique) and "Century Arms, St Albans VT", and I acquired it back in about 1984, here in Aust.

    Would be good to hear about the performance of this latest batch, and what headstamp it has.

    Regards, Doc AV
    AV Ballistics

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    Really Senior Member Bruce_in_Oz's Avatar
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    And that "large-primer Portuguese stuff is a bit different from the Brit issue. The primer cup of all that FNM pre-WEW2 .303 ball I encountered was brass; thus NOT mercuric primed.

    However, the primer diameter is slightly larger than the UKicon stuff as well; .254", I recall; the same sizes as used in several other European military rounds,and some Chinese 7.62 x 54R and numerous "Express" sporting cartridges. RWS 5624? A substantial amount of that .303 ammo went through shops in Brisbane back in the late 1970s. Notorious for being randomly "unreliable" Cheap enough to strip for the bullets and, if you were adventurous, the powder. Considering that in that time-frame we could also buy superb FN 49 and 50 headstamped .303 ammo for, as I recall, about 9 cents a round, in the sealed packets, marked "Pour BREN". You had your choice of the white label or "pink" label variety.

    Then the final thing about that vintage Portuguese .303, apart from the fine and fancy headstamp markings, is the "Berdan" anvil. It it quite large and has a narrow slot formed across the "dome" of the anvil and a single flash-hole in the middle. The other place I have seen those same .254" Berdan primers used in recent years was in some Russianicon-made (or maybe it was from Ukraine or Belarus) ".223", steel cased "sporting ammo".

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    Advisory Panel Brian Dick's Avatar
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    I bought 10k rounds many years ago and I'm still using FNM 72-2 Mk.7z to range test rifles. It's excellent. We tested it against Greek HXP and South African PMP when preparing for Robert Maze's range test/article/video with various Galilean sights fitted to Long Lee and SMLE rifles, eight in all, and it was by far the most accurate.

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    I always found FNM to be superb and it was in demand. I didn't know there were so many variations as Cinders brought out...
    Regards, Jim

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