Well-Known Member
So I learned something over the weekend. Back in WW2 the Brits didn't use smokeless gun powder in lots of their ammo and artillery shells. Instead they used a thing called cordite. I was TOTALLY unaware of this. My son bought some surplus ammo and the guy selling it said it didn't have gun-powder in it (I have an Enfield in 303). So we pulled the bullet of one and sure enough......after a little patch of waxy cork type stuff was a bunch of what looked like dried spaghetti! Interesting stuff. I lit on piece and it burns like a wick. So we did a few and that got more fire. So then we rolled the rest into a paper towel and made a cordite doobie ......that then had a lot more umf to it.
I've read about cordite in some of the old books about the British big game hunters, guys that were called "control hunters", meaning they were trying to kill off rhinos, elephants, etc. in order to make room for native farmers. I never knew what it looked like though. Very interesting stuff !
I did some digging on the internet and they actually packed bunches of this stuff into artillery shells and the like as well. I had no idea....I just figured it was gun powder.

Turns out some of the marking on the surplus ammo means it's not so good for rifles. Some of the stuff is a little hotter and made for the Vickers machine guns.....the hotter load helped ensure the recoil was sufficient to continue to cycle the gun.

Figured some of you guys may either have some info or just get a kick out of some old school stuff that we don't see any more.