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  #1  
Old 02-16-2011, 02:57 AM
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My 35.303 is Finished, first shot impressions


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I had Alan Murray at Pine Rivers Gunshop put together a 35.303 for me. I could not be happier with the end result. I used a No1 Mk3 SMLE action, TSE No5 profile barrel 1:12 twist, cut to 22", Recknagel Iron sights, Special Interest Arms piccatinny rail and a Ramline Stock. I am using a Tasco 2-7 x 32 Worldclass scope and Arctic Fox quick detach rings. The Piccatinny Rail is grooved to allow me to use the Iron Sights

What do you think - should make a fair brush gun on Pigs and Deer and be capable out to 200 yards if need be. I've played with a ballistics programme and flat trajectory is not this Rifles strong point. I should get 2250 fps easily with the 225 gr projectiles. I will not be hotrodding it and will post velocity's once I've found a good accurate load



I had a Lee RGB .303 Brit resizing die bored out and swapped the tapered expander from a Lee .358 Winchester resizing Die. I necked up the Remington .303 Brit brass using the .358 Win die. I use the seating die from the .358 Winchester die set to seat my projectiles.

I also need to buy a new .358 tapered expander as I wish to use the 358 Winchester die as a neck only sizing die and full length resize only when necessary

I loaded up my test loads in batches of 9 starting at 41 grs up to 44.5 grs of ADI2208 AKA Varget so I can shoot 3 x 3 shot groups , monitor the cases and also to run the barrel in before real fine tuning begins. I have always been one to run in my barrels also, I think it does help, many say it does not.

I had to go to a crowded public Rifle range and only found time to shoot 16 cartridges. Admittedly I was cleaning every shot for the first dozen. The barrel amazed me as it was not fouling, I decided to clean every 2nd shot thereafter. I got one patch that had the tinniest amount of copper fouling while at the range. On Sunday night I ran 4 more copper solvent soaked patches and a bore brush after each patch, and not one bit of copper fouling was evident on the patches.

First string was - CCI200 primers, 225 gr Sierra Gameking's and 41 gr of ADI AR2208 [ AKA Varget ]. It proved a very light load, recoiled about like my 44 mag Lever and as I was adjusting the scope settings I did not record any groups. It was also what I'd call a dirty load, lots of soot

I ran out of time and only got to shoot 7 rounds loaded with 42 grains. It was not as dirty a load, recoil increased slightly but it's still a very light load. Straight up this load shot nice round groups. I can not reliably say as the barrel is still running in and loads being developed but based on some elongated one hole 3 shot groups I think this .358SMLE will shoot better than I can hold it. Certainly in the vicinity of 5 shot 1 MOA

I do have some data that suggests a max load of 47.9 grains of AR2208 with a 225 gr projectile but this is for a No4 Mk1 action and I can not see how this is not a compressed load as 44.5 gr is very close to the neck of the cartridge. I really can't see my SMLE action being happy with much over 45 grains - time will tell though and I have zero interest in hotrodding it.

The cases fireformed with the shoulder slightly moved forward and much sharper than the standard .303 British. It also blew out with a decreased case taper. I will be neck sizing and full length resize only if required.

Here's some measurements showing the difference in fired cases vs unfired and a picture of a fireformed cases and a dummy round

Trim too length of 2.188 remains unchanged in the once fired brass

Unfired case measure .379/.380 case neck dia and .454 immediately in front of the rim and .399 / 400 immediately behind the shoulder

Fired cases measure .384 case neck dia and .449 immediately in front of the rim. I guess this explains why the bolt is quite tight to close. They measure .401 immediately behind the shoulder.

It's hard to be precise but mid case the taper appears to have expanded about .003 over unfired

These measurements are not as pronounced as I expected as by the naked eye the cases appear to have changed more.



