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Old February 21, 2018, 11:34 PM   #1
Wyosmith
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Bullet performance with the 303 Brit?

I am looking for feedback on bullet performance with various bullets on game. Good and bad.
Any brand and weight of bullets but especially Remington 180 grain and PPU 180 grain.

Sierra, Speer Hornady, Barnes Woodleigh, Winchester Norma, any of them!

Please tell me what kind of results you have seen from various bullets on game. Details, details.
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Old February 22, 2018, 05:37 AM   #2
eastbank
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the hornady 180gr RN has been a good deer-bear bullet for me.
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Old February 22, 2018, 08:16 AM   #3
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Thanks Eastbank. Did you get exits? Or recover the bullet? Can you tell me about the retained weight of it if you did recover it? (or them)
Did the core separate from the jacket?
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Old February 22, 2018, 09:03 AM   #4
zipspyder
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Any American made 180gr is good for hunting. I've also use PPU 180gr and it performs very well. That's what I use mostly because it's just so much cheaper. A perfect substitute if you are eventually going to reload is the Hornady 174gr RN.
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Old February 22, 2018, 10:59 AM   #5
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Thank guys.

I am looking for details because on the 2 Lee "Speed" rifles I am making I am installing express sights. They have to be filed to zero at 100,200 and 300 yards. I want to zero each rifle with a load that I know is dependable for the hunter. If I use a bullet that is so-so and the hunter wants to use another he will not have the sights set for that load or bullet.

So this is more then just a passing curiosity for me. I am looking for details on bullet performance so I know the rifles can be used on any game up to elk size and the hunter will not have to change his load.

Bones hit and broken,
Angle of the hit,
Total penetration,
Size of the game,
Retained weight (if the bullet didn't exit)-- and so on, are the kind of details I want.

I would set both for rifles to use 215gr Woodleighs, but they can be hard to get and are extremely expensive, so if I can find another bullet that works well on game up to elk size that is easy to get and/or cost less I will zero the rifles for it. If I use them to zero the guns and 2 years from now the customer can't get them, or can't afford them, I am going to paint myself into a corner.

I want to hear about Remington Core-Lokts and PPU bullets too, if anyone has experience with either one.

The Winchester Power Points get very good feed back, but you can't buy their bullets, only their ammo.
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Old February 22, 2018, 11:32 AM   #6
zipspyder
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I understand what you are asking but there isn't a one bullet fits all. The ones you mentioned are all cup-n-core and can be iffy on larger Elk. As in too soft. The Speer Hot-Core is a stronger soft point but may be iffy on smaller deer. You would have to ask PPU about their SP as I have only used it on deer sized game. If you can find a monolithic in the 303 British that might fit the bill?
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Old February 22, 2018, 12:05 PM   #7
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My experience is that if I must have one load (as is often necessary with iron sighted guns) you are better off with an elk bullet only opening up half way on a deer, than to have a deer bullet come completely apart inside an elk. deer with through and through wounds that are a bit narrow still die fairly fast. But you will be amazed at how far an elk can run with only one lung.

You are correct, in that there is not a bullet out there that covers every base, but there have been some that cover 90% of them.

I really wish Nosler would make a 175 or 180 grain Partition or Accubond in .311"
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Old February 22, 2018, 12:17 PM   #8
zipspyder
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I agree and keep checking Nosler every year hoping they would release a 180gr partition that would fit the bill. If anything comes close to a perfect bullet that would be it.

