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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all, recently I got to shoot a .303 (and had a blast...) and was hoping someone could tell me a few things about it.
I had a quick read of what Mel wrote in his sniper calibers section, and found an old .303 post, but thought I would make my own as I'm asking slightly different things.

Mel stated that everything the .303 can do, the .308 NATO can do better - why is this?
I mean, the .303 shoots .311 cal bullets, and so I would imagine it would be more suited to shooting heavier rounds. Also it has a slightly longer case, I don't know the other measurements, but surely it can carry an equal amount of powder if not slightly more?
I gather the .311 bullet has a flat base too, making it suited to super-sonic flight....

So you see, I can't really find anything to say why it should be inferior! Is it just that the rounds comercially sold are loaded weak, as to be safe to fire from older rifles?

Edit: As a side note, I mentioned my opportunity to shoot a .303 in another thread, and was surprised nobody bit my head off over my missing the opportunity to shoot the PSG-1, MSG-90 or Accuracy International AW, this being a sniper forum and all! :D
 

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Well, the problem is, no good bullets in .311 out there really. Unless maybe you cannibalize a Norma load for 7.62x54R if you can.

With a 180 grain bullet about the most steam you can give it is 2500 fps, wich could be a little better.

Still a fine mid range shooting round
 

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Sierra makes a .311" match bullet for the .303.

The problem with the .303 British is that Lee Enfield rifles vary in bore diameter. Some of them are even as large as .314". And the round headspaces on the rim. This is a sloppy way of doing things.

British armourers used to have three seperate Lee Enfield bolt faces. And they would built bolts using these three different bolt heads. Yes, headspace in these rifles varies all over the map.

But that's because they were never designed as precision rifles. They were built as battle rifles where reliability is paramount.

But if you can get a .303 that has a .311" bore, then you can handload ammo and make it much more accurate. But the piece also has rear locking lugs and this means that your brass will stretch. This limits the life of your brass. You should only load .303 brass three times.

The .303 is what it is. It is a classic caliber. The Lee Enfield is also a classic rifle. But there are limitations to the round and the rifle.


I say that the .308 is a better bet.

Mad
 

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I'm with Mad on this one. It's a fine caliber for a fine rifle and does what it is meant to do well, but probably isn't the best precision choice.

Ross rifles are more accurate, chamber the same ammo, but there were some issues - the bolt assembly is horribly complex. It would get dirty, and then something would become lost. Because it's a straight-pull bolt, without all of the rotation that the Lee has, sometimes the bolt would blow back in the shooter's face. Just like "Project: Eldest Son" which was used in Vietnam by the Americans to force the Vietnamese into thinking their rifle was gonna blow on them every time they pulled the trigger.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
re

Forgetting about the Lee Enfield rifle, and focussing on the .303 round alone - if you were to say, make a SC3 for .303 Brit, using handloaded brass with siera match bullets, would you have a performer as good at a .308 rifle? Would it have any advantages in case capacity?
 

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I don't think it holds any more powder than 308...less, I think
 

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It is more or less the same in capacity as the .308

But there is a major disadvantage to the .303 in a magazine fed rifle. It is a rimmed case. The rims can cause the rounds to jam in the magazine.

That's the reason why the Bren gun was never as good a weapon as the parent ZB-26 and ZB-30. The ZB versions of the Bren gun were the original Czech weapons and these were chambered for the rimless 7m57mm and 8x57mm rounds.

The Bren was a great gun, but it had the one flaw of using a rimmed round.


Best you avoid rims in a magazine fed rifle. Take the .308. Or better yet, take the 6.5x55mm.


Mad
 

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Yimmy

What I want to do with my No.4 is the .303 Epps conversion. It puts the .303 right in the middle between the .308 and the 30/06. The 180gr. bullet is launched at 2646fps and 2798ft/lb. It does this at way lower pressures than the .308 as well. 49,000 vs. 62,000. The recoil rating on the Epps is 19lbs. and the .308 is 22lbs. and the 30/06 is 24lbs. This is also a wildcat so I guess it really doesn't count.

