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Normal Topic Loading the .303. (Read 2470 times)
grandpamac
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Loading the .303.
Oct 21st, 2019 at 5:40pm
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Last year a .303 rifle appeared at my house. The rifle had previously belonged to a friend of mine who unfortunately no longer shares the planet with us. I decided that it would only be polite to cook up some nice soft loads and take it for a walk in the bush again. Although the barrel shot quite well it was badly pitted and an absolute dog to clean and as a much better barrel was on hand it was screwed in. I quite like the 174 grain Hornady round nose projectile as it shoots quite well in my other .303 and round nose projectiles seem quite tolerant of long throats in my experience at least. A small batch of salvaged projectiles were loaded. These showed a significant velocity variation and some vertical stringing. Not knowing if it was the salvaged projectiles or what causing the variation a small sample of new late manufacture and early manufacture salvaged projectiles were loaded for test. After the barrel was given a good clean the loads were shot at 60 m on a calm and overcast day.

Norma cases 32 grains AR2206H 174 grain Hornady round nose new manufacture. 2,090 fps last two shots touching. First shot was high, forgot I had had the for end of to fit a swivel base. This is the load I will use for the moment

As above but salvaged old manufacture 174 grain round nose. 1,920 fps two shots overlapping.  Shot 50 mm low and 20 mm left of the above load.

The loads were assembled in the same session with identical components other than the projectiles. The late manufacture projectiles had a much blunter nose profile which would have placed the ogive closer to the rifling. 34 grains of AR2206H was also tried with 150 grain projectiles which gave decent accuracy and 2,060 fps. More on this later.

Regards.
  
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Micky Duck
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Re: Loading the .303.
Reply #1 - Oct 21st, 2019 at 7:14pm
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sounds like you are onto it....IF you can find speer flatbase projectiles in calibre you could be onto something as they are nice and soft so swag out to bore well. shootersnz makes some really great cast projectiles too that could well be worth the effort to try.....they dont cost a bomb and from all Ive seen preform really well.
  
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grandpamac
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Re: Loading the .303.
Reply #2 - Oct 22nd, 2019 at 10:11am
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Thanks Micky Duck,
I have some salvaged 180 grain round nose projectiles that I believe are Speer which I will try just because I can. One of the advantages of having a standard load, even a temporary one, is that the rifle is still zeroed and usable as you try new things. The barrel on my rifle is a two groove and, still shiny and free of any significant blemishes so should shoot gas check cast pills well. The .303 two groove barrels have narrow but quite deep grooves so matching projectiles to groove diameter is neither necessary or desirable. The bullet material displaced by the wide lands has to go somewhere. With this in mind I also tried 150 grain Spire point Hornady projectiles with 34 grains of AR2206H. These showed wide velocity variation and vertical stringing on the target. I will try increasing the load a grain or two to see if that tightens things up. I'l also see what shootersnz has to offer.
Regards Grandpamac.
  
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Re: Loading the .303.
Reply #3 - Oct 31st, 2019 at 3:06pm
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I'd be keen to hear back on your results, I'm always up for so .303 info.
  
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Re: Loading the .303.
Reply #4 - Nov 1st, 2019 at 8:18am
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I am down to a 19" barrel 303 with a good stock, ex TJ, fitted to a more or less good barrel/action, ex a mate of mine. And a combination of the lesser bits as a 12" bush/pig gun.
The 19" job gets loaded with 40 grains of 2206h pushing a 160 grain 30/30 bullet at about 2300 fps, sort of in-between a 303 and a 30/30.
From what I have read the expectations of a new 303 (wartime production) was a group of about 3" wide and 4" deep, at 100 yards, and that is about my gun will do.
Incidentally, the 12" rifle will do 1900 fps and a group of 3" wide and 4" deep at 25 yards
  
