How Old Are These Kynoch Cartridges?

Troubleshooter

AH senior member
Joined
Apr 26, 2017
Messages
61
Reaction score
92
Media
17
Hunting reports
USA/Canada
1
Hunted
USA, Canada, West Germany, Romania
I recently acquired some vintage Kynoch cartridges. As you can see in the photos, they are in an older-style box, and there is what could be a lot number on the reverse of the box. The cartridges are of sufficient age that there is very slight oxidation on the exposed lead (soft-nose) bullet, but otherwise they appear to be in good condition.

I'm curious whether one of you more experienced fellows can tell from the box, approximately when these may have been manufactured. Mostly trying to figure out the vintage and whether they may have corrosive primers.

Thanks in advance for any insights!
upload_2020-4-6_23-20-43.jpeg

upload_2020-4-6_23-21-1.jpeg
 

kurpfalzjäger

AH enthusiast
Joined
Sep 1, 2019
Messages
441
Reaction score
628
Media
9
9 S B

Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) , Witton UK 1926-1963

The specific color red and yellow were first released by ICI Kynoch in 1936 and were used until cessation of production in 1972

9 December 1953
 

Pondoro

AH fanatic
Joined
Dec 3, 2014
Messages
892
Reaction score
1,145
Media
88
Articles
1
Hunted
Norway, Sweden, Namibia and Botswana
They have corrosive primers...those are copper colored berdan primers, the later non-corrosive were marked so on the boxes and primers are brass colored..
 

kurpfalzjäger

AH enthusiast
Joined
Sep 1, 2019
Messages
441
Reaction score
628
Media
9
Hard to say about corrosive and non-corrosive. From the twenties onwards , non-corrosive primers were offered for civilian ammunition.

I have several packs of Kynoch cartridges 577NE from the fifties and sixties. On some one can read non-corrosive primers , on the others nothing. Due to the color of the primers , I cannot differentiate.

This cartridges from 1953 are certainly loaded with cordite so that they can only be fired if the powder inside can be checked safely. The primers would also have to be changed before. More of a collector's item.
 

Major Khan

AH legend
Joined
Dec 3, 2019
Messages
2,189
Reaction score
5,640
Media
159
Articles
46
Well .... They are definitely made after 1948 . But no later than 1955. These appear to have Berdan primers .
@Pondoro and @kurpfalzjäger are correct.
By the way , be extremely wary of any solid metal covered ammunition , manufactured by ICI Kynoch , prior to 1958 . They will not use steel in their " jackets " , save for the ammunition which they would manufacture for John Rigby & Co.
 

Troubleshooter

AH senior member
Joined
Apr 26, 2017
Messages
61
Reaction score
92
Media
17
Hunting reports
USA/Canada
1
Hunted
USA, Canada, West Germany, Romania
Thank you gentlemen, for the quick and detailed responses. I find it particularly interesting that Kurpfalzjager was able to pinpoint the date from the code on the box. And Pondoro, you are correct that the primers are more copper-colored compared to the case. I had attempted to post a photo of the primers, but the close-up image was too blurry to be useful. Major Khan may be correct that they are Berdan primers-- it certainly makes sense -- but I won't know for certain unless I pull the bullet and look. Or fire one off, which I am sorely tempted to do. I did note that these are very heavily crimped.

This cartridges from 1953 are certainly loaded with cordite so that they can only be fired if the powder inside can be checked safely.

That's interesting. I would have expected flake or ball powder to be in use by the time these were manufactured, rather than stick cordite. But perhaps it was still available after the war.

Funny -- a number of years ago, some friends and I were shooting WWII vintage Enfield rifles with some surplus ammunition that one of the guys had picked up cheap. Out of curiosity, we decided to pull the bullet from one of them and found that they were loaded with stick cordite, looking much like strands of spaghetti. IIRC, the headstamp on the cartridges indicated 1939 manufacture, and I don't recall that there were any duds. But that was quite some years ago.
 

kurpfalzjäger

AH enthusiast
Joined
Sep 1, 2019
Messages
441
Reaction score
628
Media
9
The majority of my 577NE Kynoch cartridges from the fifties and sixties are loaded with cordite. Only on two packs it's noted that it is a different load.

As for the shooting of such old ammunition , I would like to warn that there may be a problem with the old primers that no longer ignite and secondly that the cordite becomes often very bad over time and can then be more explosive with a high risk of overpressure. That could become a problem in an DR.

I fired some of my cartridges 577NE loaded with cordite but after changing the primer and checking the condition of the cordite inside. The procedure is complex. In many cartridges the cordite was in very poor condition. I then destroyed the cordite from a lot of old cartridges on a military site and was able to notice the explosive effect of this old powder in bad condition. With this opportunity I could also see that more than a third of the old primers did not ignite.

Nevertheless , it remains an experience to fire old big game cartridges loaded with cordite. I just want to warn that one should stay on the safe side for our own health and for the continued existence of our DR.
 
Last edited:

Pondoro

AH fanatic
Joined
Dec 3, 2014
Messages
892
Reaction score
1,145
Media
88
Articles
1
Hunted
Norway, Sweden, Namibia and Botswana
Kurpfalz..you state that the cordite was in "poor condition"..? I presume these cartridges are loaded with stick cordite..? In what way was it bad...visually crumbling apart or just performing erratic..?

The reason I ask is that I used to shoot lots of WW2 .303 cordite ammo in my Lee Enfield Mk III* until about 5 years ago. I never had any erratic performance with them. But some ,303 loaded with ballistite started to become erratic so I destroyed what was left...though I suspect failing primers was the culprit.

