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Thread: .303 British to 6.5x53R Dutch

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

    mac60's Avatar
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    .303 British to 6.5x53R Dutch

    I recently gained custody of this beauty from another board member.

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    I'm not through with it yet, but the bore is clean and shiny. As time allows I'll get the stock clean.

    Now I needed ammo. I read all I could find on the subject - there have been several threads about this conversion. It looked doable, so I decided to give it a shot. I rounded up 100 pcs. of brand new virgin R-P headstamp brass, a set of RCBS 6.5x54 MS dies and a Hornady 6.5mm generic neck sizing die. I f/l sized with a Lee .303 Brit. die then pushed the shoulder back with a .308 Win. Lee die w/the expander removed, then necked it down further with a 7mm-08 Lee die w/the expander removed. Then, I trimmed it to 2.1" with Forster trimmer powered by a 1/2" corded drill (it made short work of it). Then I ran them into the 6.5x54 MS f/l die and trimmed them to 2.1" again. I cleaned all the lube (mink oil) off of them then annealed them and ran them through the tumbler again. Didn't lose a single piece. I'm totally satisfied with the final product. I enjoyed every minute of it and I can't wait for the weather to cool off so I can shoot it. I might try to shoot a doe with it.

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    L to R: f/l sized .303 brit., shoulder pushed back in .308 die, necked down in 7mm-08 die, trimmed and sized f/l in 6.5x54 MS die, dummy round - the boolit is a Lee cruise missle. I'd like to thank EDG for his guidance for my little project and condorjohn for letting me take custody of "shorty".
    So many guns, so little time
    _____________________________

    You must pay for everything in this life - nothing is free, except for the grace of God.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Gongrats - glad your forming project had no KIA.
    EDG

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by EDG View Post
    Gongrats - glad your forming project had no KIA.
    Thank you Sir - I owe you one.
    So many guns, so little time
    _____________________________

    You must pay for everything in this life - nothing is free, except for the grace of God.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Did you do anything to the rim thickness?

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    The rim thickness is OK as is with WW, RP and FC brass.

    With some clips the rims seem a little large in diameter requiring a hard push to strip the round through the feed lips. I have never made any changes for that issue but you could turn the rims down about .005" to make feeding easier and smoother.

    Quote Originally Posted by KenT7021 View Post
    Did you do anything to the rim thickness?
    EDG

  6. #6
    Boolit Master 15meter's Avatar
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    Forming 6.5x53R or .256 Mannlicher from 303 British brass

    Full length size with a .303 British die, expander removed

    Push shoulder back with a .308 Win. neck die(it’s what I had on the bench)
    With the expander removed, die is set .050” above the shell holder

    Neck it down further with a 7x57 die w/the expander removed, die is set .050” above the shell holder.

    Size with 6.5x54 MS f/l die with the expander in place

    Trim to final length.

    De-burr id/od

    Clean and polish all lube off

    Anneal

    Re-polish after anneal

    I use a shell holder that has been ground down ~.015” in thickness, this helps push the shoulder back to insure chambering, I’m loading for a Jeffrey marked rifle in .256 Mannlicher. I’ve also loaded for another .256 Mannlicher with no problems. I have not had to neck turn(YET!). I’ll have a third one to play with shortly, hopefully I won’t have to neck turn for it.

    To set the .050” gap, I lay a .050 gage block on top of the shell holder then set the die against that.

    Last batch of WW brass haven't had to do anything with the rims, I hope that continues.

    This works for me, YMMV.

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    Great thread guys. I'll look for some WW brass .303 brass to feed the .256 project -- and a P14 in the original caliber.

  8. #8
    Boolit Bub
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    It’s been a little work since I did this conversion. But, I don’t think I resized the .303 casings in another die before the 6.5. I use nickel plated cases(to make them easily identifiable from my other .303 cases). But I’m pretty sure I just trimmed them and then ran them through the 6.5 die. I use imperial sizing wax whenever I do a conversion like this.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    I tested a lot of once fired cases and killed practically all of them by collapsing the case like an accordion at the shoulder. A few Federal cases appeared to be softer in the neck and shoulder and they formed with only the 6.5X53R trim die. All cases made by WW and RP failed to form using only the trim die.
    After these test results I trim pushing the shoulder back and necking down in steps and got a 100% good results. So I recommend that method with the expense of new brass these days. Since forming these cases takes so many steps I do not recommend using once fired cases already stretched by firing in a Lee-Enfield.
    If you have a batch of Berdan primed .303 once fired brass that you cannot reload you can at least use them to test your case forming process before you risk new brass.
    EDG

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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