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  1. #1
    Contributing Member usabaker's Avatar
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    Made Special for the RAF 303 Cartridges

    Yesterday was my wedding anniversary, so we both took the day off from work and had a "date". Being old people now, there was no running to Disneyland, no loud nightclub, not even an afternoon burger at the strip club (not that; that ever happens). No, we visited the local Chicken ranch to pick up four flats of golden nuggets, AKA Eggs.

    On the drive home, we passed one of the smaller towns. Near an exit, I often take; but more when the boss is not with me. My beloved suddenly said,

    "Aren't you going to stop at that gun store?"

    It may have been said in a snarky manner, but I can't seem to recall. But I was fast to change lanes and exclaimed with much enthusiasm, "That's a great idea!"

    Pulling up to the store, I asked if she would like to go in with me, she declined, stating she had a headache (Hmmm.. reminiscent of pillow talk) and elected to remain in the car whilst I ran into my candy store.

    $160.00 in U.S. funds later, I emerged with a 20-round box of PPU 270 Winchester, a 1lb can of IMR 4350, and the best thing!

    Something I have never seen before... One box being still sealed in hand.. Oh, the joy.. 48 pieces of joy (I will never see) with an Overall length 3.075 in or 78.11 mm for everyone else in the world. A Box labeled:

    M. 1006 48 Cartridges ARMOR PIERCING 303 INCH W. Mk 1 SPECIAL FOR R.A.F

    One box was open, and I was able to take a picture of the headstamp, which was a 1939 WI. Because of the price, $65.00 US, I was not able to buy both boxes. so I purchased the unopened box for my collection.

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    Last edited by usabaker; 03-11-2023 at 01:05 PM.
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    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    Special for (aircraft) use usually refers to crimped in primers so they don't back out and jam a gun.

    Quote Originally Posted by usabaker View Post
    the headstamp, which was a 1939
    Even earlier actually...1938. Royal Laboratories...
    Regards, Jim

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    Contributing Member usabaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by browningautorifleicon View Post
    Special for (aircraft) use usually refers to crimped in primers so they don't back out and jam a gun.

    Even earlier actually...1938. Royal Laboratories...
    Oh you are right 1938.. so a crimped primer pocket is the only difference in the WI? I just though is was very cool to find an unopened box.

    thanks for the info Jim.
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    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by usabaker View Post
    a crimped primer pocket is the only difference in the WI
    Well, that usually the story of the "For synchronized guns only" and use in aircraft. There could be other loading differences. Others will be along to tell... Maybe it's just that they are AP. .303 all seems to have crimped in primers.
    Regards, Jim

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    Contributing Member Flying10uk's Avatar
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    I was wondering how many of those boxes of ammo would be required to rearm an early war spec Spitfire or Hurricane armed with 8X .303 Browning MG's, 4 in each wing? I believe that they could fire the .303 MG's continuously only for about 18 seconds.

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    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying10uk View Post
    I believe that they could fire the .303 MG's continuously only for about 18 seconds.
    Yes, they didn't carry that much ammo either, not like the movies make you think.

    "The short answer is about 15 seconds of total fire, delivered in seven to eight two-second bursts.
    A Spitfire MKI and II had eight (8) Browning .303 machine guns, each with 300 rounds and a rate of fire, when sustained, at 1,150 rounds per minute. A total weight of 2,400 rounds was carried. Each gun delivered about 19 rounds per second, so 152 rounds per second total.
    The Air Ministry found in tests, (the ones that determined eight guns vs. the previous two and then four per wing), that a two second burst at close range, meaning closing in below 300 yards, with eight guns, gave the best effectiveness and balanced armament weight with maneuverability. A two-second burst would deliver over 300 rounds potentially in a 6-foot circle at 300 yards."

    Here's another thing about these rounds, specific to aircraft and not to be used by ground troops.

    " Early Spitfires at the time of the Battle of Britainicon had 8 .303 Browning machine guns normally they had 4 guns loaded with SA Ball MKVII Same round was used in the Lee Enfield. 2 guns were loaded with W1 or W1Z armor piercing and 2 with B MKVI incendiary rounds . This was a new development first made by a Belgian inventor called De Wilde and then modified at Woolwich arsenal for mass production a true incendiary bullet that only burned if it hit something. Incendiary tracer was also used. Neither the B MKVI or W1 were used in Lee Enfield Riflesicon, Ball MK7 was probably only used on aircraft until production of W1 and B MKVI could replace it.

    Interestingly the B MKVI was adopted by the USAAF and USN in .30 and .50 a simplified version was developed and used by both UK and US forces, it was particularly devastating against Japaneseicon aircraft."
    Regards, Jim

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    The WI is the coding for A.P the headstamp - R /|\ L is Royal Laboratories.

    Allot of the fighter pilots had their guns unofficially harmonised to abound 200 - 250 yards or even shorter ranges due to the fact even though there were 8 x 303 MG's they were after all only rifle cartridges.
    The BF 109's 20mm was a great worry to the RAF as it would only take a few hits on a Hurri or Spit to do them in, one brand new spit went up and sustained 3 x 20mm hits on the port side fuselage had a rather heavy landing and broke her she never flew again time of flight 23 minutes!
    Pilot was wounded but survived.
    See pic of actual aircraft you'll note the hits and the top of the fuselage is crinkled due to the hard landing and internal damage to the formers the off side was peppered like a colander from the fragmentation of those 20mm hits.

    The Japaneseicon Zero though a great aircraft had some serious flaws one of which it was almost like tin foil the skin on the wings etc so much so they had fold /pop out foot pegs so the pilot did not stand on the wing and dent it.
    Plus no armour or self sealing tanks made it very vulnerable for the pilot or aircraft burning, until the Hell cat came along the tactic was to dive on the Zero shoot them up and dive away not get involved in a dogfight with them.
    The range the Zero had for a carrier based plane surprised the US when they tested the one they recovered flipped over on an island intact relatively the aircraft could cruise for 8 hours on its internal tanks.

    An empty packet I have of 303 for aircraft use only.
    Plus a staked WRA Co. 303 for aircraft use only
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    Last edited by CINDERS; 03-12-2023 at 11:40 AM.

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    Besides no self sealing tanks , the fact that they were mostly running on very flammable low octane gas made them light up easily .

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    Quote Originally Posted by CINDERS View Post
    The WI is the coding for A.P the headstamp - R /|\ L is Royal Laboratories.
    Thank you Cinders
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    Quote Originally Posted by browningautorifleicon View Post
    each with 300 rounds
    That means you would require exactly 50 boxes of 48 rounds of .303 ammo to rearm an eight gun Spitfire or Hurricane once. (300 x 8 = 2400 ÷ 48 = 50)

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