I use these for reloads as well. Reviews suggest they were used for Moose and or Elk and the correct .312 size.

https://www.midwayusa.com/product/22...ose-box-of-100

Last edited by zipspyder; February 22, 2018 at 12:31 PM.
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Old February 22, 2018, 12:37 PM   #9
T. O'Heir
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Any 180 grain hunting bullet is good for hunting.
Speer Hot-Cor bullets have been killing big moose up here for eons. An elk is nothing.
"...installing express sights..." Those need to be 'calibrated' for the bullet weight and load used. 215 grain Woodleighs are for sure pricey($38.99 per 50 at Midway) and they're RN's. Made to duplicate Mk VI ammo.
Lotta moose went into assorted freezers up here with CIL/IVI 215's before they quit making commercial ammo. A 180 will do anything a 215 will do though. So will a 174(Hornady Interlock RN).
"...in .311"..." Limits your options considerably. The manufacturers either make a jacketed .311" or a .312". Never both.
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Old February 27, 2018, 09:35 PM   #10
bamaranger
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accuracy

Can't help you with performance on game, and actually, I don't have a .303, nor can I comment on .311/180 gr. Sorry.

But..........I load the Sierra .311 dia 150gr gr Pro Hunter bullet in my 7.62x54R PSL, and it is the most accurate bullet in that weight class/diameter that I have found for my rig. I drive it with a modest charge of Varget to the 2600 fps range, and have every belief it will be a good deer load.

I'm thinking the .303 and the x54R are close enough in performance and design, that if you ever want to drop to a lighter bullet, it would be a good one for you.
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Old February 27, 2018, 11:35 PM   #11
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I settled on the 150 PPU SPBT over 43.5 gr of IMR 4895 as my go to deer load. Full penetration on Wisconsin Whitetails, even at lower velocities from my short 17.5" barrel. The last one I bagged from my tree stand entered the spine and exited the shoulder. About a quarter sized exit hole. Major internal damage...lost some good meat

I worked up some very nice loads using published data for IMR 4885 and IMR 3031 pushing the 174 gr Hornady Interlok RNSP and 180 PPU SPBT. I'm considering trying both next deer season, but at the short ranges I hunt, 30 to 75 yards, not sure I'll see any advantage over my proven 150 PPU SPBT load.

The Hornady 150 gr Interlok SP shoots well, but the PPU SPBT groups better in my particular bubba'd No4 Mk1.

I love the 303 British!
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Old February 28, 2018, 09:55 AM   #12
98 220 swift
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I have used the 150 gr sierra .311 bullet in a 7.65 argentine to take a deer a few years ago. It worked just fine. No compliants. The 7.65 is in the same league as the 303 brit.( I handload both). I would see no reason to think it would not work in the brit.
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Old February 28, 2018, 11:05 AM   #13
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Our "common game" is elk. I have seen many 308 and 30-06 150 grain bullets used on elk and in my experience its pretty common for them to stay in the body of an elk. No exits. If the bullets are placed right, exits are not needed, but as a guide I have seen a lot that were placed "almost right" and then the tracking starts. That's why I am a firm believer in exit wounds. Lots more blood on the ground. So I want to use a heavier bullet than 150 grains if I can.

I am making 2 Lees in the style of a Speed sporter. I will keep the Irish Lee because it was a gift from a good friend and I think of it as a treasure. So I will definitely zero it with 175 or heavier bullets, because it's going to be used on elk now and then.
I will sell the SMLE Sporter however and if the SMLE "Speed" was to be sold to someone in a state where deer was the common game I would think a 150 might be better. But the rifle has British express sights with blades to zero at 100, 200 and 300 yards, so a flat trajectory is not all that important with that kind of sight. You just use the one closest to the range the game is at and hold dead on. Which is another reason I am leaning towards a 180 grain (or there-abouts)

One thing I am going to try is the use of .308" bullets. These rifles both have new barrels. They are "tight" for a 303, measuring .310" at the grooves with 1-9.5" twist. So a 308 is .002" "loose" and a .312 is .002 tight. I expect (I hope) the jackets may swedge to fill the grooves with .308 bullets. If that works out as I hope, all my problems are over. The SMLE will be provided with a set of dies to reload ammo with, and the expander ball will be spun down to 307" to use 308 bullets. The load that shoots well with be included in the set, so the owner will know what the sights are set for. he'll be set for life that way.

The 215 Woodleigh is maybe the very best 303 bullet made today for game of 450 pounds and larger. But they are quite expencive and somewhat hard to get at times. I have to believe a 220 grain Nosler partition .308" would be as good or better, so if these 2 rifles will shoot .308" bullets well I may just give up on trying to find a .311 or .312 to do the job.

