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Old October 29, 2013, 04:38 PM   #1
wogpotter
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.303 british brass comparisons.

Rating .303 British cases by manufacturer for critical specs. These are the average from 5 sample cases.

The tests produced a bit of interesting myth busting again (“Thinner than normal” American made cases & "thinner rimmed" cases from Rem. & Win.), & a couple of inconstancies. I expected case weights to be the exact inverse of case volumes, but it wasn’t so. This may be in part to my attempt to get volumes by water as the meniscus was more variable than I expected so I wouldn’t be as concerned with the volume results as I would with the weight, rim thickness & variations in those 3 areas.

Case weight.
Remington lightest @ (161.04 GR).
Win 2Nd. @ (168.0).
S&B 3Rd. @ (180.62).
PPU 4th. @ (182.38).
HXP Heaviest. @ (184.62).

Case volume of water.*see disclaimer above about variability in the meniscus*
Win smallest @ 53.28 Gr.
HXP 2Nd. @ 53.78 Gr.
Rem 3Rd. @ 54.6 Gr.
PPU 4th. @ 55.54 Gr.
S&B largest @ 55.95 Gr.

Rim thickness. **Measured at 3 points around the circumference & averaged per case for 5 cases**
S&B Thinnest with 0.0555”.
Rem 2Nd. With 0.0586”.
HXP 3Rd. with 0.0600”.
Win 4Th. With 0.0607”.
PPU Thickest With 0.0608”.

Case to case variations.
Weight:
Win lowest @ 0.4 GR.
Rem next @ 1.5 Gr.
PPU 3Rd with 4.1 GR.
HXP 4 Th. With 11.3 Gr.
S&B last with a whopping 18.3 Gr.

Volume:
HXP lowest with 1.2 Gr.
Rem 2Nd at 1.8 Gr.
Win 3Rd. at 2.7 Gr.
PPU 4Th. At 3.1 Gr.
S&B highest @ 3.9 Gr.

Rim thickness variation.
PPU, Win & Rem in a dead heat for least variation @ 0.0030” between.
HXP 2Nd at 0.0045”
S&B 3Rd. with 0.0050”.
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Old October 29, 2013, 05:01 PM   #2
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Interesting observations! Thanks for taking the time to do all that.

Ultimately the conclusion is?

(I will swear by PPU cases: use almost nothing but; have had a dream run with them so far; and not counting my loading screwups, I can count the number I've had to ditch on the fingers of one hand, this after multiple reloadings (most of them full length resized for service in several rifles).

At my level of skill, I honestly can't tell the difference at the target between them, Remington and Federal when loaded similarly. S & B, however, will never be bought by me again unless I am supremely desperate. That was not a good experience for all sorts of reasons.)
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Old October 29, 2013, 05:11 PM   #3
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I agree that's some great data. It's cool to see case variation between manufacturers. Though I'm not sure the practicality of use of the data, but it's it interesting.
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Old October 29, 2013, 05:54 PM   #4
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I have had case heads seperate on S&B brass, and when I looked into it it seems that many people were getting this same problem with S&B brass.

I to like PPU brass.
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Old October 30, 2013, 07:43 AM   #5
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Quote:
Ultimately the conclusion is?
For me it was to use either HXP, or PPU brass.
However this was started off in my mind after I used some old nickle-plated Remington brass for a test batch or two & ended up getting 6 reloads out of it.

Rim thickness (& variations in it) have been blamed for a lot of *ahem* "headspace" problems as well, so I go to thinking what really IS a good brand of brass in the real world, separated from internet myth.

As for S&B I think the problems with it are more related to the quality of the brass (which I have no way of measuring) rather than its dimensions.
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Old October 30, 2013, 08:31 AM   #6
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so my 1600 rounds of HXP has me set for life then when I actually do have to start reloading?
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Old October 30, 2013, 08:42 AM   #7
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Rimmed cases, I am the fan of the case with the thickest rim, then there is the shoulder, In the big inning the rim and or belt held the case to the rear, what happened in front of the rim and or belt was of little consequence.

