It slaps men down quite satisfactorily

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

Roughly one-tenth of the way into Ordnance Went Up Front, Dunlap gets to the supposed topic:

The old .303 British Mark VII is still about the best man-stopper in a service rifle cartridge. Why? Well, I’ll tell you, but you’ll probably have to cut one open to convince yourself. That 174-grain flat based bullet is very scientifically balanced, or perhaps, unbalanced. The lead core does not fill the jacket completely; the first 3/8” inside the tip is aluminum (some wartime loadings have tenite or other light plastics). Result, the bullet spins on its axis and is accurate enough, but when it hits something it flips over on its side and causes a little more trouble than it ordinarily would; not always, but usually. The Germans haven’t squawked too much about it being a dumdum so it must not have been too vicious. It slaps men down quite satisfactorily, and is considered usable on game of the deer class as a fairly effective hunting bullet. Not recommended, but then not bad.


  1. Bob Sykes says:

    The same urban legend is nowadays attached to the 5.56 NATO.

  2. Kirk says:

    The amount of BS and outright magical thinking surrounding weapons has always been with us, and I imagine it always will be. I have no doubt but that the Romans likely argued the lethality of the various sword strokes, targets on the body, and the efficacy of the various types of swords and spears with similar enthusiasm.

  3. Adar says:

    .303 SMLE rifle still in use [?] by the Canadian Rangers of the far north and also by the para-military Indian police. That ideal weapon so it is said for arctic warfare. The Canadians trying to find a replacement but why try to improve with what ever you have that is good enough?

  4. Alistair says:


    Agreed. I feel people who endlessly enthuse the superiority of one round and weapon over another should be shot with both, the better to validate their opinions.

  5. Bruce says:

    Dunlap warns us at the start of the book that he likes guns and will find nicer things to say about them than most others.

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