View Full Version : British .303 click/bang
Does anyone know the problem with british primers causing the click/bang to nothing at all
with their primers? I think it is a chemical spec. because it seems to happen with all the
old .303 ammo from different manufacturers and countries.
This can happen with just about any geriatric ammunition but very old .303 British ball seems especially susceptible. I bought a box of 1937 manufactured Keynoch commercial manufactured MkVII ball in the 1970's which definately had that problem. I wound up pulling the bullets and if I ever get around to reloading I may use them. The most common explanation I've heard is bad storage in tropical climates but primer composition, as you suggest, could very well be the culprit or at least a contributing factor
About 20 years ago there was a huge lot of WW2 Brit ammo on the market. Sold loose with various headstamps. This is probably the lot that you have. In those days, there were berdan primers available and I pulled about 1000 and reprimed them. Since there are no berdan primers available now, you can only salvage the bullets. I did salvage the cordite, but it is a hassle to put it back in the shells after they are necked.
Keep in mind that most of that ammo is 70 years old! Though I have fired Mk6 ammo dated 1918.
The commonwealth was quite large at one time. Just because the stuff was made in Britain doesn't mean it was stored there.
I once had a 1944 dated No.4Mk1 along with some 1944 stamped cordite ammo in original boxes. I also had the proper bayo, sling, cleaning kit, etc. The ammo was all click bang stuff. I donated the lot to a benefit auction for a terminally ill 10 year old. IIRC it bought $350 at the auction.
That Pakastani ammo that has been on the market the last few years will do that. It is in the 32 round box....chris3
I have been sitting here thinking about this click/bang thing and I am starting to think that it might not be the primer at all. These mark VII rounds all use the stringy cordite powder. Maybe it is just that the cordite gets off to a slow start. Afterall, you have to get a heat and pressure buildup to get the powder to burn quickly like it should. Another thing I noticed with the rounds I opened up is that the powder was about 3/16 inch away from the primer. I think I should try to remove the powder from a few of these rounds and replace with modern powder and see if it fixes the click/bang. That will tell me if it is a primer problem. But I am thinking now that it is the powder since it is such a different setup that other military rounds.
Years ago a bunch of Model 1890 Vertelli rifles in 6.5mm were imported by Hy Hunter. The rifles were less than $10 and the ammo was very cheap. We found out why the ammo was so cheap, as only about 75% fired. The ammo that fired had about a 50/50 chance of going off when the trigger was pulled. When we shot them we learned not to flinch and hold the sight picture until the ammo went off, or after about 60 seconds we would eject it. The powder was a fairly course amber grain, and whether the powder or primer, it sure didn't shoot good.
I've read other posts on this subject. Some guys have reported better results (shorter hang times) with this ammo on warm days and after leaving the ammo in the sun for a little while before shooting. I have about 1600 rounds of the "mixed British WWII" .303 that Sportsmans Guide sold several years ago in bulk. The last time I shot some, it was giving me just slight hangs in about half of the ammo and no problems with the other half. If I ever get around to building my semi-auto Bren, I'll shoot it up.
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