Then came improvements in the shape of the case, tapper was decreased and the angle of the shoulder was increased.

Case head thickness, I will not load Italian 'Focchi-ko-honie' brass, when measuring case head thickens I have found the Italian brass to be as thin as .090" at the case head. I am sure they are happy with it but when it comes to unsupported case head I prefer .200"+, then there is case head protrusion.

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Old October 30, 2013, 11:28 AM   #8
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Quote:
my 1600 rounds of HXP
Ought to last you a month or two!
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Old October 30, 2013, 11:32 AM   #9
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Quote:
I am the fan of the case with the thickest rim
Me too. That was one of the surprises in the results. People have been blaming everything from ingrown toenails to unexpected pregnancy via bad headspace, case stretching, case separation, poor accuracy & satanic possession on "thin rimmed" U.S. made brass. The Win brass I tested was actually one of the thickest.
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Old October 30, 2013, 12:38 PM   #10
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Good info and thanks.

I've got a little over a 1000 pieces of PPU brass.

I can find PPU ammo on sale around here for 16.00 - 18.00 per 20 rds.

I guess I should do the math and see if reloading for my 303's is cost effective.
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Old October 30, 2013, 01:07 PM   #11
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it is too bad you didn't have some Norma 303 brass to compare also. when I reloaded for the 303 I had the best luck with Norma brass. unfortunately you had to buy the ammo to get it.
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Old October 30, 2013, 03:50 PM   #12
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I wish I had some Norma, & some Lapua as well.

If anybody wants to send me some I'll do the donkey work & add it in.
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Old October 30, 2013, 06:18 PM   #13
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I guess I should do the math and see if reloading for my 303's is cost effective.

The other reason is variety. Factory loads are pretty much 150gn and 180gn softpoints and that's just about it if you hunt (Kynoch in the UK resurrected their 215gn load a short while back IIRC, but damned if I know where I can get any). Handloading lets you go down to 123gn for small deer, feral goats etc., while at the other end Woodleigh makes two varieties of 215gn pill as well as a 130 and a 174gn softnose Spitzer.
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Old October 31, 2013, 07:48 AM   #14
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Reloading is less expensive than factory, but only as long as you consider your labor free & amortize the cost of equipment per round loaded.

The real value is being able to do something no factory can do. Namely match & tailor the individual cartridge to your individual rifle. It does make a difference. Look at these two 100, Yd. 5-shot targets. One is shot with good quality factory ammunition, the other with hand-loaded rounds.


Both are fairly typical of the performance difference between factory & hand loads.

Before someone jumps on me with size 15 hobnailed boots these groups were benched & bagged fore & aft as I was testing the ammo & rifle, not my shooting skills.
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Old October 31, 2013, 06:48 PM   #15
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Some good info here on case prep and reloading for the 303 British.
http://www.milsurps.com/showthread.php?t=24699&page=1
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Old November 1, 2013, 05:27 PM   #16
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I have found that 303 Brit brass rim thickness varies from one side of the case to the other:

Here is a sampling of 303 rim thickness' in thousandths of an inch:

HXP 75 surplus unfired cartridges around the rim
59 61
58 61
59 60
GB 1943 VII surplus unfired cartridge
60 62
Remington Kleanbore [circa 60's] unfired cartridges
58 62
56 60
59 60
56 62
WW Superspeed [circa 60's] unfired cartridges
59 62
59 63
59 62
60 63
Norma [circa 60's] unfired cartridges
58 61
57 60
58 61
60 61
RP [circa 80's] unfired cartridges
58 60
56 58
59 61
58 61


