.303 British at 2655 fps, 150 grs O.K. for Elk ?


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Zerstoerer
February 9, 2006, 12:57 AM
What should be the minimum energy for Elk?

Is my .303 British underpowered with a 150 grs, spire point or is a 180 grs. bullet at 2350 fps oK?

Thanks

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sumpnz
February 9, 2006, 10:36 AM
Are these factory loads, or handloads? If handloads, is there a reason for such low power (old/weak rifle?). Either way, I'd stick to the 180's and keep the range pretty short. I'd pass on anything much over 100 yards and would really want a good broadside presentation with that load.

A typical .30-06 load will push a 180gr to 2600+ fps. That is generally considered a pretty good elk load.

Matt G
February 9, 2006, 01:38 PM
I certainly didn't feel undergunned when I carried an SMLE sporterized No. 5 into the woods looking for elk. Go with the 180g load. BTW, the Remington 180g SP roundnosed Express load is really pretty decent. Yes, the velocity drops off fast and it's not a great long range round, but in the black timber and small deer parks, it's okay.

There are better calibers for elk. But if it's what you've got, go with it.

Now, if you reload, there's a whole world open to you in this caliber... :)

rbernie
February 9, 2006, 03:17 PM
The 303R should be able to push a quality non-frangible 150gr bullet like a Sierra ProHunter .311 to 2700+fps, and a Sierra ProHunter 180gr .311 to more than 2450fps. If the distances are expected to be less than 250 yards, I'd probably use the 180gr Sierra.

Note that the PMP 180gr fodder is VERY underloaded, and will barely break 2200fps. It's accurate, but don't use it for anything critical.

smokemaker
February 9, 2006, 04:19 PM
The .303 and it's ballistic near twin, the .30-40 Krag, have both been used on elk. In my opinion, the killing power of these two rounds is in the 200-220 grain bullets. I don't know for sure, but that may be a handloading only propostion nowadays. These bullets have huge sectional density going for them, and they penetrated very deep, even at modest velocities. Go as heavy as you can with the .303, and don't worry so much about velocity.

RyanM
February 9, 2006, 05:07 PM
Energy is irrelevant. Go for a bullet that is accurate through your rifle, expands reliably in the velocity window your rifle can deliver (make sure you take range into account), and that penetrates deep enough and makes a big enough hole to kill the animal in good time. In .30 cal, 180 grains is probably the minimum for elk. Maybe 165 gr if it's a bonded core or solid copper bullet.

Zerstoerer
February 10, 2006, 12:09 AM
What should be the minimum energy for Elk?

Is my .303 British underpowered with a 150 grs, spire point or is a 180 grs. bullet at 2350 fps oK?

Thanks

Thanks for the info gentlemen,
I forgot to mention that these were factory loads, S&B in 150grs and WIN in 180grs. I guess I'll start handloading for the 180 grs - wonder how fast is possible? My Enflield is a 'new' No.4MkII (1955 Irish Reserve) one, I feel comfortable to push it to the limit. Hornady only shows data for the 150SP and a 174 round nose - I wonder who has got some data for 180 spire points?

Thanks again.

Art Eatman
February 10, 2006, 12:25 AM
Hodgdon #26 has loads for the .303.

For the 180-grain, the starting load is 42.5 grains and 2,242 ft/sec. Max is 46.0 for 2,304. Odds are that 44.0 or 45.0 would work just fine. Per the book, from start to max is only a gain of 60 ft/sec, so why push it?

Art

rbernie
February 10, 2006, 02:28 PM
CAUTION: The following post includes loading data beyond currently published maximums for this cartridge. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. Neither the writer, The High Road, nor the staff of THR assume any liability for any damage or injury resulting from use of this information.
Some of the published loads these days for 303R are just shy of criminally weak. Heck - the spec for MkVII ball was a 174gr bullet at 2440fps using far less stable and consistent powders than are available today.

My standard load for 150gr Sierra ProHunters is 47gr of Reloader15 (using Remington cases and Winchester primers). This is a bit over the Aliiant book max of 46.2gr for a 150gr Speer, but the Sierra seems to generate less pressure than the Speer in my rifles.

