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Thread: Reloading .303

  1. #1

    Reloading .303

    I've become the owner of a very nice Lee Enfield No4Mk2 .303 which is for range use only (so no expanding ammunition). Something to play with and see how well it can shoot when I take my other rifles along to the range to zero or practice.

    It won't get a lot of use, so the financial savings by reloading won't be anything much, but I would like to reload for it, just as a thing to do for enjoyment and also to see if I can develop a load that it likes.

    So I was wondering if anyone has been down the reloading .303 route and could perhaps give me the benefit of their experience in terms of good components to use and loads as a starting point for me.

  2. #2
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    Yes. Only two powders worth a damn. Viht N140 and Viht N150. Start at about 39 grains and work up to about 41 grains behind a 174 grain bullet to duplicate .303 Mk VII military ball.

    Sort out headspaces issues by resizing (or more correctly resetting the shoulder) as little as possible. But accept that this ammunition may not then chamber in others' rifles.

    Best bullets? South African PMP if you could get them. Best cases? Certainly NOT Winchester and pretty much only use HXP as a last resort! They're OK but others are better.

  3. #3
    I use a cast 210gr boolit with my No1 Mk3 - 25gr Accurate 5744 (now Lovex D060) - good for 100 to 300 yards.
    Indoor ranges up to 25 yards I use a 115gr boolit with 4 to 5gr of Viht 310 (fast pistol powder)
    If you decide on lead you will need to clean the barrel of ALL copper fouling!

  4. #4

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by dodgyrog View Post
    I use a cast 210gr boolit with my No1 Mk3 - 25gr Accurate 5744 (now Lovex D060) - good for 100 to 300 yards.
    Indoor ranges up to 25 yards I use a 115gr boolit with 4 to 5gr of Viht 310 (fast pistol powder)
    If you decide on lead you will need to clean the barrel of ALL copper fouling!
    Why do you refer to cast bullets as "boolits"??~Muir

  6. #6
    I have a minty No.4 MkII which shoots S&B 174-gr FMJ and Remington 180-gr RN into 100 yard groups smaller than one inch, with its aperture sight.
    Duplicating these loads with Sierra 174-gr and Hornady 180-gr RN, 3.075" OAL in Rem brass and Rem 9.5 primers, Lee Factory Crimp, ...all these about 2,440 fps:

    41.2 gr IMR-4895
    40.0 gr H-4895
    40.5 gr IMR-4064
    41.0 gr RL-15
    41.0 gr Varget
    40.5 gr VV N140

    All these are below maximum, but start 2 grains lower in your rifle.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by enfieldspares View Post
    Yes. Only two powders worth a damn. Viht N140 and Viht N150. Start at about 39 grains and work up to about 41 grains behind a 174 grain bullet to duplicate .303 Mk VII military ball.

    Sort out headspaces issues by resizing (or more correctly resetting the shoulder) as little as possible. But accept that this ammunition may not then chamber in others' rifles.

    Best bullets? South African PMP if you could get them. Best cases? Certainly NOT Winchester and pretty much only use HXP as a last resort! They're OK but others are better.
    I thought Enfield knew what he was on about but his post has just proven what an idiot I was for thinking so .

    Yes I have reloaded the 303 cartridge and HXP 69 cases are really good. In fact I never had one fail even through multiple reloadings.

    Hogdons H4895 works very well in the 303 case and combined with the old Hornady 174 Gain Round Nose bullet gave excellent grouping but of course we are not allowed those now as they are over the very evil expanding type and if used on a range on paper target might just run amok and murder all those in the vicinity . Reloader 15 also works well.

    Further more the HXP 69 brass is of the correct size unlike a lot of commercial brass. I did get soem HXP 83 that was not quite as good as the earleir HXP 69. I also reloaded Winchester commercial brass with no issues have bought a job lot of Winchester "White Box" 180 Grain PSP ammo.

