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Discussion Starter #1
I was wondering if any of you Australian guys have ever owned a .303 Improved rifle?
I'm familiar with the .303 Epps, designed by Canadian gunsmith and inventor Ellwood Epps, and I also heard that P.O.Ackley also made .303 A.I..
If anyone in Oz has had one was it made here or imported?
Who chambered it?
Where did you get dies for it?
I've always thought a Martini Enfield would be perfect for it as the action is allegedly almost as strong as a P14.
 

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I've never seen one of the imprioved .303's but there is a web site .303.com that advertizes the EPPS .As well as some interesting wildcats .... The 375/303 for instance! they also have the dies, for the Epps . I would always go for the Pat 14 action for something on the improved or slightly hotter wildcats :)
 

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303 Epps

kombi1976 said:
I was wondering if any of you Australian guys have ever owned a .303 Improved rifle?
I'm familiar with the .303 Epps, designed by Canadian gunsmith and inventor Ellwood Epps, and I also heard that P.O.Ackley also made .303 A.I..
If anyone in Oz has had one was it made here or imported?
Who chambered it?
Where did you get dies for it?
I've always thought a Martini Enfield would be perfect for it as the action is allegedly almost as strong as a P14.
It's nearly 2 years since you posted your question, and I have only joined today. I don't just have a 303 Epps rifle - I have two of them.

A 303 collector and shooter, I imported some barrels from Ellwood Epps gunsmiths in Canada a couple of years ago, and have only recently had them made up into sporters. One is a P-14 (which is fully restorable) and the other a No.4 MkI/3.

The P-14 needed a minor modification to the feed ramp (but still loads standard 303 cleanly) and the No.4 none, except the 'ears' of the mag had to be bent out slightly to accommodate the wider case.

The P-14 will handle much higher loads and I have chronoed it with 180g SP projectiles at marginally less than a 30-06, but way better than a .308.

The No.4 I expect would be the same as a .308 or slightly better, although I only tested it for the first time today. I used 47 grains of AR2208 for the No.4, but had gone up to 51.0 grains with the P-14 before I saw signs of excess pressure .

I am changing to AR2209 shortly as I think it will perform better as it burns slower, but that remains to be seen.

Simplex Australia made the dies - a neck sizer, full-length sizer and seater for about $200, which is well worth it. I don't like the P-14 as much as the No.4 because I am used to the slick Lee Enfield action.

I've seen Epps (303 British Improved) chamber reamers available for hire in the US - I think through the Brownells site.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Mate, I'd love to see some fire-formed brass and the like.
Are the rifles full wood or sporters?
 

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303 Epps

kombi1976 said:
Mate, I'd love to see some fire-formed brass and the like.
Are the rifles full wood or sporters?
As the moderator has pointed out, Steve Redgwell of 303british.com (Canada) has most of the information you need about the 303 Epps, and I have had his very informative booklet for some time.

The powders he has tested are equivalent to our AR2209 which is why I am changing over to it - I just didn't have any at the time so used AR2208 instead.

Cases are fire-formed from a standard 303 round. So far I have not had any problems with Winchester or Highland cases with neck splits etc, but haven't tested any others.

The recoil is higher than a 303, understandably, but very manageable, although that varies from person to person and I have shot about 70 rounds in a day with no ill effects.

I'll send a photo of the case shortly.

My rifles are both wood sporters as they will be used extensively in the field from now on, particularly the No.4
 

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Discussion Starter #8
NFG, 308/358 is actually 358 Winchester, a factory round with plenty of oomph.
If you have a real interest in the sort of wildcats you are mentioning it would be a good move to buy Cartridges Of The World by Frank Barnes.
It lists many wildcats based on 444 Marlin, 284 Win, 45-70 and others.
One that stands out in the 416 class is 416 Barnes, designed by Frank himself shortly before he died, which is basically a 45-70 necked down to 416.
If your Ishapore is now chambered in 308 it may well do better to rechamber to 375/08 which is apparently an excellent round.
In reality it all depends on where you are.
If you're in Oz then you have less options.
If you're in the USA, well, then you have plenty of options.
 

