.303 British, good for nothing or classic African cartridge?

Discussion in 'Up To .375' started by HWL, Dec 4, 2018.

  1. Dr Ray

    Dr Ray AH Legend

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    Agreed that the 303 is a Boer war era cartridge. My experience is that it’s not very accurate but will do the job much the same as a 308 within its limitations.
    The 174 grain bullet would be better than using the very heavy and very slow 215 grain. That’s my opinion anyway.
     

  2. Hogpatrol

    Hogpatrol AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I would really like to build one with a custom barrel but bullet selection is just adequate. There aren't a lot of companies making that diameter.

    Good reference on the cartridge here:

    http://www.303british.com/id28.html
     

  3. Cousin Bongo

    Cousin Bongo AH Member

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    I've used the .303 on several hunts (No. 4 Mk 1 converted to pseudo-Scout - see the January 2016 issue of Man Magnum magazine) in a few places around the globe. My favorite bullet for the .303 is the 215 gr CLAW Bonded-Core. With this bullet in the .303, I have taken dozens of head of game up to, and including, zebra, from 10 steps (nyala) out to about 300 steps (zebra) without issue. The 303 British is a great cartridge (so designated because here in the U.S.A. there is also the 303 Savage), it's surprisingly accurate, and it will do anything the 308 Winchester will do for all practical purposes.

    CB
     
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  4. 2L8

    2L8 AH Veteran

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    Why is it that the original 400 grain at 2050 fps (.450/400 NE 3" with typical barrel lengths) or 2125 fps (.404 Jeffery) loads are good for anything including a 7-Ton Elephant but a bullet with over 50% of the area and mass and similar velocity is inadequate for a 700 lb Kudu? Are Kudu really that much tougher than elephant?

    To each their own but the Sporterized P14 has been killing 1600 lb Moose in Canada for 100 years. I wouldn't choose it for Buffalo but I think it's adequate for anything non-dangerous under 2,000 lb with appropriate ammo.
     

  5. tarbe

    tarbe AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Brilliant (German and Austrian) minds think alike! ;)

    450/400 NE 3" and 30-40 Krag (the .308" dia cousin of the .303B).

    IMG_0272.jpg
     

  6. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    I had a No.1 .303 for a time, very fine shooting rifle. In mine I shot 180gr Sierra's with a good dose of W760 and had really good groups. I still have my London Small Arms "Lee Speed" rifle that shoots very well with its express sights. I am always on the lookout for old Remington or Peters 215gr factory loads. It shoots them very well.[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2018
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  7. tarbe

    tarbe AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    The 450/400 is going to Zim next August for Buffalo.

    I am struggling to decide what to bring for PG. It will either be the pictured 30-40 Krag or a Henry H010CC in 45-70, with Skinner peep sight.

    Handicapping? Sure - but I'm ok with the limitations.
     
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  8. Odinsraven

    Odinsraven AH Fanatic

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    We are trying to get Lithgow to build a 303 bolt gun ....check our FB group
     

  9. HWL

    HWL AH Fanatic

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    Could not find new cases for reloading.

    I bought 100 rounds .303 British from S&B, I will burn at the range to get good cases.....

    To use cases fired in an Enfield, I think is not a good idea.


    HWL
     

  10. IvW

    IvW AH Legend

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    Great old cartridges! I would take the 30-40 Krag for PG...
     

  11. Wheels

    Wheels AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    If you want to bring a 303 to Africa, most definitely bring it.


    Neumann and Bell both shot scores, if not hundreds of elephants with the 303.


    I once read through copies of a number of pages of the registered rifles in Kenya, expecting to see 404J, 500NE, 470NE, 375H&H, 318WR, 450/400NE, etc. In actuality, there were only one or two of these type rifles on most pages. The rest were all types of 303. Mostly ex military. It seems to be a safe assumption that the 303 was the primary meat provider of the Kenya Colony/ Country up until guns were confiscated in 1977/78.
     
