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  #1  
Old 02-22-2009, 06:50 PM
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Wanting to build a .303 wildcat, need some help...


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Hello!

I have it in my head that I want a .303 based wildcat after running across a Martini-Henry or Martini-Enfield last year chambered in 6.5-303.

I am aware of the .22-303, 6mm-303, 6.5mm-303 and 7mm-303. I'm most interested in the .22, 6.5 and 7mm versions. I know the Aussies and Canadians developed these pre and post-WWII but there's a bunch of variations. Some are full length, some are shortened, etc.

I've settled on the P14 action but from there I'm stuck.

From what I've seen online, the .22 would do best with a 1/10 twist, what about the 6.5 and 7mm versions?

Do the shortened versions have feed issues in the stock P14 action? If so, what needs to be done (besides using it as a single shot)?

Barrels and reamers seem to be non-existant according to my friend Mr Google. I haven't bothered looking for dies yet since I have no idea what to look for without chamber info. Any ideas or how to explain what I'm looking for to a gunsmith or reamer/die maker?

I've shot for years and am about to start reloading "regular" calibers but this is a project I've had in the back of my mind for a while and I figure by the time everything is ready I won't be so wet behind the ears when it comes to reloading.

I just need to know where to go from here...

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 02-25-2009, 11:28 AM
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O.k.

#1). First pull your loading manuals and compare the .303 case diagram to the .30/40 Krag case diagram. Not alot of difference except the Krag got replaced quick, .30/03 and .30/06... The .303 Brit hung on for decades. I believe there are still militia, police, etc. carrying the old SMLE somewhere in the Empire,.
#2). I have little to no idea what has been done "down under" in Aussie land and NZ.
#3). At .303british.com Mr. Steve resides and loves to spout about the .303 and the .303 Improved as done by Mr. Epps. Mr. Epps of Canada consulted with Mr. Ackley of USA who had worked much with .30/40 Krag case Improveds in other calibers for the single shot guns. Mr. Steve even gives a link to the Epps gun store which is, I believe, in the hands of offspring. Mr. E and Mr. A, gone. I inquiired about doing a .25/303 couple years back and they said "can do." Regualr or Improved. I believe I was told the .22 Epps reamer was pretty tired. Others available.

So, you could look for Krag Imps in US and make cases from .303, or order your own .303 reamers, or ship a barrel off to unknown Aussies, or make contact with the brothers to the north...

Mr. E's "biggie" was the p14 rechambered to take a blown out/improved H&H case but for the .303 bullets widely available. .303 Canadian Magnum. Not unlike the work of Mr. Weatherby. 6mm has the most "match grade" bullets available, probably. 6.5 is well regarded as "all around" except for biggest game. Mr. A remarked in his books, available from eabco.com, Sinclair, ebay sometimes, that the .25 full length Krag improved had the same capacity as the .257 roberts Improved... Either Bob, regular of Improved has survived a long time. Mr. Brown of eabco.com offers the .30/40 Improved in Encore barrels. Might talk with him.

Keep us posted as your ruminations develope, please. Luck
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  #3  
Old 02-25-2009, 02:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by awp101 View Post
Hello!.....
I've settled on the P14 action but from there I'm stuck.
.....
awp,

If it were me, I wouldn't "waste" a P14 action on a 303 Brit wildcat. Not saying it wouldn't make a good rifle - Just would use it for something along the lines of a 416 instead. A No.4 MK1/2 would work OK for your project and probably would save you some $$.

Anyway good luck and let us see some pics.
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  #4  
Old 02-26-2009, 11:24 AM
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I have a P-14 action I was going to build a .375 H&H on.Lately I have been thinking about a 303 or 30-40 wildcat myself.This deal is going to cost more than just buying a good .375 already made so was thinking about building something "different".I have also though about building a .275 H&H or 244 H&H.I would really be better off just buying a complete .375.Keep looking there are reamer available for some of these wildcats.
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  #5  
Old 02-26-2009, 06:08 PM
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I have a .25-303 Epps Improved on a single shot action, not a P14, but I am familiar with that action. Like every other question, you have to decide what you are trying to do. If you are thinking about a .22, then I would suggest that the P14 is probably a bit too big. However your twist would be based on what kind of bullets you intend to shoot. The 10 inch twist would be adequate for most varmint type bullets.
The other calibres depend on what you want. If you do an internet search you should be able to find out the standard twist for the 6.5 or 7 mm. If you are not sure, go with the standard.