    As for headspace well cannot say that i or anyone in the club that shot 303 had issues with out of spec headspace. I see a lot of crap written on soem American forums about this but have gleaned the fact that SAMMI re-wrote the spec on teh 303 and if the rifle is checked using the correct "British" spec guages not many are found to be out od spec. Use American SAAMI spec guages and it can be another story I hear.

    S&B make a 174 grain FMJ bullet for reloading the 303. Edgar bros used to also supply them in a card box with Gold shiny labels on the boxes as did Howitzer ..................... yes I am going back in time now. Speer and Sierra make FMJ bullets for th 303 I think you will find. Am not sure about Hornady. Norma used to offer several loadings in the ammunition line up for the 303 but I do not know if they also offer FMJ ones. Not many countries have the stupidity that we have to cope with over bullets.

    So source some suitable bullets and let us know what you have and we will see what further suggestions we can make.

    Oh yes and do not discount cast gas checked bullets as they shoot very well with the right combination.

  8. #8
    Thanks one and all. There's one thing for sure with reloading and that is that there's more than one way to skin a cat and all the above has given me some good food for thought. I've not started yet, I have a fair few factory rounds to pop off first of all. As for bullets, I did pick up some Prvi's, because they were there, but haven't looked for anything else as yet.
    Last edited by Pedro; 05-03-2016 at 01:19.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Conure View Post
    I thought Enfield knew what he was on about but his post has just proven what an idiot I was for thinking so .

    Yes I have reloaded the 303 cartridge and HXP 69 cases are really good. In fact I never had one fail even through multiple reloadings.

    Hogdons H4895 works very well in the 303 case and combined with the old Hornady 174 Gain Round Nose bullet gave excellent grouping but of course we are not allowed those now as they are over the very evil expanding type and if used on a range on paper target might just run amok and murder all those in the vicinity . Reloader 15 also works well.

    Further more the HXP 69 brass is of the correct size unlike a lot of commercial brass. I did get soem HXP 83 that was not quite as good as the earleir HXP 69. I also reloaded Winchester commercial brass with no issues have bought a job lot of Winchester "White Box" 180 Grain PSP ammo.

    As for headspace well cannot say that i or anyone in the club that shot 303 had issues with out of spec headspace. I see a lot of crap written on soem American forums about this but have gleaned the fact that SAMMI re-wrote the spec on teh 303 and if the rifle is checked using the correct "British" spec guages not many are found to be out od spec. Use American SAAMI spec guages and it can be another story I hear.

    S&B make a 174 grain FMJ bullet for reloading the 303. Edgar bros used to also supply them in a card box with Gold shiny labels on the boxes as did Howitzer ..................... yes I am going back in time now. Speer and Sierra make FMJ bullets for th 303 I think you will find. Am not sure about Hornady. Norma used to offer several loadings in the ammunition line up for the 303 but I do not know if they also offer FMJ ones. Not many countries have the stupidity that we have to cope with over bullets.

    So source some suitable bullets and let us know what you have and we will see what further suggestions we can make.

    Oh yes and do not discount cast gas checked bullets as they shoot very well with the right combination.
    People confuse "headspace" with "generous chamber dimensions" which many Enfields have. Headspace, as measured at the rim, is generally not a problem. I have many Enfield 303's from Metford to NoIV, MKII. I have P-14 and Ross as well. If you FL resize brass and load warm, you will get sign of incipient head separation fairly quickly.

    Odd about that Greek brass. I have about 10 bandoleers of Loaded ammo (don't know the year) but have never loaded the brass. I have friends on some of the mil surp forums who either swear it's the best brass you can use, or claim they leave it lie where it lands. I have a large (1500?) supply of Remington 303 UPB to feed my flock of UK refugees. I feed them almost exclusively cast bullets. Cast bullets are customizable for different diameters needed, they are inexpensive, and very very accurate when fit well to the rifle.~Muir

  10. #10
    I believe that opinions on Greek HXP ammo may vary depending on past experience with a particular Lot. Some previous lots that became available were well known for neck splitting on first firing and other lots were known to hangfire.
    It's the calibre of the shooter that counts not the calibre of the rifle.

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