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Old October 24, 2011, 06:53 PM   #1
davery25
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Boat-tail bullets & the 303: Do they mix?

Hi guys,

As per the title, im in the process of buying reloading components for a SMLE 303british rifle that I've just bought and am wondering whether its safe to fire boat tailed bullets from it.

The reason i ask is that Ive read that the boat tail design wears the barrel out faster on these older guns and is why the british army told soldiers not to fire the mk8 machine gun rounds

Anyone know if this is true or not? Obviously firearms knowledge has come a long way since 1940.
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Old October 24, 2011, 07:16 PM   #2
jaguarxk120
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Chances are the MK 8 303 rounds were loaded to higher pressure than standard 303 cartridges, kind of like a +P+ loading, not good for the SMLE.

Boattail bullets should be just right in the 303.

Last edited by jaguarxk120; October 24, 2011 at 07:26 PM.
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Old October 24, 2011, 07:44 PM   #3
davery25
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Hi Jag,

I considered that but i don't think that they were because they still allowed soldiers to use them 'in emergency situations' which they wouldnt have done if pressures were overlimit for the SMLE.

Usually id be happy to throw caution to the wind but i don't think SMLE's can be rebarrelled in their original configuration once the bores are gone.
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Old October 24, 2011, 07:58 PM   #4
res45
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Flat base bullets are probably your best bet when shooting anything under 300 yds. there all I ever use. Boat tail bullet equal less drag at longer ranges which equals better long range accuracy. Boat tail bullets don't really come into the own till bullet speed drops below the speed of sound,above the speed of sound the nose of the bullet is more important.

Flat base bullets generally shoot better in old military surplus rifles like the two groove 303 British and M1903 Springfield because of how they distort the bullet,it leaves the bore in an oval shape and spins gyroscopically. A lot of the old 303 British rifles that used the old Mark 7 cordite ammo had there throats eroded very badly when the British switch to the Mark 8 ammo that used a BT bullet,the BT basically channeled the hot gases like a cutting torch and ate the rifles throats out. That's not the case today with modern smokeless powders and using BT bullets.
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Old October 24, 2011, 08:09 PM   #5
davery25
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ahh brilliant...thanks res.

So you're saying im fine to shoot BT rounds out of this rifle as long as its smokeless powder right?

I do have 70 mk7 cordite rounds from WW2 and will fire these as well but they're not BT bullets so i should be fine.

I've checked the throat of this rifle and its in very good condition.
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Old October 24, 2011, 10:56 PM   #6
res45
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Basically what I'm saying is if your 303 is a 2 groove rifle it will most likely shoot the most accurately with FB bullets vs. the BT. If it's not a 2 groove shoot whatever you like,your rifle will tell you what it likes best.

Cordite powder burns much hotter and the BT bullet used made erosion much worse. Smokeless powders used today burn much cooler and will work fine with BT bullet. BT bullets gain the advantage at about 300 yds. and beyond over the FB bullets since most of my shooting is done well under 300 yds. I just use the FB bullets in all my mil-surplus rifles.
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Old October 25, 2011, 07:31 AM   #7
PA-Joe
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Question is who makes a .311 or .312 boattail? Did you slug the bore to get the grove diameter?
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Old October 25, 2011, 07:55 PM   #8
res45
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Not very many but there are a couple .311 BT bullets.
http://www.grafs.com/retail/catalog/...roductId/12615

http://www.midwayusa.com/Product/148...oint-boat-tail
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Old October 25, 2011, 10:29 PM   #9
davery25
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matchking and hornady are the only two i can find here in australia that make a .312 bullet. im not tremendously fussed whether its boattailed or not - i just wanted to check whether using a BT would damage the barrel.

If someone made bullets for the 303 i reckon you'd make a lot of money instantly. theres no bullets for them, yet the rifles are still very popular.
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Old October 26, 2011, 05:28 AM   #10
2_Grumpy
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I think the 303 should be .311. A long time (15+ yrs) ago I bought some 135grn hollowpoints that was made by a guy somewhere in QLD. At that time he was making a good range to suit. Unfortunately I don't recall who he was or seen an ad in any magazine to jog my memory.
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Old October 27, 2011, 01:25 AM   #11
davery25
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i shall have a look in the SSAA shooters magazine then. theres nothing on google searches except sierra, but i reckon lots of the little makers wouldnt even have a website.
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Old October 27, 2011, 06:27 AM   #12
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Graf and Sons has a nice selection of .303 British (.311) bullets. Hornady Barnes Lapua etc

http://www.grafs.com/retail/catalog/...ategoryId/922?

they also have brass by Hornady, Winchester, PRVI, and Remington

303British.com has reload data available

http://www.303british.com/id1.html

also both Winchester and Wolf still make commercial .303 rounds

http://www.ammunitiontogo.com/index....mo-303-british

The odd thing is just last evening I was just knocking around the idea of picking up an old Enfield myself for nostalgia's sake. I killed many a deer as a teenager with a Lee Enfield that I ordered from the back of a magazine for 15 dollars that I earned digging potatoes for my uncle. Used milsurp ammo cause I figured it it would kill a person I was good to go on deer .
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Old October 27, 2011, 06:00 PM   #13
davery25
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haha. well if its mk7 ammo which it likely would have been then it would have been good for hunting because they're unstable and tumble lots - but cops here in australia still confiscated them off the hunting grounds because they were an FMJ and not a HP or SP.
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Old October 27, 2011, 06:03 PM   #14
davery25
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thanks for the sites hound - problem being that im in AUstralia and none of those sites ship to australia because you guys have a law about exporting firearms components.
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