.303 Brit surplus ammo


August 2, 2008, 12:25 AM
Been looking around at the .303 British surplus and there really doesn't seem to be a whole lot of selection around. Several places are selling the POF stuff but it seems to get mixed reviews. One or two places have UK manufacture ammo but there doesn't seem to be very much. Is it just getting to be that there is not much .303 surplus left or am I missing something?

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August 2, 2008, 01:08 AM
That's pretty much the state of things. Unless you luck into some good South African or Greek HXP you're pretty much stuck with POF and WW2/Korean era surplus.

If you plan on shooting .303 Brit with any regularity and don't want to fork out $1+ per round then I highly encourage you to reload your own ammo.

August 2, 2008, 03:31 AM
A lot of the past surplus .303BR was soaked up in the Afgahanistan/Russian conflict years ago, so less would be appearing on the market today.

August 2, 2008, 09:39 AM
The only reasonably priced surplus stuff I've seen for a long time is the Pakistani "click....bang" ammo.

August 2, 2008, 10:07 AM
The L1A1 was issued to the British Army from 1957 onwards, rapidly phasing out the Lee Enfield .303.

After 50 years of no manufacture is it so surprising that .303 mil surp is running out?

August 2, 2008, 10:18 AM
I have 18 rounds of 1950s era Brit surplus that came with my rifle...still have it. Reloading is the only way to go!

August 2, 2008, 11:35 AM
If you run across any Greek HXP get it. It is boxer primed and non-corrosive. Save the cases for reloading. You can extend the life of the brass by neck sizing the cases and identifying the reloaded ammo to a specific rifle.

August 2, 2008, 03:04 PM
+1. I have some HXP and I treasure it. Best way to get decent case life out of a .303 is to neck size as much as possible and only FL size it when absolutely necessary.

The old Lee Loader, crude as it is, does this well. I have very good results with Speer 150 gr. SP.

Decent old caliber but quirky.

August 2, 2008, 05:30 PM
You can also get a Lee neck-size only die too. Given the rather long headspace on many .303BR rifles, good way to minimize working of the brass for maximum reloading life.

August 3, 2008, 12:17 AM
That's what I do - get many mediem and light loads per case.

August 3, 2008, 12:29 PM
After 50 years of no manufacture is it so surprising that .303 mil surp is running out?

I read a Wall Street Journal Article about what is going on with surplus ammunition. Our “Friends” in the White House, along with European Governments have a fully taxpayer funded program where they go out and buy cheap old surplus ammunition. And then destroy the stuff. The “excuse” is that they don’t want the stuff ending up in Africa. The fact that it raises our costs is not a consideration. Especially as ammunition companies don’t want cheap ammo competing with their product, and they make campaign contributions.

I have met buds who had to destory warehouses full of old French, German, British ammunition in Iraq.

And then there is the White House funded arms program for Iraq. The Journal article described how hundreds of millions are being given to companies who are out there buying old surplus ammunition and supplying the stuff to the current Government in Iraq. So you have these two tax payer funded groups, each trying to outbid each other for old ammunition, one to destroy, the other to give to the Government in Iraq, and it is no wonder that prices have gone sky high.

All thanks to our "Friends" in Congress and in the White House.

I could not find the WSJ link, but this Congressional hearing was about this very topic.


August 3, 2008, 12:40 PM
What would a good price be for '40s vintage UK manufactured ammo? The Pakistani stuff seems to be going for 22 cents a round and new Prvi Partizan is going for 55 cents a round. I'm guessing that 60 year old UK stuff is probably still a little better than 40 year old Pakistani stuff but perhaps I'm wrong?

August 3, 2008, 01:05 PM

August 3, 2008, 01:11 PM
What would a good price be for '40s vintage UK manufactured ammo? The Pakistani stuff seems to be going for 22 cents a round and new Prvi Partizan is going for 55 cents a round. I'm guessing that 60 year old UK stuff is probably still a little better than 40 year old Pakistani stuff but perhaps I'm wrong?

Samco has it on sale, $0.17 a round, I think. I bought 800 rounds a good while back and it came out to around 150 or so shipped.

The ammo is crap, its been stored poorly, its corrosive, and its very, very click bang. I've had at least 10 click bangs, each less than a second in duration (Just enough to ruin the shot!) If no one told you and you didn't look at the headstamps, you would never know that it wasn't POF ammo. Its also almost always mixed headstamp with varying different years of manufacture and bullet weight, and much of the brass is somewhat corroded (not too much, though).

However, there is no reason for it to be unsafe, and I shot it. It is loaded with cordite, which is pretty cool (not sure if the POF is or not). At close ranges the ammo made for good practice. Also, the recoil is very light with this ammo, too.

Fred West
August 3, 2008, 04:12 PM
Surplus .303 dried up about a year ago in the UK. The last batch I bought was 1943 manufactured Winchester. I think I paid about ฃ20/100 (40c each). I've still got one box left which I'll keep forever.
Prvi Partisan is currently about ฃ40/100 and rising.
Reloading is the only way to go.


