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Thread: Anybody here use .303 British for deer stalking ?

  1. #1

    Anybody here use .303 British for deer stalking ?

    A mate of mine has an old BSA Rifle in .303 British caliber, which is on his ticket for deer stalking. He has managed to shoot one or two deer with it, so I was wondering if anyone here still uses the caliber for deer stalking, or has any experience of having used the caliber for deer stalking in the past?
    Presumably the ballistic's would be similar to .308, and the bullet range must be in the 130-170 grain range???

    All the best


  2. #2
    Ey up Lakey, yes I have a 303. No4 MKII. It was brand new never been fired and in the grease when I was given it by an American client.

    I have put a combed stock on it which I got from an old shop in Birmingham some years back for 35!! it shoots very well, and I have also used it in anger in Africa. It didnt take any prisoners either.

    I treat it like a vintage car, so it only comes out on sunny days some of the guys on the site have seen it and fired it and although a bit heavy it is a nice piece of kit and I love it.

    I have it for all species of deer and Boar.


  3. #3
    On reading this I took a look at my reloading manual to see what weight of bullet would make 2450fps out of the 303. From what I can see the 150 grain bullet makes about 2500fps or a little more. The 174 grain bullet, which I think was about the traditional military loading for the 303, makes about 2350fps.

    Now, these loads might be quite modest to take into account the age and possible treatment of many 303 actions currently in use but it appears that the 303 is not coming close to the 308. My 308 launches 150 grain bullets at approx 3000fps as measured with a chrono. In saying that as long as you know your drop then the velocity doesn't much matter and my money says that the 303 kills just as well as the 308 in the real world.

  4. #4
    I have a .303 which was turned into a German style hunting rifle in 1946 by a gunmaker with nothing else to do in those days in north Germany with the permission of the British occupiers for farmers boar control. The scope is rather foggy so I have not yet shot it but the bluing is Purdey standard, I think it is a lovely retro piece.

  5. #5
    My Grandfather used nothing but a mark 4 .303 sportised by John Dicksons of Edinburgh. It had the top wood cut off and the bottom wood shaped into a sport fore end. The action had a silver bolt guard as did the trigger guard and the magazine was reduced to 5 shot and was plated and engraved too. It still had the two-pressure trigger and needed a fair pull to set it off. He never got round to fitting a scope and killed thousands of Reds with the open sights. I remember going with him as a young man to the range at Cawdor where he shot against a friend using a .308 and although he was well beaten still put in a good score. He had a few boxes of old Kynoch 220 grain rounds for it which went off in a cloud of black reek. He had it de-activated in 1998 and it is above the fireplace of a cousin in Yorkshire. David

  6. #6
    The 303 has been used to shoot hundred of thousands of game animals all over the world. But am not sure if it is flat shooting enough as according to my ballistics tables the 150 gn at 2,650 fps zeroed at 200 yds shoots 2.2 inchs high at 100 yds. The 175gn bullet is even worse as it shoots 2.5 inches high at 100 yds. The 308 with 150 gn at 2,820 fps rises to 1.9 inches. By comparison a very flat shooting calibre - eg 80 gn .243 win gong at 3,350 will rise 1.0 inch at 100yds on a 200 yd zero!!!

    Serously though provided the individual rifle shoots well it will be more than adequate for deer out to reasonable ranges, with the one caveat that you might want to use slightly more modern optics so you can see a bit better, but saying that some old optics are pretty damn good - my better half has recently inherited a 4 draw stalking scope that was her Grandfathers and its at least 60 years old, if not pre WW2 - it needs a bit of a clean, but doesn't loose much to a new one from Grahams of Inverness.

  7. #7
    I have a 1908 smle which was re-barreled and turned into a sporter by parker-hale in the late 50'sor 60's it still puts meat on the table over a 100 years later .
    I do not think that any of the deer or foxes that it has shot are bothered that the rifle and .303 round is supposed to be past its sell by date .
    It will be out with at worcop this weekend for a zero session and to shoot the spiders out the barrel .

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Heym SR20 View Post
    But am not sure if it is flat shooting enough as according to my ballistics tables the 150 gn at 2,650 fps zeroed at 200 yds shoots 2.2 inchs high at 100 yds. The 175gn bullet is even worse as it shoots 2.5 inches high at 100 yds.
    Gosh, yes! Both of those would go straight over a mouse's back at 100yds if you held 'on', missing it completely.

    I zero both 6.5x55 and .308 2" high at 100yds, giving a point-blank range of 200yds. Both of them then need 5-6" at 250 and 11-12" at 300yds.

    Flat-shooting ain't everything, and I'm happier going after the hinds with 140-150grains rather than 80!

    On topic: my stalking pal uses a semi-sporterised No. 4 and a P-H .308 with equal efficacy. Ballistically there is really not much in it with 150grain bullet, though I think the .303 has a longer barrel, which will help.

    Quote Originally Posted by Heym SR20 View Post
    Seriously though provided the individual rifle shoots well it will be more than adequate for deer out to reasonable ranges
    That sums it up nicely for me, I think.

  9. #9
    yes i do or did as it's not on the ticket for deer right now however a 150 grn Honady SP does the number very nicely on Fallow and Roe This is one of mine:-

    BSA Model E

    The Model E is sans scope at the moment as I am workign with a Redfield 70RWCH reciever sight:-

    Of course I can fit a scope if I want to as I have the mounts etc still.

    I also have a Parker-Hale Supreme No4 conversion:-

    That horrid vented butt pad has been replaced with a ribbed rubber BSA pad now.

    OH BTW the velocity of the service Mkv11 ammo is 2440fps with the 174 grn bullet of course. Sporting ammunition was available from 130 grains to 215 grains. In my BSA Model E with it's P-14 action it's quite easy to equal .308 velocities .

  10. #10
    Well, I can't let the 303 question go unanswered. YES, I use one (2 actually) for stalking. The calibre is every bit as good as 308, 200fps or so is niether here nor there once you get above 2500fps. Last year I decided I'd get my Lee Enfield No5 "jungle carbine" varied for stalking and had a few good days out with it.
    My current 303 stalker is the same as Brithunter's, it's a BSA Mod E, based on a P14 service rifle.
    So far my Mod E has only accounted for a fox, but it will put venison in the freezer at some point, I have no doubt of that.
    I do hope the "flat shooting" concerns were tongue in cheek
    Is your mate's 303 a Mod E by any chance?
    There's some pics in my gallery of both my stalking 303s.
    You can't say muntjac without saying, Mmmmmm.

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