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Thread: Paper patching the .303 British

  1. #1
    Boolit Master tacklebury's Avatar
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    Paper patching the .303 British

    I'm really struggling to find any of the few .303 bullets in .312 with weights I'm interested in. Has anyone attempted to paper patch .308 leads to work in the .303 british? Just a curiousity question.

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy
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    Yes I have. I had my best success in sizing them down to .304” and then patching up to .314”.
    A final sizing at .314” for concentricity, and a bit of paste wax applied. ( actually I lubed first to aid sizing the pp bullet )
    I shot an elk a number of years back with this recipe.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy andrew375's Avatar
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    I am currently playing with pp in my mosin,.3145" groove diameter. Bullets are the Lee 200gr..308 and the 155gr tl. I use them as cast. After patching I lube with briwax furniture polish and push through my .315" sizer. Accuracy isn't great but it's looking promising.
    "Consciousness is a lie your brain tells you to make you think you know what you are doing." Professor Maria Goncalves.

    If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. George Orwell.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I haven't done any in a while but I sized cast to .308 and used 2 wraps of tracing paper to get .316. I then lubed with Lee alox and sized to .314. I have also paper patched jacketed .308 bullets to .312 and shot them in the Brit. Like I said I haven't done it in a while and don't remember all the numbers but it can be done. It is very time consuming. Accuracy is as good as anything else if done properly.

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master Nobade's Avatar
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    303 Guy should show up before too long here. He's the master of patching for those rifles.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I made a push out mould for PP boolits for my .308 which worked well and accuracy wass good. The mould cast at 0.301". However, when I tried paper patching for my .303's using the same cast boolit but thicker paper to suit the .303's accuracy was poor. I thought maybe the boolit was undersize since the general approach is to use a bore size to a thou or two over bore size boolit then patch to groove diameter and my .303 bore is 0.303". So I tried knurling those boolits to 0.303"/.0.304" then paper patching to groove diameter and that worked for me.

    I wasn't sure whether it was the diameter increase or the knurling... or a bit of both but it worked. Having read posts where people have trouble with "slicks" and paper patches slipping I am thinking a bit of both.

    My boolits were cast from ACWW so possibly a softer alloy would have responded differently.

    I didn't do a lot of paper patching for the .303's so no significant experience beyond that.

    I'd start with a boolit sized to bore diameter or a thou or two over then patch to groove and try that. Alternately you could patch then size to groove diameter after which seems to work for some people.

    Longbow

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy

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    +1 to beemer.

    I have an old P-14 with about .3125" groove diameter, and roughly .318"-.320" throat. Lately I've been taking pretty much any .30 cal bullet, sizing it to .310", paper patching, and then sizing the patched bullet to .316" and loading it into a .303 cartridge that's been resized, and run through a .317" expander.

    Sizing the bullet first helps get the outer surfaces even, which makes it easier to put the patch on straight. Patching w/ 2 layers of ~.004" paper increases the patched bullet diameter to .320" or more, which might be okay for my throat -- actually I've fired them like that, from an unsized case, and it works okay -- but sizing the patched bullet again, to .316", makes it seat nicely, with good neck tension, in .303 cases that have been through my .317" neck expander. Also, sizing after patching seems to bond the patch onto the bullet a little. Unrolling one of those patches, and looking at things, shows the paper surface texture lightly swaged into the surface of the bullet, which I'd imagine helps prevent the patch from slipping. So, all in all, I've pretty much settled on this process.

    At least a couple of these techniques are a bit Off The Reservation, but I have evidence that my pressures are perfectly safe -- fired primers stick out of the case head a few thou -- and I've had the experience of hitting 9 out of the 10 two hundred yard silhouettes at a recent BCPR match, which most likely wouldn't happen if the load was no good.

    (What's a P-14 doing at a BCPR match? Another whole story.)

    I haven't mentioned any loading data, partly because tacklebury didn't say what kind of rifle, and the SMLE's can be a little weird with reduced loads, but also because I'm using a filler (to prevent leading, rough bore), which is a completely different subject, probably not appropriate here.

    BTW, "hi" to 303Guy. Look!! I got it working! (Hope you & yours are well and happy.)

  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master 303Guy's Avatar
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    Hi gunwonk. Good to see folks having success with 303's. I'm busy trying to get my old faithful to reproduce what it did a number of years ago. It gets me to the range a lot.

