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Thread: Paper Patching 308 for the 303 Brit

  1. #1
    Boolit Grand Master 303Guy's Avatar
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    Paper Patching 308 for the 303 Brit

    After looking at this for a long time now, I have chosen the bullet to patch up for the Brit - 110gr 308 varmint flat lead hollow nose. I chose this bullet because it has that wide flat hollow nose that I am hoping will work at low velocity. My idea being to shoot them in my semi-suppressed sporter No4 using Trail Boss. This bullet has about the same if not longer shank length as does the 125gr spitzer varmint bullet. So, for quietness, the 110gr should give me higher velocity and more impact effect out to perhaps 100yds or meters.

    I did a test on a cut back 150gr bullet (134gr) with TB and measured the sound level inside my workshop. 117dBA. That's quiet for outdoors. I'm going to be taking a young fella out hunting and want to be able to do target shooting with him before getting into the serious hunt so that sound level outdoors is not going to disturb the whole countryside.

    The bullets are on order so in a few days time I will start developing a load which will be something like 14gr TB under those 110gr bullets or maybe 15gr for more velocity. The idea is to patch them to just fit an unsized case neck. The rifle is a two-groove with a bore of .305". The patch only needs to deliver the bullet concentrically into the bore. I'm trusting that the patch itself will get obliterated in the throat. Velocity is expected to be a mild 1500 fps.
    Last edited by 303Guy; 11-02-2020 at 05:00 PM.
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  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I'll be watching for your results!

    A few years ago I wanted to try a light boolit of about 100 grs. so slid the nose form up my "smooth" mould and cast a bunch of 100 gr. boolits then patched to groove. I got very poor results I attributed to the long jump through the throat. Same mould but with the nose form deeper casting 180 gr. shoots well but of course the boolit it extending much further into the throat.

    I gave up on that one. I figured the jump was too long and/or the patch was being damaged before entering the bore.

    My solution was to get the Mihec 316410 PB mould (130 gr. solid and 126 gr. with large HP... IIRC) and that works extremely well! The HP version explodes milk jugs full of water, even at PB velocities, out to 100 yards.

    In fairness, I did not try paper patching a range of boolit weights from my smooth mould. Possibly a slightly longer/heavier boolit with more bearing length would have worked but patching those small boolits was a little more than I wanted for a plinker anyway. The 316410 is light enough for plinking being easy on lead and low recoil but also heavy enough for more serious work and it has proven to be fairly accurate in my 303's. I haven't really wrung it out but I'd say good hunting level accuracy for anything I can see within effective range of that boolit.

    If you get good results, good on you! And I will try again. If not, there is a solution!

    Good luck and please keep us posted.

    Longbow

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master 303Guy's Avatar
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    The bullets have arrived and I'm doing some preliminary testing in my workshop. I first loaded one up over 8 grs of Trail Boss and fired it through my loose bore pig gun. All good so I then loaded another with the correct thickness paper this time so no sizing (compressing the paper) required, over 15 grs Trail Boss and fired it in the two-groove they are intended for. The result speaks for itself.





    I should mention that patching these things is not much better than patching 224's. But I'm committed now - one hundred times! Still, if they shoot straight then it will be worth it. Expansion in the catch medium is good so they should dispatch rabbits and feral goats just fine.

    Looking at the fired bullet, it seems as though there was no jacket to bore contact but there is heat staining and it looks like there was metal to metal contact but no copper smeared off the jacket. There was no sign of patch fragments which is what I expected. The important thing is that the patch did not distort the bullet on entering the bore and it appears as though the bullet entered the bore concentrically.

    Sound level inside my workshop measured 117.8 dBA which is not bad for outdoor shooting. Range testing to follow. That will be the acid test as they say. It all comes to naught if it shoots like a shotgun!
    Last edited by 303Guy; 11-04-2020 at 05:55 PM.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Just a suggestion since those are "J" bullets... if accuracy is not good try knurling the bullet before patching. Not a deep knurl, just enough to roughen the jacket some to grip the paper.

