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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi. First time posting really need help. I purchased a p14 Eddystone rifle. Markings are 1916 ERA. .303 with a X stamped over it. To test dropped a .303 round in the chamber and it went half way down the barrel. I took it to a blacksmith and had a cast made, unfortunally he can't tell what type of round it would take. I pick up the rifle tommorrow and will post the cast info. Definately said it wasn't a h&r 301, .303 or a .308. Says it looks close to a 7.65 argentine, but doesn't think the round would be long enough. Not sure of what the common reboring could be for P14's. By the way it was Sportized with scope mounts. Any suggestions would be great.
 

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7.65 Argy is no bigger than .303 round. Both use a nominal .310-.312 bullet. How does the bore look? How many lands and grooves does it have? If it does not have five groove rifling then it has been heavily rebored. I would like to see a picture of the cast. I wonder if it has been taken out to .375 H&H, 9.3x62 Mauser, 45-70 or even converted into a .410 shotgun.
 

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Firstly, a 7,65 argy will Not fit into a .303 chamber ( the argy has a bigger shoulder diameter.) Could be a .303 derivative ( say .303/25, also common in Canada besides Australia and NZ); Any other markings on the barrel...most self respecting gunsmiths mark replacement barrels with calibre and GS details.
Could also be a separated case fragment in the forward part of the chamber...happens with .303 ammo from time to time, especially reloads...
photos and Chamber cast details helpful inthe extreme.

Waiting for more details,
Doc AV
AV Ballistics.
 

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OK, I think there is some confusion here. The OP said:

To test dropped a .303 round in the chamber and it went half way down the barrel.
I took that to mean he a had a bullet that the thing ate whole. Doc, you are working on the assumption he had a complete round and it would only chamber half way. I think the OP needs to clarify this for us.

I quoted those rounds as the P14 and Model 1917 actions are often used as the basis for big bore rifles.
 

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A huge number of rifles, Pattern 14 among others, were rechambered in the UK to 410 shotgun. This was to take the rifles off ticket and put them on a shotgun certificate in the UK. If it is smooth bored, it is probably a 410...
 

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I think we need a lot more information FROM the OP on this one.

First of all, as a new and budding shooter, he might not be familiar with the terminology that we are used to.

There is a difference between "rebore" and "rechamber". Rebore means to ream out the barrel, re-rifle it, and thus end up with a larger bore than original. Therefore, the OP should take a .303 round, and GENTLY insert it into the muzzle. If it just enters the muzzle end or is tight, then the rifle might have the original bore size.

If so, that leaves rechambering, a common alteration to P-14 rifles. The OP says he dropped a .303 ROUND into the chamber and it went "Halfway up the barrel". I suspect there might be a tad of "poetic licence" with this statement, as a fully loaded round to get stuck "halfway up the barrel" would mean a diameter of about 5/8 inch for about 12 inches from the chamber before the round stopped. If it was a bullet dropped into the barrel, there would have to be the same 12 inches before the .303 bullet stopped, so it ie either one hell of a freebore or a tremendously washed out barrel.

So we need a better description and a better measurement of what stopped where.

The common "rechambering" of these rifles was to simply run a chambering reamer into the chamber to make a "magnum" type of rifle. The .300 Winchester Magnum and the .308 Norma Magnum rifles are seen at Gun Shows fairly often here in Canada. If this were the case, then a .303 round would enter the chamber roughly 2 1/2 inches, a far cry from "halfway down the barrel." I have also seen .375 H & H barrels on P-14 rifles.

A measuring of a chamber cast can certainly help, provided dimensions are given.

.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Okay, so I picked up the gun from the gunsmith and stopped at 2 other specialists on the way. Here is the information from the cast. It looked like a .300 win mag would fit great, but the bolt would "not" completely close as the round was too long. From other opinions it sounds like it is a .308 norma. Take a look and give my your opinions, of course nobody around has any .308 norma so couldn't I couldn't chamber one. A: 2.632 case length. B: .510 Head Dia. F: .346 Neck Dia. G: 495 Shoulder Dia. H: 350 Neck Length. H: 170 Shoulder Length. .313 Bullet Dia. I uploaded some other pics of the rifle if anyone wanted to see them.

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Correction from OP thread, when i put a .303 into the chamber it just disappeared so not halfway down the barrel but definitely was swallowed case and all. It has the 5 groove rifling. The .300 win mag goes into the chamber, but bolt will not fully close, just a pitch as the case is a bit too long. From the OP i was confused from the gunsmith's conversation until seeing him today.
 

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@OP - You can help us by telling us what country you are in, please.

1. If this rifle was sold out of service in the UK it MUST have been proofed before it could be commercially sold - that is the law.

2. If it was proofed as a .303 then it MUST have the requisite stamps on the left-hand side of the barrel - that is also the law.

3. It was rebarelled and or re-chambered in the UK then it MUST have the old calibre struck out, and the new calibre stamped on the barrel - that too is the law.

You have not shown us the left-hand side of the barrel so far.

tac
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for everyone's help so far. The left side of the barrel is the .303 stamped out, nitro proof and UK markings. The right side is the serial. Both pics are upside down as I'm a newbie and forgot it inverts when taking pics. From what I can tell it was made at ERA(Eddystone) and then has UK markings on it. The ERA is above the serial and scope mount hangs over to not be able to get a good pic of it. I live and purchased the rifle in US. It came from an estate with no background info, so it was a gamble from the start. All your previous contributions have helped so far as when I visited the 2 gun shops on the way home from the gunsmith, I inquired about the .300 win mag, .308 norma and the .357. I checked a few other shops around and they don't carry .308 norma rounds(nothing in stock). I will continue to pursue this but if any one else has any recommendations please definatly reply. Thanks again everyone. At one shop they even took off the stock and looked at the bottom of the barrel but it only had UK markings that made no sense to me(symbols).
 