I run 43.5gr of Reloader15 under a Sierra 180gr ProHunter, and that's just knocking on the book max for a Speer 180gr. My rifles actually tolerate higher loads pretty well, but the velocities are decent with this load (2400-ish fps) and I don't feel the need to push it.

I have found that my rifles all prefer the Sierra bullets over the Speer or Hornady.

YMMV, and you should of course start 10% low and work up.

Cosmoline
February 10, 2006, 02:37 PM
I'd urge you to use the 215 grain Woodleigh RN slugs if you're going after big game with the .303. That's exactly what they were made for, and have racked up kills all over the planet. THey will expand reliably at even just 1,800 fps and have a very high sectional density. This makes them punch like a magnum even at sedate velocities. There's a fresh batch at midway. You hit an elk with one of those in the chest and my bet is you'll just hear a deep "TWAP" from downrange and the fellow will be dead inside a minute.

The .303 and it's ballistic near twin, the .30-40 Krag, have both been used on elk. In my opinion, the killing power of these two rounds is in the 200-220 grain bullets. I don't know for sure, but that may be a handloading only propostion nowadays. These bullets have huge sectional density going for them, and they penetrated very deep, even at modest velocities. Go as heavy as you can with the .303, and don't worry so much about velocity.

Ditto. That's the key. I'd urge you against the temptation to go with smaller and faster bullets. That's not what the .303 was designed for, and no matter how hard you try you'll never get it cranked up to sufficient FPS' to make up for using an undersized bullet.

H&Hhunter
February 10, 2006, 03:15 PM
I'd urge you to use the 215 grain Woodleigh RN slugs if you're going after big game with the .303. That's exactly what they were made for, and have racked up kills all over the planet. THey will expand reliably at even just 1,800 fps and have a very high sectional density. This makes them punch like a magnum even at sedate velocities. There's a fresh batch at midway. You hit an elk with one of those in the chest and my bet is you'll just hear a deep "TWAP" from downrange and the fellow will be dead inside a minute.



Ditto. That's the key. I'd urge you against the temptation to go with smaller and faster bullets. That's not what the .303 was designed for, and no matter how hard you try you'll never get it cranked up to sufficient FPS' to make up for using an undersized bullet.

Ditto X 3

The .303 should be shooting heavy for caliber high SD rounds to get the most out of it on big game. that was the choice of African sport hunters who used this rifle from everything from Diker to Elephant. In fact the .303 shooting cupro nickle solids was considered to be a far better elephant round than the .450/577 of the day.

There is no way to make this in to a "long range" elk thumper so hunt accordingly. the last three elk I've killed have been at or less than 100 yards. In fact a nice old .303 is on my will have list in the future.

I know own a .375H&H a .404Jeffery and a .470 NE I need a .303 to make my common British "sporting rifle" caliber collection complete.

Glad to see somebody still using the old warhorse!

smokemaker
February 10, 2006, 04:38 PM
Cosmoline, H&H, thanks for backing my info up. I was beginning to think that I was the only guy out there who was in the long & heavy bullet section of this thread.

Zerstoerer
February 11, 2006, 11:35 PM
Cosmoline,

thanks for the info - that's kind of what I was looking for. I did think the .303 should be o.k. for Elk as long as the distance is not to far.

Would you know who has load data for the 215 Woodleigh?

Thanks

Sunray
February 12, 2006, 02:24 AM
.303's have been used, up here, on big moose for eons. It'll drop an elk like a ton of bricks using 180 grain SP's with no fuss. So will a 175 grain bullet. You don't need 215's. Shot placement, as with any hunting round, is essential.

Cosmoline
February 12, 2006, 02:35 AM
Cosmoline,

thanks for the info - that's kind of what I was looking for. I did think the .303 should be o.k. for Elk as long as the distance is not to far.

Would you know who has load data for the 215 Woodleigh?