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Didn't someone here in the states offer a 45-70 converted Enfield carbine not long ago? Back of my mind says there was such a commercial enterprise.
 

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I would love one but wouldnt go through the crap involved in getting one from US to here,would have to get one built here.Me and a few fellas are going to get a few 303/35 made.maybe a 45/70 later.
 

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I'm not versed in the Enfield, but by checking catalogs of gunsmith's lathe tools, it is apparent the Enfield uses the same 10 TPI square barrel thread as the '03 springfield. The 55° 10 TPI Whitworth thread used in the Mauser may be on other European guns, but I don't know which ones? I don't know if the British Enfields, in particular, are any different? Both Brownells and Midway sell lath bits pre-cut with the correct inside corner profile for the square threads on these rifles.
 

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unclenick said:
I'm not versed in the Enfield, but by checking catalogs of gunsmith's lathe tools, it is apparent the Enfield uses the same 10 TPI square barrel thread as the '03 springfield. The 55° 10 TPI Whitworth thread used in the Mauser may be on other European guns, but I don't know which ones? I don't know if the British Enfields, in particular, are any different? Both Brownells and Midway sell lath bits pre-cut with the correct inside corner profile for the square threads on these rifles.
I built a 303/35 on a P14 about 2 years ago. Barrel from Sprinter Arms, Adelaide--original P14 barrel drilled out to 35.
Works well. I am in Brisbane.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
How hot are you running the loads, mate?
What sort of bullets?
 

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kombi1976 said:
How hot are you running the loads, mate?
What sort of bullets?
There is basically no shoulder, almost a straight necked case so I use 2206, and I use 2209 in 303.

I did try up to 39gn of 2207 with 250 gn Speer spitzer sp but had excess pressure signs so went a bit slower.
With this 250gn Speer I have some loads to try with 40/2206.

The other bullet is Sierra 200gn round nose and I have some to try with 44/2206. Have just increased the load as i had no excess signs with 42/2206.

Previous loadings all seemed to put the lot into 2 inches at 100.

I dont have a chrono so I dont know what performance I am getting, just that accuracy is there. It is not something I would be using at 3-400 yards.

I did have a converter --P14 to SMLE thread-- which allowed you to screw in a SMLE barrel and it all worked. Wish now that I hadn't sold it.
Adrian Scott
 

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The gunsmiths in Helen st Sefton - Sydney have chamber reamers for the .303 Epps, considered doing mine, wouldnt have cost any more but just opted for a head space job on the new barrel, simplex make dyes and are listed as off the shelf items no need for custom dies
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for the tip, landy.
I'll keep it in mind.
 

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It's nearly 2 years since you posted your question, and I have only joined today. I don't just have a 303 Epps rifle - I have two of them... The P-14 needed a minor modification to the feed ramp (but still loads standard 303 cleanly) and the No.4 none, except the 'ears' of the mag had to be bent out slightly to accommodate the wider case...
Well, it's been nearly a year and a half since you posted that reply and I've just joined. I have a BSA P-14 converted to .303 Epps (by Epps in Ontario) but I neglected to ask them to ensure it fed RN bullets. Would you mind telling me what you had to do to get it to feed?

:) Stuart
 

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Oldbrownhat,

Welcome to the forum. Rules are to join in and be polite. Enjoy yourself.

If you click on a user's name, you'll see his public profile, which includes, in the upper right above the information, the last time he logged in (Last Activity). Unfortunately, we haven't seen Ruggers since a little over a year ago. We'll have to see if e-mail notification brings him back?

You might try making up a dummy round with the problematic bullet and coloring it with permanent marker or layout dye. When you try to feed it, the coloring should mark where it gets into trouble on the feed ramp and let you see where the ramp radius needs to be altered? It is best to get someone who's done it to that specific model before, obviously, to avoid error, but if you wind up left to your own devices, the dummy may help guide your actions. Good luck with it!
 

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Thanks, Nick. It occurred to me AFTER I posted the messsage that I ought perhaps to send him a private message or PM, which I will do.

:) Stuart
 
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