I'll have to wait until next weekend to go back to the Range and finish running in the barrel. Hopefully I'll have time to make a few reloads with the fireformed cases and find a good accurate load

This is my first Wildcat cartridge, I have been reloading for my pistol calibre Levers for a fair while. Any tips with forming cases and reloading so I can get extended case life would be appreciated.

regards Jacko
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  #2  
Old 02-16-2011, 04:29 AM
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Cool-looking 'cat, Jacko! Moving the shoulder forward and giving it a sharper angle makes it look like it has less case taper than it does, huh? Any idea what your case capacity is, after fire-forming? I'd be very curious to know because of a little project I've been working on.

One thing I can tell you about case-forming is to only expand the neck back as much as you have to, in order for it to chamber freely and then seat a mid-weight bullet out right to the lands with a middle charge of an appropriate powder. This will fire-form the case with the least amount of stretch in the web area.
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  #3  
Old 02-22-2011, 03:27 AM
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Edit - 35.303 2nd Range report

G/Day Folks

I took my 35.303 to the range to finish running in the barrel and to find a load that shot nice round accurate groups. Last range session I was cleaning after every shot, then after every 2nd and the Barrel was not Copper fouling to any degree. Today the loads where hotter than last week and I was cleaning after every 3 for the first 12 shots then to a 5 shot cycle for the rest of the day. There was some Copper fouling evident but I have owned Rifles that Copper fouled far more. It's obviously a good smooth bore from the start.

I predicted last week the Rifle was looking like it may like 44 grains of ADI AR2208, CCI 200 primers and 225 grain Sierra Gamekings. Spot on, 43.5 and 44 grain groups where the tightest and roundest groups of the day.

I have been surprised how markedly with each load the recoil increased and once I hit 43.5 grains an audible thud and great clods of dirt began flying from the back stop which had bystanders wondering what I was shooting

Immediatly above 44 grains the groups opened up. I did load up as high as 45.5 grains of AR2208, the bolt handle lifted with one finger and ejected cleanly, primers where not showing undue flattening etc -------- but it paterned and 45 grains did not pattern much better.

I have been testing my loads based on supplied ballistics programme data max loads another chap that has a 35.303 has been using and they indicate a max load of 47.9 grains in his No4 Mk1. As my Rifle is a No1 Mk3 SMLE in theory the action is a little more flexible, though it is rated at the same pressure. I am using a Picatinny rail which must stiffen the action a little.

I have also put this down to the 44 grain load giving the best barrel harmonics with the Rifles current bedding. I am intrigued however at the lack of pressure signs with the cartridge, easy bolt lift etc and why accuracy went to pot so quickly. I wonder if I pushed it beyond 45.5 grains would it come back into a round group again?????

Not much use wondering to much I'm also happy I found a nice sweet load that's not stressing the Rifle and I'm not into hotrodding

Here's the targets I shot at 50 yards. I did not bother adjusting the scope as each load printed a different point of impact. Perhaps a minor bedding issue as there was some stringing but that dissapeared once I found the sweetest load from the batch I had done up




Ignore the .22 calibre holes - it did not go well. The new scope on my Browning BL22 is a dud, could not zero it and the impact point shifted from shot to shot - back to the Gunshop for a warrantee exchange. No need to dis any scope manufacturers - they all put out duds from time to time



Please no comments about my obvious poor form and trigger control. The Rifle still has the standard Military trigger. I like the 2 stage trigger but it's heavy enough that I torque the Rifle occasionly trying to squeeze a shot off. Overall it's no worse than either of my Lever Rifles and I've never noticed their triggers in the heat of a hunt. It's a cheaper option to import an aftermarket trigger than to have a Smith hone it and swap springs etc. As a Gunsmith I make a good billiards player and I won't attempt stoning new angles etc myself

Next range session I'll fine tune loads around the 44 grain mark and zero the scope properly. I will also set the Recknagel sights and test how repeatable my quick detatch rings are. The barrel is all but run in now, fired 72 rounds sure it may settle in a little more. The more I shoot my 35.303 the more I like it.