Troubleshooter...all big bore Kynoch ammo was loaded with berdan primers..perhaps some of the last, as the .416 Rigby ammo loaded by Norma for Kynoch was loaded with boxers..
 

Dr Ray

AH legend
Joined
Apr 1, 2017
Messages
2,705
Reaction score
2,800
Location
Cairns, Australia
Media
52
Articles
5
Hunting reports
Australia/NZ
5
Assume corrosive primers. Suggest you pull a Bullets out to see if cartridge loaded w cordite - it’s like a very thin spaghetti.
Ok to fire but you’d want to clean immediately and I mean really clean.
 

kurpfalzjäger

AH enthusiast
Joined
Sep 1, 2019
Messages
441
Reaction score
628
Media
9
Kurpfalz..you state that the cordite was in "poor condition"..? I presume these cartridges are loaded with stick cordite..? In what way was it bad...visually crumbling apart or just performing erratic..?

The reason I ask is that I used to shoot lots of WW2 .303 cordite ammo in my Lee Enfield Mk III* until about 5 years ago. I never had any erratic performance with them. But some ,303 loaded with ballistite started to become erratic so I destroyed what was left...though I suspect failing primers was the culprit.

Troubleshooter...all big bore Kynoch ammo was loaded with berdan primers..perhaps some of the last, as the .416 Rigby ammo loaded by Norma for Kynoch was loaded with boxers..

The cartridges are loaded with stick cordite.

Good cordite is dark brown in color and slightly fat.

Bad cordite is yellow, dry and looks like thin crumbled spaghetti's.

One always take risks if one shoot old ammunition that have not been safely assessed before or where one don't know how it was stored.
 

Troubleshooter

AH senior member
Joined
Apr 26, 2017
Messages
61
Reaction score
92
Media
17
Hunting reports
USA/Canada
1
Hunted
USA, Canada, West Germany, Romania
I pulled one of the cartridges apart this evening and here is what I found: bullet appeared very much like one of my current-production Woodleigh soft-points, as expected. It weighed-in at 397.5 gr on my digital scale. Next was a wad (appeared to be wax-coated card) which weighed 1.2 gr; and under that was the cordite (59.5 gr). The cordite was a dark, burnt-orange color and remains pliable. It is about the size of fine angel-hair pasta. As expected, the primer is Berdan.
Internal view.JPG


Undecided whether I will fire any, but I may pop the primer this weekend and clean it up for later use. I'm thinking that the case head might look good on either a money-clip, a tie-bar, or as a lapel pin although I rarely wear a coat and tie these days.
 

Pondoro

AH fanatic
Joined
Dec 3, 2014
Messages
892
Reaction score
1,145
Media
88
Articles
1
Hunted
Norway, Sweden, Namibia and Botswana
I pulled one of the cartridges apart this evening and here is what I found: bullet appeared very much like one of my current-production Woodleigh soft-points, as expected. It weighed-in at 397.5 gr on my digital scale. Next was a wad (appeared to be wax-coated card) which weighed 1.2 gr; and under that was the cordite (59.5 gr). The cordite was a dark, burnt-orange color and remains pliable. It is about the size of fine angel-hair pasta. As expected, the primer is Berdan.
View attachment 342409

Undecided whether I will fire any, but I may pop the primer this weekend and clean it up for later use. I'm thinking that the case head might look good on either a money-clip, a tie-bar, or as a lapel pin although I rarely wear a coat and tie these days.

If you have an old fine British double...do not risk the rifle with possibly erratic ammo, these are also collectable BTW...my 2 cents..
 

bruce moulds

AH legend
Joined
Aug 10, 2018
Messages
2,612
Reaction score
3,604
those old bullets seemed to vary a bit in weight.
interesting about the wad.
a holdover from black powder days, I wonder if it was needed for cordite, bullets were undersize, or other?
bruce.
 

Troubleshooter

AH senior member
Joined
Apr 26, 2017
Messages
61
Reaction score
92
Media
17
Hunting reports
USA/Canada
1
Hunted
USA, Canada, West Germany, Romania
I wonder if it was needed for cordite, bullets were undersize, or other?
bruce.
The bullet measured .410" at the base and .400" in the cannalure groove.
 

kurpfalzjäger

AH enthusiast
Joined
Sep 1, 2019
Messages
441
Reaction score
628
Media
9
those old bullets seemed to vary a bit in weight.
interesting about the wad.
a holdover from black powder days, I wonder if it was needed for cordite, bullets were undersize, or other?
bruce.

That's not a wad but an over powder card. They were used with all cordite loads to seal the bore behind the bullet till it passed the throat. It was about oxidation and to increase the barrel life.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
36,727
Messages
696,321
Members
64,607
Latest member
MadonnaGos
 

 

 

Latest profile posts

Rifle57 wrote on Rimshot's profile.
I bought some bullets from Rimshot and he is good to trade with!
Greetings all! I've been a hunter for 50 years, but only now planning a trip to Africa. I was fortunate and successfully bid on a couple hunts for plains game in SA later this year and next. Also a rare Native Texas (5th generation) and USMC Vet. Hunt safe y'all!
uujm wrote on trg's profile.
I am looking for a Safari Express. Was yours made in New Haven or South Carolina? Any other details you can give me? I am very motivated to buy.
pimes wrote on flatwater bill's profile.
Hello Bill - can you tell me that landowner/ranch/outfitter - Thank you!
Pete0905 wrote on damundsen87's profile.
Hello
Is the Khales 1-6 still for sale?
Thanks
Josh
 
Top