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.303 performance?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by John G, May 5, 2006.

  1. John G

    John G Well-Known Member

    How does the .303 round compare to other thirty caliber ammo such as .308? Is it too close to call, or do different brands vary too much to compare? I'm referring to accuracy, range, penetration, etc. Thanks in advance for any replies. :)
  2. Mortech

    Mortech Well-Known Member

    Pretty close to a 308 in preformance , its a real nice midrange deer cartridge . I use my SMLE No4 for just that purpose
  3. DougW

    DougW Well-Known Member

    The .308 can be loaded a little hotter than the .303. Accurcy depends on the rifle. My Enfield .303's are very accurate.

    Factory loads for .308 are hotter than factory loads for the .303. This is due to the fact that there are some .303's out there that are in poor shape, and the world of litigation required that the factories down load the .303.

    The Brit's and Canadian's modified their .303 Enfield actions to fire the .308, the action is strong enough to hold up to the 308. The L39A1 and L42A1 were used up into the early 90's as their primary sniper rifle.
  4. Sunray

    Sunray Well-Known Member

    "...Canadian's modified..." Only the DCRA(Dominion of Canada Rifle Assoc.) did it for use in target shooting when the CF went to 7.62 in the mid 50's. The CF never used No. 4's in 7.62. The CF .308 sniper rifle is a Parker Hale built on a Mauser style action.
    The .303 has been used, up here, for everything including big bears, for eons. It'll take any game in North America. Lots of Canadian hunters started with a bubba'd Lee-Enfield and lots still use 'em. It's velocity is around 2400fps, but can be loaded up to 2500 to 2600 with 150 grain bullets. Less with heavier bullets.
    Using the same powder and bullet weight, like IMR4064 and 150 grain bullets, the .303 gets a max velocity of about 2577fps. The .308 with the same powder and bullet weight goes to about 2890fps. Using a 180 grain bullet and 4064, the .303 ekes out a max velocity of 2386fps. The .308 max's at 2600ish with the 180 grain bullet. Not exactly equal, but a deer, bear or moose won't know the difference.
  5. buttrap

    buttrap Well-Known Member

    Its pretty much on par with the 30-40 govt, it is still a BP design that went smokless.
  6. Preacherman

    Preacherman Well-Known Member

    Bear in mind that most of the .30-caliber and equivalent "battle rifle" cartridges were developed at the beginning of the "smokeless powder" period. They are all roughly equivalent, to within about 10% of each other, in terms of energy produced and effect on target. The list would include (but is not limited to):

    .303 (Britain)
    .30-'06 (USA)
    7.92x57mm. Mauser (Germany)
    7.62x54R (Russia)
    8mm. Lebel (France)
    7.5x55mm. (Switzerland)

    There are also the "lower-end" battle rifle rounds such as the 6.5mm. Mauser (Sweden), the 7mm. Mauser (7x57mm.), and so on. These are a tad less powerful than those above, but not enough to make a difference if you're hit with one.
  7. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    Been used to kill everything that walks, crawls, or flies, worldwide.
    Gotten some cheapo hunters stomped and eaten, too. But so have a lot of other guns and gunners not up to the job.
  8. sterling180

    sterling180 Well-Known Member

    Well actually It was replaced a few years before the early 1990s

    DougW: In the early 1990's,Britain was using the L96A1 Accuracy International sniper rifle-in .308 winchester-for front-line usage.This rifle was supplied to all three sections of the armed-forces and to police Swat departments,like the London Metropolitan Polices newly-named swat department-SO19 and to others in the country as well.

    The L96A1 replaced the Enfield rifles in the late 1980s-but only gradually.But you might just be right,in what you had posted.Maybe your post,states the approximate time,when the Enfields-like the SLRs-service time was truely over

    The Enfields may have been used in conjunction with the L96A1,like the old L1A1 SLR was,until the end of the first Gulf war.The SAS probably used the L96A1 in the early part of the late 80s as a sniper weapon,because as they were special forces and got only the best equipment-before the rest of the military did.
  9. Borachon

    Borachon Well-Known Member

    Reputedly, the .303 has killed the most game in Africa of any cartridge.

    Infamously, the .303 has wounded the most game in Africa of any cartridge.
  10. Limeyfellow

    Limeyfellow Well-Known Member

    Theres plenty of accounts of people using the .303 British to take down elephants, rhinos and such in Africa. Brave or foolish its your decision but it worked. Just last month a polarbear was taken down that was attacking children. I feel quite safe with it on anything I am likely to run into.
  11. DougW

    DougW Well-Known Member

    sterling180, thanks for the details. I have a friend that was a Royal Marine and some sort of a special forces member, and he was telling me about using the L42A1 in "sandy environments". Yes, they did have the transition to the AI rifle going on, but his unit retained their L42A1's in 1990 or so. They were finally withdrawn around 1991 or 1992, as far as I can determine from conversations.

    He is also an extreem proponent of the .338 Lapua in the AI rifle. I think the British forces are converting to the .338 Lapua in the AI frame. They like the .338 for the increase in lethal range over the .308, without the weight of the .50 BMG rifle.
  12. armoredman

    armoredman Well-Known Member

    I don't know what my handloads average out to in my 1943 Longbranch Number 4 MK1*, (haven't broken out the Chrony on them yet.), but the Federal Power Shok 150gr Soft Point ammo I have in my stripper clips gets 2,690 FPS muzzle, and 2,400 FtLbs. I can live with that. Especially considering the other WWII battle rifles use, (with the ever so distinguished exception of the M1 Garand), use a 5 round mag, and the Enfield has 10.
    Great, accurate, reliable old warhorse, and the guy sold it to me for $50....snicker snicker....
  13. sterling180

    sterling180 Well-Known Member

    He was probably a member of the SBS(Special Boat Service.This regiment is part of the Royal Marine Commandos and is the UK equiverlant to the US Navy Seals.:)
  14. LAK

    LAK Well-Known Member

    The .303 is really in a class slightly above the .308; it will launch both slightly larger diameter and heavier bullets to useful velocities. And in a world where obsessions with "two hundred feet per second more" matter less, it has been loaded with up to 250 grainers. The limiting factor otherwise is factory ammunition, and there the differences in numbers are so trivial as to be insignificant in the practical world.


  15. BruceB

    BruceB Well-Known Member

    The Mk VII/MkVIII service .303 loads used a 174-grain bullet at a nominal 2440 fps from a 25" barrel. Mk VII used Cordite, and Mk VIII burned nitrocellulose powder much like our current IMR rifle powders.

    The old Canadian Industries Limited, its factories now taken over by IVI, loaded the 180 soft point at 2540 fps....the 180, mind you, NOT the 150. I chronographed a few rounds back in the early '70s, and it was right up to the claimed speed. The only real problem with loading for the .303 is short case life, especially with higher-pressure loads. There are some ways of reducing the problem for handloaders. For factory-load shooters...no problem!

    I saw a magazine article on testing some new Hornady high-performance cartridges in various calibers, and from an original-length barrel, the .303 load chronographed FASTER than the .30-06 load with the same bullet weight!!!!! Now, THAT was a surprise, indeed!

    You could shoot animals alternately with the .303 and .308, and never notice a scrap of difference over the long haul. I've shot moose, caribou and black bear with both, and I speak from experience.

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