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303 british

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Stevenav, Dec 19, 2013.

  1. Stevenav

    Stevenav Redmond Active Member

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    Gonna try my hand at reloading British 303. Anyone got any advice on this particular round?

    My brother is giving me his enfield and a mauser 8mm only he claims that the enfield has been known to send bullets tumbling... only I know my brother and his idea of reloading is a little... shall we say sketchy.

    I'm the opposite. I carefully measure, use micrometers, and use due dilligence when it comes to proper reloading from a scientific perspective.

    I'm wondering if there are any strange things that I should know about this round.
  2. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg WA Well-Known Member

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    Use .311 bullets, not .309. Note the 303 Brit tends to have a short case life as well, often split necks result

    A lot of Enfield shooters slug their barrels and buy the matching diameter bullet molds and use gas checks

    The 303 may have a shot out muzzle. Easy to test with a loaded round inserted bullet first in the muzzle. Also some war time production was not up to par, barrel wise
  3. PopsBdog

    PopsBdog Southern Oregon Active Member

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    I reload "303 British for my Lee Enfield #4 MK1* made at the Longbranch Armory in 1942. I trust it completely.
    You need a tumbler bullet for it to tumble.
    The tumbler bullets were made and designed by the British during WW1.
    They have a little air space with a sliver of wood in the tip to unbalance them on contact, to tumble kind of like a 5.56 would on contact.

    Right now I use Hornady Interlock 150 in .312 with 146 Gr of BigGame for deer.
    I used it for the deer I got this year in my profile picture.
    At 100 yards I get 3-4" groups with commercial ammo.
    I get 1-1 1/2" groups with my own loads.

    I am testing out some Barnes TSX 150 Gr in .311. The bullets hit about 2" higher compared to the Hornady which to me means it has more velocity at the target. I like that. I also have some Speer HotCore 150's in .311 I want to test.

    Stay away from the ProMag magazines unless you are desperate. The quality is no where near the original.

    I also need to build some Elk loads in 170-180 Gr for next year. So I am looking for bullets in that range. We'll see how that goes.

    The Lee Enfield was built with a loose chamber to handle battle conditions so the case won't jam like an AK. I have had cases crack at Max loads (48Gr) and on cases at hunting load (46 Gr) that were on their third time around. I have decided to only reload a case twice to avoid cracking and splitting cases. I am thinking about buying new cases so I can use Max loads. Only just sizing the neck which I do now can help too.

    There is enough load data floating around the net to get you started. You can also use .308 data as it is very similar in load, velocity, and power. Just start low.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013
  4. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg WA Well-Known Member

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    The tumbling bullet ammo was the MK 7 but I think the OP means keyholing
  5. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    I'm guessing your bro probably used undersized (.308) bullets. I've got a No 4 sniper variant that is exceptionally accurate, I typically shoot PRVI 174gr FMJ-BT out of it. Over the years I've come across all varieties of .311 bullets... a few notes:

    1) Avoid using pulled 7.62x54R bullets, usually these things are barely round, I've mic'ed more than a few and seen variances between .309 and .313 (yes, it was smashed by .004") on the same bullet!
    2) There are a lot of pulled vickers machinegun bullets out there, while these things are great if you want ammo that goes bang, the jackets are intentionally made off-center to give a larger "beaten area", either from the vickers or the bren, this was known as the Mk VIII loading. The first time I encountered any, I was surprised to see my "sniper rifle" delivering 10" patterns at 100 yards, later found out it was the bullets.
    3) There is tons of surplus ammo out there, if you get an exceptionally good deal on any POF (pakistani ordnance factory) you can pull these bullets and use them, the completed cartridges usually have bad primers that may hang from 1-2 seconds up to 30 seconds that is if they work at all. Usually it's berdan primed so it's fit only for the scrapheap.
    4) PRVI and Wolf both produce (I think wolf sells PRVI with their own headstamp) and sell .303 brit ammo here in the US, both in a 174gr FMJ-BT (Mark 7 Mk VII) loading as well as a 150gr soft-point boat-tail. The brass is of exceptional quality and has been my starting point for reloading the .303, even though I've collected a massive quantity of other .303 brass since then.

    The PRVI bullets are some of the best out there, IMR3031 powder was developed specifically for the Mk VII round, and the PRVI bullet is a dead spec copy, so if you want to make exact duplicates of the military ammo you can. Generally, I've stuck with IMR3031 as my go-to powder for this round, and tend to load on the light side.

    Over-all, the .303 is probably my favorite "surplus" round, it's goofy, it's odd, there are so many things about it I should just hate about it, but I just can't. The bullet selection is good, it performs exceptionally well for a 100+ year old round, it's a pleasure to load and it's fun to shoot. I really can't say enough nice things about the SMLE and it's ugly rimmed bullet.
  6. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg WA Well-Known Member

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