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  12. WAB

    WAB AH Elite

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    I’ve only owned one .303 and I’m still kicking myself for selling it. It was a beautiful 1895 Winchester, the only one I’ve ever seen. It was quite accurate. The only game I shot with it was deer on which it worked very well.
     
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  13. leslie hetrick

    leslie hetrick AH Enthusiast

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    I was born with a 3006 in my hands and I still use them.

    DSCN0838 (2).JPG DSCN0839 (2).JPG DSCN0840 (2).JPG DSCN0841 (2).JPG
     
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  14. Longwalker

    Longwalker AH Enthusiast

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    .303 is THE classic British empire cartridge. For both battle and hunting. It was certainly the standard hunting cartridge in my father's day in this part of Canada. Somewhere in our family's photo archives is a picture of Dad and his buddies posing beside a grain truck on our farm, and the box is full of moose. Can't tell for sure but there were 6 or 8 moose piled in that 5T box. He and all his buddies shot .303's, all were minimally sporterized Lee-Enfields. Strange thing is, if you put a 180 grain .303 bullet into the chest of a moose at any range up to 300 or so yards, the moose dies quite quickly. Nobody ever told us simple rural folks that we were hunting moose with inadequate rifles, probably because the "other" common hunting rifles were generally .30-30, .300 savage, 44-40 or some other lesser cartridges. I suspect a .303 would do just as good today on a Kudu, Gemsbok, Zebra or Wildebeest as it does on Canadian moose. I shot my first game animal with a Lee Enfield #4 chambered in .303. I would be interested in using a .303 now for hunting at home and abroad if the cartridge was chambered in a rifle I liked. Sadly that is not currently possible without a custom build.
     
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  15. 2L8

    2L8 AH Veteran

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    How about one of the more affordable doubles in a caliber just small enough to allow a rebore and reregulation?

    I don't know that it's possible to rebore a double but it's worth checking.
     

  16. HWL

    HWL AH Fanatic

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    To like the Ruger No. 1 has some advantages.....

    ;)

    HWL
     
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  17. leslie hetrick

    leslie hetrick AH Enthusiast

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    the 303 brit and the 30-40 krag are about the same age and have just about the same power and were war babies, but after the Spanish American war the americans wanted a better war rifle and the 30-03 was developed and the case was changed in 06 and the 30-06 born. the brits also wanted a different caliber, I think a 7mm-280, but ww-1 started and it was put on the back burner and never was born. I have several .303 brit mk-4,s and even a converted mk-3 to 3".410 at springfield sporters when bill rodger owned it in pa. whats nice about the .303 is it shares the same diameter bullets as the 7.7 Japanese and the 7.62x54R Russian mosin and the 7.65 argentine-Belgian rifles and that makes it easy to feed them. a option for a good sporter in .303 is a good model 14 that would be strong enough to bring the .303 up to its full optional. for me a rimmed case begs for a double or single shot rifle.
     

  18. Shootist43

    Shootist43 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Leslie Hetrick, just to clear up my thinking, were you referring to taking a P 14 "lee Enfield" which I thought was already a 30-06 and converting it to 303 British? I'm not familiar with the P 14 (s) that were built in the U.S. for the Brits, but I have a couple of P 17(s) one pretty much as issued (except for a new style ejector) and a well done sporter.
     

  19. HWL

    HWL AH Fanatic

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    Because of ist rimmed design, I think, the .303 British is much better suited to a break open gun.

    Single shot, double, combination gun, whatever...

    HWL
     

  20. Ryan

    Ryan AH Fanatic

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    The P14 is correct. The US was manufacturing it for the Brits for WW1 in 303 British at first just as he mentioned because they hadn't worked out the kinks for their newer cartridge. When the US got into WW1 a couple years into it we didn't have enough M1903's, so we converted P14's into 30-06 to make the M17 for our troops. I have a M17 in my safe right now. Crazy how things work out.
     

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