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Thread: Safe load for .303 British SMLE

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Safe load for .303 British SMLE

    What would a safe low recoil load be for a .303 British SMLE using a 171 gr. cast bullet?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Assuming your rifle is safe to shoot, the universal load of 16 grains of 2400 powder should be more than good enough for your Enfield.

    That's what I shoot out of my Enfield and it shoots pretty well.

    HollowPoint

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    What powders might you have on hand?
    More "This is what happened when I,,,,," and less "What would happen if I,,,,"

    Last of the original Group Buy Honcho's.

    https://youtu.be/a9ePkrmwT3c

    "Salient rules: Heavier the boolit, less twist is needed; more pointed a boolit, less twist is needed; longer the boolit, more twist is needed; the windier the condition, more twist is needed; longer the range, more twist is needed; more of a boattail, more twist is needed; more hollow the point, less twist is needed." ... felix

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I lean toward IMR4227 because I usually have it and it works well for me.

    Loads are somewhere between 18 and 22 grs. under boolits to 200 grs. 10 to 12 grs. Unique also worked well for me. That is another powder I tend to have around.

    You might get some good ideas here:

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...Rifles-Article

    Longbow

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    I have on hand IMR 4227 Unique and 4759

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    I fire form my new brass with 7 gr of Red Dot. Very mild load that groups surprisingly well with the Lee 185 gr boolit.

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    What loading manuals do you have?

    Horace

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
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    I have Speer,Lyman 43 & 44, Sierra, and Lyman cast bullet book.
    Some don't list anything for cast and some have such a descrepancy I don't know where to start.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master frnkeore's Avatar
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    4227 and 4759 have nearly identical burn rates at the same powder charges.

    Start at 14 gr of either and work your way up to about 20 - 22 gr in 1/2 gr increments. I have so far had reasonable accuracy with 18.5 gr 4759 and the 311413 (173 gr) bullet in my P14. The 311413 isn't known for giving the best accuracy but, I like the design. It had excellent balistics @ 1850 fps, 10.6 SD and 28 ES and shot a 3" group @ 100. Not match accuracy but good enough for hunting. Make sure the groove isn't to big for the bullet.

    A maximum safe load should be in the 24 gr area.

    Frank

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    The first thing you do with a 303 british when you want to shoot a cast bullet is slug your bore.
    Some bores are 0.314 or larger.
    You mention you have Unique - great powder for 303 - there is a load in most Lyman books for cast bullets with Unique

    I use a .314 diameter bullet with 303 - the barrel does the resizing. If I get bullets key holing I go to a larger diameter
    Go now and pour yourself a hot one...

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master WILCO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buggybuilder View Post
    I have Speer,Lyman 43 & 44, Sierra, and Lyman cast bullet book.
    Some don't list anything for cast and some have such a descrepancy I don't know where to start.
    Simply stop what you're doing. Pick a manual for the task at hand. Go forward from there. You want cast boolit information, so use the Lymann cast boolit manual.
    There are no discrepancies between manuals, just your failure to understand the data given. Each manual has specific information pertaining to the processes, procedures and materials listed in accordance to the manufacturer, and author of said manual.
    The information given isn't readily interchangeable with other manuals. The whole purpose of a reloading manual battery, is to expound upon the collective knowledge obtained through experience. It would appear that you're just starting out in the realm of cast boolit activities and simply asking the world to give you load data without first understanding the basics is a recipe for disaster.
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  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master WILCO's Avatar
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    I've found "Modern Reloading" by Richard Lee to be quite invaluable, as it covers the use of powders and their reductions in cast boolits. Plus there is much more information given in regards to metallic cartridge reloading.
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    Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. - Albert Schweitzer

    Yeah, I love cast iron cookware.

    Life is too short. Live yours to the fullest.

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Not sure what your cast boolit knowledge database is so...

    You will see a lot of discrepancies between jacket load data and cast load data. Depending on caliber and cartridge size, jacketed load data tends to favour slower powders, higher pressures and so higher velocities than cast data. Small bore rifles with bottleneck cases are a good example of that. Large bore rifles and handguns, not so much.

    Cast boolit load data tends to lean towards smaller powder charges of fastish powders producing low to moderate velocities. Where you might reasonably expect a .303 jacketed bullet load to produce 2500 FPS that same boolit weight in cast will more likely produce best results at under 1800 FPS. You can achieve higher velocities with cast but it can be work. Different bullet/boolit, different powders for the task.

    Look for .303 cast boolit data here:

    http://www.castpics.net/project2/CastDatalist.php
    http://www.castpics.net/subsite2/Cla...tBullets-s.pdf
    http://www.castpics.net/subsite2/Cla...ast%20Sup1.pdf
    http://www.castpics.net/LoadData/OM/IdealHandbook38.pdf
    http://www.castpics.net/LoadData/OM/Lyman44.pdf

    Also not that any load data for .30-40 Krag can be used in .303 British as well.

    Something else is that most .303's or at least Lee Enfields have mucho oversize bores. While 0.311"/0.312" is nominal groove diameter spec'd my .303's all have ~ 0.314" groove diameter and like boolits sized to 0.315" or even 0.316" so you may need a "fat" boolit. Not just any .30 cal. mould will do and not even any .303 mould. For instance, my Lyman 314299 casts at 0.312" which is too small for my 0.314" groove diameter so useless. NOE makes "fat" boolit moulds and you can get whatever diameter you need from Accurate Molds too.

    You will not run into safety issues using Jacketed load data under same weight cast boolits but... accuracy will likely be poor and bore leading will likely be a problem.

    Conversely, you could run into safety issues using cast boolit load data under a jacketed bullet due to harder jacket/more bore friction and fast powder.

    WILCO is right, having a selection of reference material is always a good thing. There is seldom one best answer or any magic bullet (no pun intended) solution.

    I hope that helps.

    Longbow

  14. #14
    Allegedly 12 grains of Unique in a .303 Martini Henry

    Note that it was proof tested, but the stamps on it show the test was a black powder proof test, NOT a smokeless powder test.
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    Last edited by superc; 06-13-2018 at 03:56 PM.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    314299 sized .314 and 20g of 4759 in my 1918 SMLE

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    You will also note that the Martini is Belgian,and that the split seems to involve the rearsight base......This was a noted problem.....Quote"The brazing of the sight base spoils the steel in the barrel"...Especially if brass spelter was used instead of silver for economy......There is nothing brazed to the barrel of a smelly,with good reason.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    My orig. Winchester '95 likes the 185 gr. gc and 28 grs. of 5744.

  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master 303Guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superc View Post
    Allegedly 12 grains of Unique in a .303 Martini Henry

    Note that it was proof tested, but the stamps on it show the test was a black powder proof test, NOT a smokeless powder test.
    I wonder what the actual load was? Realistically, how much Unique would it take to do that to a chamber? Or would a second bullet/boolit sitting in front of the chambered one be enough to split it, even with a brazed rear sight?
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  19. #19
    Boolit Master Bad Ass Wallace's Avatar
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    I use a 190gn CBE boolit sized to 0.314" with 26.5gns 3031 for approx 1650fps

    Hold Still Varmint; while I plugs Yer!

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    A double load,24 gns would do it .Loads go about 16gn Unique/175gn cast for 40,000psi,so 24gn would be up there.

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