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  #1  
Old 01-01-2008, 09:42 AM
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Smile Reloading for the .303 Enfield


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My reloading manuals have almost nothing on reloading the Brit. .303. I have some Sierra 150 grain spitzer and 174 grain HPBT slugs sized at .311.
Can any of you suggest powders and loads for casual target shooting?
Thanks. I was amazed at how accurate this rifle is.
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  #2  
Old 01-01-2008, 09:56 AM
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IMR 4320 was the old standard for 174 and 180 grain bullets, but Alliant Rl-15 looks good too. IMR 3031 is good with 150 grain bullets. There's data for IMR 4064, but I found it was the inbetween powder, useable, but not optimum for either bullet weight.

Bye
Jack
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  #3  
Old 01-01-2008, 10:27 AM
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Thanks, Jack.

Can you recommend loads with the 3031 and 4320?
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  #4  
Old 01-01-2008, 10:45 AM
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It depends

I have been loading for the .303 British since 1970 and have a preference for IMR4895 and various bullet weights. One thing that is helpful is to resize carefully. The Enfields tend to stretch cases a bit and I have extended case life by backing off the resizing die until the case just goes into the chamber. Hope this helps. All the best...
Gil
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  #5  
Old 01-01-2008, 11:12 AM
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Maximum loads for a 150 grain bullet with 3031 is 41.5 grains in most reloading manuals. This is what Hodgdon lists on their site. Look under .303 British (IMR).
http://data.hodgdon.com/cartridge_load.asp

The old standard load for a 180 grain bullet with IMR 4320 was 43.0 grains. Most manuals have reduced this to 41.5 grains but Sierra listed 43.0 grains in their #4 manual. See the attached page.

A neck sizing die does help brass life, which is short in the usual Lee-Enfield oversized chamber. Backing off a couple of hundred feet per second helps too. Here's one old Brit target shooter's trick. The No.4 Mk. I rifles were the worst for oversized chambers, and you'd get a budge on one side of the case near the base, as the case was lying in the bottom of the chamber at firing. Wrap some tape around the base of the case for the first firing to centre the case in the chamber. Mapping tape works best. It's a thin tape used for laying out lines on maps. I use Geotape, 1/16" X 648". One wrap with the ends not overlapping does it. One $5 roll does over 400 cases. It's been a while since I bought it and it might be hard to find now than map making is computerized, but try a good stationary store.

Bye
Jack
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Last edited by Jack Monteith; 01-01-2008 at 11:15 AM.
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  #6  
Old 01-01-2008, 03:35 PM
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There is some info here:
http://www.303british.com/id1.html

BTW, I load bulk 123 grain bullets meant for the 7.62x39 for cheap "just playing around" loads.
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  #7  
Old 01-01-2008, 07:14 PM
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Ditto on the 123 gr. .311 bullet. I load 46.0 of 4064.
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  #8  
Old 06-15-2009, 01:46 AM
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playing arond with target loads for 303 .does any one have pet loads for a 174 fmj
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  #9  
Old 06-15-2009, 03:04 AM
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The .303 Brit is one of my favorite lite-load cast bullet calibers. Many 32 pistol molds drop bullets large enough to use as cast and loafing them down range at .22LR speeds has entertained me for many afternoons.

There is a pretty wide varitiety of barrels out there...anything from .311 to .315", from 2-groove (Usually US Savage made rifles) to 5-groove, smooth to rough as a corn-cob.
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  #10  
Old 06-15-2009, 08:31 AM
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You might save some brass using ther Lee Collect die . I used it with good results.
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  #11  
Old 06-22-2009, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craig_reid View Post
My reloading manuals have almost nothing on reloading the Brit. .303. I have some Sierra 150 grain spitzer and 174 grain HPBT slugs sized at .311.
Can any of you suggest powders and loads for casual target shooting?
Thanks. I was amazed at how accurate this rifle is.
There is more loading data out there than you think. My favorite powder for the 174 to 180gr bullets is Winchester 760. I don't have my notes handy, but the load is straight out of Winchesters load data books. I've had very good results with that powder in my .303s.

Jack mentioned IMR 4320, well two weekends ago I had the chance to try some loaded with the Sierra 180gr soft point and 41grs of 4320. I only had 4 rounds of it, but I hit the 200 yard ram 4 for 4. I'm going to hunt down some components and load up a batch of my own to really try on paper.

ribbonstone mentioned the grove diameters. Said they sometimes run large. Well, my 1943 vintage No4 Mk1* has a bore diameter of .303" and a grove diameter of .317". Yep, it's got the two grove barrel.
It is surprising how well it shoots, but if you'll think about it, you have two big lands, and two little groves. From .303" to .311" is a lot metal to displace on the lands. So they work well.

Lots of data out there in print and on the internet. Caution is advised when using internet data. Double check it ... twice.

Joe
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  #12  
Old 01-09-2013, 10:21 AM
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downloading 303

hi guys ,I am really keen to load my 303 sporterised carbine with a light load .I was thinking a plus minus 70 to 80 grain 32 pistol round .i would like to get 1200 to 1500 fps and be able to group 3in at 100 yds BUT apart from very basic knowledge i am very ill informed.Can anyone tell me powder types ,quantities and any other information needed. I would be most greatful.
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:47 PM
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Welcome to Shooter's Forum, Alastair.