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QUOTE " At one shop they even took off the stock and looked at the bottom of the barrel but it only had UK markings that made no sense to me(symbols)."

The symbols did not mean anything to all of us either, when we first started collecting and shooting these rifles. However, I would suggest you try to post some nice clear photographs of all the symbols, writing, and marks on your barrel. These should tell us, or give us a very big clue as to what you have, and even an approximate timeframe of when it was modified ---if it was done in England, as it probably was if the chambering is the .308 Norma Magnum.

When you loaded the .300 Winchester Magnum round, did you push the cartridge well down into the magazine first, and then try to close the bolt? This type of rifle is designed to load cartridges directly from the magazine, and not so easily with a cartridge simply laid on the magazine platform and pushed into the chamber, as the rim of the cartridge must closely contact the bolt face, and slip behind the extractor when loading.

If it will not close on a .300 Winchester round after trying the above, then I would suggest that it is chambered for the .308 Norma Magnum. This was a fairly common conversion with these rifles.

The chamber cast dimensions you give are closer to the .308 Norma Magnum than the .300 Winchester Magnum.

It is very simple and easy to make .308 Norma Magnum brass from .300 Winchester Magnum brass. You will not have to buy the more expensive .308 Norma brass. Depending upon the make of dies that you use, there are two methods. Some dies will have enough neck length to allow resizing .300 brass with the expander ball and some will not.

Method A - Remove the decapping rod and expander ball completely from the .308 Norma Magnum resizing die. Lubricate the case as you would normally do so when rezsizing, and resize the .300 case to .308 Norma dimensions. Trim to length and chamfer the neck, inside and out. When lubricating the cases, too much lube will leave dents in the case, while too little will leave a case stuck in the resizing die. TIP - order a stuck case remover along with your reloading dies.

Method B - Trim the .300 Winchester Magnum cases to length. Chamfer the neck inside and out to remove burrs. Lubricate and resize in the .308 Norma Magnum dies as normal.

You should also slug your bore. You might have to order an expander ball for your dies for the .303 British and use bullets designed for the .303 British rather than the smaller .308 diameter bullets, if you want the best accuracy.
.
 

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Do I see the outline of a belt on that cast? If you cast a belted magnum chamber does it look like that? What belted magnum would rechamber in .303 caliber and work? I wonder if this is somebody's FrankenP14 with their own wildcat cartridge.
 

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I just compared the OP's fifth picture with my ERA built P14. His chamber has a recess for a belt and mine does not. Interesting. Off to look up belted cartridges.

Edited to add:

DOH! moment

308 Norma and 300 Win Mag are belted cartridges.

Then again they are usually associated with .308 bullets, and this is a .303 barrel that probably needs .310 bullets as a minimum. I wonder what the previous owner fed this thing.
 

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I looked at the chamber and initially thought there was possibly an insert in it but now that you put the belt on the cast and the appearance of the chamber together...yes I see what you are saying.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks everyone again. Just an update, I found .308 norma mag rounds and a gunsmith who would test fire it for me. I picked up the rifle yesterday with excellent results. Turned out to be the rifle was changed to a .308 norma mag. The fired casing was excellent with good headspacing and case was intact. At one point it was rebored from a .303 to a .308 norma mag, don't know why they didn't stamp it. I'll eventually have it restamped to reflect the correct caliber, if it's possible.
 

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It was common for Enfield Model 1917 rifles to be rechambered from 30-06 to 308 Norma Magnum, and the odd P14 was rechambered from 303 British to 308 Norma Magnum with the same reamer, but to handload with 312 dia bullets. It was also fairly common for rechambered rifles to not be marked with the new chambering. Not right, but common. Firing 308 NM ammo in a P14 chambered would not be unsafe, but better accuracy would be obtained if handloaded with 303 bullets.

Because of the different naming conventions, I'll explain: A Model 1917, in 30-06 has a bore of .300" and a groove dia of .308" (nominal dimensions) and a P14 in 303 British has a bore of .303" and a groove dia of .313". (nominal dimensions)

Exact bore/groove dimensions of the Enfields can be found with a web search, and are in Hatchers writings also. It was common practice to have a military bore area slightly larger than the bullet area, to allow for battle crud.

EDIT:

From Hatchers: "We retained the Enfield form of rifling. but changed the bore and groove dimensions to suit our own bullet diameter of .3086 inch. To accomplish this we changed the bore from .303 inch to .300, and made the grooves .005 inch deep instead of .0058 as in the ,303."

30-06 Spr. = .300/.310 and the 303 Br = .303/.3146

The SAAMI std for the 303 is .303/.314 min (bullet max = .3125 {- .003})
The SAAMI std for the 30-06 is .300/.308 min (bullet max = .309 {- .003})

Again, a 0.002 oversized groove dia, common military.
 

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A huge number of rifles, Pattern 14 among others, were rechambered in the UK to 410 shotgun. This was to take the rifles off ticket and put them on a shotgun certificate in the UK. If it is smooth bored, it is probably a 410...
Mostly they were not actually re-chambered to .410, only a very few were. Mostly they simply had the rifling removed which, under UK law at the time, was enough to make them technicality shotguns. A few Constabularies would not accept the latter, initially, and insisted that they be in a pukka shotgun calibre but they mostly gave up and accepted the law as it was worded - as opposed to the way that they would like it to be.

As a reference, I was actually around in the UK shooting world at that time (Prior to the 1988 Firearms Act) and remember many people with those guns, that is to say smooth-bored but not actually .410s.
 

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This is an example of why people who rechamber things should mark them properly afterwards.

At one time this was about the only magnum action that was within reach for the common man and many people converted them.
 
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