Thanks

I've worked up a load for that bullet with the 54R, but I wouldn't use those figures. Check with the comments section on Midway or your load book for 215 grain RN.

Zerstoerer
February 19, 2006, 01:35 AM
.303's have been used, up here, on big moose for eons. It'll drop an elk like a ton of bricks using 180 grain SP's with no fuss. So will a 175 grain bullet. You don't need 215's. Shot placement, as with any hunting round, is essential.

Sunray,

where is "up here". Canada? Would like to hear about your experiences. I shot a whitetail with a 180gr SP at 50 yds. Bullet performed as advertised but I thought it was overkill. Thinking 150grs for deer and maybe 180gr for Elk/Moose. Hornady has a 174gr Roundnose - wonder if thats better/worse than the 180gr SP.

H&Hhunter
February 19, 2006, 11:48 AM
Sunray,

where is "up here". Canada? Would like to hear about your experiences. I shot a whitetail with a 180gr SP at 50 yds. Bullet performed as advertised but I thought it was overkill. Thinking 150grs for deer and maybe 180gr for Elk/Moose. Hornady has a 174gr Roundnose - wonder if thats better/worse than the 180gr SP.\

Zerstoerer,

Just curious here don't take this wrong, what is your definition of overkill?

My definition of overkill is lots of torn up, bruised, blood shot meat.

Are we on the same track?

mbt2001
February 20, 2006, 10:49 AM
What should be the minimum energy for Elk?

Is my .303 British underpowered with a 150 grs, spire point or is a 180 grs. bullet at 2350 fps oK?

Thanks


Yes, it is OK for Elk. Make sure the shot is good and the brute will come down.

Zerstoerer
February 20, 2006, 11:56 PM
\

Zerstoerer,

Just curious here don't take this wrong, what is your definition of overkill?

My definition of overkill is lots of torn up, bruised, blood shot meat.

Are we on the same track?

Bullet entered the right shoulder, took out the left lung and exited though a 1 inch hole on the left side. All the meat on the right shoulder area was turned into unusable jello. The deer dropped right where it stood like a paper target falling over. So the 180 gr WIN worked is it should, I just wondered if the same could be had with less damage.

H&Hhunter
February 21, 2006, 12:03 AM
Your and my definition seem to be the same.

I've found that bullet construction tends to have some bearing on this as well.

I poked a little Texas whitetail with a .300 Weatherby loaded hot with a 180gr X bullet (3100fps+) about three years ago. I hit him right in the pocket broadside at 60yards.

I was throughly surprised at how little meat damage there was. I've been simularly imoressed with this bullet on elk out of the same load combo.

Of course anytime you hit major bone like a shoulder there will be some degree of meat damage.

killzone
February 21, 2006, 10:49 AM
It sounds very good for deer and ok for small bears... I would not feel confortable taking it for elk... ( but does not mean I wouldn't) I always knew .303 was a faster round. I guess I was wrong.

redneck2
February 21, 2006, 06:23 PM
Obviously this is an insufficient caliber. Unless it's the new super-whizbang short-long-belted-nonbelted magnum that holds a minimum of 1# of powder it won't work...

then again, IIRC the elk that held the world record for 60+ years was taken with a .30-30

303carbine
November 29, 2007, 11:58 PM
I have taken moose in British Columbia with a 303 Jungle Carbine shooting 215 grain factory and 215 grain reloads.
I shot a nice bull broadside at 60 yards and it was dead with one shot, another calf moose was shot the next season and it fell over with one shot.
Big heavy bullets work in the 303, but for overall use I believe the 180 is the weight to use.I use more 150's than anything else for deer and prefer the heavy stuff for the bigger game.

351 WINCHESTER
November 30, 2007, 11:16 PM
Check out the s & b 150 gr. on ballistic gel. www.brassfetcher.com. 2600 fps fron a no5 mk1.

