With no opportunity to get out and dig WW2 relics, what else can you do during the lockdown other than think up crazy projects with what you already have!
My previous blog post showed the results of my attempts at restoring some ground dug 303 cartridge cases, (303 cartridge restoration). The results were so good that I decided to take it a step further. Only problem was, I was short of some of the components. So, a quick search on the internet found suppliers right here in the UK, and I soon had some FMJ 303 bullets winging their way to me, along with a bag full of suitable disintegrating links. I had decided to put together an MG belt, with the intention of eventually having a 300 round belt, so that I could use it to show people to amount loaded into each of the Brownings of Hurricanes and Spitfires during WW2.
The method of cleaning followed the same process as my previous blog, but this time, instead of a Brillo pad, I used my pillar drill with a wire wheel attachment. This worked out considerably faster than the Brillo pad method!
All the 303 cartridge cases started out the same way…….
I had soon got the cartridge cases shiny, so the next task was to put the bullets in place. Even though every single cartridge had a clear indent in the blast cap, I wanted to make it even more obvious that the completed cartridges were inert. As a result, I ensure every single one of them had a a metal object placed inside before the bullet was glued in place. I used small carpet tacks in these cartridge cases.
Once I had completed all 200 that I needed for the project, the glue was left to cure overnight and, the next evening, assembly began.
Easiest to show it in a video…..
After a little bit of assembly, I eventually had a new addition to my display. A 200 (and ten…..see the below), round .303 inch cartridge (all WW2 dated and ground dug), disintegrating belt.
After completing the belt I realised the company that supplied the links had sent 10 too many, so I ended up with a belt of 210 rounds instead of 200.
And just to be super geeky, I arranged the belt in order of manufacturer code on the headstamp, (apart from the last 10 which threw my system out of whack…..I’ll sort it at a later date). For those of you interested, the headstamps of all 210 cartridges were as follows, listed in order they appear in the belt (yep……I’m THAT much of a geek!).
(as shown on headstamp)
|Cartridge type (Headstamp code)||Number in belt|
|R /|\ L||1936||WI||1|
|R /|\ L||1938||WI||1|
|R /|\ L||1939||VII||1|
|R /|\ L||1940||VII||2|
I won’t list the meaning of the headstamps in this blog, as there are plenty of websites out there that show what the headstamps on 303s mean!
Not a bad project……
What an amazing and fantastic job you have done. Do you have the boxes or other containers that would have held such a belt of ammunition?