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Thread: .303, good enough to fight a war, why is it not widely used for stalking?

  1. #1

    .303, good enough to fight a war, why is it not widely used for stalking?

    As the title sugests, there must have been 100's of thousands produced for military use in this country alone, yet it's not a calibre that comes to mind when considering buying a stalking rifle, why?

    Tikkat3

  2. #2
    Indeed! Lots of rifles produced for military use, lots for sporting use, and also lots of military rifles converted for sporting use.
    All a long, long time ago, though. My 1973 Parker-Hale catalogue lists sporterised No4 and SMLE rifles in Custom 25.69, Supreme 21.15, De Luxe 14.10 and standard 10.58 grades. The posher ones drilled for 'scope mounts.

    For comparison, Parker-Hale 1200 Standard is 46.50 and Super is 55.50, none of which is offered in .303

    The next catalogue I have is 1986, and there are no .303s in that one.

    I suspect no-one thinks of it nowadays because no-one chambers rifles for it. Apart from anything else, the flanged cartidge would presuambly need special magazines.

    There's no question that .303 will kill deer, however!
    Last edited by Dalua; 03-11-2011 at 22:30.

  3. #3
    Very popular in New Zealand and Australia where they've created a 22 wildcat from it. When you look at most rifle calibers for deer, they are produced from the American WWII caliber of 3006, IE necked down to 270, 2506, then cut down in length for the 308, and 243, and others as well. The Enfields were sporterised by several companies, but were never as popular or as strong as the Mauser 98 actions, so refine a 98, and put a more popular and more powerful cartridge in it. Probably more driven by the American market, and their love of building wildcat loads. I'm probably wrong, but thats my opinion. deerwarden.

  4. #4
    The .30 06 transfered over from military to hunting use here. The .30 06 was the caliber of the 1903 Springfield used in WW1 and the M1 Garand used in WW2. Is the 303 similar to the .30 06? The Lee Enfield was probably one of the greatest rifles ever made.

  5. #5
    We used to have a regular stalker on Stoke Edith in Hereford in the 80's, can't remember his name, but I know he was a gunsmith and all he ever used was a sporterised No4 Lee Enfield in .303 with 140g sp and he used to take alot of Fallow. Seemed more than up to the job.


    Ade

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by 270wsm View Post
    We used to have a regular stalker on Stoke Edith in Hereford in the 80's, can't remember his name, but I know he was a gunsmith and all he ever used was a sporterised No4 Lee Enfield in .303 with 140g sp and he used to take alot of Fallow. Seemed more than up to the job.


    Ade
    Can you explain for the benefit of us novices, what is meant by "sporterised" do you mean open sights removed and tele's fitted?

    Cheers

    Tikkat3

  7. #7
    "Let's face it. A 303 Brit is worthless for a hunting cartridge because it is rimmed. No rimmed cartridges are good for deer... It's got a loopy trajectory too. And a 150 grain bullet at 2750 fps is too light for deer, too."

    Yeah right.

    Crazy talk but these are the arguments I've heard over the years. I have several 303 sporters. I have no problem with it.~Muir

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by TikkaT3 View Post
    Can you explain for the benefit of us novices, what is meant by "sporterised" do you mean open sights removed and tele's fitted?

    Cheers

    Tikkat3
    As above and restocked in a Monte Carlo style stock, trigger job etc etc. Nice looking bit of Kit

    Ade

  9. #9
    Sporterised generally means the rifle was taken from standard military configuration to one more suited to hunting / stalking. Usually stock was modified or changed from full stock to half stock. The battle sights changed for open sights and / or set up to take a scope (more recently).
    Look in a few old gun catalogues & books you should be able to find some examples shown.
    Go to an arms fair or one of the auction houses viewing pages online - you will also see many examples there.
    Sporterised 303 rifles were very popular through the post war years and did the job admirably on anything up to the largest dangerous game species. ( Not that I advocate their use on a buff or elephant etc!!!!!)

    Ian

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by TikkaT3 View Post
    Can you explain for the benefit of us novices, what is meant by "sporterised" do you mean open sights removed and tele's fitted?

    Cheers

    Tikkat3
    Sporting conversions have been done with the 303 commercially in the UK for 100 years of more. BSA had to produce them to keep in business when the Government cut all contracts:-


    BSA Model E on a P-14 action built between 1949-1953




    Now with a new Redfield sporting aperture sight fitted




    I removed the open rear sight as it got in the way of the new Aperture sight.

    Next a Parker-Hale Supreme No4 conversion:-





    Next a BSA commercial high grade sporting rifle retailed by Wm Powell and Son:-




    It's the one on the right with the full length cape rib


    tang safety


    Proof marks. This one had a new barrel fitted just before I acquired it.

    A selection from a few decades ago:-


    Parker-Hale Standard No1, Supreme No1 I swopped the butt to the Monte carlo style on the standard and a P-14 conversion. Then of course there were the Martinis:-



    The modern .303 sporting ammunition can be a bit tricky to lay ones hands on. The White Box Winchester 180 grain is a bit hard on foxes:-





    I switched to a hand load using the Hornady 150 grain SP and it proved effective on a few Fallow.

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