August 3, 2008, 04:23 PM
+1 to everything I have read here. Reloading is the way to go, even if you have to buy new brass. I am on reload #5 on some of my commercial Remington brass. I keep the 700 rounds of SA for a rainey day, and shoot my reloads.


August 3, 2008, 05:33 PM
There's a post on Jouster's Enfield board about a click-bang that went REALLY bad. The shooter fired the rifle, the round didn't go off, so the shooter waited 15 seconds and then opened the bolt. With the bolt about halfway back, the round detonated, blowing the magazine downward, splitting the forestock, cracking the receiver at the forward edge of the magazine well, and seriously mutilating the shooter's left thumb.
The ammo he was using was....you guessed it! Pakistani.
The posting on Jouster has pictures galore. Including several shots of the mutilated thumb. Not pretty.

So everybody repeat after me.

August 3, 2008, 05:42 PM
I have been shooting some 1944/45 RG today. Only 2C-B's out of 40 rounds fired.
Corrosive, and it smells funny!

Livin in Texas

August 3, 2008, 05:53 PM
Doug, nice pic. I did something like that - 303 on British chargers, in Mosin pouches, on an American leather belt.


August 3, 2008, 07:00 PM
is PMP still loading .303?

i haven't bought any in a while, got a couple of cases awhhile back. it was accurate, clean and reloadable

August 3, 2008, 09:17 PM
HOTSHOT 303 is good stuff and the brass is reloadable the PRVI is good too for the money same as Wolf Gold. You can get 100 pieces of Rem 303 brass for $30 or so...reloading produces far better ammo than you can buy!

August 3, 2008, 09:17 PM
Thanks armoredman. I like your setup. I need to find a frog for a #4 bayo. I have plenty of bayonett's, but no frogs. I would really like to build a British kit to go with my rifles.

Here are 3 of the #4's with the charger in the bridge. I did this to show how wear and tear could affect the charger angle when loading. These chargers have SA 7.7X56R in them:


I have some of the HotShot .303, but have not fired it yet. I think Century still has it though.

We went shooting Saturday in the Texas heat, and I had an absolute blast shooting about 50 rounds of some reloads I was experimenting with. The bullet were 7.62X39 123gr (.310) that IO tried as an alternate to the normal 150gr spitzers I usually load. I was amazed at the accuracy. I didn't plan on loading any more of this with the 123gr SP's, but I might.

August 3, 2008, 09:33 PM
Sportsmans Guide has HotShot for $12 a box!

August 4, 2008, 04:30 PM
I cast for it too, but just started, no real report yet - too HOT to shoot. 99 degrees at 7AM.

August 4, 2008, 05:11 PM
where are you guys finding the stripper clips?

August 4, 2008, 05:28 PM
I got most of the chargers from surplus .303 ammo bought years ago. Even a bandoleer (sp?) of HXP that I didn't realize was reloadable, but I at least kept the chargers. I don't recall ever buying just the chargers loose though. I haven't seen any around either, come to think of it.

August 5, 2008, 10:56 AM
Numrich had them when I got mine.

August 5, 2008, 10:02 PM
Sorry 'bout the double post. Can a guy actually delete one of these?

August 5, 2008, 10:05 PM
HOTSHOT 303 is good stuff and the brass is re-loadable

+1 on HotShot. It's acceptable ammo, can be bought locally, costs around $11-$12/box in this area and is re-loadable. $55-$60 = 100 rounds of loaded ammo & 100 pieces of usable brass.

A bargain in the current market and not a click-bang in a carload.....

August 6, 2008, 01:37 PM
Samco sells UK manufactured .303 Mk VII Ball in chargers at a reasonable price. Most of it seems to be 1938 vintage, but the entire case is the same. I have had no problems with it so far. It is a lot slower than modern smokeless powder though, so you will hear the hammer and the ignition separately, just. Very uniform though. Comes in a cool battle case with the metal can opened inside. Wish I'd bought more before the price went up.

August 6, 2008, 08:41 PM
I just got some hotshot ammo in the mail today. The headstamps are the exact same as the wolf gold ammo. The ammo I bought was 762x54r, and 8mm but i doubt the .303 would be any different. The only difference Ive seen is a different color box and the hotshot is a couple bucks cheaper.

Ignition Override
April 12, 2009, 12:26 AM
Slamfire1: Quite true, based on a long article about a Euro/British arms control organization. Don't know the website for it.

I suppose that when British, Spanish, French and German txpayers don't want to spend so much of their money subsidizing design and research of civilian Airbus jets, they are happy to spend it on destroying millions of rounds of surplus ammo in eastern Europe and Russia.

Take note-millions of professional welfare recipients are counting on you to work very hard (not just in the Peoples' Republik of Minnezota).

