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.303 British case seperation - STUCK

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by 351 WINCHESTER, Nov 20, 2007.


    351 WINCHESTER Senior Member

    Mar 19, 2007
    Well I was hunting today and my son fired a round (reload) in my .303 lee enfield. The case completely seperated and now the shell is stuck in the chamber.

    Anyone know how to get it out?
  2. Z71

    Z71 Active Member

    Sep 2, 2007
    Pull the bolt, stuff a .45 caliber brass bore brush in the remains of the case in the chamber tight. Take a cleaning rod and knock the torn case and bore brush from the chamber.
  3. AtticusThraxx

    AtticusThraxx New Member

    Sep 6, 2007
    Bay Area Ca.
    I take it you have tried a .303 case extracter. If not....find one. If you can't...well the only case I was able to remove without a case extracter was copious amounts of Kroil oil. Trying to get some of it between the shell and wall. Then tried a bunch of wooden dowels. Ate up about 3 of the before I could tap it out far enought to get a grip.

    Midway has the .303: http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=688324&t=11082005
  4. SDC

    SDC Senior Member

    Jan 8, 2003
    People's Republic of Canada
    Z71's suggestion has worked for me on several occasions; I find it works best when I put a rod down the bore from the muzzle, thread on a large-diameter brush from the chamber end so I can pull the brush into what's left of the case, then give the handle of the rod a sharp smack or two. The now-rearward pointing bristles end up grabbing onto the inside of the case and pushing it out.
  5. Jeff F

    Jeff F Participating Member

    Mar 9, 2006
    Silver Springs NV
    It happens to me all the time, I shoot a lot of reloaded .303 in my Enfields. A .45 cal brush will usually work in a pinch, but I would recommend getting a broken shell extractor in the future.
  6. Dienekes

    Dienekes Participating Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Sometimes the larger diameter brass brush pulled into the separated case works. sometimes it doesn't. Best approach is the ruptured case extractor.

    BTW, the conventional approach to reloading .303 British (full length case resizing) doesn't work too well with the generous chambers, headspace variances, etc. I found that I was getting head separations in three and sometimes only two firings.

    A web site called "The .303 Page" or something like that discussed that. As a result of an article there I started neck sizing only with, of all things, the old Lee Loader kit. I got up to eight reloads from cases with it, doing one full length sizing about the fourth firing and watching case trim length. The only disadvantage was that cases needed to be segregated by the rifle they were fired in.

    Otherwise you are going to get very good at extracting ruptured cases, because you will have a lot of them.

    The .303 turns out to be remarkably practical and useful once you adjust to it. It doesn't adjust to you.

    351 WINCHESTER Senior Member

    Mar 19, 2007
    Thanks for all of your sugguestions. Assuming I can get the case out I'll source a broken shell extractor. This is the first time this has happened to me. I was using s & b brass that had been neck sized only about 5 times with the Lee loader. I was amazed at how thin the brass was where it gave way. I knew enought to stay away from remington brass as everyone says it's too thin, but I thought s & b would be better. All my loadings were on the moderate side and most were accurate. I knew sooner or later that this would happen as I've done a little research on the .303. We were deer hunting and this was my backup rifle.

    Does anyone have any sugguestions as to a good broken shell extractor?

    Thanks again for your help.
  8. goon

    goon Mentor

    Jan 20, 2003
    The thing about the .303 isn't really that the brass is inferior when it starts. The headspace is so sloppy on some of them that when you combine it with the natural flex in the action that comes from locking in the rear, you can get really short life on your brass.
    If you look around in your reloading manual you'll probably find some info about how to sort brass that is too badly worn out. I used to only load .303 two or three times before pitching it, but my SMLE was really loose too.
    If you are using a No.4 there were different sized bolt heads made to adjust headspace. Maybe you could find one of them and tighten the headspace up a little.
    One other thing I found about the .303 - it is about the easiest round I have ever loaded for. I never had to trim because the brass didn't last long enough and sizing was so easy because neck sizing doesn't need lube. Way easier to load than any other round I ever used.
  9. Ian Sean

    Ian Sean Active Member

    Apr 27, 2003
    Off topic....just curious...did your son get the deer?
  10. aka108

    aka108 Participating Member

    Aug 26, 2006
    Tallahassee, FL
    Good idea to always carry a case extractor when shooting 303. If you reload, avod full case sizing and you'll avoid a lot of broken case problems. Neck size only and you'll most likely see a split in the case developing before is goes all the way. I generally get somewhere between 12 and up to 20 reloadings in a case before the initial part of the case split is visible.
  11. Roswell 1847

    Roswell 1847 member

    Nov 20, 2007
    East Tennesseee
    I went to a new condition replacement bolt body and a number three bolt head for my Old savage No.4 rifle and this reduced headspace to less than .004. I now get indefinite case life with no sign of stretching at all.
    I also mark the rim of each case at turn each 180 degrees on its second firing to swell the cases equally.

    Before getting the Number three bolthead I had found that Seller and Bellow cases lasted six or more reloadings before cracking, never had a complete separation, even though headspace at the time was very loose.

    I've always necksized only even with Mauser reloads.

    My favorite load is a Hornady 150 grain .312 bullet over 43.5 grains of 4320 powder.
    Bullets pulled from old Chinese 7.62X54 ammo (.3125 148 gr steel core)also give very good accuracy.

    I've read that you can run a threading tap of the proper size into the inside of a broken case then tap it out carefully from the muzzle with a stout cleaning rod. Sounds risky but effective.

    Cordite produces much lower pressures to give the same performance levels, the Standard Military Cordite Loads generated less than 40,000 PSI. Few if any modern smokless powders can give this level of performance with such low pressures. Add to that the fact that the SMLE was proofed at only 58,000 PSI.
    Winchester 760 powder gives good performance at relatively low pressures ,and is recommended for the older cartridges like the Krag,but I could not get acceptable accuracy using it with any .303 rifle I tried it with.
    760 does work well with the 7.62X54.
  12. Oohrah

    Oohrah Active Member

    Dec 29, 2006
    So. Coast Oregon
    Goon's information is right on. You might check and see if Lee
    makes a collet neck sizing die. It will pay for itself with extending
    loads. I would also inspect for potentioal head separation after the
    third reload!
  13. DougW

    DougW Senior Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    North Texas
    Your first problem was reloading Sellier & Beloit cases. Every one I ever reloaded seperated eventually, lasting 3 to 5 reloads. It is due (IMO) to the way the cases are manufactured. S&B brass should be tossed, because the result will be a seperation approximately 3/8" from the base of the rim.

    The chamber is tapered on the .303, so a broken case remover is not necessary. A .45 mop, brass brush, or a eye jag with a long piece of rag pushed in the chamber will pop the case right out.

    I would not be too concerned with the head space. The S&B cases are the problem. I dumped over 120 cases in the trash (didn't think about saving them bor the brass scrap value). Never has a seperation with other brass. I neck size when reloading and shoot only one of my #4's.


    Some of my reloads.

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