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Thread: .303 British to 6.5x53R Dutch

  1. #1
    Boolit Master



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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
    _____________________________

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    "Free cheese only comes in a mousetrap"

  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.

    "Free cheese only comes in a mousetrap"

  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

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    @mac60 does the bullet in the picture in the finished product have a gas check? What would happen if you annealed the brass first the could you form it in one pass?

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    If the reformed cases don't feed smoothly in the enbloc clips, radius the back edge of the rims. That will fix the feeding.
    Look at the old 6.5 rimmed cartridges, they are like this.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master 15meter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gobeyond View Post
    @mac60 does the bullet in the picture in the finished product have a gas check? What would happen if you annealed the brass first the could you form it in one pass?
    Most cases will collapse during forming if annealed first. On this conversion, I used new brass, tried fired brass and had no luck.

    If I recall correctly, Ken Waters recommended new brass only for this conversion. I'll have to dig out my Pet Loads book to verify that.

    Some conversions I've done in a single pass, not this one, small movement of brass multiple times seemed to get me better results.

    I detailed the steps I used earlier in this thread, far from the only way, probably not the optimal way, but it got usable brass with zero loss for me.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    I formed a few Federal .303 cases in one pass but for the most part you get collapsed shoulders if you try it in one pass.
    The more annealed the cases the worse they collapse.
    I ruined a lot of cases experimenting and found that multiple steps is the only way to get a significant number of good cases without producing a lot of scrap.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gobeyond View Post
    @mac60 does the bullet in the picture in the finished product have a gas check? What would happen if you annealed the brass first the could you form it in one pass?
    EDG

  14. #14
    Boolit Master



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    Quote Originally Posted by Gobeyond View Post
    @mac60 does the bullet in the picture in the finished product have a gas check? What would happen if you annealed the brass first the could you form it in one pass?
    Sorry for losing track of this thread. The boolit in question does have a gas check. It's an aluminum check I got from Sage outdoors. I have to admit it didn't shoot well at all - couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with it. The boolit tumbled at 50 yds. There was no leading, it just wasn't accurate. The forming procedure I used was the result of the homework I did, so I really couldn't say what would happen if you tried to do it in one pass. The upside is that I have brass for the gun. It shoots very well with a 140 gr. Speer jacketed bullet, but I couldn't get it to shoot that particular cast boolit at all. That Lee mould is the only 6.5 mm mould I have.
    So many guns, so little time
    _____________________________

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

    "Free cheese only comes in a mousetrap"

  15. #15
    Boolit Master 15meter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mac60 View Post
    Sorry for losing track of this thread. The boolit in question does have a gas check. It's an aluminum check I got from Sage outdoors. I have to admit it didn't shoot well at all - couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with it. The boolit tumbled at 50 yds. There was no leading, it just wasn't accurate. The forming procedure I used was the result of the homework I did, so I really couldn't say what would happen if you tried to do it in one pass. The upside is that I have brass for the gun. It shoots very well with a 140 gr. Speer jacketed bullet, but I couldn't get it to shoot that particular cast boolit at all. That Lee mould is the only 6.5 mm mould I have.
    Found this thread again, thought it had gone into the BIZ bag. Get to drag it back to the top for more dissection, you probably need a shorter boolit, if I remember correctly, the Lee is in the 170 grain neighborhood and designed for the 6.5x55 which had a stupid fast twist for it's day.

    Don't think the Mannlicher has that fast a twist. I load either a 130 or a 140 grain boolit from Lyman molds, all depends on what I have cast last.

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy
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    I went through all this case forming stuff when I had a M95 carbine. I ultimately started buying Bertram brass through Grafs or Midway and got 20 + plus loadings out of it , jacketed and cast combined.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master 15meter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tedly View Post
    I went through all this case forming stuff when I had a M95 carbine. I ultimately started buying Bertram brass through Grafs or Midway and got 20 + plus loadings out of it , jacketed and cast combined.
    Nice notion if it was available. Last was approaching $4 each. Hasn't been available for a quite awhile. I found 150 pieces of W-W 303B on the shelf last summer. For 60 cents each.

    Knowing how to do it is still a skill I would prefer to have.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master



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    Quote Originally Posted by Tedly View Post
    I went through all this case forming stuff when I had a M95 carbine. I ultimately started buying Bertram brass through Grafs or Midway and got 20 + plus loadings out of it , jacketed and cast combined.
    That's excellent case life. The case conversion was a labor of love for me - I enjoyed every minute of it. It got pushed to the back burner due to some health problems. Maybe one day I'll look around and see if I can get another 6.5 mould and see if I can get it to shoot cast. It does shoot pretty well with a jacketed bullet though.
    So many guns, so little time
    _____________________________

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

    "Free cheese only comes in a mousetrap"

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy
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    As the groove diameter of my M95 carbine is ~.270" I load the Cruise Missile beagles up to .2715"+. 16gr 2400 under that bullet has given 50yd groupsike 1"x1 3/4" which is as good as I can see these days.
    A friend also has a Dutch carbine. His jacketed bullet loads yield about the same size groups as my cast loads. The jacketed bullets are sized down from .277".

  20. #20
    Boolit Master Good Cheer's Avatar
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    I found an incredible difference in dimensions between as-sized and as-fired cases, as if to say the 1915 chamber was cut to accommodate mud. Greater case capacity on as-fired cases... an opportunity.

    The barrel on mine is a corroded mess so I'm working my way towards sending it off to rebore. Currently scrounging brass to form into a cast boolit friendly wildcat. .338" (or possibly .358") groove diameter, chamber neck gets recut to suit untrimmed brass, then sending off fire formed cases for a full length sizer die.

    Passing thought... if someone would like to trade .303's for formed 6.5x53R's, please let me know.

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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