But I need to find a load that shoots well before I set all 3 sights to it. and then the load is "married" to the rifle. If I do go with .308s I may use 180 or 200s because the owner can buy less expensive bullets with sectional densities very close to the Nosler Partitions in Speer Hornady and Sierra brands for the times when he or she doesn't need or want a partition bullet, and the sights will still be close enough to practice with. Such a load will probably not bring the point of impact off enough to make any difference with irons, and it may not bring it off at all.

Both rifles will be ready to zero in about 2-3 weeks. I think I will start with a few 180 grain .308s I have here, to see if I am barking up the wrong tree or not.
I have Speer, Sierra, Hornady and Remington bullet in 308. If I try a few loads with each one and none shoot well I'll have to conclude I need a .311 or .312. At that point I will start looking for actual "303 bullets" to try.

My procedure is to get the 100 yard blade to give hits on a big 36"X36" paper at 100 yards and then just leave it alone. I only shoot for groups and do not try to zero until I have consistent groups of about 2MOA. (That's as well as I can shoot irons in perfect conditions anymore. I am getting old and I don't have the vision I did when I was a young man)

I'll post my report for those here.----- that find such things interesting.
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Old February 28, 2018, 04:57 PM   #14
Dufus
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I can't help out with the Elk scenario, but we punched lots of Texas white tails with the Speer 150 & 180 gr. None of them stayed in the animals so no post mortem bullet analysis.

Both bullets left maybe 1-2" exit holes, depending on where the impact was.

When I started out loading in the early 70s for the 303, I wanted to try Sierra bullets. I loaded some and went to the range and shot a good 22" group at 100 yds. I was pissed to say the least.

I got home and checked everything, then I figgered I would do some bullet checking.


Long story short, The entire box of bullets was marked 0.311" on the box, but they all measured 0.309", which was totally unacceptable to me.

That is when I went to Speer. Of course the 1st thing I checked was diameter and then weight. Each and every one measured 0.311" as labelled on the box.

There was another issue I had with Sierra bullets before this, but this incident put the icing on the cake, and I have not used another Sierra bullet since then.
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Old February 28, 2018, 05:01 PM   #15
zipspyder
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I do not believe the OP is going to like shooting .308 bullets out of his two guns knowing the bore sizes. Good luck!
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Old March 14, 2018, 05:08 PM   #16
Wyosmith
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I have one of the two Lee "Speed-ish" rifles put together now. I still have to do the bluing on the butt plate and grip cap, and get the checkering done, but this one is for me so I have to work on it in my spare time. That means I don't get to work on it much. But I'll have it done in the next month or so. It's ready to zero the express sights now.

I have one more about 75% done. This one in the pictures is an Irish Lee from 1900. The next one is a Lithgow from 1942 and it's going be be a nice rifle too. But I don't expect to have it done and for sale for about 2 more months. I'll post pics of that one when it's together also.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA by Steve Zihn, on Flickr
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA by Steve Zihn, on Flickr
L Side Irish close up by Steve Zihn, on Flickr
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA by Steve Zihn, on Flickr
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA by Steve Zihn, on Flickr
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA by Steve Zihn, on Flickr

Last edited by Wyosmith; March 14, 2018 at 05:15 PM.
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Old March 14, 2018, 05:43 PM   #17
sako2
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nice work Wyo
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Old March 14, 2018, 10:25 PM   #18
Wyosmith
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Thanks SAKO.
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Old March 25, 2018, 03:42 PM   #19
Wyosmith
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Well I did the test.
When I chambered these 2 rifles I made the camber to headspace on the shoulder instead of the rim. The Military chambers had the shoulders of the chambers .020" forward of the shoulder of the case and you can easily see the shoulder move forward on fired cases if you simply hold them alongside an unfired cartridge.
There is really nothing wrong with out the Brits did it but it does make case life a bit shorter if you don't neck size them after the 1st firing. Because I am supplying the dies and the load zeroed for the irons with the rifles I make, I took another approach.
I chambered the barrels so the cartridge will headspace on the shoulder with .002" clearance, and that moves the shoulder back .022". The down side is it also moves the case mouth/throat juncture back .022" so I have to trim my brass it 2.200 instead of the spec 2.222". However I found this is a cool way to dramatically increase brass life and still be able to size the case body a bit, so it enters the chamber effortlessly.

