.303 British

CDSG Shooting Sports

viking

Well-Known Member
Is it still used a lot in the UK or has it really passed into the realms of the enthusiast?
Does anybody here use it for their stalking?
What expiriences do people have with it?
I havn't actually managed to fire of a shot whilst out yet, I mainly use shotgun
for the type of animal I shoot. But have the chance again this autumn.
:D
 

Muir

Well-Known Member
I don't know if my opinions are valid here as I live in the US, but I do shoot .303 British in the field and own several sporting rifles chambered for the 303 as well as a dozen or so military rifles. There are many 303's still in the field in the US and Canada because there was a time when the rifles were very inexpensive. I remember going into a hardware store when I was a kid and seeing bins of them for $12 each. I have bought full military rifles for as little as $40 each in the last two decades. (Tho prices are going up geometrically right now) The low price causes many hunters to buy them for deer rifles and ammo makers like Winchester and Remington began producing some fine ammunition for them as well in both 150 and 180 grain loadings.

The Winchester 150 grain SP is a fine deer round that will take deer to 200 yards with a good rifle. It delivers just under 2800 fps. The Remington load I favored was the 180 grain round nose that I believe traveled at 2550 fps. It was a good deer load for the usual distances found in South Dakota river-bottoms.

I currently shoot cast bullets through my Brits as I can achieve maximum accuracy by matching the bullet diameter to the throat/groove diameter of the individual rifle barrel by making my own bullets and I have found that cast bullets work fine on deer. I am currently working on a Pattern 14 Enfield sporter that I will scope. I am certain that a 200 yard shot will be made with as much ease as with a more "modern" rifle.~Muir
 

reiver

Well-Known Member
I have a .303 SMLE 1908 sporterized and rebarrelled by Parker-Hale back in the 1960s so i have being told and use it for foxs and on roe some times just for a change now and again it is fitted with a sporter style stock and has a parker-hale scope base which is fixed to the left hand side of the reciver .It also has the 10 shot mag and a 5 shot mag with it.It shoots ok 2" at 100 yards useing 150 gr reloads which is good enough for were i shoot . I would like to take it driven wild boar shooting but as i am a left hander which slows down the rifles fast reloading propertys( 15- 30 + aimed shots a minute by a trained squadie)
I think if you fitted a red dot and used 180Gr bullets it would still hold its own against more modern rifles on a driven hunt which is not bad for a 100 year old rifle. :lol: :lol: :lol:
 

sikamalc

Administrator
Site Staff
I have an Enfield Mk4 which when I got it about 10 years ago was brand new and had never been fired, it was still in the grease and brown paper. I even have the frog and bayonet to go with it.

Light beech stock, and a lovely looking old lady she is too vintage 1954. I was lucky as I managed to buy a light beech comb stock new from an old shop in Birmingham, that I believe no longer is there. Cant remember the name of the shop, but an old lady owned it. Bought the new stock for £35 :D happy days.

I have a Burris tube variable scope on it, and it shoots a treat. I have taken Red, Roe and Fallow with it. I have also shot it in Africa, and it didnt take any prisoners. A joy to shoot, although a bit heavy to lug around. Nothing wrong with the 303 as a sporting round........................ and please lets not have any comments about 303 versus a 243 for pitys sake :rolleyes: or why and where it falls down as a sporting round, as I am not interested.

I will try and take a photo of the old girl and put it on the site.
 

sikamalc

Administrator
Site Staff
Very true Irishgun, and it was also a popular calibre in Africa as well, even taking Elephant.

In fact I seem to remember reading somewhere that when the Germans first encountered the 303 they thought the British forces had issued machine guns to all the troops as the rate of fire was so overwhelming at times. I even have some 215g heads that some old chap gave me who used to shoot a great deal. I have never tried them yet, probably drop like a brick after 100yds :rolleyes: :lol:
 

ejg

Well-Known Member
As a kid I stood next to an old farmer who emptied his magazine at a kudu bull crossing a dirt track at speed. Two 303 rounds hit and he dropped maybe 80yds on. I remember the copper bits in the heart.
The 303 was the standard in South Africa back then and worked well.
edi
 

Dickie

Well-Known Member
.303 is still popular in New Zealand.
If you look on trade-me.co.nz which is like e-bay to us they sell on there for very cheap money.
Cheers
Dickie.
 

Muir

Well-Known Member
Ah! 303 shooters! Does my heart good to see them. I forgot to mention that my 1900 dated Lee-Metford sporter shoots the Hornady 170 grain Round Nose to the point of aim at the distances marked on the express sights when I load it over a medium charge of IMR 4350. Very pleasing accuracy, too boot. These are .312" diameter bullets. I believe that the best 303 loads using jacketed bullets (like the Winchester) utilize .312" bullets. Too many use .310" bullets and accuracy is only fair in many instances.~Muir
 

john.d.m

Well-Known Member
When I got to know people out here I just couldn`t beleive how many people had a 303 in the cupboard, everyone seems to have one, I think it must be law or something :D
 

Thar

Well-Known Member
owenontour said:
Are there any 303 derived calibres, something like a .26British or something?