    Many years ago Ross Seyfried wrote an article on using "J" bullets paper patched to fit non-standard bores... in his case, mostly English guns where ammunition is not readily available for "odd" bore sizes. He found that roughening the copper jackets was a good thing. I don't recall if he used a knurling tool or just rolled the bullets between a couple of coarse files but I am sure that is all it would take.

    I found that using 0.301" smooth cast boolits paper patched up tp my .303 groove size was a failure resulting in poor accuracy but after knurling the same boolits then patching, accuracy was quite good. Diameter was increased slightly but I think more importantly, the roughness held the patches in place.

    Nice patching job by the way! And as always, your pics are great!

    I'll keep watching and waiting for some field results. Good luck!

    Longbow

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master 303Guy's Avatar
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    Thanks. Yes, I did knurl it with a fine pair of files that are now blunt and/or clogged. I was looking at them thinking it's time to get new ones. I use two, one bottom and one top.



    That was a prototype patch. From there I modified it to fit properly. You can see why I need new files.

    The spitzer is a .311 125gr that didn't shoot well some years ago. I did contemplate a 125gr .30 cal spitzer but tests with a spitzer failed to expand at Trail Boss velocities so not so good for hunting. I figured the lighter flat nose would be faster and even if they didn't expand, they still have that wide flat nose.
    Last edited by 303Guy; 11-05-2020 at 04:16 AM.
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  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Okay then, you've got the knurling covered though that isn't a very rough surface. Maybe try a sharper (newer) double cut coarse bastard file. That should raise small burrs that'll really grip the paper. What you have may be good enough and the target will tell you. If accuracy is poor then try more aggressive "knurling".

    I made a knurling tool sort of similar to the Corbin knurler that works really well on cast smooth boolit and also on "J" bullet. I had some Hornady 170 gr. (IIRC) "J" bullets that didn't shoot well at all from my .303. Those bullets were 0.311" diameter so a bit optimistic for most Lee Enfield milsurps. All mine run around 0.314" groove diameter. So, I knurled the bullets up about 0.003" and they shot very well. But I digress.

    Let's see how your longer range targets look. If accuracy is good you are done! If not, try more aggressive knurling before making any other big changes. Its easy to do.

    Also, reflecting back, if you can knurl or make a knurling tool you may be able to knurl those bullets up to groove diameter or close enough. With 2 groove you may get away with a couple thou small because of the 2 groove metal displacement. I found I could knurl "J" bullets up about 0.003"/0.004". That did it for my gun but then my bullets were probably 0.002"/0.003" larger than what you have to start with.

    Paper patching should work though and you know what you are doing with paper patches.

    Longbow

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master 303Guy's Avatar
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    I'm going to get new files anyway. It's actually difficult to get that much knurling with the old files. My two-groove actually likes PPU 180gr bullets with a .310 diameter. The ogive is far enough forward to make them favorable.

    I've now fired the patched 110gr j-word in three rifles. The two-groove seems to like them but the other two have large bores, closer to .308. The rifling only just cuts through the patch and engages the jacket.

    Here you can see how far into the muzzle the bullet goes. The front section is slightly smaller than the rear - the rear does not go in at all.


    And the fired bullet


    The loaded cartridge


    Believe it or not but that bullet actually contacts the throat! The patched diameter is .318, just right for seating in the unsized neck. The two-groove on the other hand needs the bullet seated way out to engage the throat.



    But, only range testing will tell if the idea was a good one or not.

    Just in case anyone else is contemplating trying these light bullets, be aware that they are small - very small. Best to get a 10 year old to patch them.

    Last edited by 303Guy; 11-05-2020 at 04:12 AM.
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  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master

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    "Best to get a 10 year old to patch them" my sentiments exactly! My fingers are too big to easily patch those little boolits! Yours look good though!

    Longbow

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master 303Guy's Avatar
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    Something weird I noticed with the first two-groove recovered bullet.



    Notice how the knurling has been obliterated and that the bullet has obturated to fill the .318 grooves!

    So I tried it again

    See the difference?



    This time the patch rode between the bullet and bore and there was very little compression of the bullet. Remember it's a 0.308 bullet fired in a 0.305 bore.

