Reloading the 303

Discussion in 'Enfield Rifles' started by Pollux74, Sep 16, 2010.

  1. Pollux74

    Pollux74 G&G Addict

    OK, now I am not being lazy, I am doing my homework and I will do some more.

    I understand that when it comes to reloading, the most common answer is read manuals.... well let's say I want to get started on this... where do I start ?

    In the mail is the lee classic loader (since Alan said he is using it I figured it had to not be too bad ;))

    I am looking around for bullets and powder.

    I am taking my gun hunting deer, so I figured this: the bullet should be 150gr and soft point.
    I need to make quite a bit so I can use them to play at the range with a scope...

    What do you guy think ? Am I on the right track ?

    I am taking powder type/brand and bullet type/brand suggestion that will get me started quickly

    i'll figure out the rest with manuals later when I decide this is something I like to do and want to tune up better my reloads.
  2. lefty o

    lefty o G&G Evangelist

    you need a manual, and need to read it front to back before considering loading cartridge #1. for my .303's i use IMR 4064.

  3. Pollux74

    Pollux74 G&G Addict

    I understand the concept of reading manuals.... I always do my homework...

    I guess my question was more to point me in the right direction
  4. cold queso

    cold queso G&G Regular

    I've had good luck with Speer 150s and H4895....
  5. Palladin8

    Palladin8 G&G Evangelist


    You can look on Hogdon's website for their reloading information. I have loaded up some hornandy 150gr using blc (2) powder. I haven't had a chance to shoot them as I have been very busy with work. The nice thing about that website is they use most common bullet manufactures and many different powders.
    And when your reloading equipment arrives you can read your manual through a few times.
  6. The reloading manuals tend to be fairly generic but the best thing about them is the word "SAFETY".

    When reloading do not have the TV or radio on, do not answer the telephone, keep the wife and kids out of the way, its pretty easy to double-charge a case if you are distracted.
    Almost as bad is missing a charge - the primer may just have enough 'umpf' to seat the bullet in the barrel and then you'll have a blocked barrel - next shot will see the barrel explode.

    Get the "One Book / One Caliber" reloading manual for the 303 British

    I use H4895 powder.
    I've tried 125gr and 150gr bullets with little success (accuracy) I think that being so 'short' they are not engaging the rifling in a stabilised condition.
  7. mdj696

    mdj696 G&G Evangelist

    They should print a book, SAFETY for reloading. I too use IMR4064 too. Good for a lot other calibers.
  8. lefty o

    lefty o G&G Evangelist

    haha, they do print a book safety for reloading. its the first 1/4 of every reloading manual.
  9. texnmidwest

    texnmidwest Sir Loin of Beef Forum Contributor

    For supplies, Graf and Sons, wideners, powder valley to name a few.
  10. I use a Lee Classic Loader for my .303 as well. I use a .311 150gr Sierra Pro-Hunter over 38gr of H4895 in Prvi Partizan brass set to 2.95 O.A.L. I get about 1.5" groups at 50 yards with open sights...factory ammo gives me about 2-2.5". The factory ammo shoots right on but my reloads shoot 3" high with the rear sight set as low as it goes....not sure why but it makes me a little mad.
  11. mdj696

    mdj696 G&G Evangelist


  12. samuel

    samuel G&G Newbie

    Usually the main cause of reloads printing high at short range is they don't have the velocity that the factory loads have.This can be checked with a chronograph.What happens is being charged at lower pressure than the factory rounds and having less velocity going down the barrel,the barrel has more time to rise making the bullet print higher.You should be able to check your load book too and see what velocity you should be getting.Some of those old milserps had oversize bores too causing gas loss.Slugging the bore with a splitshot sinker might show something too.And some bullets just go to different places than others.
  13. MJ11

    MJ11 G&G Enthusiast

    174g SMK + 4064

    150g Sierra Game King + 4895

    168g SMK + 4064

    Rest and start over.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2010
  14. gandog56

    gandog56 G&G Evangelist

    That's my favorite recipe. I use 38 grains, COL of 2.995"
  15. Pollux74

    Pollux74 G&G Addict

    Thanks everybody for the valuable sources and advices.... I have to study this now ;)

    OK I agree it is always important to remind people about SAFETY, especially the ones that are experienced because they are the ones that always think they do it good and safe.... Trust me I am in charge of Safety in my laboratory and we are dealing with pretty nasty products there....