I'm really enjoying working out my first Wildcat cartridge, likely won't be my last. Next range session I'll have a Chronograph and I'll post my numbers.

regards Jacko
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  #4  
Old 02-22-2011, 04:28 AM
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That should make a good rifle. Your probably getting decent velocity and energy. I don't own any .35 rifles, but I like them a lot. Keep us up to date on your next time range session.
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  #5  
Old 02-25-2011, 08:35 PM
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That should be similar to the old 35 Winchester they chambered in the 1895s except you should be able to get better performance.
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  #6  
Old 02-26-2011, 08:53 AM
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A couple of questions

Dear JackoP,
I have a couple of questions for you. First, will you do a H2O capacity test and get back to this forum in a week or so? Secondly, you are in nearly unexplored territory for us, with that two piece composite stock. The Smelly was notorious for flexing, and doing one with a springy two piece Ramline, adds more variables. But one thing jumps out at me. Does your Ramline stock allow you to use the Smelly's open sights? You may not have them, but you must surely know the height of the rear peep, on your receiver. The Ramline I had on one mil. M-98 Mauser, was a pain, in that I couldn't get my nose down far enough to see through the peep sight my gunsmith put on this 8mm x 06. So, I changed my Ramline to another M-98, with a Red Dot mounted onto its old military rear sight base. From your photo, you've got the better optics, by far.
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  #7  
Old 02-26-2011, 10:44 AM
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Thumbs up Whitehorserider -- Like it never seen it!

Very interesting setup. In Canada we see lots of smle's and no 4's but most improved are based on the Ackley like Epps which is like a blowen out 40 degree improved still in .303.
I have an ATI stock and mount which looks like your pic rail that I mounted a Barska illuminated 3/9 scope made for an Sks on, just waiting for 30 below to go away to try it out. ATI is American company Advanced Technology International stocke by Cabelas here in Canada. Barskas are I think Euro but are imported by a California company and also sold at Cabelas. Good luck looking forward to your work out.
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  #8  
Old 02-27-2011, 12:40 PM
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Morning Folks, I weighed a once fired case 2 times before and after filling with water and came up with 55 7/10th's grains of water. I looked up .303 British water capacity and was surprised to see it has 57 grains of water capacity. My trim to length is 2.188" , overall length a little shorter than the .303 British 2.222 due to the case shortening as I expanded the neck. Probably different brands of brass etc. I would have expected increased case capacity with a .358 case neck. Not to worry thats what I've got to work with.

Harking back to the .358 case neck and water capacity its curious as ADI lists .303 British load data for a 215 grain proj, 39.5 grains of AR2208for 2265 fps and I've used loads up to 45.5 grains with a 225 grain projectile with zero pressure issues.

Carpooler, here'a a poor photo that gives a rough view of the iron sights viewed through the grooved Special Interest Arms Picatinny Rail - http://www.specialinterestarms.com/i...ld_accessories . My eye lines up perfectly with the bead centred in the rear sight when I throw the Rifle to my shoulder. I will be making myself a lace on leather raised comb for a better cheek weld when shooting the Rifle with a Scope.



I was surprised that the groove in the Picatinny rail also allows me to sight through it and use the Irons with the Scope Rings attached, somewhat like a Peep sight

The Ramline stock is not my preferred option, I picked it up 2nd hand never fitted for 1/3rd of retail price here in Australia. I plan on putting a nice Walnut stock on it soon as I can afford too. In the mean while I'm quite happy with how my Gunsmith fitted the 2 piece stock and how it's performing despite the potential shortcomings. It does offer the advantage over a wooden stock as being hollow it causes the Rifle to balance and point superbly.

regards Jacko
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  #9  
Old 02-27-2011, 03:18 PM
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  #10  
Old 02-28-2011, 02:03 AM
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I like the stock styling there Optuna, not in love with the laminate colours but thats beside the point. Very cool - who did your stock for you. Please stop teasing , a little info thanks

regards Jacko
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  #11  
Old 02-28-2011, 06:09 AM
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I do.It's my pattern.I have made a dozen or so.This one had to be yellow and black.It's a 17 ackley Bee
so with this stock it's the Killer Bee

Rich
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  #12  
Old 02-28-2011, 11:59 AM
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Now I get the colours Opuntia, I like links like that - excellent.