I don't know what you mean about shortened versions, all the ones that I have seen are based on the full length .303 bRITISH cases. Some feed lip work might be necessary when you go from the tapered case of the .303 to the straight improved. You probably want it to feed from the magazine due to the nature of the extractor.
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  #6  
Old 04-09-2009, 05:45 PM
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The Krag case would work just fine in the P14 action. I have a reamer for the 6mm/30-40 Ackley improved. It is very improved, with a shoulder diameter of .447" and a neck/shoulder junction moved to 1.936 forward of the base. I think it's a Pacific reamer. Capacity of the case should be nearly the same as the .240 Weatherby or the .243 WSSM. I picked up a used Obermeyer barrel off gunbroker for $10. Once recehambered, there's a lot of wear left in it. This will be my P14 project, there's a lot of demilled P14s on the market right now at very reasonable prices, so I should get this together soon.
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  #7  
Old 04-09-2009, 10:35 PM
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The most popular of the .303 conversions that I have come across dowh here in OZ is the 303/25 and they have mostly been made up on the SMLE No1 Mk3 and Mk3* actions. I have come across one 303/22 conversion but the owner had never shot it because he had no ammo or reloading dies to make ammo.
"Simplex" made dies for most of the .303 conversions and from memory, they still have some available. Bertram Bullet Co might be able to help with ready-formed brass.
Dennis.
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  #8  
Old 04-10-2009, 07:07 AM
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I think iiranger pretty much summed up any suggestion I might have accept I'd look up the EABCO
website and see if they don't already offer what you're looking for. Their nice little single-shot rifles are very accurate and really not too expensive. HD1
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  #9  
Old 04-12-2009, 10:42 AM
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I have a P-14 action set aside for a project one day.

For wildcats or mildcats based on the 303 case and with your preference for the 6.5mm I would look at the 256 or 6.5 X 53R Mannlicher. You could make your cases from the 303 parent case and there is some loading data but plenty of room to experiment with modern powders. The 256 will feed from the SMLE magazine without modification if you choose to go with that action.

An interesting .25 caliber cartridge based on the 303 is the .25-303 Elliott. The Elliott cartridge was designed specifically for the SMLE action and has good case taper and a 20 degree shoulder so the cartridge will feed through the SMLE action without modification. The Elliott cartridge would push a 100-grain bullet above 2,900 fps from a 24” barrel at an estimated 46,800 CUP.

If you look at Ken Waters Pet Loads article on the 256 Mannlicher you will see the SMLE can be made up into a fine looking sporting rifle with slim stock and clean lines. A look at the SMLE sporting rifles in Grenner’s book also has illustrations of fine looking sporting rifles based on the SMLE action.
<O</O
If you are looking for a wildcat based on the 30-40 case for the P-14 action you should look carefully at the full length 25 Krag.
<O</O
If you want something a little different for your P-14 look at the 30-348 Smith-Wilson. This wildcat can be the standard taper or of improved shape and offers 30-06 or 30-06AI performance in the rimmed case. The Wilson</ST1 is L. E. Wilson from the loading tools.
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Wanting to build a .303 wildcat, need some help...-25-303-elliott-429x500.jpg   Wanting to build a .303 wildcat, need some help...-25-303-elliott-rough-320x500.jpg  
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Last edited by William Iorg; 04-12-2009 at 10:48 AM.
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  #10  
Old 04-12-2009, 02:03 PM
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Go to www.303british.com. He has a very good book with a ton of info done on the 303's, both here (Canada) and Australia. The book is not expensive and if you like 303's is a gem. Just so happens I was at Ellwood Epps' on Friday, if you're ever up here it's a great store. I'm calling them next week to ask about a rechamber job on a friends rifle.
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  #11  
Old 04-12-2009, 07:41 PM
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If you get away from the 303 and 30-40 case head size, a world of rimmed wildcats opens up. Cases like the 307 Winchester, 7x57R, and longer European rimmed cases can make almost every wildcat made on the standard 30-06---308---x57 available in a rimmed version. Standard dies and reamers you can rent will save a fortune if you settle on a rimmed version of common cases. Running a reamer in short, then shortening dies makes more wildcats easily, at no real increase in cost.

Bruce
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  #12  
Old 04-13-2009, 01:56 PM
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OK, I found THE book you're looking for, The Accurate Lee Enfield by Stephen Redgwell, Gun Plumber Press. You can order the book from him at 705-424-3433 or, I bought mine from Ellwood Epps and there number is 705-689-5333 (Ontario, Canada). The book is the size of a thick magazine and is just over 100 pages. I can't remember the price but it is worth every penny, I use it for reference several times a year. I have to bring mine to work tomorrow as one on my hunting friends is considering a rechamber job.
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  #13  
Old 05-27-2010, 06:59 PM
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There are other variants of the 303 that are much cheaper to make and get going.

For instance there is the 306 Confederate Sabre which is a 303 case sporting a 30.06 shoulder, neck, throat.

Dies are easily made by taking a standard set of 30.06 dies and cutting off .170" from the bottoms.

Then there is the 7MM Confederate Sabre which is 303 Brit case with 7MM Mauser shoulder, neck and throat.

Finally there is the 6.5MM Confederate Sabre which is 303 case with 6.5X55 shoulder and neck.

Both the 6.5 and 7MM are loaded with standard unaltered 7MM Mauser and 6.5X55 dies.

