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Old June 24, 2007, 01:29 PM   #1
Hill
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NOOB reloader questions for comment.

Please read the email sent to a bullet manufacturer here in South Africa. The email keeps boucing back. So I was wondering if you guys could please comment.

Hi I hope you can help me or at least forward this onto someone who can.

I have a Lee Enfield P14 .303 British Rifle. The barrel had been shortened by the previous owner. From firing pin to tip it is 56cm (22in). Now when using your factory ammo it is accurate at 100m where I normally set it in.

However on trying to reload I am battling to find a powder charge to suit the barrel.

I am using Somchem powder. S335. It states a safe start load of 37.8gr for a 150gr head. And maximum load 42gr. I cannot achieve accurate groupings anywhere in this load range and get occasional flyers over a meter off the target.

I started a range of different loads this week end. Starting at 36gr and ending at 41gr with a .5gr increment.

Unfortunately I mixed up a couple of different casings. However just before starting the shoot I decided to mark each bullet hole according to casing.

The other casings used where S&B (Sellier & Bellot) and Highland AX. These casings seem to hold more powder than the PMP's. I checked a couple of cases and the eqivalent load in the PMP where always closer to the neck of the casing than the other two cases.

Anyway during the shoot I found the rounds using the PMP casings to be the most accurate. At around 36 to 37gr I achieved reasonable grouping at 30m but not great. Rounds using the other cases and even the PMP rounds above 37gr were erratic. 90% of the time the bullet hole was not round but elongated indicating to me that the bullet was possible tumbling.

My first question is, because the barrel is about 3 inches shorter than normal, should I be using a load with a lower charge?

Would it be possible to get the factory load details to try narrow my search to find the best load for this rifle? Things like powder type and amount.

Thanking you in anticipation.
R.M.Hill
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Old June 24, 2007, 01:50 PM   #2
rwilson452
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The first thing that jumps into my mind is when it was shortend the it wan't crowned correctly. This would require having the crown reground. The second thing that I think of is are they the proper size bullets. Sometimes bullets sold are actually .308 dia. Not what you want for a .303. The correct dia. bullet is .313
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Old June 24, 2007, 02:00 PM   #3
Hill
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With factory ammo it shoots perfectly. Would the crowning not affect that as well?

As for the correct dia. bullet. I don't have anything to check with. But am using Highland AX heads. One would assume they should be correct.

Both Highland AX 150gr and PMP 150gr factory ammo shoots perfectly. I can get regular groupings of within 2 inches at 100m.
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Old June 24, 2007, 02:09 PM   #4
rwilson452
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your correct a bad crown would affect factory ammo too. BTW the bullet dia in metric would be 7.95mm

One thing you can try is to drop a bullet point end first into the muzzle. the bullet shouldn't go more than a 1/3 of the way in. if you can push it over 1/2 in with your thumb using light pressure, it's the wrong size.
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Old June 25, 2007, 11:12 AM   #5
Hill
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Thanks for the replies so far.

I tried the bullet down the barrel and it is a tight fit about a third of the way down.
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Old June 25, 2007, 01:30 PM   #6
rwilson452
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Ok, most likely good bullets. I'm reaching here. But I don't know your reloading proceedures. You said you can't measure bullet dia. I assume this means you don't own a set of calipers. I would get one. Over all length can be critical in these older rifles. A couple hundreds one way or the other can make a big difference. I would suggest if you don't already you weight each charge of powder. Sorry but I'm not familiar with the bullets and powder your using.
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Old June 25, 2007, 03:08 PM   #7
Hill
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Ok you have touched on a possibility. I will purchase some factory ammo tomorrow and compare sizes. Especially length. Will report back tomorrow if possible.
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Old June 25, 2007, 04:39 PM   #8
Trapper L
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Here's a suggestion for you. You will need to load one brand of brass only as the interior dimensions are probably different and you'll get different pressures. Load one round only of each weight of powder like 1 each 37.8 grs, 1 each 38.3 grs, 1 each of 38.8, until you hit maximum of 42.0 grs. Shoot each one at the same target from the lightest to the maximum loads and note each bullet hole. As you shoot, you should have an area where the bullets will focus on a point of impact. Most likely around 80% of max loads. This is where you need to work on your powder load. It maybe that loads from 38.8 to 41.6 all group together with the others looking like flyers, but there will be a focal point. I would then suggest that you pick a load from the middle of that group and vary the Overall Length or seating depth of the bullet. Their suggested OAL is 72.9mm but it may require longer or shorter OAL to dial in the accuracy. When going longer, chamber the round, extract it, and look at it for signs of the rifling on the bullet. If you see rifle marks, it's too long and back off. This will usually bring a grumpy gun under control. As to the barrel length, you are only losing maybe a 100 ft per second and shouldn't be an issue if the crown is correct and it appears that it is as it shoots factory ammo.
FWIW, it appears that the S335 is a washed down version of our H335 as the data is identical across the spectrum. It should be a pretty decent powder in that chambering.
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Old June 26, 2007, 01:20 PM   #9
Hill
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Hi

Thanks for the reply.

I was speaking to the guys at the gun shop and they have suggested I use 180gr as the rifle was originally designed for 174gr bullets. The 180gr heads are also longer than the 150gr which will result in more contact area with the rifleing. I am a bit worried the rifling may be worn.

Accuracy seemed better with lower loads when using 150gr heads so I am also expecting the slightly slower 180gr would improve the accuracy as well.

I may be way off here but will try anyway.
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