after handload data for a .303 smle

#1
Gent's...
just about to start into handloading for my smle .303.....
does anyone have any good reliable data or experience in this matter ?. I will useing this on 500/600 at Bisley rather than close stuff.

many thanks Ted.
 
#3
I'm not going to post any specifics as I don't have the manuals to hand but I did find Hornady 174 grains quite good although they are short compared to the original Ball projectile. Sierra match kings are better in terms of length but I don't recall getting any outstanding results.
Henry Tombs posted details of a custom manufacturer BES bullets yesterday. (Sporting Enfield thread in Shooting Sports or the Mauser Vs Enfield thread in Military History)

I haven't really concentrated on loading for the Lee Enfield because I usually shoot the rapid fire matches and find that I might as well use commercial or Surplus.

I have loaded expanding and was getting very promising results with another Hornady round, a soft point. Circa 1" groups at 110m with my scoped No.4. I reckon that's about as good as can be hoped for in an original Lee Enfield without handbuilding a rifle with a new barrel.

I'm sure I'll be told different though. ;)
 
#4
I have found that the .311 174gn Matchkings are the best long range .303 bullets, although the bullets are boattail and the ballistics are not the same as Mk7s which are flat based and are what the sights are calibrated for. I use 38.5gn of Vithavouri N140, but you need to work up your own load...

The Matchking does not have a canellure so you need to make sure your cartridge overall length is properly set and the neck has enough tension to grip the bullet well.

I also get quite good results using the recovered Mk7 bullets from Fred the armourer at Bisley. These shoot reasonably to range table and are what you need to use if engaging targets at different distances.

I would reiterate that these loadings work for me, you should always work up your own loads using published data...

The latest Vit data pages are here...

http://www.lapua.com/fileadmin/user_upload/esitteet/VihtavuoriInternationalReloguideJuly2008.pdf


.... edited to add - the .311 bullet and loading also works in the 7.62 x 54R Mosin round... DON'T use .308 bullets in these...
 
#5
HE117 said:
I have found that the .311 174gn Matchkings are the best long range .303 bullets, although the bullets are boattail and the ballistics are not the same as Mk7s which are flat based and are what the sights are calibrated for. I use 38.5gn of Vithavouri N140, but you need to work up your own load...

The Matchking does not have a canellure so you need to make sure your cartridge overall length is properly set and the neck has enough tension to grip the bullet well.

I also get quite good results using the recovered Mk7 bullets from Fred the armourer at Bisley. These shoot reasonably to range table and are what you need to use if engaging targets at different distances.

I would reiterate that these loadings work for me, you should always work up your own loads using published data...

The latest Vit data pages are here...

http://www.lapua.com/fileadmin/user_upload/esitteet/VihtavuoriInternationalReloguideJuly2008.pdf


.... edited to add - the .311 bullet and loading also works in the 7.62 x 54R Mosin round... DON'T use .308 bullets in these...
Lapua list a 200 grain .310 diameter bullet. Linky This is for the Moison Nagant round. COuld be worth a go. I'm sure they used to do a 180 grainer too which I'd certainly have a go with considering Lapua quality.

Avoid the Sellier & Bellot 180 grain bullets as they are steel with copper plating. Most of what Kynoch supply in the heavier weights is too.
 
#6
The S&B bullets are NOT steel, that is a common myth. file one in half if you don't believe me!

I used to load them in front of 39 grains of N140.

As for the match kings, get a Lee factory crimp die, then you can crimp them to your hearts content.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#7
I have so much surplus ball now that I only load soft point for my .303! I have the Sierra infinity disc and can e mail a table to you although it leans heavilly towards Sierra bullets it has the data for other manufacturers so let me know what you are thinking on and I can print it off and email over. I would however recommend that you build up a stock of once fired cases through your own rifle then neck size them and you will be ok. Remember the sights will be regulated for mil spec and you are best trying to replicate this type of load.
I can help but with so much good .303 fmj about at the moment that its probably shot for shot cheaper to buy factory!
 
#8
stoatman said:
The S&B bullets are NOT steel, that is a common myth. file one in half if you don't believe me!

I used to load them in front of 39 grains of N140.

As for the match kings, get a Lee factory crimp die, then you can crimp them to your hearts content.
The four boxes I have must be made of magnetic copper and lead then.....
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#9
Dont buy lee dies ffs, buy RCBS and use them properly you can put as much crimp on as you want!
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#11
If you buy the best that Lee do and then really take care of them they are as good as RCBS standard stuff. RCBS have great quality and superb warranty and will ship parts next day often at no cost!
 
#12
OOh Fight Fight...

In the Green corner RCBS and in the Red corner Lee.... :D

IMHO Lee are extremely well engineered, but are easily damaged...
RCBS however will last a lifetime!
(though my current favourite are CH - http://www.ch4d.com/ )
I ordered a 8mm Lebel set from them on the internet - brilliant - fast service and extremely well made....

I don't ever crimp target rounds - a good tight neck resize is all you need if you want to reuse your brass. Crimping is only needed if:

a. you are hunting and using a magazine OR
b. You are using an autoloader or a machine gun..