I had considered making my own stock as I'm handy with tools, make my all own Archery equipment. I like the thumbhole grip as it means you can drill the hole for the stock bolt with bits around the house. The stepdown for the bolthead would be a challenge but nothing a bit of ingenuity would not cover. A homegrown Wildcat and homegrown Wildstock - It's dangerous when someone puts an idea in my head !!

regards Jacko
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  #13  
Old 02-28-2011, 04:42 PM
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I drill it from the back ,a 3/4" hole to just ahead of where the thumb hole ends,just deep enough for the head on a 7/16 bolt.You grind the head round and machine a screwdriver slot in it.Then drill a 5/8" hole 3/4" deep and then a 7/16" hole the rerst of the way to meet the big hole.You do this before the stock is machined so it will sit flat in the jig. Sounds complicated. Just remember holes in wood go where THEY feel like. You should try to do the ventilation slots on the fore end without a machine.

Rich
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  #14  
Old 03-17-2011, 02:17 PM
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Thank you JackoP

Thanx for the feedback on the sight picture. What I did with my Ramline, mil. mauser stock was this. I got a black plastic strap on comb. This tends to move forwards and blocks the Mauser bolt, but I'm not drilling any holes yet. You get two bites of the apple, with two different heights, slide on top pieces. I believe Gary said these were for originally for AR 15's. FWIW, his address is Gary Fatheree, 2216 Ritner Highway, Carlisle, PA. 17015. I don't have the invoice anymore, so you might check on what they cost today. I'm using mine with a 50mm Leatherwood Red Dot, mounted on a rail that is fitted into the orig. mil. sight base. So it's pretty darn tall. If I just had your rail, with a one inch scope, the lower of the two combs would be fine. I was potting at a circle saw (30") hung from a frame at 500m two weeks ago. Once I walked my rifle in, I was hitting close to the central mounting hole in the blade. Pretty good for 64 year old eyes and zero magnification. But that big 50mm Leatherwood is a really nice Red Dot sight. But its kind of hairy shooting over a chrono sky screen. I think it's 2&1/2 inches over the bore, with that Mauser sight base adapter. This is an orig. pre 1935 BRNO, with the 29" bbl., that I re-chambered for my wildcat cartridge. Even the muzzle crown and trigger, is original. My 200gr. Speer Hot Cores, are showing a B.C. of .411, and they were hitting the steel saw blade with a barely noticeable lag. I've changed over from the Powley recommended IMR 4831, to H.4831SC, but I still have a ways to go in working up to my final top load levels. I don't think action flex will impact me the way your Enfield did you, but I still may have to trim back my barrel for harmonic balancing. But I think it's pretty neat that both you and I are working from different ends towards a real sweet spot, in finding long range tack drivers, in reconditioned, but totally obsolete, Great War era, battle rifles.
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Old 03-25-2011, 09:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackoP View Post
I had Alan Murray at Pine Rivers Gunshop put together a 35.303 for me. I could not be happier with the end result. I used a No1 Mk3 SMLE action, TSE No5 profile barrel 1:12 twist, cut to 22", Recknagel Iron sights, Special Interest Arms piccatinny rail and a Ramline Stock. I am using a Tasco 2-7 x 32 Worldclass scope and Arctic Fox quick detach rings. The Piccatinny Rail is grooved to allow me to use the Iron Sights

What do you think - should make a fair brush gun on Pigs and Deer and be capable out to 200 yards if need be. I've played with a ballistics programme and flat trajectory is not this Rifles strong point. I should get 2250 fps easily with the 225 gr projectiles. I will not be hotrodding it and will post velocity's once I've found a good accurate load



I had a Lee RGB .303 Brit resizing die bored out and swapped the tapered expander from a Lee .358 Winchester resizing Die. I necked up the Remington .303 Brit brass using the .358 Win die. I use the seating die from the .358 Winchester die set to seat my projectiles.

I also need to buy a new .358 tapered expander as I wish to use the 358 Winchester die as a neck only sizing die and full length resize only when necessary

I loaded up my test loads in batches of 9 starting at 41 grs up to 44.5 grs of ADI2208 AKA Varget so I can shoot 3 x 3 shot groups , monitor the cases and also to run the barrel in before real fine tuning begins. I have always been one to run in my barrels also, I think it does help, many say it does not.