My other dilemma was the question: "What bullet should I use?" Because these are fully custom rifles with iron sights set to 100, 200, 300 and 400 yards I need to file each sight blade to perfection, and that means I should have an accurate load capable of doing the job on any game that the rifle would be used against so the customer can duplicate that load for the life of the owner.
My 1st choice would be Woodleigh bonded bullets but they are very expensive and I do not trust the availability of them over time, because of the anti-gun politics of Australia and the looming danger of our own government shutting down importation of things "gun-related". So unless I could supply a lifetime's worth of bullets with the gun at the time of the sale (about 2000 bullets for a life time is a good guess) I didn't want to zero with them and have an owner later not be able to duplicate that load.

As you all are probably aware I was asking for reports on bullet performance so I could make a decision about what bullet to load and zero with.

Problem solved!
I used .310" groove to groove barrels in this gun instead of .312. So I thought I should just try some 308" bullets and see if the metal flow from lands compressing the copper into the grooves would make a good gas seal and be concentric. I was hoping for the best but I knew there was no way to be sure other then to try it.

I loaded 40.3 Gr of IMR4064 with a 180 grain .308 Remington Core-Lokt in WW cases. It goes 2380 FPS. Here is how it went at 100 yards.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA by Steve Zihn, on Flickr
The group was as good as I can shoot with my old eyes, and about 7" high.
So I lowered the rear sight (flied to the correct height) and made a windage correction. The next 3 shots are the ones in this groups making the triangle farthest to the left.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA by Steve Zihn, on Flickr
So I went back just a little bit right and fired the next 3, one of which hit the spot and 2 are so close I don't think I can correct for it at 100 with open sights. Those 3 are the smallest triangle just slightly to the left, maybe about 5/8" from mean center of group to the center of the spot.

So I think I will go with .308s and zero the 200,300 and 400 yards blades with them. I modified the dies to have a .307 expander instead of a .310" and it makes the cases hold the .308 bullets perfectly.
In the "180 grain 308" bullet world" there are LOTS of choices from very 'soft' bullets like Sierras BTs to tough deep penetrators like Nosler Partition and various bonded bullets, and I am sure all will be close to the right point of impact if the owners use 40.3GR of 4064.
I think my problem is behind me now.

Last edited by Wyosmith; March 28, 2018 at 03:01 PM.
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Old March 28, 2018, 03:02 PM   #20
Wyosmith
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There. I fixed the problem with the 2nd picture.
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Old April 21, 2018, 02:23 PM   #21
Wyosmith
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OK, I made a bit more progress on the other gun. This one is made on a Lithgow action from 1941. I don't know if any real "Speeds" were made on SMLEs, so I'll call this a 'Speedish" 303.

I have the wood sealed and ready for final finish. I did the engraving on the magazine and trigger guard. The express sights in made and installed and I used an extremely high front sight and front sight base so I know the rifle will shoot very low. Now I can work up a load that shoot well and then lower the top of the front sight base and maybe change out the sight itself for the final zero. I am wondering if I should use 220 or 180 grain bullets. Maybe I'll split the difference and go with 200 grain spitzers.

After all the metal work is done and the rifle is perfectly zeroed I'll take it all apart one last time and rust blue the steel as I do the final finishing on the wood. Then its time for checkering and after that, the final assembly.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA by Steve Zihn, on Flickr

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA by Steve Zihn, on Flickr

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA by Steve Zihn, on Flickr



OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA by Steve Zihn, on Flickr

Last edited by Wyosmith; April 21, 2018 at 03:29 PM.
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