My point was that as Matchkings do not have a cannelure, you have to be careful with the bullet positioning. Bullets with a cannelure are easier to check (provided of course you have done your case trimming correctly...)


Stoats - S&B .311 - yes I have and yes they are.. (mild steel jackets)
dunno what you have got, but they are not the normal S&B bullets available in UK... Actually mid steel is not really a problem provided it is well coated/plated. The jacket is thin and well annealed and should not cause significant wear. The main drawback with steel cased bullets is corrosion. If you are really concerned, moly coat them...

Aluminium cases and jackets however.... :evil:
 
#13
My AR 15 likes a little bit of factory crimp on its match kings, even when single loading. Don't know why, it just does. Probably something to do with consistent neck retention before jumping the chasm to the leade that a magazine length round takes. The latest batch I have made are 52 grain match kings loaded to three thousandths of an inch off the rifling, but I still gave them just a touch of crimp. We will see on Thursday how they go!
 
#14
stoatman said:
My AR 15 likes a little bit of factory crimp on its match kings, even when single loading. Don't know why, it just does. Probably something to do with consistent neck retention before jumping the chasm to the leade that a magazine length round takes. The latest batch I have made are 52 grain match kings loaded to three thousandths of an inch off the rifling, but I still gave them just a touch of crimp. We will see on Thursday how they go!
As I said:

a. you are hunting and using a magazine OR
b. You are using an autoloader or a machine gun..

:D
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#15
Even with soft point hunting ammo I usually rely on neck tension rather than a crimp and it rarely lets me down!
 
#16
Here goes!

Target round: with 174 Grn Sierra Match King and 41.3 Grns VihtaVouri N140 (this load is supposed to replicate the original Mk VII regarding MV) I use it in my smellie (the one fitted with target sights) out to 1000 yards and on a good day it works well for me.

Service rifle round: for these I use a bulk buy bullet from the Dutch guy who usually attends the Trafalgar meeting at Bisley, last time I bought a 1000 bullets for about £70, and for this I use 40 Grns of N140 and from memory the bullet weight is 174 Grn, I have just tested them for copper and lead content and can not make a magnet stick to them!
I believe that they are made by Privi Partisan

Historic round: This is where I use the 215 Grn BES bullet in my Long Lee using the slower N160 VihtaVouri, currently 36.3 Grns seems to cut the mustard.
 
#17
HT - Are your "Dutch" bullets flat based or BT?
 
#18
they are BT with a cannelure; I have just weighed one at it does come out at 174 Grn, I think the Selliot & Bellot ones come out at 180 Grn?








Edited for p1ss poor grammar.
 
#19
Henry_Tombs said:
there BT with a cannelure; I have just weighed one at it does come out at 174 Grn, I think the Selliot & Bellot ones come out at 180 Grn?
I'm sure S&B are 180 grain. They are basically for the Moison Nagant etc.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#20
I thought that having spent 10 minutes typing a reply to a PM I would share it with you all;
The question posted was to develop a load that was the most accurate for the service rifle yet still perform accurately at longer and shorter distance, couple this with the desire to create a load that would allow the use of soft point ammo for stalking with the same rifle but using the same sights albeit set to the correct distance.
I had a similar issue and this was my reply;
Thats easy enough to do, find a good bullet, say 150 grain sierra soft point and load it so that the POI matches your FMJ at say 200 yards without adjusting the sights. I did this to match two soft point loads one of 125 grain, one of 150 grain with a PMP and a Norma factory soft point load. You need a digital camera, a chrono is handy but not vital and a screen target covered in 1 inch orange squares.
Start with a load that matches the Mv and possibly the Me (debatable) of the fmj,load down from that by 5 grains in 2 10ths of a grain steps and up by 1 10th of a grain steps to max safe load. It takes persistance but you should shoot a group at the screen, then measure and photo. This allows you to refer back later. Write the load data by the group.
Then having allowed the barrel to cool do the same again at the next aiming mark.
The bench mark will be a group of 5 factory rounds fired as a test group (record in the same way) at the beginning and end of the shoot!
You will find then what load allows you to group adequately at that distance and still be within an acceptable variation of the factory ammo group.
This takes all day even if you do it in a wood with a mate but it allows you having got your load and acceptable variation to tweak for accuracy (closing the group) and also to create a predictive down range ballistic graph for predictive fire.
Having that laminated on the point looks pretty good especially if you can then dial in the difference on the vernier sight and score without sighters!
Thats all down the road but the load development will teach you a lot about how your smellie performs with different loads, barrel yaw and harmonics, bedding and whether its an up or down shooter which affects fixed bayonet shooting comps!
I hope thats not too much info. I may put something up on load development for arrsepedia later. The practical side is very enjoyable and I dissapear for days doing it at home but then I have my own range.
It works and allowed me to develop a load for a lighter bullet that still shared a common poi with the factory load at the distance I typically engaged targets in my case deer! It also meant that with the trajectory table I could predict the point blank distance for tthe correct acceptable variation in the curve. I was looking for a point blank of between 60 and 140 yards with the curve starting two inches low and peaking at 2 inches high allowing me a 4 inch kill area!
 

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