I had to go to a crowded public Rifle range and only found time to shoot 16 cartridges. Admittedly I was cleaning every shot for the first dozen. The barrel amazed me as it was not fouling, I decided to clean every 2nd shot thereafter. I got one patch that had the tinniest amount of copper fouling while at the range. On Sunday night I ran 4 more copper solvent soaked patches and a bore brush after each patch, and not one bit of copper fouling was evident on the patches.

First string was - CCI200 primers, 225 gr Sierra Gameking's and 41 gr of ADI AR2208 [ AKA Varget ]. It proved a very light load, recoiled about like my 44 mag Lever and as I was adjusting the scope settings I did not record any groups. It was also what I'd call a dirty load, lots of soot

I ran out of time and only got to shoot 7 rounds loaded with 42 grains. It was not as dirty a load, recoil increased slightly but it's still a very light load. Straight up this load shot nice round groups. I can not reliably say as the barrel is still running in and loads being developed but based on some elongated one hole 3 shot groups I think this .358SMLE will shoot better than I can hold it. Certainly in the vicinity of 5 shot 1 MOA

I do have some data that suggests a max load of 47.9 grains of AR2208 with a 225 gr projectile but this is for a No4 Mk1 action and I can not see how this is not a compressed load as 44.5 gr is very close to the neck of the cartridge. I really can't see my SMLE action being happy with much over 45 grains - time will tell though and I have zero interest in hotrodding it.

The cases fireformed with the shoulder slightly moved forward and much sharper than the standard .303 British. It also blew out with a decreased case taper. I will be neck sizing and full length resize only if required.

Here's some measurements showing the difference in fired cases vs unfired and a picture of a fireformed cases and a dummy round

Trim too length of 2.188 remains unchanged in the once fired brass

Unfired case measure .379/.380 case neck dia and .454 immediately in front of the rim and .399 / 400 immediately behind the shoulder

Fired cases measure .384 case neck dia and .449 immediately in front of the rim. I guess this explains why the bolt is quite tight to close. They measure .401 immediately behind the shoulder.

It's hard to be precise but mid case the taper appears to have expanded about .003 over unfired

These measurements are not as pronounced as I expected as by the naked eye the cases appear to have changed more.



I'll have to wait until next weekend to go back to the Range and finish running in the barrel. Hopefully I'll have time to make a few reloads with the fireformed cases and find a good accurate load

This is my first Wildcat cartridge, I have been reloading for my pistol calibre Levers for a fair while. Any tips with forming cases and reloading so I can get extended case life would be appreciated.

regards Jacko

Is there any advantage over the Whelen with this round?
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Old 04-05-2011, 03:03 AM
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Originally Posted by snake284 View Post
Is there any advantage over the Whelen with this round?
Interesting question Snake, you've obviously put a lot of thought into it. The answer is that the Whelen has the advantage in terms of velocity and energy. But has the disadvantage of being totally unsuitable for this rifle.
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  #17  
Old 04-05-2011, 03:08 AM
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Looking good Jacko. It'll be a good gun for anything over here and the 10 round mag will hold up well when you are onto a mob of pigs.

Snow.
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Old 12-03-2012, 02:26 PM
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Well, here I am dredging up an old thread but have to say you made a nice rifle. I have the same but it's unaltered... well mostly. I found it in a friends gun store several years ago and paid $65 US for it with a broken firing pin. It's also missing some of the wood and barrel bands and the serial numbers don't match. HOWEVER, the bore was still packed with cosmoline and it shoots great, just ugly as heck. Your story has inspired my juices for a change up for my old beater. Thank you.
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Old 12-20-2012, 11:45 AM
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Your story has inspired my juices for a change up for my old beater. Thank you.
Just do it!!
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Old 02-15-2013, 04:39 PM
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Just do it!!
If I had Nike's budget, I would. Money, money, money need some money!
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