HXP 75 surplus once fired brass
56 59
57 62
58 62
56 56
56 60
58 62
60 62
60 62
54 57
WRA 69 surplus once fired brass
59 60
DI Z 1943 surplus once fired brass
60 62
60 62
60 62
60 61
62 63
62 63
63 63
61 62
RP commercial once fired brass
60 61
60 62
60 62
60 63
60 60
58 60
SuperSpeed commercial once fired brass
59 62
60 61
59 62
WW Super commercial once fired brass
60 63
60 62
61 62
60 64 [nicks on rim]
RP Nickel plated commercial new brass
60 61
59 59
59 60
59 60
60 61
59 60
RP commercial new brass
58 61
58 61
59 60
59 61
58 61
57 58
58 59
59 60
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Old November 2, 2013, 10:01 AM   #17
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I've found the same thing.
My thicknesses were actually the average measurement from 3 points roughly equidistant round each rim of the 5 cases measured because of the variation.
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Old November 2, 2013, 10:22 AM   #18
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Another vote for Prvi brass. Due to the generous Enfiled chambers, I neck size only. I load for 2 different Number 4s so I segregate the brass. PPU and Rem. Have had good luck with both but I have more loadings on the PPU (that rifle just gets shot more). Up to 4 reloads so far and haven't lost a case yet. Well, other than in the weeds.

I have also had case head separations with S&B, even S&B factory loads. Twice! Happened in one day with one batch but, still, I won't even bother reloading it.
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Old November 2, 2013, 11:37 AM   #19
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The 303, has a compound problem made worst if the rifle bolt has rear locking lugs. When working with metal there are 'fixes', when a shaft is loose in a hole there is knurling, when raising metal there is peening, not long ago there was a thread about an answer looking for a problem. The answer was case rolling, what if 303 cases were rolled, rolling the rim would reduce the diameter of the rim but as a trade off the rim would get thicker. I am the fan of reducing case travel.

Case head separation on new cases is caused by the bolt being too far away from the case head, I do not shoot rimmed cases, but if I did I would be for making rings/collers to reduce case head travel.

I do shoot 30/30, I do not have case head separation problems with the Model 94.

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Old November 2, 2013, 12:49 PM   #20
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Interesting info. Rim thickness in my references is shown as 0.064".

Quote:
Case head separation on new cases is caused by the bolt being too far away from the case head,
I don't doubt that could do it.

Case head separation can also happen when the bolt and case head are in spec, if the body of the chamber is excessive. And SMLE's have a reputation for "generous" chambers. Deliberately done, according to legend, to enhance reliability under dirty battlefield conditions. (and, militaries are not big on reloading, a case working once is enough for them)

The rimmed .30-30 doesn't have this issue like the .303 does. ITs not just the rim and headspace, its not just a rear locking action. ITs these, and the "generous" .303 chambers that allow the brass to stretch too much for good case life that gives the .303 its case life issues.
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Old November 2, 2013, 01:52 PM   #21
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I don't know what you guys with the 3 & 4 reloads are doing, but it ain't right as I use a full length die, but adjusted to the chamber & routinely get 6~11 reloads from a case & I don't mean with a reduced plinking load.
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Old November 2, 2013, 02:56 PM   #22
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wogpotter, preexisting: as in the condition existed before a round was chambered, something like an accident waiting to happen. I have said I determine the length of the chamber first, I know how far the case travels before I pull the trigger, I know, Bart B. has everything tied in a neat little bundle as in step sequence between pulling the trigger and the bullet exiting the barrel, not fair, chamber a new, over the counter, factory round, pull the trigger and the shooter gets to collect the warranty as in if the case comes out in two pieces the shooter gets to keep both pieces.

I have said it is possible to check the length of the chamber at least three ways ‘and two of the ways do not involve a head space gage’. I know a case gage is called a head space gage, the comparator is called a head space gage and Hornady sells attachments for a dial caliper they call a head space gage etc., etc.. I check the length of a chamber with tools that are not head space gages.

I have checked 303 type rifles, I have taken them to the firing range, I have offered to give the rifle to the person that wanted them checked under the conditions they would promise me they would never attempt firing the rifle.

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Old November 2, 2013, 05:05 PM   #23
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Quote:
check the length of the chamber at least three ways ‘and two of the ways do not involve a head space gage’.
Chamber length & even shape have absolutely nada to do with head space. But we both know that, don't we?

