I enjoy shooting my .303 Enfields, but mostly shoot military surplus ammo I them. It is corrosive, but it shoots well enough to entertain me at 50 yards.
I recently decided to try some Prvi Partizan factory loads and compare the accuracy to the milsurp.
Here’s the Prvi on the left, and some milsurp on the right:
Here is a typical 10 shot group at 50 yards with some Paki .303 surplus.
Not too bad, but not exactly target grade.
Here’s a 5 shot group of the new Prvi ammo.
But it isn’t exactly cheap to shoot.
I wonder if I can handload some that will shoot as well?
Handloading for the .303 can be a challenge. The Brits cut the chambers on these old rifles “generously”, with lots of extra room in the chamber. They did this so that soldiers could load dirty or muddy ammo in the chamber with little trouble, as trench warfare had taught them that ammo often gets dirty.
This is no problem on the battlefield, as the empty brass is left on the battlefield, and if it is stretched too much, who cares?
But if a reloader wants to reload this brass, it can cause problems. If you take this much-enlarged brass and size it down to original specs, it “works” the brass too much, and can lead to incipient head separations. In fact, if you full-length resize .303 brass, it will often separate on the second firing, leaving half of the cartridge case stuck in the rifle’s chamber.
The solution is to only size the neck part way down, and do not resize the body of the case at all. Just leave it stretched out to fit the chamber tightly, and you can reload it several times.
I took the empty Prvi brass from last week and neck sized it only.
Here’s what it looks like after it is neck sized, only half way down the neck, just enough to hold the new bullet.
I also got some high-quality bullets.
I had some .311, 150 gr Speer SP bullets that have a Ballistic Coefficient of .358, but wanted a better bullet.
I bought some Sierra .311, 174 gr HPBT Matchkings, that have a Ballistic Coefficient of .499.
That’s a mighty nice BC for these old rifles.
Here’s the two bullets for comparison.
I loaded some up and we headed to the range this morning.
I shot my “U.S.Property” No.4, Mark 1.
And also the No.1, Mark 3 that I got from my friend UH_SALT_RIFLE (Pronounced “Assault Rifle”) on AR15.com.
I will be comparing my handloads on the right to the milsurp on the left.
Here’s a 5 shot group of the military surplus ammo today.
And here’s a typical 5 shot group of the handloads.
That flier was my fault, not the ammo’s.
That’s some mighty fine groups for these old rifles.
But I want to try them at 200 yards, as I bet that’s where these bullets with the high BC of .499 will really shine.
Handloading for these old rifles can sure shrink the groups and make them shoot like target rifles.