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Old August 16, 2010, 12:57 AM   #1
butta9999
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Reloading .303 British Question

G day all, i reloaded for my uncle's .303 today and have a question about the powder weight.

My manual recommends starting load 0f 45gr AR2208 and max 48gr,.

I went for 47gr and found the powder was right to the top of the case, even spilling over a little.

Is this a problem.

The data is from Nick Harvey's reloading manual which every aussie uses.
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Old August 16, 2010, 07:37 AM   #2
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Butta,
That's an extremely compressed charge.
Recheck your powder type & charge weight.

I load 43 grains of IMR 4064 with a 150 grain bullet.
Its quite a bit, but doesn't fill up the case.
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Old August 16, 2010, 07:26 PM   #3
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Mate i trippled checked everything. I went down two grains anyway and still the case is nearly full. About 3mm from the top.


Has Anybody else had this problem with other calibers, or the .303
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Old August 16, 2010, 07:47 PM   #4
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You can't load that. if 47 grains spilled over, you can't even load 48. the adi website agreed with that load data. It also was interesting that it didn't list that as a compressed load, which it does for 2209.

So, is there a problem with your scale or measure? There is obviously some glaring problem here.
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Old August 16, 2010, 07:55 PM   #5
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Something's wrong at the source. Here AR2208 is sold as Varget. From the Hornady manual:

150 grain bullets
33.0 grains Starting Load
40.8 grains Maximum Load

174 grain bullets
31.6 Starting Load
39.1 Maximum Load
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Last edited by Unclenick; August 18, 2010 at 10:53 AM. Reason: typo fix
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Old August 16, 2010, 10:11 PM   #6
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Lots of folks use check weights to make sure their scale is "on" before loading. I used to, but but after decades of never having any problem, now days, I just weigh a few of the bullets I'm going to load. As long as the weight only varies by a grain or less, I figure the scale is still right on. And if it more, then out comes the check weight. And some bullets do vary a lot.

There are different methods for getting the case full of powder. Gently tapping the case as you slowly pour the powder in the funnel works wonders.

A long drop tube also works, a trick black powder shooters have been using, literally for over a century.

I would also check the data with other sources, if possible.
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Old August 17, 2010, 06:04 PM   #7
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scales are fine ive checked them over and over. ill get to the bottom of it
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Old August 17, 2010, 08:21 PM   #8
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OK i have crossed checked everything scales, numerous reloading data, powder types etc.

Everything matches up. By the way i am using a 125gr bullet and almost all data shows starting load at 45gr max load is 48gr.

I went for 46gr and the powder settles about 3mm from the top of the case once i give a little tap. Is this still considered a compressed load.
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Old August 17, 2010, 08:46 PM   #9
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Budda - if you are in fact sure the amount of powder is correct and the scale is correct and the issue really is getting more powder in the case you will have to use a droptube as 44AMP suggested. Years ago I used to shoot H4895 in a 6 PPC and I had to use a drop tube for everything and still you had a compressed charge.

My custom made measure came with two lengths of droptubes. I think Sinclair International sells droptube depending on the type measure you have.
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Old August 18, 2010, 12:39 AM   #10
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Using a fairly high load like that will not give you but a couple of reloads out of the brass. Use a lower load and you'll find the brass lasts MUCH longer.
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Old August 18, 2010, 03:47 AM   #11
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Buttta Where abouts in Melbourne are you from? I myself live in Melbourne.

Speers manual lists the maximum for Varget at 49.0 grains with the 123gr projectile and it's listed as compressed so there isn't anything wrong with the data.

Anyway I would start at the starting charge in Nicks manual and work your way up as a previous poster mentioned using such a high charge will give you much shorter case life and the highest charge seldom proves to be the most accurate. Faster isn't always better. In my experience the mid range loads tend to always be the most accurate and the drop in velocity isn't going to be noticable to anyone but the chronograph.

Just to be on the safe side I wouldn't go any further mate until this problem is solved.
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Old August 18, 2010, 03:57 AM   #12
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G day mick im from the west. Sanctuary Lakes near Point Cook.

Yeah i did drop back to 46gr which is a mid load, and a safer option..


Thanks to all for your input on this matter....
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Old August 18, 2010, 07:39 AM   #13
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one more suggestion, if you don't mind, you should chronograph those loads. If you find abnormally high velocities, you obviously have a problem. I'm not sure what the manual lists, but IIRC, your cartridge should be in the 2,500 to 2,800 range, depending on weights, somewhat short of 30-06 velocities. If you find a reading of 200 fps or so higher than what is listed as expected velocity ranges, you will probably be having pressures outside of the norm, too.

Frankly, I never liked the design of the .303, with the highly tapered case. The short neck is a good design point, though.

The british have always designed their guns for reliability, though, so the taper was deliberate, to facilitate fitting them reliably into a dirty or off spec chamber.

This was also one of the reason for the large bore expresses firing at lower than normal pressures, reliable extraction was a must with dangerous game, and heat plays heck with those situations, as well as pressures and powder burn.
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Old August 18, 2010, 08:10 AM   #14
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303 brass varies enormously in capacity. That might be the source of your problem. Pressures and velocities are obviously related to this as well and you might find you have a fast load with much less powder if your case capacity is on the low side.

