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Thread: Is there a general consensus of what was the most accurate military bolt rifle?

  1. #61
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Brushy Mountains of NC
    In post #9 I mentioned a K31 that was very accurate with issue ammo. The rifle had one quirk, when I fired cast loads the rifle shot 6-7 inches to the right. It did the same with lower powered jacketed loads but as power increased the poi moved back toward the poa. Was I correct in assuming this was due to the action flexing differently as the power level changed ?


  2. #62
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Queensburry NY
    I think the springfield 03a3 is the most accurate

  3. #63
    Boolit Master 44magLeo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Lebanon, NY
    I just read through this thread.
    I recall an article I read a few years back, Can't remember the magazine, anyway the author took a rifle fielded by all the participants in WW1 and shoot them for accuracy by shooting at man sized targets out to what ever each rifle couldn't keep all it's shots on the target.
    Most quit at 300 yards or so, a few went to 400. The only one to make to 600 yards was the Mosin Nagant.
    I know it isn't on the list but Mine shoots very well at the ranges I can see the sights well enough. 100 is about max and I can't see the sights as well as I did a few years back. At that range when I do my part I get 2-3 inch groups. That's with most factory loads.
    My hand loads at this point are a bit larger groups but I haven't tried all the combinations with all the different bullet diameters yet.
    My first attempt at cast loads are not near as well, but coming along.

  4. #64
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Phx Az
    Lend my two cents as I haven't gone through all the posts.

    From my experience it is a toss up between my 1908 dated 03 with a WW2 issue 03A3 bolt and a Model 1909 Argintine sniper rifle.

    Save the warnings been shooting the low numbered 03 for over 40 years and she ain't blown up yet. The Argie bought in the early 70's from SARCO for about a buck and a quarter. Came with the early German turret scope mounts, no scope and matching factory turned down bolt. Hated to see the Argie go but couldn't resist a straight across trade for a 50's M-1 Garrand.

    The Argie only rivaled my Springfield with hand loaded ammo. I did have a box of 15, 1970's Argie mfd soft tip sporting ammo that left me kicking myself for not buying more before it disappeared. An interesting note on the Argie Ammo. Had a warning in Spanish not to shoot in 91's. My 03 simply shoots clusters with anything including cast.
    Last edited by azrednek; 11-15-2017 at 02:03 AM.

  5. #65
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    An interesting compensation related problem resulted in the perception that the older Lee Enfield was not as good as the 1893 Mauser at long range during the Boer Wars. In fact the Enfield in use there were coming no where near the mark as the Mauser bullets were taking a bloody toll.
    It was due to the double base propellants in use at the time, all of them not just Cordite.
    They found that when loads worked up for the .303 or any other British cartridge of that power range were used in Africa the velocity was higher and the burning rate faster. In the LE rifles the difference caused the POI to shift even further to the left that the front sight off set could compensate for.
    An order was sent out to turn in all the rifles to have the front sight off set increased. This was not feasible so they developed a rear sight ladder slide with the notch off set to the right.

    The heat sensitivity problem got so bad that many rifles ended up with blown through tubular type bullet jackets ironed into the bores further affecting accuracy.
    In one account a British officer wrote of his men being ambushed by Boers mainly armed with captured LE rifles. Some of his men were hit by small lead slugs with only enough velocity to raise a bruise or barely break the skin.
    On examining a few recaptured LE rifles they found the bores were lined end to end with blown through jackets. The lead cores were what were hitting his men.
    This resulted in making changes in jacket and core manufacture and ultimately ditching tubular jackets altogether.

    The rear locking lugs of the LE made it more sensitive to variations in velocity but the problem was more propellant based.

    British sporting arms gun makers then began to develop loads specifically for use in tropical heat.

    Later greatly reduced Nitroglycerin content in double base powders seemed to do the trick.

  6. #66
    Boolit Master

    Larry Gibson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Lake Havasu City, Arizona
    "An interesting note on the Argie Ammo. Had a warning in Spanish not to shoot in 91's."

