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Small Arms and Ammunition 6 months 4 weeks ago #79432

  • Neville_C
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Battlefield souvenirs were being sold to the public back in England almost from day one.

Here are two Lee-Metford .303 Cordite Mark II cartridges, each with applied paper label printed: "This Cartridge Case was / PICKED UP AT LADYSMITH / during the Siege. / Shipped from Durban by / Mail Steamer 'Scot', / August 13th, 1900".



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Small Arms and Ammunition 6 months 4 weeks ago #79433

  • jancodk
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Hi Mike,

Is the stamp on the center cartridge not perhaps .577?
If it is .577, it will be for a Snider rifle as Martini cartridges are marked .455/577.

Also, what colour is the paper patching around the two rolled Martini cartridges?
If white or red, it will indicate a black powder load which is consistent with cartridges used in the Anglo-Zulu war.
White for rifle, red for carbines to indicated a lesser charge for the carbines.
An orange paper patch will indicate a nitro load, and are not normally found on rolled cartridges.

QSAMIKE wrote: Just a few pieces that I have.......

1. Martini (center marked KYNOCH .557s), others un-marked but have been told they may be Zulu Wars period.

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Small Arms and Ammunition 6 months 4 weeks ago #79434

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Thanks Jan......

See you learn something every day, it is marked Dot 577 Dot Large S, so the S could stand for Snider......
The paper is dirty but I would have said that when clean it was white.....

Mike
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Past-President Calgary
Military Historical Society
O.M.R.S. 1591

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Small Arms and Ammunition 6 months 4 weeks ago #79436

  • LinneyI
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Mike
To add to Jan's reply, that .577S round is a commercial Kynoch product dating between mid 1950's and 1960's. I fired quite a few of these through a .577" three band Snider with a perfect bore and simply could not get any sort of group at 100y. Those particular .577S rounds did not have a paper patch and incidentally were very expensive at the time.
For General discussion purposes..
It is always interesting to read the contemporary view of Boer Ammunition from an interested observer. In this case, Colonel Frederick Henry Howland of the First South Australian contingent. Colonel Howland had a Sapper background and during his time at the front, assembled and mounted a small 42 cm by 31cm display with a section labelled "BOER AMMUNITION". The whereabouts of that display board is not known to this writer - however Col. Howland's "BOER AMMUNITION" collection came to notice about forty years ago by being written up by Colin Simpson in the magazine of the Military Historical Society of Australia - "Sabretache". Captain Howland (as he was at the time), saw a good deal of active service in the Boer War; being present at the taking of Johannesburg, Pretoria, Diamond Hill and Belfast and after a year in the field, returned to Australia in November 1900.
Shown here is one of the pics accompanying Simpson's article:

Noticeable will be round "E" (6.5mm KRAG). Simpson comments that the ZAR purchased one hundred Norwegian Krag Jorgensen rifles and the illustrated round "E" is believed to be the ammunition supplied (made by RWS) Attached is a pic from APGW Vol2 where Gen. Tobias Smuts is shown posing with a 6.5mm Norwegian Krag rifle. The question of why a non-standard rifle type and special ammunition would be injected into the ZARs supply system is not for IL to answer. During what IL would term the "anti-firearms hysteria" in OZ in the mid 90's, many Mausers and Lee Enfields were surrendered; one such 6.5mm Norwegian Krag in relic condition came into a dealers premises and was most likely an ABW "bring back".

Also illustrated from the display board are "Varieties of .303" expanding bullets" in Howland's Boer ammunition collection -

It should be noted that that particular pic should be captioned "Varieties of .303" ammunition with expanding bullets"
Cartridge "F" is a standard .303" MK.IV (Simpson says four million such rounds were sent to SA in the summer of 1899 but on 15th July 1899, the GOC, SA was sent an order to the effect that only Mk.II .303" ammunition was to be used. Six days after the outbreak of war, another order was sent directing that all hollow point ammunition was to be sent back to England. Some must have remained in SA for Howland to acquire his sample.
Cartridges "G", "H" and "I" are all British commercial manufacture. Example "I" has a ground flat tip with exposed lead core and four slits down the length of its bullet jacket. Churchill is said to have observed - according to Colin Simpson - boxes of this ammunition in the Boer trenches after the battle of Innsikilling Hill and a game hunter told Col. Howland that the split jacket projectile was "the most severe variety of its type yet invented".
To conclude, IL must apologise for the less than ideal reproduction of the pics of Col. Howland's "BOER AMMUNITION" collection. This writer only had a photocopy of Colin Simpson's article to work with and he was quite reluctant to breach any copyright still current on the article by reproducing it in its complete form.
Regards
IL.
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Small Arms and Ammunition 6 months 4 weeks ago #79438

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To add to IL's last post, here are a couple of rounds with "modified" bullets from South Africa:

1. Mauser and Lee-Metford cartridges, the latter with Jeffreys "expanding" bullet. The former labelled "Mauser" and the latter "Cartridge with Expanding bullet". With accompanying paper label inscribed: "Cartridges taken from Captured Boers during South African War".
Mauser with headstamps: "D.M. 1896 K" (Deutsche Metallparonenfabrik, Karlsruhe, Germany); Lee-Metford: "E B" (Eley Brothers, London).
The Jeffreys modification is illustrated as "I" in IL's post above.




Makins, Surgical Experiences in South Africa, p. 94:

The Tweedie and Jeffreys bullets come under a somewhat different category. In the Tweedie the top of the bullet is sawn off in such a manner as to flatten the tip and widen the surface of direct impact, and to expose the leaden core over a small area. The general principle of the flat tip resembles that of the French Lebel bullet. In the Jeffreys modification the mantle is sawn down for about half the length of the whole mantle, the slits neither reaching tip nor base. I seldom saw these bullets removed, but they were used to a considerable extent. Fig. 40 illustrates one of Mauser calibre in the possession of Mr. Cuthbert S. Wallace. It perforated the abdomen, producing fatal injuries, but the only alteration in outline consists in slight bulging and shortening. This specimen, however, manifestly suffered but slight resistance. A somewhat general impression existed that a number of severe injuries had been produced by the Jeffreys bullets, but it was a matter of conjecture, as few of them were removed.






2. Three Lee-Metford cartridges with "Tweedie" type bullets (tops sawn off; see Makins p. 94). These were unearthed during the exhumation of Burgher G.J. van Niekerk, at Davel's Hoek, Ladysmith, in 1978. The cartridges were found in van Niekerk's breast pocket. Removed to Pretoria after the exhumation.
Note: these had been modified in the field and as such are not production cartridges.



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Small Arms and Ammunition 6 months 3 weeks ago #79454

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IL shows Tobias Smuts with his Krag, and Neville has previously shown one at Magersfontein (post #79240), which I show again here. The magazine is visible at the side. These are elegant and very rare rifles. Here's a Boer Krag with the serial no. 55.
The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past.
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