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

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by Zerstoerer, Feb 9, 2006.

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  1. Zerstoerer

    Zerstoerer Member

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    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
     
  2. sumpnz

    sumpnz Member

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    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.
     
  3. Matt G

    Matt G Moderator Emeritus

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    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... :)
     
  4. rbernie
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    rbernie Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2006
  5. smokemaker

    smokemaker Member

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    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.
     
  6. RyanM

    RyanM Member

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    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.
     
  7. Zerstoerer

    Zerstoerer Member

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    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.
     
  8. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    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
     
  9. rbernie
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    rbernie Member

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    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.
     
  10. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    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.
     
  11. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    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!
     
  12. smokemaker

    smokemaker Member

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    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.
     
  13. Zerstoerer

    Zerstoerer Member

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    Load Data for 215 Woodleigh

    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
     
  14. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    .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.
     
  15. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    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.
     
  16. Zerstoerer

    Zerstoerer Member

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    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.
     
  17. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    \

    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?
     
  18. mbt2001

    mbt2001 Member

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

    Zerstoerer Member

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    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.
     
  20. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    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.
     
  21. killzone

    killzone Member

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    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.
     
  22. redneck2

    redneck2 Member

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    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
     
  23. 303carbine

    303carbine Member

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    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.
     
  24. 351 WINCHESTER

    351 WINCHESTER Member

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  25. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    "...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.
     
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