    This image shows the knurling remnants better

    Rest In Peace My Son (01/06/1986 - 14/01/2014)

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  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master

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    It wouldn't surprise me if the patch doesn't make it through the jump to rifling... at least sometimes. Blow by will likely strip it off... at least sometimes. These guns have pretty sloppy chambers.

    It is a bit surprising (to me anyway) that a "J" bullet would obturate that much, at least with relatively low pressure loads, but wouldn't be surprising to see cast boolits obturate like that.

    Might be an idea to patch up say 10 and shoot them all into your catch media to see if the patches stay on consistently or not. Obviously if some patches stay on and some don't accuracy is likely to be inconsistent.

    Longbow

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master 303Guy's Avatar
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    I must say I am re-evaluating my plan. Could it be that Trail Boss is just too fast a powder for the purpose? I chose it for its bulk and for the relative quietness through the semi-suppressor. 118 dBA is not to be snuffed at. Perhaps I am loading it too high. I'm doing that to have enough velocity to expand the bullet on live critters. Trouble is, I don't know what velocity I am getting or what velocity I need. Maybe the bullet shape is good enough to get the job done at lower velocity?

    Or maybe just load it to achieve this and call it good.


    This is muzzle velocity effect but the catch medium may not be representative of flesh effects.
    Last edited by 303Guy; 11-09-2020 at 05:31 AM.
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  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I can't speak to Trail Boss as I haven't used it.

    I have used those same bullets in my .308 but loaded to max. using IMR 4064 IIRC but book max anyway. They were accurate and extremely destructive at that velocity. Of course they weren't paper patched in .308.

    Not sure how they would perform at lower velocity but pretty reasonable to expect them to be less explosive as velocity drops. You might do a check for .300 BO, .300 Herrett or similar cartridge loads using that bullet for performance info. I seem to recall reading an article by Steve Milek regarding use of varmint type bullets at reduced velocity in .300 Herrett for medium game. At the reduced velocities they are not so explosive and penetrate and expand without fragmenting more like a big game bullet.

    Just a thought.

    Longbow

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master 303Guy's Avatar
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    Thanks, longbow. I've had a look at Hodgdon's load data. Maybe I should accept a higher noise level and try H4198. Anyway, I might just load up three sets for range testing and decide from there. The thought has occurred to me that 15 grs TB might be on the ragged edge of failure, in which case, dropping down a notch or two could take me out of the danger zone.

    One plan of action would be to use my normal load for live critters and a quiet load for plinking with the knowledge that the plinking load is going to shoot to a different POI. Work out the difference, set up targets with an aim point and an expected POI so that the young fella's shooting can be assessed. If he knows where he is aiming and where his shots should be going, mission accomplished. Or set the zero on the scope, sight it in for the quiet loads then return the settings to zero for the actual hunt.

    But I do want this idea to work out for the fun factor and having a quite load will add to that for the youngster. I have another rifle that would likely give the youngster even more fun but that's another project for the range.

    That would be this little beastie (that's the one with the bullet in the muzzle further up).


    That's the Martini Enfield barrel I've mentioned before. A really nice little rifle to carry afield and shoot with. It's the kind of rifle that makes one want to go hunting. The one that fired this bullet with Trail Boss.

    Last edited by 303Guy; 11-10-2020 at 03:00 AM.
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  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Let me try that again... Bob Milek not Steve Milek. Steve Herrett and Bob Milek developed the .30 Herrett. I was sorta right! I'm old and have a small wrinkled brain... stuff tends to get mixed up and/or lost!

    I may have the article I mentioned buried in a pile of magazines but a quick search on the internet turned this up:

    https://singleactions.proboards.com/...herrett-barnes

    Seems to me I remember Bob Milek hunting antelope using the Herrett and 110 gr. spire point bullets.

    I'll say that I admire your dedication in paper patching for a young 'un! I'd be inclined to use as cast tumble lubed boolits that are a couple thou over groove diameter at least to get him used to shooting then maybe "J" bullets for hunting if cast were not suitable for some reason. Sorry, I am lazy and cheap! Kids like to shoot LOTS and I don't plan on paper patching for plinking or even to teach where many rounds may be needed plus "J" bullets are expensive!