    I have tried patching 30 cal bullets but didn't have much success. They seated in the necks just fine but range results were not great. I'll try sizing the patched bullets and see if that helps. I shall load a few for next range session.

    tacklebury, I have tried Lee 180's patched but no success. I have the mold and it casts well so it makes sense to use it. But then I also have a few smooth side molds that cast well enough. I'm concentrating on just one mold at the moment. The boolit is shorter than the Lee 180 which makes it easier to seat to chambering length. I can also vary the length. To lighten the casting, I have made a pouring 'funnel' that produces a wide hollow nose. This would also make it a good game boolit, I think. The idea of shortening it is to give the boolit some jump so as not tocant on entering the bore. But the longer boolit seems to fire concentrically anyway but at lower velocity. As soon as I try to push it up, it shoots badly, whereas the shorter boolit seems to be Ok at higher velocities. I now have a harder alloy that alloys the heavier boolit to be shot at higher velocity.
    Last edited by 303Guy; 10-02-2022 at 03:01 AM.
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  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy
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    some folks have had sucess just using .308 calibre projectiles as they are....... you can also get away with,if your lucky,projectiles meent for the wee x39mm cartridge,normally in 123grns...

  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master 303Guy's Avatar
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    I'd love to be able to shoot the 123 grns. I did try some once and had poor results. Those were .311. I have tried seating a .30 bullet in a paper hand towel cup in an unsized neck. Didn't work well. I have had success doing that with a .312 bullet. Or maybe it was it a 180grn. I actually found some .311 bullets which are now on order.

    Here are some pics of 180gr Lee boolits, knurled and patched. I rolled these examples for the pic but I had previously loaded one and fired it.


    Here I rolled the patch so as not to impress it into the lube grooves with the idea that the patch will cut through the full length.


    Here is some of the recovered patch. That's all I could find. Those pieces are the nose wraps which seems to have come off OK and were close to the muzzle.

    I left the tail loose like that with the idea that the pressure at the muzzle would blow whatever is left of the patch off. Since I didn't see any more of the patch than what I found, I would say that idea might have worked. I previously rolled the patches on so that they hugged into the grooves and rebate - those did not perform.

    I used 24gr of H4895 for that one test round. The boolit was seated in an unsized case neck which required seating in the press so a nice firm fit. I seat the boolits to the line which allows the boolit to be firmly engaged in the leade. The bore-ride section of the core is 0.298 and the patched diameter is about groove diameter toward the muzzle. The throat on this thing is big! A .308 bullet drops in quite far.

    Since that one round gave mild pressure and burned the powder cleanly, I'll be loading up a few more of those to see how they group. Maybe two sets with an increase in powder charge. I'll only get to the range in another three weeks and by then I should have several different loads loaded for testing.
    Last edited by 303Guy; 10-02-2022 at 10:33 PM.
    Rest In Peace My Son (01/06/1986 - 14/01/2014)

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

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy andrew375's Avatar
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    Update on using the patched Lee 155gr tl bullet in the mosin. Yes, I know 7.62x54 isn't .303 British but they are similar enough to be relevant in this situation. I am using the bullets as cast (.3125") and pass them through a .314" sizing die to fix the gas checks and wrap 2 turns of baking parchment (.006"). Following wrapping they are lubed with 50/50 beeswax and vaseline and pushed through the .314 sizer again. I was getting encouraging results with AA2 but a bit erratic. I have found slower powders, Vectan Tu2000 and Lovex S065 giving better results. At the moment my loads are barely breaking 2000 fps so I think they aren't producing enough pressure to burn these powders properly. I'm currently going up the loads until I lose accuracy.

    On the plus side the barrel, well worn is the kindest thing to say about it, is looking really smooth and clean. The annoying thing is that I still need to use gas checks. Groups without gas checks are noticeably worse, with some shots off the target, than those with.
    "Consciousness is a lie your brain tells you to make you think you know what you are doing." Professor Maria Goncalves.

    If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. George Orwell.

  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Have you considered the NOE clones if the NRA paper patch designs?

    https://noebulletmolds.com/site/prod...303-178-sp-g1/

    https://noebulletmolds.com/site/prod...303-218-sp-g2/

    Or are they not in the weights you want?

    Longbow

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
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    This post is slightly off topic from the OP but relevant. Here is a copy of the response I was sent for the same need as yours.

    The Lee 170 FNGC mold can easily be honed. My bullet, after honing drops .3125” and I can size/check bullets at .3105” for 30-30, 30-06 or 3125” or 7.62X39
    Search Honing Lee molds. I use the mold and cast with a hex nut on top of the mold with the sprue plate open and pour lead through the nut hole to fill it to brim. This makes a cast honing tool that can be turned with a wrench. I apply powdered pumice and dish soap made into a paste to the driving bands on the tool. Close, take 2 turns with light handle pressure. Open, remove tool and flush only mold cavity. Close tool back in and take 20 turns. Flush, warm the mold and cast a bullet then measure the bullet. This may take 5-10 cycles of abrading and lots of washing but make a cast bullet to check every Cycle so you don't go bigger than you want. My mold originally dropped .309” but now makes great bullets I can size for several rifles. I hone my sizing dies too to get just the size I want. A simpler method accomplishes that.

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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