View Full Version : 303 Reloads Hitting Target Sideways
I recently purchased a Savage No4 Mk1 with a 2 grove barrel and 120 rounds of 1981 Winchester 303 British white box ammo, that shoots great in this rifle.
The surplus WCC 81 ammo is crimped, uses a 175 gr flat based bullet, and 46.2 grains of ball powder. It will hold a 2" group at 100 yards and is calibrated perfectly with the ladder sight graduations. It's just hard to find any more, so i'm trying to duplicate the load using Sierra Match Kings.
The problem is my reloads go through the target sideways and HIGH at 100 yards. My loads consist of neck sized brass, CCI large rifle primers, SMK 174 gr HPBT .311 bullets, no crimp, and have tried 39 to 41 grains of H4895 in half grain increments. My first thought was that I loaded .308 bullets, but a quick measurement showed .311. Has anyone had similar problems reloading 303 British and what was your solutions? Thanks, Ed.
Because they normally have a shorter bearing section than flat-base bullets of the same weight, boattails tend to yaw in oversize throats/bores. If you like Sierra bullets, try the 180-grain .311 flat-base soft-point and you may be pleasantly surprised. Save the MatchKings for barrels with tighter bores and chambers than the usual 2-groove Savage.
Have you slugged the bore? slug it and find out what dia. it is, you can go from there.
I concur the BT bullets are most likely the problem. Slugging the bore wouldn't hurt either since it will tell you whether or not you have the correct diameter bullets for your particular rifle. Mic the Winchester bullet too since it performs well.
As an aside, you'll be hard pressed to duplicate the WCC 81 performance. That is some of the most accurate milsurp out there. Wish I hadn't used all of mine up so quickly years ago
bullets, Even the 125 Speer works very well. IMR 4895 is the best first choice for powders.
I've loaded plenty of 173 gr. USGI pulled match bullets in .303 for practice rounds. Now then; if you do this, you must use a .308 decapper/expander that will fit your .303 sizing die, or your .308 dia. bullets will slide forward and backward! Usually I also would prefer to use a flat base heavy .311 bullet, but I had good luck with the ex GI 7.62 match. My guess is success in this varies with the rifles. I have one MkIII with a delicious perfect bore and FTR in the 50's, won't shoot ANYTHING under 6" at 100 yards, no matter what loaded or handloaded ammo you use.
If the bullets are going in sideways just turn your target sideways and that should take care of it. :evil6:
A boat tail takes awhile to stabalise and is destabilised by a worn throat and a worn muzzle sooo flat based bullets would work better.
In addition, my Sierra manual for the 174 HPBT's using H4895 says
min. 34.3gr at 2100 fps and 37.3gr max at 2300 fps.
IMR 4895 can be loaded 35.3 min to 41.6 max at 2450 fps.
My bad, I used did IMR 4895. I'll order the 180 grain bullets from Midway and give them a try and post back with the results. Ed
The 180gr Sierra SP's also stay with the sight calibrations out to past 600 yards, Super accurate too in most good shooting Enfields. Its nice to be able to dial the numbers w/o mental gymnastics when shooting multiple targets placed up and down the range. (One instance is the Gunsite Hills range, www.gunsitehills.com )
Cool, instant link! Learn new stuff all the time!
Ken The Kanuck
Quite simple really, raise your target and turn it.:evil6:
Always glad to help.
The link is from a Mosin Nagant site, but the methods are the same for your rifle. HTH
They shoot great in my Savage #4 Mk1*, 2 groove, sounds like yours' twin. I also have some Hornady 150 and 174 .312s I got for my M91 Argentine that do very well (SMLE's bore is .3115 or so; I split the diffence depending on my mood ;) )
Finally found some Sierra 180 grain Pro-Hunter bullets, wow are they long! Loaded 15 rounds with 3 different powder charges, five each at 40,40.5, and 41 grains, of IMR 4895. At a 100 yards I got 2-3 inch groups with all loads, the only difference would be elevation. The hotter the loads, the higher the impacts. Using 200 yard setting on the rifle and a 6:00 hold on an SR-1 target the 40 grain loads grouped at 12:00 in the high 9 ring, low 8 ring, the 40.5 grain load grouped at 12:00 in the 8-7 ring, and so on. I will reduce the load to the 37-38 grain range to match the ladder sight graduations when I have more time. Thanks for all the help and information. Ed
Thanks for the range report! Sometimes folks find a solution but don't remember to report back in.
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