    Just another question. It appear that the standard bullet DIA is 0.311 but I have read that some use different diameter.... is it something that you determine with experience and I should not worry about that until I am confident ? or is it something I should determine before hand ?
  16. Slug your bore to be sure. I wouldn't use any less than .310 or any more than .312..but that's just my rifle
  17. My bore came to .310, its looks really nice and shiny. (The rifle is a 1919 Lithgow No.1 MKIII...sporterized of course, but not by me. It was only $99 at cabelas so I thought I would give it a good home.)
  18. Bullet weight, barrel flexing and recoil or rifle jump control bullet impact.

    On the No.4 Enfield with the Mk.1 sight in the lowered position you are using the "battle sight" which is sighted in for 300 yards or six inches high at 100 yards. The No.4 Enfield is sighted in with the Mk.1 sight in the raised position and set at the lowest sight setting or 200 yards. With the sight in this position the point of impact should be three inches high at 100 yards.

    (Please note the Mk.2 or 300-600 flip sight will be six inches high at 100 yards)

    Now the bad news, if you are not shooting Mk.7 ammunition with a 174 grain bullet all bets are off on your point of impact at 100 yards and you have to "wing it".

    Below is the sight in chart and the link for the sight in manual I donated to


    REME Precis No. SA/Rifles/3 (Zeroing of No.1, No.3, No.4, No.5 Rifles)
  19. One major thing to be aware of is your reloading dies are civilian commercial SAAMI standards and NOT designed for the British military chamber.

    Below is an American commercial SAAMI Wilson case gauge, it is nothing more than a commercial SAAMI civilian .303 chamber in which the .303 case headspaces on the shoulder of the case. This gauge is used for setting up your resizing dies and not excessively pushing the shoulder of the case back too far.

    Below is unfired surplus South African .303 ammunition, it is hard to see but the case is .002 below the lowest mark on the Wilson gauge as all new unfired ammunition should be.


    Below is the same South African ammunition "after" it has been fired, the amount the case is sticking above the gauge is the length the military chamber is "longer" than a commercial SAMMI chamber is. The military chamber is longer to allow room for mud and dirt in combat. (Mud of Flanders)


    This is just one of the reasons you are told to "neck size only" on the .303 British and why case head separations can be a problem. If you full length resize you cases using our standard civilian reloading dies you will be pushing the shoulder of the case back over a 1/8 of an inch too far each time you full length resize the case.

    If you fire form your cases using the rubber o-ring method, your cases will be held against the bolt face at "zero headspace" and your cases will NOT stretch and thin in the web area.



    After fire forming your cases, they will headspace on the shoulder and NOT the rim of the case when necked sized only. Therefore the shoulder of the case will hold the case against the bolt face and prevent case stretching in the web area.


    What the rubber o-ring method of fire forming prevents is case head separations due excessive stretching and thinning in the case web area.

  20. Pollux74

    Pollux74 G&G Addict

    This is becoming very technical, I love it....

    I am ready to reload now... I just can;t find bullets around town, so i am shopping online to find the best deal.... I am looking at the sierra prohunter 150gr 0.311 with some H4895 powder...

    Now on the sad side, I can't put my hands on the little cheat sheet that came with the Lee Classic loader (the one with measurements and basic loads)... would it be possible for someone that has it too send me a copy (scan or pic) while I am waiting for Lee to see if they can send me one ?