I would not recommend the 32 caliber pistol bullets, but there IS a good way to get reduced recoil loads for your 303 British, using normal weight .311" bullets.

Go to the Hodgdon website ( Cartridge Loads - Hodgdon Reloading Data Center - data.hodgdon.com ) and search for 303 British loads. Now, look at all of the loads using H4895. Pick one with a bullet weight you like...go with 125 grains, if you want the lightest possible recoil. Now, look at the MAX charge of H4895 and multiply by 60%, or .6 on a calculator. That is your lowest safe charge weight, using this powder. Do not reduce past 60% of MAX.

H4895 has some unique properties that allow to achieve safe, consistent pressures, even when loaded to low charge densities. By taking advantage of this fact, and lowering your start charge to 60% of MAX, you get less recoil and velocity out of a given load. Combine this process with light-for-caliber bullets and you get loads you can shoot all day long.

Also, many of those light bullets, when you slow them down with reduced loads, make perfectly fine hunting bullets for game, because they perform quite well at the lower velocity. What more could you ask for?
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Old 01-09-2013, 01:44 PM
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I don't know if you can find a copy of the Lyman Cast Bullet handbook where you are. If so, there may be some light loads with pistol or shotgun powders. Hopefully a combination will turn up that matches the components you can find.

What powders can you get? That will probably be the biggest limitation.
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  #15  
Old 01-11-2013, 08:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ribbonstone View Post
The .303 Brit is one of my favorite lite-load cast bullet calibers. Many 32 pistol molds drop bullets large enough to use as cast and loafing them down range at.22LR speeds has entertained me for many afternoons.

There is a pretty wide varitiety of barrels out there...anything from .311 to .315", from 2-groove (Usually US Savage made rifles) to 5-groove, smooth to rough as a corn-cob.
I like this idea.we have spurwing geese here that are pretty tough ,unless you hit them well with a 22 or 12 ga they fly for miles and die .I have been using large bore rifles all my life so recoil is not a problem .I have a lovely 303 which never gets used and thought that if I could copy the above idea it might lead lead to some entertaining walk and stalk in our rolling wheatlands.Might be good for jackall and rooikat night shooting.Thanks for the replys ,one is never too old to learn. much appreciated.
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  #16  
Old 01-12-2013, 04:30 AM
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I would try a 180 to 200 gr cast bullet and Trailboss powder.

Concerning the case life, setting the dies to headspace on the neck will help. Case forming with a light charge and a cast bullet should work.

For a lighter jacketed bullet, Reloader 7 works. Check the maker for a load.
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  #17  
Old 01-12-2013, 06:27 AM
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Ironhead7544 nailed it: The .303 British headspaces on the Rim, but reloaders need to resize the case shoulder to the individual rifle chamber. I reload for many .303 British arms. In the die box is a list of how much each rifle needs the resizing die backed off to get a slight "crunch" fit when trying a resized case in the rifle.

I have had great results with cast bullets sized .311 and .312 and loaded with IMR4198, 2400 and Unique. The Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook has lots of .303 data.

Webley
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  #18  
Old 01-13-2013, 12:57 PM
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Great info here! I am new to the whole enfield thing and am trying to get some better accuracy. This might be a stupid question, but should both bolt lugs be making contact on closing? the the left lug like a mauser's safety lug? i was considering lapping the lugs and noticed that only one lug makes contact I just wasnt sure if that was supposed to be the case or not. Thanks for your help with this!
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  #19  
Old 03-13-2013, 03:35 PM
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I use .312 pistol bullets and reduced loads for fire forming my brass, using SR 4759 or Trail Boss powder.





I place a small thin rubber o-ring around the case rim to hold the case against the bolt face, when the rubber o-ring is compressed by the bolt it centers the base of the case in the rear of the chamber.



After fire forming you want the case to headspace on the shoulder and not the rim by neck sizing only.



A case forming and file trim die can be used as a shoulder bump die when the neck sized cases start to be snug in the chamber. The fired case in the photo is being held in place with my little finger and the case would fall out if I moved my finger. Meaning the only thing touching inside the die is the shoulder of the case. (shoulder bump)



If you full length resize your cases you will shorten cases life due to case stretching in the web area of the case.



Below is a fired case in a Wilson case gauge, the amount the case is sticking above the gauge is how much "LONGER" the military chamber is vs a commercial SAAMI chamber. If you full length resize this case the shoulder will be pushed back the amount the case is above the gauge and you will over resize the case.



Below is a new unfired Remington case and the factory doesn't know where to put the shoulder of the case. The case in this photo has the shoulder of the case 1/4 inch shorter than it should be actually and is resting on a lip inside the gauge or it would be further into the gauge.



Don't blame the Enfield rifle for short case life, the real problem is commercial cases are not made to British standards.
Alastair Barnes likes this.

Last edited by bigedp51; 03-13-2013 at 03:38 PM.
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  #20  
Old 03-24-2013, 07:41 AM
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Wow, that is an excellent idea, and very clear explaination of the "problem". Thanks!
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