In Australia they have necked down the 303 case to most calibres 270, 25, 22 ect The 303/270 and 303/22 were popular.

A friend of mine has a 303 Enfield that was sporterized by Rigby, it has a lovely walnut stock the metal work is engraved and it has a shotgun rib on top of the barrel. He took it stalking a couple of years ago on the reds (he is a collector of rifles and shotguns) I shot it with 150gn soft points and it was quite pleasant to shoot and using the open sights was fun, and accurate enough to shoot reds out to sensible ranges.

Best rgds

Tahr
 

sikamalc

Administrator
Site Staff
303016.jpg


Here you go guys, my 303 Mk4No2. Like a vintage car I only take it out on warm sunny days :lol:
303017.jpg


303016.jpg


She shoots a treat and has taken a number of different species on two continents. I love it to bits. I shall be taking it up to the highlands in a couple of weeks to take a Sika with as it is one species I have yet to take with this calibre.

:D Happy days.
 

Muir

Well-Known Member
Nice rifle but for heaven's sake! Never post that pic on a US "collector" forum. The idea that you would take a pristine #4 in the wrapper and mount a scope on it would give them fits. For my own part, I like it. Probably would have done the same thing at one time or another. So far, only my Pattern 14 is drilled for glass. My others are "iron" only.~Muir
 

Bandit Country

Well-Known Member
sikamalc said:
In fact I seem to remember reading somewhere that when the Germans first encountered the 303 they thought the British forces had issued machine guns to all the troops as the rate of fire was so overwhelming at times.

It was at the Battle of Mons in 1914. The British Expeditionary Force sent to France that year is pretty well acknowledged to be the most technically proficient fighting force we have ever sent to war. The kicking we had received at the hands of the Boers (through their superior marksmanship) only a few years earlier had convinced the head honchoes that skill at arms needed to be improved and so soldiers got extra pay dependent on their shooting ability. Those boys really could march and shoot!

With practice they could deliver rapid aimed fire with a bolt action rifle through the simple expedient of operating the trigger with the middle finger while the thumb and index finger remain on the bolt knob. It is easier with the smooth, rear locking bolt of a Lee Enfield and harder with a front locking mauser action, which is usually somewhat more sloppy.
 

Chris Rob

Well-Known Member
owenontour said:
Are there any 303 derived calibres, something like a .26British or something?

Here's an interesting one from my collection;

Imperial .303/25 loaded with an 87grn soft point.

clip_image002.jpg


Produced in Australia by Imperial Chemical Industries of Australia and New Zealand Limited

Post World War Two the Lithgow Small Arms Factory in New South Wales, Australia converted some SMLE's to commercial sporting rifles with Lithgow Slazenger branding. These included .22 Hornet and .410 shotgun calibres.

Legislation in New South Wales, outlawed .303 British calibre rifles, so large numbers of SMLEs were converted to "wildcat" calibres such as .303/25, .303/22, and 7.7x54. .303/25 calibre sporterised SMLEs were very common in Australia, although getting ammunition for them is very difficult today. The restrictions placed on the .303 British ammunition and rifles chambered for .303 British in New South Wales were lifted in the 1970's and many people who converted their Lee-Enfields to the "wildcat" rounds converted their rifles back to .303 British.

Cheers Chris

clip_image002-1.jpg

1922 Lithgow SMLE in .303-25

clip_image001.jpg

1914 SMLE .303-25 with Sportco barrel and Bisley Deluxe 3-9x40 on a Lynx mount
 

Muir

Well-Known Member
I have a couple of Sportco guns; they shoot quite well. That 25/303 would be quite similar to one of my favorite (ancient) American wild cats, the 25 Krag. On this similarity alone I'd be willing to guarantee that's a darned good game taker; right in the 257 Roberts class of cartridges. Thanks for sharing the pictures.~Muir
 

Roebuck

Well-Known Member
.303 Sporter

I have a .303 Sporter built by Parker Hale in 1958 on a NO4 action.It groups bout 2" with FMN 186GN fmj or Winchester 180gn softpoints. It has a 5 shot mag and I also have 2 10 shot military mags.
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Bashing Bambi

Well-Known Member
I stalk regularly with a BSA 1917 that was sportered by Parker Hale in 45, its taken a few deer and I now use a Lyman scope on it rather than the pricey leuopold that was on it before!

Edited to add I'm looking for a couple of the Slazenger Hoornets if anyone knows of any in the UK?
 
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