Headstamps consist of one or more parts or information elements.
Cartridges intended for sporting or civilian use usually have two elements; one identifies the specific chambering, the other identifies the manufacturer.
Military cartridges can have from one to five elements, including cartridge, date and place of manufacture plus other identifying markings.
Dating cartridge headstamps
A cartridge headstamp is a mark, or series of marks impressed, or sometimes embossed, on the head of the cartridge case during its manufacture.
The mark can consist of numbers, letters, trademarks, figures or any combination of these. They can be in any language, numbering system or can relate to any calendar.
In 1918 this factory was capable of producing at the rate of about 10 million rounds per month. The far right image shows the unusual neck crimp consisting of three parts of the circumference of a circle and three small triangular indents. The DOMINION headstamp was used on commercial ammunition from 1911 untikl 1955. Ball, Cordite Mk 2, 4, 6 and 7 Ball, Nitro-cellulose Mk 7 (Canadian WW1 contract pattern) 1914-16 Ball, Nitro-cellulose Mk 7Z (Canadian Pattern) Drill D 1942 (Canadian Pattern) Tracer G Mk 2Z, G Mk 4Z (Canadian Pattern) Defence Industries, Verdun, Canada. Ball, Nitro-cellulose Mk 7Z (Canadian Pattern) Ball, Nitro-cellulose Mk 8Z (Canadian Pattern) Cartridge Rifle Grenade, Ballistite H Mk 1Z (Canadian Pattern) Drill D 1942 (Canadian Pattern) Tracer G Mk 2Z, G Mk 4Z, G Mk 6Z (Canadian Pattern) Eley Brothers, Edmonton, London, UK. During WW1 Eley produced in excess of 209 Million .303 Mk 7 cartridges. The headstamp code G, denoting manufacturer, should not be confused with G as in GIV indicating a tracer cartridge.
During WW1 Greenwood & Batley are known to have produced in excess of 705 million .303 Mk 7 cartridges.
A military cartridge may also contain the year: EX on a .30-06 cartridge "TW 42".