View Full Version : 303 British ammo test. 150 Hornady Interlock and Sierra Pro Hunter

January 1, 2011, 10:56 PM
So after a long hiatus from reloading completely and shooting in general I am back in the game again. I'm a Lee Enfield shooter (excellent condition No. 4 Mk2) and even though I own other centerfire rifles it is and always will be my favorite. I'm thinking about getting back into hunting as well and where I used to live it was shotgun only, now that I travel for work I'll probably be using a rifle more than not.

I have fun experimenting so I loaded up the two 150 grain soft points I have on hand and tested them out on some water jugs. This test is more about terminal performance than accuracy, but both loads were minute of deer accurate anyway. Both bullets were loaded with 45 grains on Reloader 15, which is max load, and shot at milk jugs approx 100 yards away. I don't own a chronograph but this load is rated at 2746 FPS, about as fast as you are going to get from a 303 Brit using 150 grain bullets. That also puts it close to many 308 Winchester loads as well. Assuming they are moving at or close to 2746 FPS, and 100 yards they will be moving approx 2475-2500 FPS. If that is one too many assumptions for you sorry but I'm guessing a hog or deer isn't going to know the difference.

So this is my basic setup. I am shooting through 1 water jug, about 1/2 inch of dry paper and then as many water jugs as needed to stop the bullet. The idea is shooting through flesh and expanding, hitting a bone than continuing on for the kill. Once again highly scientific ;). It has also been my experience that shooting through just water isn't too hard of a test to pass and many bullets (handgun and rifle) that do it with ease fail when another variable is thrown in the mix.


Shot #1 was done with a 150 grain Hornady Interlock. It blew through the first water jug, paper, and then continued on for two more jugs. As you can see it expanded exactly as expected. The final weight was 109 grains, or 72.6% weight retention.


January 1, 2011, 10:57 PM
Shot #2 was with the 150 grain Sierra Pro Hunter. I went through the first jug, paper and 3 more jugs. The jacket was found in jug #4 and the core was not found because it exited out the side of jug #4. Jacket weight was about 50 grains.

Shot #3 and #4 were done with Sierra Pro Hunters but both exited out the side of Jug #3 even though both were solid center hits. No core or jackets were found.

Shot #5 was also a Sierra Pro Hunter and the Jacket was found in Jug #4 while the slug exited out the side and was not recovered. Jacket weight was also about 50 grains.


Shot #6 was a Hornady again but I was down to 3 jugs. It went through all 3 and into by dirt backstop, but after 5 minutes of searching through the dirt/mud I couldn't find it and gave up because my wife was staring at me from the car.

I fully understand that my test is far from anything "conclusive", nor was it meant to be either. I'll be going out and doing this again in the next month or so but this is it for now. The only conclusion I am going to draw from this is if I had a choice between the Interlock and Pro Hunter, I would choose the Interlock. Even though the Pro Hunter shed it's core and shot out the sides a couple times it might not matter on a medium sized deer or hog because it still penetrated enough to reach vitals. I have lots of things on my wishlist but would like to shoot the Hornady a bit more, try a 150 grain Speer Hot core and the 150 grain soft points on my PRVI Partisan rounds that I shoot to get brass.


January 1, 2011, 11:49 PM
Neat info. It does seem that the Sierras do not have a very good bond between the metals. I have a couple boxes of Sierra 150 gr prohunters in .311" I'm planning on loading this coming week for my No4Mk1.

A note about your maxed charges:

Don't do that with 303 British. You get the max case life from 303 British by first and foremost shooting lighter loads (nowhere near max but more-so like minimum) and neck-sizing the brass (or partial full-length sizing).

If you're interested in a hunting bullet for 303 British, buy a box of Barnes TSX 150 gr .311" bullets and load them warm then put them away for hunting season. I only buy SP bullets for 303 because they're cheaper than the FMJ stuff out there. The lead contamination in an x-ray of a deer shot with a lead-based bullet is shockingly nasty. TSX bullets expand about twice their diameter and retain almost 100% of their weight each time.

January 2, 2011, 09:47 AM
A note about your maxed charges:

Don't do that with 303 British. You get the max case life from 303 British by first and foremost shooting lighter loads (nowhere near max but more-so like minimum) and neck-sizing the brass (or partial full-length sizing).

I neck size only, and most of my ammo these days is a cast bullet over a fairly mild charge of 2400. That being said though the purpose of this was to test how a bullet reacts at full speed and if I was using a round for hunting case life would not be my primary concern.

Thanks for the heads up on the Barnes too. Is that new? Last time I really looked into bullets it was just Speer, Sierra, Hornady and Remington bullets that were widely available. I'll add that bullet to my list.

I've got an SKS and my plan with the Pro Hunters is to load them up in 7.62x39mm and try them again. Perhaps at 500-600 fps slower they perform better. Either that or punch paper with them. Being they cost more than Hornady make them a hard sell when I order more stuff.

January 2, 2011, 10:34 AM
Thank's for posting this info.

I recently purchased a Ruger No 1 in .303 British and am eager to reload for it.

January 2, 2011, 05:20 PM
Have you shot your ruger yet? if so how do is shoot? I fancy getting one but aint sure yet.

January 2, 2011, 08:39 PM
Volucris, is that also true of the pricier bullets like the Interbond?

January 3, 2011, 11:40 AM
Volucris, is that also true of the pricier bullets like the Interbond?

Any expanding lead bullet is going to lose some of its weight. Sometimes pricey bullets lose less than what a standard bullet does and sometimes they lose more. It's all about what they are designed to do and other factors like impact speed and what is hit weigh in too.

Although for the 303 British it is kind of a moot point because they don't make one. I didn't even know that Barnes made a premium bullet in .311/.312 but that and the Woodleigh are about it. Beyond that you have a few companies standard bullet like the Core-lock, Hot cor, Pro Hunter and Interlock.