You can read abou it at
303british.com


Geoff
 

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Yeah, 6.5 mm has my 30-06 beat, and Mad, I held one of those featherweight sporters by winchester you mentioned. Winchesters are gussied up mausers lol.

But 303 brit will always be great to me, since its what I grew up shooting. My dad's enfield has been around, and has some stories to tell. Handles big game as good as anything.
 

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I do appreciate the .303 as a hunting round. And I respect the Lee Enfield as a fighting rifle.

But I do not like the .303 chambered in a modern bolt action. It just doesn't make sense. The .303 makes much more sense in a single shot such as a Ruger No. 3.

I would also love to see a lever action rifle in .303. The old Winchester 1895 was so chambered. I would really love that.

But in a modern bolt action rifle--no way. Hoewever, if Yimmy wants a .311" diameter caliber in a modern bolt action, why doesn't he think about the old 7.65x53 Mauser?

This round has a case 2mm longer than the .308. It also has the same casehead diameter as the .308. (.473"). And the 7.65x53 was developed back in 1889. It is a contempory of the .303 British and ballistically indentical.

Mad.
 

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+1

I'd never heard of that round before, but I sure wouldn't mind it in a carbine length rifle with a low powered compact scope. Maybe a 4 power fixed.
 

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7,65 Mauser barrel

Muzzleblast:

Guess what? I have a new in the white 98 Mauser barrel in 7.65x53 mm caliber. It was made by Fabrique National in Belgium during the 1930s. It is in new condition and was never installed on a rifle.

If you are serious about building a Mauser in 7.65x53mm, I would consider selling you the barrel. I have been meaning to build up a Mauser using this barrel, but I couldn't find the right action at the right price.

The barrel is so nice that I needed a perfect action. And usually other perfect actions were still attached to decent barrels.

Anyway, send me a pm if you want the barrel.

Mad
 

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Mad,

Thanks for the offer, I really appreciate it...I can tell you really want to do something with that barrel. Would have been a keeper on my FN 1952 action too :D

Alas though, I'm having a scout rifle made for me out of a Turk right now, as I make my long range 30-06 mauser, and I wouldn't be able to swing a new project for a long time. Finally buying reloading gear too.

Thanks again for the offer though, real cool of you.
 

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i can see what every ones saying, i too haVE USED A .303 ALOT for hunting, they are a very reliable rifle, and the early deer cullers used to use them because they were rugged proven rifles taht just wouldnt break. the projectile can drop any game new zealand has to offer however, balistics show that there are alot more rifles taht are superior to the .303 brit
 

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The things I like about the 303 are that in Canada, the ammo is always available, in any store that sells any ammo. That and 30-30. Its different now with legislation but back in the day when any ma and pa store sold ammo, those two would be there. The 180 grain round noses are my favorite.

Some other things I like are more about Lee Enfields than the caliber itself. I like the fact theres two safties, the half cock and the lever, nice touch. And here in Canada its the only removable magazine rifle I know of that can legally hold 10 rounds, or 11 if you have one chambered. Humdinger pointed out they are tougher than nails, and they don't cost much either. A bubba in great shape is like a hundred dollars and sights on a No 4 are great. Mechanism isn't the strongest but its perfectly adequate for 303.

Great rifle to have. Nice round.
 

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.303 vs .308

The working pressure of the .303 is in the 45-47,000 PSI range so it could never equal the .308 in performance. I have a No4 Mk1T sniper that shoots very well with 174 grain Sierra BTHP match pills but velocities are in the 23-2400 fps range, quite a bit slower than the .308.

Tom
 

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Hi
Here in Canada the 303 brit in #4 mark 1 are still isued as a servise rifle to the Canadian Ranger.
Cliffy out
 

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Cliffy said:
Hi
Here in Canada the 303 brit in #4 mark 1 are still isued as a servise rifle to the Canadian Ranger.
Cliffy out
For cerimonial purposes or combat?
 

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Army reservists who patrol our arctic territory where its cold enough that the Stoner system fears to tread
 
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