    That was because the M1909's sights were regulated to the new lighter weight spritzer bullet at higher velocity. The M91's sights are regulated to the original 200 (+/-) gr RN bullet at lower velocity. I have pressure tested several lots of the spritzer 7.65 Argentine made in Argentina and Belgian 7.65 made by FN long with Norma, Graf and Hornady 7.65 Argentine commercial ammo. They all average right at the CIP PMAP which makes them with in the pressure range for the M91.

    There was one commercial load I found to give excessive pressure for even the M1906. That was the no longer catalogued Norma 150 gr SP with a listed velocity of 2900+ fps. It came in at 66,900 psi(M43) and 2943 fps (24" barrel)......probably why it's no longer on the market. The "new" Norma 170 gr is with in CIP PMAP and is good, but expensive, ammo.
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  7. #67
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Midland, Texas
    There are just too many variables with mil-surps. Bore condition, sights, stock to barrel fit, ammo, etc. I think a lot of the guns from smaller countries hold the edge over all. Mostly because they were just taken care of better. Swiss, Swede, Argentine,.. My best groups shot with a mil-surp were done with an 03-A3 with a 2 groove barrel that had Lyman sights added (since it has altered sights, it doesn't really count). At my age sights are probably more important than the gun they are on. I have a hard time getting good sight/target focus with straight open sights. If I were going to compete, I'd select the rifle with the best peep sights and work it up from there.

  8. #68
    Boolit Master 303Guy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    New Zealand
    Not a military rifle but a sporter factory built on one. A Lithgow SMLE actioned 25-303 with a SMLE profile long skinny barrel. At 200yds it shot sub MOA. Scary accurate. With scope of course but the point is, the action can do it, even with a long skinny free floating barrel.
    Last edited by 303Guy; Yesterday at 12:18 PM.
    Rest In Peace My Son (01/06/1986 - 14/01/2014)

    ''Assume everything that moves is a human before identifying as otherwise''

  9. #69
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    South West Ohio
    My Enfield 2A1 in 7.62x51 has a Parker Hale receiver sight on out shoots all of my other bolt action military rifles.
    The good thing about science is that it's true no matter if you believe it or not. (Neil DeGrasse Tyson)

    I was scolding my 5-year old for her and her friends making a giant mess in her room. She said they all did it. So I asked her: If all her friends jumped off a cliff, would she do it too? She said, "Oh no daddy! I would go to the bottom and try to catch them! They're my friends." Man, either I have a great kid or she has a stupid father.

  10. #70
    Boolit Master vzerone's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Quote Originally Posted by 303Guy View Post
    Not a military rifle but a sporter factory built on one. A Lithgow actioned 25-303 with a SMLE profile long skinny barrel. At 200yds it shot sub MOA. Scary accurate. With scope of course but the point is, the action can do, it even with a long skinny free floating barrel.
    Of the SMLE's I prefer the Ligthgow the most.

  11. #71
    Boolit Master

    gwpercle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    I have most of the usual WWII military rifles and even though the 1903 Springfield can be a most accurate rifle if given a little special treatment ( match barrel and bedding ) the off the rack , run of the mill , military surplus Swiss Schmidt-Ruben 1911 Carbine (K11) will shoot better groups with both cast and jacketed bullets.
    The Swiss built this rifle like they build their fine Swiss watch's ... If you have never shot one you have missed a pleasant shooting experience.
    The actions smoothness has been described to me by a fellow shooter as " operating like greased ball bearings on glass". That's slick ! And the accuracy is there in spades .

    My favorite to shoot with castboolits is my BSA Ltd. 1942 manufactured No.4 MKI 303 British Enfield. Always did think they looked like a proper battle rifle and mine has a tight chamber , throat and barrel dimensions so no problems with reloading for it.
    Last edited by gwpercle; 11-21-2017 at 05:52 PM.
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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check