Dave Manson of Manson Precision Reamers made them for me. The case just forward of the rim is like .454 in order to give long case life.

You fireform cases by sizing them a little at a time until the 303 shoulder rolls back just a little. You want it to close with resistance to keep the round tight against the bolt face while fireforming cases.

Below is a picture of the 306 Sabre next to the 303 Brit for comparison. Case now headspaces on shoulder. Good conversion for P14. Case life is greatly improved over 303 and best part dies are cheap as compared to the wild cats.

http://s617.photobucket.com/albums/t...9.jpg&newest=1
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  #14  
Old 05-30-2010, 11:43 AM
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The .444 case is a Catters dream with the chamberings available.

One thing you mention for your .22 project was a 1-10 twist that would set you in a very strict area of maybe, in .224 wgt bullets. Do some more research and figure what you are going to shoot target wise, and distance.

1-14 twist with 52gn and under bullet wgt.

If it is varmits out to say 400 a slow twist 1-12 with 55 to 60gn bullets.

Want to go beyond 400 a 1-8 or 1-9 with 80gn bullets is an option.
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  #15  
Old 06-07-2010, 08:41 PM
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quote:
"For instance there is the 306 Confederate Sabre which is a 303 case sporting a 30.06 shoulder, neck, throat.
Dies are easily made by taking a standard set of 30.06 dies and cutting off .170" from the bottoms."

If that's the case (excuse the pun) then .25-06, .270 and .35 Whelen dies should work the same way, right?

Last edited by crossfire; 06-07-2010 at 08:45 PM.
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  #16  
Old 06-08-2010, 03:22 AM
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Don't see why not. The name of the exercise to me was to develop a wildcat that was affordable to work up brass to reload for and this did it without getting a bailout from gov't.
The trick is to make the base dimension .454 so that you eliminate the massive case swell so prevalent in 303 cases. This alone will increase 303 case life many loadings.
This will allow all commercial cases (I have seen) and the Greek 303 cases to be used but may restrict you to these as the Brit 303 bases have been found to be bigger. Kind of like 308 Win comm cases and LC 7.62.
The comm brass measures .465 on base and LC measures 468.
It kind of depends on how much Brit 303 brass you have and what will be available in future. Obviously there won't be any more Brit 303 cases made but tons of commercial.
With the calibers you have listed you could probably find some used reamers and have the base reduced to .454" for about 35.00 and you too can have a Confederate Sabre! ! ! haha.
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  #17  
Old 06-08-2010, 04:28 AM
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Wanting To Build a .303 Wildcat

In Australia there were a great variety of standard 303 case dimension cartridges.22,243,25.270,35,375 (the short version of the 375 2 1/2"Holland & Holland) and the 405Win. And most likely every caliber in between. P14 is a good action choice as the Mkiii Lee Enfield can be hard on full load cases.The case capacity for cast gas check loads resulted in good accuracy with 35 and above.
Then there is the option of improved case configuration.
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  #18  
Old 06-08-2010, 04:32 AM
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I have a 7MM Confederate Sabre on a No 4, others are P14.
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  #19  
Old 10-03-2010, 02:06 AM
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I could've saved a bunch of work if I'd found this thread a couple of months ago...

I'm doing a 1905 Ross build. It was originally chambered in .303, but since the barrel was hosed I looked around and decided the 6.5x53R looked like a good choice for what I wanted to do. Then I found that 53R reamers and dies are unobtainium, so I looked at the 6.5 Krag. Someone suggested the 6.5 Mannlicher, and after looking at it, it looked really nice. So I decided to go with the Mannlicher.

It turned out I was looking at the 6.5 Steyr-Mannlicher, which was the older rimmed cartridge. There's also the 6.5 Mannlicher-Shoenauer, which is rimless, but otherwise very similar.

Rimmed Mannlicher brass is very expensive, and the rim is thinner than usual, meaning .303 or Krag cases would require machining. Also, dies were ridiculously expensive, and I couldn't even find anyone renting a chambering reamer. The 6.5 rimless is the common version, dies and reamers are cheap.

Over on Ross-rifles.com one of the members suggested using the rimless reamer, shortening the rimless die, and using .303 brass. Well, okay, no problem there. It was just tonight that I realized we'd basically created a 6.5/303 instead of a weird Mannlicher variant, and went searching for "6.5/303".

So, what I'm doing is basically the same as the Confederate line; just shorten the die and use the reamer for something else, then swage or fireform a .303 case to fit.

Nothing like reinventing the wheel once again!

Last edited by TRX; 10-03-2010 at 02:10 AM.
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  #20  
Old 11-24-2010, 02:11 AM
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the 25/303 was always a popular wildcat in New Zealand from the days when only 303 was availible to shoot.

I would think a 6.5 or 6.8/303 would be quite a shooter. Probably similar performance to the 6.5x55 Swedish?
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