Sunray
November 30, 2007, 11:40 PM
"...Canada?..." Yep. A 150 SP is light for moose, but great for deer. A 175 or 180 SP is perfect. 215's aren't made any more and you don't need 'em. 215 grains was the original military ball bullet weight. 174 grains was the standard W.W. II weight.
"...Thinking 150grs for deer and maybe 180gr for Elk/Moose...." That'll do nicely.

coelacanth
December 2, 2007, 10:22 PM
Nice thing about the 174 grainers if you are shooting an unscoped rifle is they are usually right on the money with the original battle sights. 2500 fps is doable with good brass and a fairly tight old rifle but 2400 seems to be just as effective on game at 150 to 200 yards. If you can put the bullet where it needs to be the Enfield is as good as it ever was ( and it was very good indeed ).

mbt2001
December 3, 2007, 11:04 AM
The .303 is a fine elk rifle.

Gator Weiss
July 20, 2008, 03:46 PM
Any solid hit in a vital with any type of .303 diameter bullet moving over 1600 FPS will kill. Even if it is a solid spitzer with nickel jacket.

The question is, can you put the bullet where it needs to go, or are you the type of hunter that merely puts the front sign on the center of the elk, and pulls the trigger and hopes for luck?

Elk are brought down with black powder guns every year in one-shot kills.
Elk are missed every year by many shooters.
Elk are wounded every year by many shooters.

Most of your shots will be at less than 200 yards in timber country, and the vast majority of shots might be from 50 to 80 yards.

The moral of the story is dont take shots at elk that you are not proficient at taking, regardless of what you are carrying for a rifle.

The .303 will serve you well as a hunting rifle. You must serve the rifle well. Keep the rifle in good repair, and use only non-corrosive ammo. Practice with your hunting ammo even though it costs more, and do it just before the season starts. Vary your target distance. Work out on large targets and small targes in dim light. Dont wear sun glasses unless you wear them hunting, and then use the same pair on the range.

I like heavy bullets for heavy game. You hit the elk in a vital with a heavy bullet, and you will score an elk. You hit the elk in the ass, and you might not find him.

Learn to hit where the head and the neck join, or learn to hit him in the heart. If you cant be sure of a hit in one of those two areas, then you cant be sure of taking your elk humanely and efficiently.

Elk have been killed many times with a low powered .30-30 rifle from a hit to a vital. They have been killed with shotgun slugs. Elk have been killed many times with black powder guns, and with large centerfire rifles capable of killing an animal twice the size.

If you like the .303 and you can hit with it, then be responsible with your shooting and enjoy your elk hunt. Just dont consider taking "gamble shots" and only shoot when you know you can hit and kill quickly and efficiently and humanely by causing a solid hit to a vital.

Find yourself a 180 grain soft point or heavier; consider a spire point if you intend to work your bolt action rifle rapidly for followup shots; and understand that the round nose soft point is a great bullet, but it may not feed too well under speed in an Enfield action. Always practice with those hunting bullets before you hunt, and tune that rifle until you and the rifle are good to go. If you hand load, tune those loads to you and to your rifle and practice with them extensively at varied distances.

You will get your elk if you prepare accordingly and shoot accordingly.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
July 20, 2008, 04:04 PM
Is my .303 British underpowered with a 150 grs, spire point or is a 180 grs. bullet at 2350 fps oK?

The correct answer is that the 150 gr ball ammo (spire point) is a horrible choice, but the 180 gr soft point going much slower is an *excellent* choice.

Bullet construction (and more specifically, *matching* bullet construction with velocity and the job at hand) trumps energy and velocity every time. No the caliber is not underpowered at all.

Which 180s do you have or are you looking at? Factory loads?

Deer Hunter
July 20, 2008, 06:39 PM
If you can't kill the elk with a 150 grain load, you wont be able to kill it with a 180 grain load.

And if you can't kill the elk with a .303 british, than a .338 Mag isn't going to help you at all.

Put the bullet where it counts.

Gator Weiss
July 20, 2008, 08:39 PM
Mr. Deer Hunter speaks the absolute truth.

Find something you like in the way of a rifle in a responsible caliber for the game that you hunt, and become proficient with it before trying to hunt with it. Wounded game is a sad situation and it doesnt really have to happen.

