Blank ammunition is used during training exercises to give a much safe round that still makes the same noise as a live cartridge. These are fired both by troops to get used to using their weapons and at them by instructors to simulate the chaos of battle. Tonight we are looking at a British Army L13A1 blank cartridge introduced in 1970:This cartridge is in 7.62mm calibre and replaced the earlier L10A2 cartridge which had been withdrawn as being 20% too heavy due to thicker than required casing walls. The L13A1 was 2g lighter than the earlier L10A2. Externally the round looks identical to its predecessor, with a long neck and an un-ringed Berdan Primer:As can be seen the headstamp has the cartridge type ‘L13A1’, the year of manufacture ‘1976’ and the initial ‘RG’. ‘RG’ stands for Radway Green, a Royal Ordnance Factory in Cheshire that was set up in 1940. The factory is still producing small arms for the British Army, but is now part of BAE Systems. The tip of the blank has green lacquer on it:This lacquer helped keep moisture out of the cartridge, ensuring it would fire successfully when needed.
Blank rounds do not have the same power as live rounds and do not have the expelled gases to recock weapons in the same manner as ball ammunition. To get around this blank firing adaptors are fitted that serve two purposes. Firstly they force enough of the expelled gases from the cartridge back down the gas parts of a weapon to recock it, but they also prevent small particles of wadding etc. from the blank being discharged out the front of the weapon. These blank firing adaptors are easily seen on training exercises as they are usually painted yellow, this example is on an SLR which would have used 7.62 blank cartridges like the example above: