Best hunting ammo for .303 Enfield MK 4?


March 3, 2009, 03:25 AM
What is the best ammo for a MK 4 #2 Enfield? Specifically, what bullet weight as well as brand? I am wanting to practice with SP vs FMJ so that I can have an open sight military surplus rifle to hunt with when conditions allow. I probably won't take it when hunting in open country with lots of long shots staring at me; but I think it would be great to take a deer with a military surplus gun.

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March 3, 2009, 06:03 AM
Your sights are regulated for a 174 grain bullet, so I would look for something in the 174-180 grain range. That will make it much easier to hit what you're sighting at.

March 3, 2009, 09:29 AM
I've shot lots of 303 in the last few years. Mostly reloads. The 303 can be loaded with flat shooting 150gr soft points / expanding bullets. Some of the rifles are capable of excellent accuracy. For the most part the .311 bullets work best some more worn enfields prefer .313 bullets. You may have to slug the bore to find the right bullet for optimal accuracy. Over the counter pills from Prvi, S&B, Hotshot etc are pretty good if you don't want to reload.

Gun Wielding Maniac
March 3, 2009, 11:51 AM
I've had success with Remington Core-lokt 180 grain ammo on 200 lb mulies.

March 3, 2009, 03:58 PM
For deer I prefer a 150 speer handload. If you're going to hunt with this rifle you owe it to yourself to get a s & k scope mount and put a low power scope on it. You will be amazed at your accuracy (I hope).

Prvi Partison, or S & B are loaded right up there (hotter than the American stuff). If you load your own you can load the 125 gr. sp and get about 3,000 fps. For smaller deer that would be pure poison.

Jeff F
March 3, 2009, 08:30 PM
I load some 215 grain hard cast lead for elk, they penetrate and kill good. For factory I would use the 180 grain soft points. For deer and hogs the 150's would work well and shoot flatter then the heavier bullets.

Lone Star
March 3, 2009, 09:11 PM
Winchester 180 grain softpoints. They have a shape more like the military load than do Remingtons. I think they hold velocity better and shoot a little flatter.

But be sure that YOUR rifle will feed softpoint hunting ammo well.

Lone Star

March 3, 2009, 09:23 PM
I prefer the 150 or 180 reloaded for my #4mk1 shooter. Factory ammo tends to be a bit low powered for "safety" reasons. Bunch of "not so good" #1mkIII's and #4mk1's out there.

March 4, 2009, 12:17 AM
Thanks for the responses. I went out and did some target shooting today with my .303 Enfield. I shot everything from military suplus rounds to Federal 150 grains power shock rounds. All were very accurate. This gun (Mk 4 #2) is a real shooter. The guy at Sportmans Warehouse said the main ammo companies (Federal, Winchester, Remington) are all putting out a good amount of .303 ammo. It is good to know that I don't just have to rely on Gun shows or the internet to find ammo for this rifle.

January 30, 2010, 02:51 AM
I took my Lee Enfield to a gun smith 30 years age because I was thinking about getting into reloading, but 17 of 20 brass were split. What I was told then was Remington put .303 bullets into .30 brass and the only REAL 303 cartridges were by Norma.

Jefferson Herb
January 30, 2010, 03:58 AM
I've used a hornady 174 round nose .311,I think 3031 powder.Back dies off so not to set the sholder back,you will have longer case life.Also don't try tomake a baby mag out if it,and if you can see the sights don't worry.
We were playing around with a no1 from 1918 [ishpor india mfg]and hitting head/torso steel targets at 440 yds using cordite ammo.You will be fine out to 250 yds if you can see the sights,ie young eyes.
If you have an origional in vg cond,it would be a shame to sporterize it.

January 30, 2010, 05:58 AM
You know your weapons. When I went to English Pit in Clark County, I saw 2 really ugly "sporterized 303. The only change I have made to my 1947 Mk IV is to add a "spike bayonet".

January 30, 2010, 11:33 AM
I have 9 different Lee-Enfields. Been collecting and shooting them for 45 years now. I load the Hornady 150 Spire point and for factory I use Federal 150 or Hornady 150. I had rotten luck with Remington 180 Round Nose in a few of my Lee-Enfields. The big round nose would catch on the feed ramps and jam the works. Not all of them, some fed the Remmys quite well so check yours for feed reliability before commiting to them. The 150's being a spire point like the military bullets were fine in all my Lee-Enfields. Sights may have been regulated for the 174 gr. bullet, but sights have this wonderful capacity to be adjusted. I have no trouble sighting in with the 150's.

January 30, 2010, 01:41 PM
I am sorry that I didn't make my problem clearer. That was that 17 out of 20 casing cracked using Remmy rounds.
You answered my question nicely and I thank you-Federal is my favorite .38 special manufacturer, so why not .303-LOL?
BTW-Did you know that the world's record for musketry was set in 1914 by a British Army sergeant? 38 shots at 300 yards in a 12" circle in 1 (ONE!) minute. I can't figure how I would put out 38 rounds in 1 minute, much less hit anything!

January 30, 2010, 09:06 PM
That is called the "Mad Minute" tanstaafl2100. The best I have done is 10 rounds in 45 seconds, but my accuracy was lacking.

I reload for my .303's using 150gr SP spire points or 180gr Sierra Game Kings, using IMR4895 (trying out AA2230 right now). I have used a LOT (over 200) Remington cases with no problems after 4 or 5 reloads of thecases. The only problem cases I have experienced are Sellier & Beloit, which will seperate at the base. (I currently own 14 .303 Enfields)

I would prefer my reloads for hunting, being accurate out to 200 yards with the mil sights. The factory loads from Remington, Federal, etc. are loaded to low pressures for liability reasons. I have worked up my loads, which are a little lighter than my SA mil-surp ammo. Reloading brings out the best in the .303, and as was said by others, this is not a magnum. AND, they are going up in value in unaltered/non-bubba'ed condition.

January 30, 2010, 09:41 PM
tanstaafl2100, with the split cases that you experienced, some thought should be given that perhaps your chamber may be oversize and causing the splits. Try a different brand of cartridges to see if they too, suffer splits. If so, the chamber can be checked by doing a chamber cast with cerrosafe. You then can check the dimensions of the casting to determine the chambers condition.
I vote for Prvi-Partizan or Wolf Gold ammo for good shooting. Great reloadable brass too.
Just a thought.


January 30, 2010, 09:43 PM
+1 on S & B brass. It's too brittle and too thin. I've got one stuck in my no4 mk2 as right now.

January 31, 2010, 04:49 PM
NCsmitty-I have to question your desire for accuracy at 200 yds. In basic training with the US Army I was shooting 450 yds with what we called Australian Loose Rounds. A popup target showing only shoulders a head was no problem given 15 seconds. The Australian Loose Rounds were sent back to the US because the quality control sucked. Ever have a mis-fire? That will cause some pucker factor-lol. We were trained in how to deal with that, but when I had one I was scared-wait 60 seconds then manually eject the round and continue keeping the weapon up and down range. I was at Ft Ord on a rifle range. Vietnam was a major war in 1967 and all I could think of was spending 60 seconds in a firefight with a bad club instead of my rifle!!

January 31, 2010, 07:49 PM
tansta- Where were the cases splitting? At the neck, the shoulder, or at the base? Splitting at the neck and shoulder are the best signs of a headspace issue. Keep in mind that the .303 headspaces on the rim, not the shoulder, and the chambers are always loose on the Enfields. Helps prevent jamming. On a #4mk1 or #5mk1, the headspace is adjusted with the bolt head. There are 4 different sizes, including non-standard, that can be had to fix headspace on an Enfield.

351- take a pistol cleaning rod with the patch holder ring thingy on the end, and put a rather large patch in it. Remove the bolt of your mk2, and by hand, tap the big patch on the rod into the chamber jamming it in the cartridge case. Get it tight, then start to tug it back. The .303 is a tapered case, and I was always able to extract the broken case. Keep at it and I bet you will be able to get the broken case out.

January 31, 2010, 11:04 PM
The brass was splitting at the neck, which is why I believed the gunsmith who said this was .300 brass loaded with .303 bullets

February 1, 2010, 09:29 PM
The .300 brass (I am not sure exactly what that means) would have to be the same tapered case and a rimmed cartridge. A .308 cartridge will not chamber in a .303. My opinion is that like most gunsmiths, he knows nothing about the .303 Enfield. Splits at the neck might be an indication of overworked brass or a possible headspace issue. I would try other ammo/brass and if you start reloading, only neck size the brass after firing through your rifle (basically, fire forming the brass for the chamber). The bullet size for the .303 is .311. A .310 bullet from a 7.62X39 can be used in a .303 case, but a .30 bullet will not work in a .303 case. It is too small.

BTW, the .303 Savage (if that is what the 'smith is talking about) is no where near the same as a .303 British, and will not chamber in an Enfield.

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