I enjoy the .303, and I have two #4 rifles that I occasionally shoot. I have not hunted with them. They are in straight military guise and I intend to keep them as such and hand them down one day to my Son or a Grandson perhaps. The are certainly interesting rifles, and certainly well thought out. That .303 round is a nice piece of engineering. Very tapered so it extracts from a hot or dirty or pitted chamber, and that rim is solid for the extraxtor to put the snatch on. I can see why the Brits and Canadians seemed to like it. .303 has been around a long time, and there are many rifles from single shots to double-rifles to bolt guns. I saw a number of old timers toting the good old Enfiled rifles in a variety of guises into the field to take deer and black bear with them up in Michigan and Canada. Works well enough.

Vern Humphrey
July 20, 2008, 08:57 PM
The .303 and the .30-40 earned their reputations back in the days of cup-and-core bullets. A 200+ grain bullet from either one, loafing along at 2,000 to 2,200 FPS would expand well (soft lead core) and hang together because of the enormous secitonal density. A 150 grain bullet of similar construction doing 2,800 fps from a .30-06 might self-destruct on a big animal and fail to reach the vitals. That's why the old timers sometimes claimed the .30-40 (and the .303) "killed better" than the .30-06.

With modern bullets -- including the Nosler Partition Jacket -- 180 grains at 2,400 fps is about ideal for elk and even moose.

mbt2001
July 20, 2008, 10:19 PM
The correct answer is that the 150 gr ball ammo (spire point) is a horrible choice, but the 180 gr soft point going much slower is an *excellent* choice.

Bullet construction (and more specifically, *matching* bullet construction with velocity and the job at hand) trumps energy and velocity every time. No the caliber is not underpowered at all.

Which 180s do you have or are you looking at? Factory loads?

I disagree with that. Using Metal Case bullets is not a bad choice. Hard casts hardly perform differently and folks rave about those rounds. Obviously it depends a lot on the shot, range and so forth, but that round, with proper placement will do the job and at the end of the day that is what counts.

I would use Remington 180 grain Core Lokt... Cheap, works fine, you will get flamed no matter what you use and how well it turns out anyway... :neener:

brianr23
March 9, 2010, 08:04 PM
I posted earlier about the woodleigh bullet and even worked some loads. Now granted these are in a 20" jungle carbine barrel but here is the link.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=349501

I was getting a hair under 2000fps in the 20" barrel and it was a max load no doubt.

wankerjake
March 9, 2010, 08:18 PM
In .30 cal, 180 grains is probably the minimum for elk. Maybe 165 gr if it's a bonded core or solid copper bullet.
We've never had any trouble killing elk with 150gr soft points. We get at least one every year in the family, depending on how many of us get drawn.
The correct answer is that the 150 gr ball ammo (spire point) is a horrible choice, but the 180 gr soft point going much slower is an *excellent* choice.
I saw two elk this year get dropped with 150gr hornady spire points (they are soft points, not fmj). I believe the S&B 150gr spire points he is referring to are soft points as well.

Oh wait, this post is 2 years old...

351 WINCHESTER
March 9, 2010, 10:03 PM
I was in our local gunshop a few years ago. I had one of my .351 Winchesters. One guy told me of an older gent that used that same gun for moose. He would sneak up on them and shoot them in the head.

The point I'm trying to make is that it isn't so much the rifle as the man behind it. I've read of elephants killed with a .22lr.

saturno_v
March 9, 2010, 10:42 PM
According to the Hodgdon Reloading Data Center, you can push a 150 gr. bullet in a 303 British up to 2756 fps (150 gr. Hornady SP and 48.8 gr. of BL-C(2) at 39.200 CUP)

A 180 gr. pill (Sierra SP) can be pushed up to 2563 fps (45 gr. of BL-C(2)) with a pressure of 43.000 CUP

The old 303 British is not a 30-06, a 7,92X57 JS or a 7,62x54R but not an airgun either....

sumpnz

A 180 gr. bullet fired from a 30-06 can be pushed up to 2800 fps and the Hornady Superformance 180 gr. load (previously labeled Light Magnum), using proprietary powders, can exceed 2900 fps out of a 24" pipe.