Just remember that SMLE's don't like high pressure and that cases won't last long, just a firing or 2 if you run at the higher pressures.
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Old August 18, 2010, 09:37 AM   #15
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Quote:
My manual recommends starting load 0f 45gr AR2208 and max 48gr,.
And so does Hodgdon's web site for that bullet using Varget.
You might want to try a different powder. Hodgdon shows 3 others for that bullet weight which use less powder.


125 GR. SPR SP H335 42.0 gr Start 46.0 gr Max
125 GR. SPR SP H4895 41.0 gr Start 45.0 gr Max
125 GR. SPR SP IMR 8208 XBR 39.0 gr Start 43.0 gr Max

I'm not sure what the Aussie equivalents are, hopefully you can find that out.
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Old August 18, 2010, 11:16 AM   #16
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Butta9999,

The case capacity comment may be significant. We get about 3 grains capacity difference in .308 cases here. I wasn't aware the .303 had the same problem, but given that it's made all over the world, that wouldn't be surprising.

Let's do a simple experiment:
  1. Remove the decapping pin from your sizing die.
  2. Resize one fired round in it, leaving the spent primer in place.
  3. Weigh the empty case.
  4. Trim the empty case to 2.212" (or report your trim length)
  5. Weigh the case filled with water level with the mouth (no meniscus)
  6. Subtract the empty case weight from the water-filled weight.

According to QuickLOAD's database, the result should be 56 grains of water capacity or a bit more. To overflow with 45 grains of 2208, it will have to be 53 grains or less, according to QuickLOAD's powder density number for Varget (0.890 grains per cc; which agrees well with Lee's VMD, which puts it at 0.886).

If the case water capacity is actually that low, repeat the above experiment with a fired case that has not been resized, and I or one of the other members with QuickLOAD can use that data to come up with a load adjustment that gives you the same pressure as the larger 56 grain capacity cases would get with 45 and 48 grains. Knowing your barrel length and the bullet length and the COL you are using will help make that more accurate and tell what the velocity difference will be, too.
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Old August 18, 2010, 06:31 PM   #17
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Will do unclenick, once again thanks for all your input its great..
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Old August 19, 2010, 12:45 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unclenick
The case capacity comment may be significant. We get about 3 grains capacity difference in .308 cases here. I wasn't aware the .303 had the same problem, but given that it's made all over the world, that wouldn't be surprising.
Although I don't own a .303, I deal with the brass for my .30-40 Krag (try getting some Krag brass... you'll understand why I form from .303).

While case wall thickness, like other cartridges, can be a cause of case capacity variance, it is usually the .303 case head that causes the big changes. The original design is extremely thin, and limits pressures greatly. Some companies have been producing a stronger case, though (with a thicker case head and web), that allows for higher pressures. Those stronger cases have a greatly diminished case capacity. I am sure pressures would be dramatically different, with identical powder charges, versus a thin-head case.


Even my .30-40 Krag loads are handicapped by the .303 brass I form from. I use Remington brass, mostly, which is a thin-head example. As such, I have to load short (.303 is shorter), with a long jump to the lands, and can't achieve the velocities the proper .30-40 brass is capable of.

Butta, Unclenick's advice still applies. It's definitely worth checking out. (Norma brass, by chance?)
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Old August 19, 2010, 03:15 AM   #19
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No not norma brass, Im using Hornady Brass, that does make sense in what you are saying though.

Do you hunt with your Krag.
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Old August 19, 2010, 01:43 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by butta9999
No not norma brass, Im using Hornady Brass, that does make sense in what you are saying though.

Do you hunt with your Krag.
I believe Hornady brass for the .303 should be produced by PPU (Prvi Partizan) or Frontier (owned by Hornady). I wouldn't expect the PPU brass to have a thick case head, but the Frontier brass is very likely to have it. (Even a lot of Frontier's "standard" U.S. cartridges have diminished-capacity cases.)


Yes, the Krag is a hunting rifle. It's a very early 1896 model, that was turned into a carbine by the CMP (can't remember when - 1920s or '30s). In the last 80-90 years, some one removed the original rear sight, and replaced it with a Marbles' buckhorn. Other than that, it's a well-worn, fun, compact, accurate little carbine.
Today's rain storm is probably going to be the excuse I need, to get into the reloading room, and load some more ammo for the it (I'm completely out of loaded Krag ammo! :barf.

The Krag will even be going with me on the Pronghorn Antelope hunt in a couple weeks. We may end up fighting over it, though.... (I own the dies, brass, bullets, and other reloading components and ammo. Crankylove owns the rifle. -It's a sort of shared ownership rifle. He can't shoot his rifle without my ammo, and I can't shoot my ammo without his rifle.)
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Old August 19, 2010, 09:38 PM   #21
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Frankenmauser,

With your information a shortcut is possible: Cartridge brass has a density of 8.53 gm/cc, so three grains less water capacity should mean a case almost 26 grains heavier. Do you happen to have the weights of the thin and thick head brass handy?
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Old August 20, 2010, 12:48 AM   #22
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Sorry, Unclenick. I don't have anything available. (It's here, somewhere... but I can't find it.) I can give you a weight for the R-P brass, if you want. But I know it won't do much good without a comparison.
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