April 12, 2009, 09:28 AM
Slamfire1: Quite true, based on a long article about a Euro/British arms control organization. Don't know the website for it.

Was it from here?:


Bosnia and Herzegovina Targets Surplus Ammunition
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, February 2009-Authorities destroyed surplus rocket propellant in Vitezit this month, as part of an ongoing effort to rid Bosnia and Herzegovina of increasingly hazardous ammunition. The country has a roughly 25,000 tons of surplus ammunition, a legacy of its conflicts in the 1990s. Dismantling all the explosives is one the country’s biggest security priorities.

Or here, the Small Arms Control Project?


The Programme of Action (PoA) requires member nations, among other steps, to:

• Establish a national coordination agency on small arms;
• Identify and destroy stocks of surplus weapons;
• Manage stock-piles more effectively;
• Issue end-user certificates for exports/transit;
• Notify the original supplier nation of re-export;
• Support Disarmament, Demobilization & Re-integration (DDR) of ex-combatants, including collection and destruction of their weapons;
• Mark guns at point of manufacture for identification and tracing;
• Maintain records of gun manufacture;
• Engage in more information exchange;
• Ensure better enforcement of arms embargoes;
• Include civil society organizations in efforts to prevent small
arms proliferation.

April 12, 2009, 12:00 PM
Others have probably stated this already but IMO you need to reload for the .303 Brit.

My Father in law has a No1 Mk3 that barely grouped 6" at 50 yrds with the british surplus we had. The bore looks like a sewer pipe from corrosive ammo and years of use. The reloads that shoot well in his rifle are 150gr SP Hornandy bullets, Varget and Prvi Brass. I'll be picking up some more Rem Brass once the casses are wearing. I'm on my 4th reloading of this brass and his rifle will shoot within 2" at 100yrds even less at times. Last time out his first shot from a cold bore hit the 1/2" bullseye.

My No4 Mk1* likes to shoot the 174gr stuff but again surplus was by far the worst performing stuff including numberous "hang fires" and dud's that are annoying to wait to clear.

Dark Skies
April 12, 2009, 01:05 PM
9mmepiphany - there's always some on Ebay. There's some on now:


DougW - there's a bayonet frog on ebay too.


April 13, 2009, 09:56 PM
Thanks Dark Skies.

Ignition Override
June 1, 2009, 12:10 AM
With the lowest-cost, beginner's set of reloading equipment, what is the approx. cost/round after X reloadings of only the .303 caliber? You reloaders should know what X might be. I have about 50 empty cases of POF and British-made (British from Samco and POF from elsewhere). Will soon have about two hundred.

Let's use plinking at 'insurgent bricks' from 80 feet with a modest powder quantity for cost figures.
Bricks and water-filled coke jugs will never require anything fancy.

I have no idea whether rounds would cost at least $.50 or more, or less, but the bullets don't seem to be cheap at all.
Have watched reloading just once-this spring-at my brother's, and was surprised at the bullets' price. The economics of the process are very difficult for me to evaluate.

June 1, 2009, 08:30 PM
Ignition Override, I mainly started reloading to get away from corrosive surplus and keep up a steady supply on ammo. I would guess that I spend about $.20/round for .303, since I reuse my brass and have 500+ cartridges. As I said, I didn't get into it for the cost issue. But then, I load .38, .357, .45, .223, .308, 30.06, and .303 because I like to shoot, and reloading is fun (especially when you load a squib round!).

Ignition Override
June 2, 2009, 02:17 AM
Thanks Doug:
I might check into it, but even if you only do it for the single .303 caliber, could the cost be about .30/round?
It might take over 500 reloadings to pay for the basic equipment?

June 2, 2009, 07:54 PM
Yes, you will spend close to $300 on the proper equipment (new). Used may be cheaper, and I too started out on .303, but moved to other calibers as time went on.

Ignition Override
June 11, 2009, 03:54 AM

My two Russian MN 44s group at least that bad at 50 yards, but both bores look smooth, and reflect some light.

SlamFire 1:
Can not remember the name of the website, but it looked very official and described some Euro group which must have spent lots of ("kool-aid drinking' taxpayer money) on the destruction of huge heaps of the ammo).

It must be most rewarding to pay-for the middle class-up to about 50-60% income tax to Not Only subsidize Airbus R&D (not allowed by US law for our civilian aircraft), but blow even more of it on eastern Euro (and former Soviet) government departments, which probably siphon off a good chunk of these funds into bribes/"baksheesh".

Patriotism, if it still exists in the UK/the "Euro Zone" (after the guilt from countless centuries of butchering each other in vast numbers: i.e "the Hundred Years' War", "the Thirty Years' War" through Paeschendaele: let's not forget WW2 and the "Yugo Zone in the 90s) means paying high taxes to support purported third world refugees (or at least the category).
And they call the US under George W. aggressive...

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