Anyone reload 303 British?

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Peacemaker

Bearcat
Joined
Apr 4, 2005
Messages
59
Location
New York Adirondacks
I've been loading for my various pistols for a few years now but just getting into the rifle stuff. I went to a local gun shop the other day to buy some .454 ammo and I saw some Hornady .303 caliber bullets for sale at a decent price. I don't have any dies yet but I'll get some real quick. My question is, the bullets are labeled .312 diameter, and most charts I see call for .311. They are semi-jacketed soft nose 150 grain. Maybe a Hornady specific loading manual will call for .312, but I don't have one yet. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Also, what type powder would you suggest. Thanks in advance.
Peacemaker
 

Bayouhunter

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 23, 2010
Messages
388
Location
South Alabama
Just looking at a list of loads for the 303 British
For a more in depth look go to Hogdons load data center . I use their data. But go to their site this is a quick copy on an IPhone that's I don't always trust. When I'm able to go to their Data center on my computer I will print out their data and add to my records along with the manuals I own.

150 GR. HDY SP IMR IMR 4064 .311" 2.995" 44.7 2699 46,400 PSI
150 GR. HDY SP Hodgdon BL-C(2) .312" 2.995" 43.0 2502 34,000 CUP 48.0 2756 39,200 CUP
150 GR. HDY SP IMR IMR 4895 .311" 2.995" 44.2 2689 46,600 PSI
150 GR. HDY SP Hodgdon H335 .312" 2.995" 37.0 2430 34,700 CUP 42.0 2706 43,100 CUP
150 GR. HDY SP Hodgdon H4895 .312" 2.995" 36.0 2447 40,300 CUP 40.0 2627 43,600 CUP
150 GR. HDY SP IMR IMR 8208 XBR .308" 2.995" 34.0 2392 37,700 CUP 36.7 2515 41,300 CUP
150 GR. HDY SP IMR IMR 3031 .311" 2.995" 41.0 2632 46,100 PSI
 

Enigma

Hunter
Joined
Apr 17, 2002
Messages
2,537
Location
Houston metro area, TX
Often times a .312" diameter bullet will really shine in an Enfield (or Mosin, Arisaka, Argie Mauser, etc.), while a .311" diameter bullet will only shoot mediocre groups. I have a No.4 Mk2 Lee Enfield that shows a definite preference for the .312" Hornady bullets over everything else. It's groove diameter is a bit on the generous side, which is probably the reason why.
 

Rick Courtright

Hawkeye
Joined
Mar 10, 2002
Messages
7,897
Location
Redlands CA USA
Hi,

While one will occasionally find an Enfield w/ an "undersized" bore that can handle .308-.309" bullets, the norm is they run "loose." So jacketed bullets of .311-.312" and lead bullets of .312-.314" are commonly suggested. Slugging the barrel should point you in the right direction.

I've used several powders in my .303s, generally settling on two, Alliant's Unique and Reloder 15. The Unique is used to make "pop gun" or gallery type cast bullet loads (100 yds is a stretch for the ones I load) while faster cast bullet loads (based on Lee's "Modern Reloading" book formula) and jacketed bullet loads from 123-180 gr all work nicely in my rifle w/ Rel15.

One thing you definitely want if you're shooting your .303s thru an Enfield is a neck sizer. Lee's Collet die shines in this department. The Enfield chambers are "generous" to be polite, and cause a lot of case stretching, especially if your rifle's gotten a bit loose on the headspace. Result is short case life, including head separations. Not good.

My Enfield could kill a case in two loadings before I got its head space squared away. After that, w/ full length resizing, case life went up to three or four loadings. Since I started using the collet die, case life has gone to six or seven and counting... just remember, neck sized cases are "rifle specific" so if you're loading for more than one rifle in the caliber, you'll want to segregate the cases.

Rick C
 

Mohillbilly

Bearcat
Joined
Nov 19, 2006
Messages
48
There is a british 303 and a surplus rifle sites that encourage putting O rings on new brass to hold the rim back on first firing to blow the neck out , instead of stretching the head . ( fire forming ) then segregate them for one rifle and neck size thereafter .
 

wild_weasel

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jan 16, 2008
Messages
103
Location
Under The Guns
I have both No1Mk4 and No3Mk1 rifles. The chambers are so different that I have to keep separate boxes of neck sized cases for each rifle as others have stated. Using a 303 British Redding neck sizing die allows me to get 4 or 5 reloading per case. I normally use 174gr .312 or 180gr .311 bullets at around 2400 fps with IMR 3031 but have switched to VARGET which gives the same velocity at lower pressure. With the battle site folded down these loads shoot to POA into 3" at 100yards.

Recently I bought a Lee mold to cast my own 303 bullets for plinking at the local range. Looking through my old Lyman manual there are several nice looking loads using Unique and 2400, Trail Boss looks promising too for cast bullet loads.
 

Rick Courtright

Hawkeye
Joined
Mar 10, 2002
Messages
7,897
Location
Redlands CA USA
wild_weasel said:
Recently I bought a Lee mold to cast my own 303 bullets for plinking at the local range. Looking through my old Lyman manual there are several nice looking loads using Unique and 2400, Trail Boss looks promising too for cast bullet loads.

Hi,

I use a Lee mold, 185 gr RN, sized to .311" for my "pop gun" loads w/ Unique. Though I gas check mine, you may want to try both checked and unchecked. If you experience excessive leading w/ unchecked bullets (I did), Ed Harris wrote about the problem years ago and suggested seating the bullet out further so the base is even w/ the bottom of the neck (top lube groove on the bullet I'm using.) Harris designed Lee's two 155-160 gr bullets for the 7.62 x 39, which are .312s. He reported the 160 gr tumble lube model, unchecked, works quite well in the .303 seated "long."

Seating "long" has helped in my No. 4, Mk II, as has a light crimp w/ the Lee FCD. Water cooled WW is my usual "alloy" but lead WWs are getting harder to find around here, so I've started using a commercial "hardball" alloy which does nicely w/ "faster" cast loads, to at least the 1750-1800 fps range.

Rick C
 

96/44

Blackhawk
Joined
Mar 23, 2009
Messages
551
Location
Minnesota
The Hornady flat base .312 150gr bullets are the only 150's that shoot well in either of my Enfields. H4895 works well, as does Varget. I just used the starting load in the Hornady manual, and had no need to increase it. I use the same bullet in the 7.62x54r and 7.7 jap with good results.
 

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