chas08
March 9, 2010, 11:14 PM
I would think that if you could hunt & shoot it like it was a 30/30 or a .300 Savage, you would have no problem inside 250 yds. I've shared deer leases with older gents that could use them to maximum advantage. One "Old Man" I hunted with in my youth said the only thing faster and more accurate than an M1 Garand was a "Brit with an Enfield"

nathan
March 10, 2010, 12:53 AM
My coworker 11 yrs ago was from Saskatchewan and he toldme his experiences hunting elk. He mentioned using Lee Enfields in .303 Brit. i have no doubt it can do the job well. The technique is sneak as close to them and hit them hard in the lungs . BTW he shoots them with open sights.

saturno_v
March 10, 2010, 02:06 AM
In Canada they used Enfield 303 for defense against grizzly very successfully.

John Peddie
March 11, 2010, 01:36 PM
As a fellow Canadian, I'd echo Sunray's points. In the 1960's, my first centrefire rifle was a WW II surplus .303 SMLE. Original military sights.

(I lived and worked in the area west of Timmins, and north of Gogama, Ontario for many years).

It did fine on moose of all sizes, and of course, black bears (which are way easier to kill). My friend used a Win. 94 in .32 Spl. with same results.

Wouldn't use either one much beyond 75 yards, which was as far as you could see in heavy bush anyway.

BrocLuno
April 23, 2011, 02:34 PM
My No4 MkII likes 150 grain soft points. Nice groups and good trajectory. Since that's what it likes, that's what it gets fed. I don't worry about performance as I'm not going to try anything over 150 yds anyway.

If your rifle likes 180's, then that would be my choice :)

35 Whelen
April 24, 2011, 09:31 PM
Energy is irrelevant.

Exactly. Where your bullet hits and how far it penetrates are really all that matter.
Barnes makes their TSX in a .311" 150 gr. Between my father and I, we've killed three bulls with TSX's (.35 cal.) and penetration is remarkable.
On a side note, you might want to slug the barrel of your rifle. Use either a piece of #00 buck or a piece of slightly flattened #0 buck driven from the muzzle to the chamber. One of my old Lyman manuals states that they found SMLE barrel with groove diameters as small as .308". If your's happened to have a smaller groove barrel, it'd really open up your options where bullets are concerned.
Good luck,
35W

interlock
April 25, 2011, 04:47 AM
we like to get into this one on whatever calliber. we like also to say that some rounds punch above thier wieght (6.5 x 55 swede) the reallity is that any round that has a high sectional density, pushed at moderate velocity with a well constructed bullet placed in the pocket will kill game really well. the heavier bullet will often end up with less meat damage and fuller penetration. as for meat damage the most damaging round i have used is a .243 win with 80 gr prohunter or 7mm08 with 120gr prohunter... both are at the top of thier velocity envelope. if you put the big heavy bullet through the pocket it will just damage the ribs.. nearly no meat damage. I don't buy into overkill. there are no increments of dead. there are lots of increments of alive.

so a .303 with 180 gr plus soft point, preferably bonded or locked bullet will be a good round on elk. looking on the sierra ballistics program it will drop 6 inches at 200 yards when zeroed at 100.

remember that the swedes use 6.5 x 55 for moose. 303 has taken all sorts of african game over the years.

Ditto X 3

The .303 should be shooting heavy for caliber high SD rounds to get the most out of it on big game. that was the choice of African sport hunters who used this rifle from everything from Diker to Elephant. In fact the .303 shooting cupro nickle solids was considered to be a far better elephant round than the .450/577 of the day.

There is no way to make this in to a "long range" elk thumper so hunt accordingly. the last three elk I've killed have been at or less than 100 yards. In fact a nice old .303 is on my will have list in the future.

I know own a .375H&H a .404Jeffery and a .470 NE I need a .303 to make my common British "sporting rifle" caliber collection complete.

Glad to see somebody still using the old warhorse!

x 4

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