Head-space for a rimmed case is the rim thickness, nothing else. Oversize chambers, aw heck yes, but please separate that from actual "head space" so as not to confuse those unfamiliar with rimmed cases.

Anything further forward than the thickness of the rim is not applicable, so the gauge only sees the first 0.074". Everything in front of 10074" from the bolt face in the locked position does not exist as far as a gauge for headspace is concerned. That's why "coin type" gauges can be legitimately used to check head space on rimmed rounds.
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Old November 3, 2013, 10:43 AM   #24
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Wogpotyter, you wanted to know what everyone was doing wrong because you were the only one doing it correctly. The answer? ‘preexisting’ as in the condition/problem existed before the trigger was pulled.

How does that work? Excessive travel, meaning the purpose of the rim is designed to hold the case to the rear, when the case head has too much travel, that does not in itself seem liker a problem but when it is a two way trip as in forwarded and then backward the the amount of travel could exceed the cases ability to stretch.

The other member said he had case head separation with new cases, I said that is caused by a preexisting condition, I said I determine the amount of case travel before firing. I have one chamber that is .016” longer from the shoulder/datum to the bolt face than a minimum length case when measured from the datum/shoulder of the case to the case head. I form cases for that chamber before firing. My long chamber is a preexisting condition, cases fired in the long chamber indicate a difference in length between the chamber and case of .002” when using a comparator.

“Chamber length & even shape have absolutely nada to do with head space. But we both know that, don't we?” I have no ideal what you know, head space is the length of the chamber, it is a ‘from’-‘to’ concept as in from A to B. I have no ideal what you know, but, if I had the chamber that caused case head separation with new ammo I would ignore the rim and form cases that seated against the shoulder of the chamber and bolt face. Chamber shape, in the beginning the belt and or rim held the case to the rear, problem, in the beginning the case had a lot of taper, things did not get much better when it got to the shoulder, meaning P.O, Ackley was the best thing that ever happened to old cases with long tapers.

Coin gages? I do not shoot gages, I shoot loaded ammo, when it comes to travel from the front of the rim back to the bolt face and or from the datum/shoulder back to the bolt face I want to reduce case travel. I do not know what you know, me? I want to know how much travel exist before I pull the trigger. Not a problem for me, I can convert a go-gage to a go to infinity gage, I measure the length of a 30/06 chamber with a 280 Remington case, I measure the length of a 30/06 chamber, in thousandths, with a field reject gage. I do not know what you can do, me? I am passed the memory stage.

I was going to chamber a rifle, there was no shortage of advise, most went something like “No one knows where they start”, “No one knows how far they need to ream to finish”, You must measure often because no one knows how close they are to finishing” etc.. then no one knew how a short a short chamber was. I did not make any friends among those giving that kind of advise. I suggest the closing of the bolt should not cause the light to go out in the head. First barrel, .210” shorter than the finished chamber, we, as in the supplier and the reamer of the chamber had words, for them it was a matter of removing metal to advance the reamer. For me it was a matter of removing .210” worth of metal when .020” should have been required. Meaning? Reaming the one chamber was the equivalent of reaming 10 chambers.

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Old November 3, 2013, 11:34 AM   #25
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Quote:
head space is the length of the chamber
I disagree.
The length of the .303 Brit chamber is 2.222". The headspace for the .303 British is a MAXIMUM of 0.074". Hardly the same when the difference between them is so huge at 2.148"!

In some (usually rimless bottleneck) cases its from the rear of the case to the "datum line" an imaginary dimension on the case shoulder. With many pistol rounds is from the base to the case mouth. On rimmed it is only the distance from the front to the back of the space left between the bolt face & the rear of the standing breech.
Anything in front of this is absolutely NOT headspace.

Headspace has a precise definition by case model, regardless of SAAMI or MOD/WOPS or anyone else. If there is no exact definition & tolerance it is NOT headspace, but a variation in chamber dimensions other than headspace.

Understand I have no problem with you sizing to fit your chamber, I do the same thing. Where I differ is in you calling something what it absolutely isn't & confusing others.
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