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Got the bug to reload some .303 after finding some brass in the garage. I usually load for CMP vintage matches and HighPower, from 30-06 to .223.
I've got a #1 mark 3 that shoots lights out with regular Privi 174gr ammo, so it seems fitting to hand load the empty cases. Brass and powder ( Varget, N140 or IMR4064 ) are no issue but bullets seem To be the tough part. Hornady 174gr BTHP is all I can find with out breaking the bank. Looking for some advice on bullets, loads and personal experience.
Thanks Hollis
 

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I have had nice results with 150 gr. and 180 gr. sierra and also PPU bullets with Varget powder. Still a work in progress.
 

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One thing to have in mind your rifle may not shoot BTs very well ( Privi are BTs I think ) if so don't stress get some flat base. I consider 150gn almost as low as you should go in weight , 174/180gn and 215s RN for the big stuff is A ok. That's for hunting. Targets 174gn open base is the go. You will have to make them from open base BTs. Powder you could go past 2208/varget if supply was a problem I wont.
The BT problem is a wear thing from cordite. The original Mk7 projectile countered this issue. Your rifle will tell you the best load it likes. happy shooting. :thumbsup:
 

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Yeah, PPU bullets are boat tail but so far, knock on wood as I rap the side of my head, I have had decent results with them out to only 200 yards. I have not gone any further with them and probably won't as I am a purely recreational shooter, plus that means a 600 yard round trip or more to the target stands if I go any further. I should mention also that the rifling in all of my enfields is superb so that may skew the results also. Actually I have not had any problems getting much of anything to shoot decently in the darn things. Everything I stuff in them seems to work pretty well...........at least to my somewhat dubious standards.
 

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The whole "hating boat tails" thing is on an individual basis. Some are fine with them.
Worn 2-groove bores seem to be the most common candidate for it so if yours isn't in that group its not as big a deal as its made out to be.

Bullet weight seems to be a bit of an individual preference as well. My No4 Mk2 likes 150 Gr FB, but my No5 Mk1 prefers 174 Gr BT's.

My preferred loads are:

150 Gr Hornady # 3120 SP-FB seated to 3.0705" PPU brass 38.0gr of IMR3031 Fed 210 primer

or:
174 Gr Sierra HPBT seated to 3.0600" PPU brass 37.0 gr of IMR3031 TUL KVB-7 primer
 

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I will add that I used to use IMR 3031 many moons ago when it was the only powder available for reloading. It is now considered to hot for the 303. More modern powders will give higher velocity with lower pressure. These rifles are generally older than the people using them so be gentle where you can and they will be around for a lot longer. IMR 4895 is now the fastest IMR powder listed for use in the 303 in Australia by local Guru Nick Harvey.
 

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Every rifle will tell you what weight bullet it likes. All of mine (No.1,No.4,No.5) like the 174 gr weight.
I have found 174 gr BTHP to shoot best (yes, contrary to all you read) .

I did a test of Hornady 174 BTHP to their flat base RN 174 SP bullets 100 to 600 yds. The flat base shot almost as good as the BTHP at 100 and 300 yds. At 600 yds, the RN flat base needed 38 minutes of additional elevation and shot wide. Of course it did, it has the BC of a flying trash can . From that point forward,no more testing, I went with the 174 gr BTHP and moved on to 1000 yds and great success.

Here is my take: 100 to 300 yds, probably any 150 or 174 gr bullets will suffice but at 600 yds, its clearly the heavier bullets that shoot well and hold accuracy. Don't waste your time or money on
303 RNSP bullets for shooting beyond 300 yds... they are hunting bullets and really aren't made to shoot beyond 300 yds (my opinion, YMMV.) as most hunting shots are 300 and less.

Here is a hint: If you reload, you buy Hornady or Sierra .311 or .312 or .3105 bullets when you see them and you buy deep. They are not available most of the year and when they make a run of them, buy fast and buy ahead. The long pole in the tent the last 3 yrs has been void of Hornady and Sierra 303 bullets.

I have had great success with Varget and IMR 4064 with 303 caliber rifles as well as IMR 4895. In last 2 yrs Varget evaporated and is extinct and IMR 4895 became impossible to find except for maybe a pound twice a year. I had to transition to 4064 which for some reason pops up regularly these days and I can stock it and keep my rifles on firing line. Since 4064 has done so well, I'll not go back to the other powders as they are not dependable for supply.
 

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One thing to have in mind your rifle may not shoot BTs very well ( Privi are BTs I think ) if so don't stress get some flat base. I consider 150gn almost as low as you should go in weight , 174/180gn and 215s RN for the big stuff is A ok. That's for hunting. Targets 174gn open base is the go. You will have to make them from open base BTs. Powder you could go past 2208/varget if supply was a problem I wont.
The BT problem is a wear thing from cordite. The original Mk7 projectile countered this issue. Your rifle will tell you the best load it likes. happy shooting. :thumbsup:
I had read that BTHP's might not shoot well, but about a year ago I bought 100 Privi BTHP bullets, and they did just fine. I might of bought flat base, but they were not available.
 