    Longbow

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    Boolit Grand Master 303Guy's Avatar
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    Yup. I quite agree. I didn't think this through. Thing is, this particular rifle doesn't shoot cast very well but it has the suppressor that I need (or semi-suppressor). At this point, I must just decide on a powder charge, load up a few test rounds and see how they group. If they're OK, I'm good to go, otherwise I'll have to think of something else, or just not do any plinking out in the field. But of course there is the fun factor and challenge plus I already have the bullets and they would be handy for my own purpose. But they really are hard to patch! I'll work something out though.
    Last edited by 303Guy; 11-11-2020 at 08:28 PM.
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  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Out of curiosity have you tried a boolit of a thou or two over groove diameter and filler under the boolit? Filler is a controversial subject but I have found filler to be useful in some loads and by working up loads with filler I have had no problems with it. I generally use Cream 'O Wheat.

    Here's a bit of reading for you:

    http://303british.com/id37.html

    Scroll about 1/2 way down and you'll find a paragraph on a 2 groove rifle that wouldn't shoot worth poop until he used filler.

    I contacted David Southall after reading his article and had several e-mail conversations with him re fillers. I have used them ever since where appropriate.

    More on appropriate use of filler:

    https://thisoldrifle.com/shooting/castfiller/index.asp

    Some recommend using only Dacron or similar "puffy" material to fill the empty space in the cartridge. There are also some who use Dacron or similar to fill the empty space then add a small amount of plastic shot buffer or Cream 'O Wheat on top basically just filling the neck. I follow David Southall's advice and so far have been successful.

    What I do is sort out what powder charge I am using then take a cartridge, pour that powder charge in and measure the volume left over then make a scoop to add that much filler. Quick and easy to load and allows even plain base cast boolits to be pushed harder than if no filler is used... maybe not to GC velocities but they shoot well and no leading for me.

    If the filler works then you have a cast boolit shooter with a suppressor. If not, try it in some of your other rifles with poor or very large bores. Save the paper patching for hunting or serious target loads! I would anyway.

    Just a thought.

    Longbow

  17. #17
    Boolit Grand Master 303Guy's Avatar
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    Thanks Longbow.

    I was using filler (wheat bran) in that little carbine above when I got MOA results with it. I shall be looking at that route again.

    For tomorrow's range session I will just be loading ten rounds of those little 110gr micro bullets and give it a try to see how it groups. If it's acceptable I will just leave it at that for this rifle for now. I have other rifles calling me from my safe saying "Shoot cast in me!"

    I have developed a sort of 'lacquer lube' that builds up a 30 cal cast boolit nose to ride the bore in that little carbine and seats the drive band in the throat at the right depth for zero jump. I think the filler trick might be just the ticket. In fact, I'm going to load one up today and see how the 'lacquer lube' holds out in its bore.
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  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master

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    We seem to be having a private conversation here... I hope someone else weighs in with opinions and info.

    Regardless, I will be following your progress here.

    Longbow

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy Driver man's Avatar
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    Im following this thread with interest
    The Bird of Time has but a little way
    To fly-and Lo! the bird is on the wing

  20. #20
    Boolit Grand Master 303Guy's Avatar
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    Well, I have loaded up eleven rounds. This is a mission! After this I still have about seventy of those little bullets to patch up! Mind you, doing them in numbers does make the process faster. I got a new file and quickly mastered a technique for knurling them. They are short so they are covered by the top file (I use two files) and they roll sideways easily but I got it down to a fine art. I can even knurl over the ogive.

    Patching turned out to be easier to dry wrap and I use the word 'easier' loosely here. I don't have a set up for cutting patches in bulk either as I have been doing curved patches for tapered boolits. So these straight patches are being cut with scissors but even that speeds up as one develops a routine. Still, these elen loaded rounds are expensive! The youngster ain't shootin em! He can shoot the 22's.



    Shucks, it doesn't look like a lot for the time it took!

    There's this about it, no-one will know they are jacketed bullets!
    Last edited by 303Guy; 11-14-2020 at 01:07 AM.
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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