.303 british for long range

This is a discussion on .303 british for long range within the Cartridges & Calibers forums, part of the Sniping Related category; .303 british for long range shooing? i know its a stable calliber and was used very widly by militaries all over the world and was ...

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  1. #1
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    .303 british for long range

    .303 british for long range shooing? i know its a stable calliber and was used very widly by militaries all over the world and was just wondering if it was a good round for longer ranges? does anybody have any experience with this cartrige?

  2. #2
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    There have been many fine rifles in .303 that are potentially very accurate out to 1,000 yards or even a bit more. I have seen and/or shot some WW II vintage Enfield rifles & found them well built & accurate. Today they are collectors items when found in anything approaching decent (Original) condition.

    Would it be in my top 5 (Or even 10) choices for a long range cartridge in a new build? No it would not.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Quick's Avatar
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    I think the .303 is a good long range cartridge, BUT it has been superseeded by many other calibres.
    Shaun aka "Quick"
    Two Rocks, Western Australia

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    1920 Lithgow SMLE No 1 MK III* .303 British
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    Kea
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    As said above its done its dash but that doesn't take away from the fun and it is still capable.

    This guy posted some interesting vids on the tube relating to this topic.

    Beach Forrest's & Bell Birds

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    thanks for the feed back i was consittering making one my long range gun cos there are a few floating aroung in the house. what about the 6.5x55 swed mauser for targer shooting?

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    Super Moderator muzzleblast's Avatar
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    That's an excellent cartridge for just about anything. Very streamlined, high BC bullets, low recoil, match bullets are available for reloading, hunting bullets are good penetrators with a high SD...
    I am dyslexia of Borg, futility is resistant, your &#* will be laminated.

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  7. #7
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    what is the max range would yo say for the 6.5x55.
    and what is the mest bullet weight. its my coyote gun.

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    In the early '70s, one particular British Army sniper was able to consistently group under 7" with the L42 at 1000yds. Not bad for a rear locking action.

    I'm not sure what has been achieved with the 303, but I've heard some good long range groups have been achieved by accurised SMLEs with Lithgow target barrels fitted.

    My pet project is to rebuild my Lithgow with a target barrel and full wood, but instead of the standard wood, use a coloured laminated wood cut to the SMLE pattern. It'll be far from stock, but it's been "sporterized" already and the barrel looks worse than a piece of Victorian sewer pipe so I'll not be losing much in originality anyway.

    Even if it doesn't shoot like a dream (I hope it does) then it'll be an interesting sideline piece on the wall.

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  9. #9
    Senior Member jeffdorr's Avatar
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    The .303 British was one of the all time great battle cartridges. But, as others have pointed oput, the .303 has become obsolete to modern militaries. It is a rimmed cartridge, more suitable to the single shot military rifles of the 1880s and 1890s - but still used until the 1960s in battle rifles and machineguns (later in sniper rifles). It's done it's fair share as a sniping cartridge. Like the .45-70 Govt.,.43 Remington, 6mm Lee,.30-06 Sprg.,7mm Mauser and 8mm Mauser, it had to make room for more modern military cartridges.

    Jeff
    Jeff passed away on July 17th, 2009, he will be GREATLY missed by everyone here at Sniper Central. Video Thread

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    G'day all, I have strayed away for far too long from the forum, have been busy with work and my hobbies, reloading for the old military rifles and shooting them! I came across this thread after reading a fair bit (catching up on the times) and I just couldn't resist replying as I've shot the good old .303 for a long time (if 10 years is considered long).

    Well, the humble .303 British is already has been obsolete for many years and despite that, some considerable amount of .303 ammo is still being made to this day. However, this ammo isn't always the best in the old girls so, reloading the .303 will help you tailor make a load that will work best in the old Smelly.

    Having said that, from my experience in shooting SSAA Military/Service competitions and others, for some funny reason, the .303 will shoot better than most at much longer ranges. This is confirmed from my experiences shooting my old faithful SMLE No.4 Mk1 (in all original condition, even the barrel is original!) against most other rifles that were in the 6.5 x 55 Swedish Mauser.

    I have nothing against the 6.5 by 55 Swedish, it is a very good round (my old man has one in a carbine, good for taking down goats), great for target shooting. However, I've found that when you start going past 200 metres, you need to 'aim' off a bit at 300 metres on a windy day to compensate for wind deflection and more so, the further you go out beyond 300 metres.

    Then again, with the .303 of mines, I use a 174 grain HPBT bullet (preferably Sierras), pushed by 38 grains of ADI's AR2206 powder, lit up by either Federal's 210 or Winchester's LR primers, in usually PMC or Winchester brass. With this combination used in my SMLE No.4 MK1, I've found once I zeroed it in, all I have to do is just hold it steady dead-on and let it take care of itself! Even all the way up to 600 metres, which is the furtherest I've shot with the old girl (using the original iron sights!).

    Having said all that though, the 6.5 by 55s will have it all over me at the 100 metres and 200 metres ranges, but once we get past 200 metres and further, I'll have it all over them! (revenge is sweet!). Then again, a competent shooter with a 6.5 by 55 will learn and adjust for wind over time and I have seen competitors shoot it extremely well, but for me, it's more satisfying to get the old .303 shooting just as well as the more fancier rifles.

    If you do want to maximise the .303's potential, then I suggest you find a Pattern 1914 .303 with a decent barrel and it's like the Model of 1917 (or M17), but chambered in a .303 with a front locking bolt. My old man has one, and it shoots extremely well, even better than my Smelly, but you may have to fiddle with the loads a bit as P14s does tends to be tempermental with certain projectiles. However, P14s are hard to come by here and the ones with very good barrels will command a premium.

    Anyway, it has been a long winded post, and I may be biased in a way, but hey, I love my .303s and always fun to keep that history going! (By the way, I'm working up some loads to try in a Martini-Enfield .303 I bought a while back and it'll be interesting to see how it shoots in a 100 years old rifle!)
    "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." Thomas Jefferson

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