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Imr 4064 is one of my staple powders. Trying to remember the hornady projectile number I use, but I use it in the 303 & 7.7 Japanese.
 

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Since there are no 174gr Flat Base bullets that replicate the Mark VII bullet in America, if I want to replicate as close as possible the MarkVII loading, I use 174 gr BTHP. At 1000 yds: this has proven to work for me.

I shoot for accuracy and long range. Most shoot for adequate accuracy and maybe as far as 300 yds.

Bullet selection to meet your requirements is the key. Those that shoot 100 yds don't need heavy bullets and those that go to 300 yds may find 150 grain bullets (any style) shoot good enough.
 

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I will add that I used to use IMR 3031 many moons ago when it was the only powder available for reloading. It is now considered to hot for the 303. More modern powders will give higher velocity with lower pressure. These rifles are generally older than the people using them so be gentle where you can and they will be around for a lot longer. IMR 4895 is now the fastest IMR powder listed for use in the 303 in Australia by local Guru Nick Harvey.
Unfortunately not always.
I read this a while back & tried H335, one of the powders advertised as having lower peak & overall pressure & so capable of higher velocity, lower pressure or a balance between the 2.
Then this started happening:




These weren't "powder puff loads" either, they were running 2650 FPS. Unless they "blooped", if that happened I just got enough oomph to pop the bullet into the throat & a whoosh of smoke.

At first I thought of things like lube contamination, but it wasn't that. Bad powder lot? Nope the same lot worked fine in 7.62mm loads.

I loaded some with zero lube of any kind just neck sizing & the same thing happened. Further research found several others that had a similar if not identical partial ignition with yellow clumps & click-bang ignition. It seems that H335 just doesn't like the case capacity pressure levels of the .303 round.

*disclaimer*
I do not know if this happens with other similar powders, this only refers to H335.
 

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I believe the 'not happy with boattails' thing is going to depend A LOT upon barrel wear.

Yes, Cordite is definitely going to be erosive to your barrel, but if the rifle hasn't seen much Cordite, there shouldn't be all that much erosion and the BT's should shoot just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Great info, thanks. Looks like 100 rds of 150 and 174 gr are coming my way. Everyone has their go to powder, I'll load 10 of each with Varget and IMR 4064 and see what groups. I don't think there will be any 1000 yds in my future, but maybe some 600. It's my most accurate Enfield by far and also my oldest.
Here is a quick pic of my ladies, BSA #1 mark III, Lend Lease Savage, Maltby.
image.jpg
 

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I love reloading the .303. I'm not producing cat-sneeze or psycho-stupid loads, just following the loading manual data and having great results. One thing I use is a collet die and the brass is lasting a very long time, with the caveat that the loads are only used in specific rifles since I'm not doing a full length resizing so be sure to label which rifle the reloads are for and you are fine.
 

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I'd like to go to 4895, for a couple of reasons, but supply & demand is biting me in the butt here still & its in short supply. I have working loads for 3031 so I'm using it. Not because its ideal, but because it's "good enough".
 

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Blandon & Son's Martini 303, Winchester P-14:

I have had excellent luck with IMR 4895, and 174gr Spire-points, both flat-base and boat tail. I have tried 150's and 180's, but the old Martini really prefers the 174gr.

Having a Finnish Civil Guard Mosin Nagant, with a .308" bore, I don't have as much issue finding flat-base .303 bullets, as I pull the bullets from the 7.62x54R rounds I buy.
 

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40.5 grains AA 2460 and Remington 180 grain RN soft points. Chronographs just over 2400 fps in my No4 MK II, great reliable function, and I'm sure would flatten deer like a sledgehammer. These bullets seem to shoot accurately, which surprised me being kinda small on diameter (.310"). Have some 150 grain Sierra and Hornady 150 grain PSP's loaded with IMR 4895 ready to go, and I'm expecting good things.

BTW, Rem factory loads of the same weight cross the screens @ 2515 fps avg. God, I love shooting Lee Enfields.
 

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A couple (or more) decades ago - I dragged my P14 with PH target sights out to a hi-power slow fire match. Not competitive but fun!

Shot Sierra 180s over a moderate charge of 4895 (probably IMR but might have been H). Shot okay at 200 and 600 yards. Puuloa USMC range - Ewa Beach, HI.

IIRC - this was before Sierra made .311 Match Kings. Used match bullets (Sierra, Hornady and Speer 168s) in my M1s and M1As.

Never had much luck with 3031 in most military rifles.

Have a FF barreled action rifle I built up with an old AJ Parker "Twin Zero" target sight (old, designed around late 20s) but I've never taken it past 100 yards.
 

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Canada

Blandon & Son's Martini 303, Winchester P-14:

I have had excellent luck with IMR 4895, and 174gr Spire-points, both flat-base and boat tail. I have tried 150's and 180's, but the old Martini really prefers the 174gr.

Having a Finnish Civil Guard Mosin Nagant, with a .308" bore, I don't have as much issue finding flat-base .303 bullets, as I pull the bullets from the 7.62x54R rounds I buy.
I have a No4, Mk1T. With 37 grs of Hogdon 4895 and 174gr. Hornady FMJ/BT I am getting .75" at 100yds.
 
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