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Re: Loading the .303.
Reply #5 - Nov 1st, 2019 at 12:18pm
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Greetings shananah and noelfj,
Thanks for the replies. Its good to see that there are still people keeping the old war horses going bang and even, perhaps, hunting with them.
A bit more information on the rifles may be of interest. Both are Lee Enfield No 4 Mark 1 rifles and have the standard 25 inch barrels. The English made rifle has a 5 groove barrel and is fitted with a Parker Hale 5c sight. Current load is 40 grains of slower AR 2209 (manufactured about 2000, current lots are faster) with 174 grain Hornady RN projectiles. This load is below the starting load in the Hodgdon / ADI data but have given no trouble in a reasonably decent barrel. These chronograph about 1,930 fps and are accurate.The fore end steel to the rifle has been removed and the fore end wood cut down but otherwise id original.
The Canadian made rifle has a two groove barrel and is fitted with a scope, currently an old 2.5 power Lyman. The rifle has undergone quite a few mods. Fortunately the scope base is not the awful Parker Hale base intended for the no 4 but one intended for the No 1 with the receiver bridge modified to fit. These older bases are narrower than current (less old) and later PH rings are too loose to use. Fortunately the parts box produced a set that do fit. Unlike some scoped no 4 rifles this one seems to hold its zero well unless you fiddle with the fore end as I found out recently. The barrel to this rifle is bright and shiny, probably not fired much.
More experimentation follows and I will report in once I have finished painting the timber work on the house.
Regards Grandpamac.
  
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Re: Loading the .303.
Reply #6 - Dec 8th, 2019 at 4:30pm
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Greetings All,
At the range the other day a young chap turned up with a sporterised P 14 .303, probably a BSA Model B. The barrel was a little better than you would expect for a 100 year old rifle, not shiny you understand but serviceable. The stock was rather nice. J, lets call him was shooting some of the Greek surplus ammunition and not troubling the centre of the target that much. There were some misfires and one projectile went through the target sideways so likely the ammunition was the problem. Many of us were impressed that any one well below the age of 40 would even look at any rifle over 100 years old let alone plunk down his hard earned cash to purchase one so I offered a .303 loading lesson or two to keep the interest alive.

J's Greek cases were quite uniform in weight and boxer primed secured with a stab crimp. They chambered easily so we decided to just neck size. Using his powder and primers together with some 180 grain RN projectiles from my odds and ends collection we put together some loads with 36 grains of AR 2208. Cases were neck sized in a Lee Loader and the primer pockets reamed with a Lyman tool. This morning we sighted the rifle in on my 60 metre rang, J shooting and me spotting. After bore sighting and a few adjustments the last 2 shots went into about 20 mm. I was pleased and J amazed. Later we processed the balance of the fired cases, neck sizing, primer pocket reaming, trimming to length and priming.

The purpose of this post is to remind those of us who such of our hair that remains has turned grey that we have learnt quite a bit over the years. It is our responsibility the pass that knowledge on where we can. Perhaps J may take his .303 hunting. How good would that be?
  
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Re: Loading the .303.
Reply #7 - Dec 8th, 2019 at 5:14pm
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Good stuff, knowledge is a great thing great to learn and great to teach. Good work young j will enjoy his rifle much more with it shooting well.
  
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Re: Loading the .303.
Reply #8 - Dec 10th, 2019 at 8:33am
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So, now that the government has deemed me a baddie, taken my lovely guns and chopped them up, I find my interest in firearms, hunting, fishing, preparing the game, cooking, and making whoopee has not waned.
In particular my 19" 303.
This particular rifle did have a heavy "made in China" scope on it.
The scope came with a 3/8" rail size single-piece mount, which did not, to start with, fit the scope, (a lot of mucking around with a file). The rifle needed 3/8" mounts fitted, screwed and soldered on, which I did.
The 19" job was retired some years ago.

Since this thread started I have brought the 19" job out of retirement. I have modified the mounting arrangement for an Aimpoint red dot sight and fitted it

All good, except, it is no good, one, the line of sight is a bit higher so my head position is uncomfortable, two, holding the rifle in my right hand, in the trail position, is uncomfortable, more so than a scope and, three, with my old eyes, especially my right eye, the red dot appears as a circle with a hole in the middle, the circle is about 8" in dia. at 100 yds.

So I took it off.

The scope from my Mini Ruger 223 is a 3 to 9 by 40 with parallax setting on the front, a very good "made in China", it was bent in the middle and had to be straightened, (it's good that I still have things, like a dial indicator gauge to do stuff like this), is now fitted to the 303 using the solid mount as before.

Then  I fitted a rubber vibration damper, this came off the Mini, and was, on the Mini, the most important feature for improving accuracy.

Now I will review the ammo situation.



















  
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