1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

.308 bullets in .303 British, any tips?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Exposure, Feb 28, 2007.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Exposure

    Exposure Member

    Apr 13, 2004
    The wilds of Maine
    I bought the Lee RGB 2 die set for .303 British.

    I made up some loads with Sierra Match King .308 bullets. Unfortunately they just barely were crimped in the case and I could actually pull the bullets out with my fingers!

    I have a whole bunch of 40's, 50's. and 60's surplus .303 that is nothing but hangfires so I decided to pull the bullets and reuse them. These rounds mic at .311 at the base and the crimp is very strong and needs a puller to get them back apart.

    So my question is should a buy a Lee Factory Crimp die in .308? They make one .303 British and .308 but I assume I would want to use the .308. Is anyone else here doing this?

    As a side note, 36.5 gr of IMR 4064 underneath the pull down bullets ends up being extremely accurate at 100 yards with minimal recoil and very light report. It is a great load. I put together 10 rounds tonight with 38.0 gr of 4064 and am going to make up another 10 with 37 gr of IMR 3031 and try both batches out at the 200 yard line this weekend. I am having a ball making up my own loads!
  2. USSR

    USSR Member

    Jul 7, 2005
    Finger Lakes Region of NY
    Yeah, get close and have a big target.

  3. Sunray

    Sunray Member

    May 17, 2003
    London, Ont.
    "....308 bullets..." Wrong diameter. The .303 British doesn't use .308" bullets. It uses .311" to .314" bullets. You'll get very poor accuracy. Even with Matchkings. Slug your barrel and use the proper bullet.
    A .303 barrel can measure from .311" to .315" and be considered ok. Larger than that and the barrel is shot out. Check the headspace before you do anything else.
    "...decided to pull the bullets and reuse them..." They'll do, but slug the bore and check the headspace first, anyway. Thousands of Lee-Enfields have been assembled over the years with zero QC.
    "...put together 10 rounds..." Work up a load from your manual. Don't just pick one.
    Beginning with the starting load, load 5 rounds only. Go up by half a grain of powder, loading 5 of each keeping them separate until you get to the max load in your manual.
    Then go shooting. Shoot at 100 yards, for group only, slowly and deliberately off a bench.
    Change targets between strings of 5 and allow time for the barrel to cool.
    When you find the best group, sight in 4" high at 100. That'll put you on target out to about 300 yards with no hold over.
  4. JackM

    JackM Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    A long time ago I found that Nosler .308 165 grain Partitions were twice as accurate as any .311 bullet C-I-L made in my No. 4 Mk I/2. If your MatchKings are accurate, keep on shooting them.

  5. armoredman

    armoredman Member

    Nov 19, 2003
    proud to be in AZ
    I discovered my No4Mk1* really likes the 174gr .3105 dia Hornday FMJ/BT, so you MAY get some accuracy out of your load, just not much. Use the right die, the 303 FCD. I do, love Lee dies...everthing else is RCBS, go figure.:rolleyes:
  6. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Member

    Jan 6, 2003
    If you decide to continue using the .308" bullets, (You really need to use the .311-.312" bullets); Lee will sell you a .308" expander/decapper rod to replace the .311" you already have in your .303 dies.

    Sierra makes a .311" 174gr MatchKing for the .303.

    For some really good all-around plinking/hunting bullets, try the Remington 180gr Corlokts in .311". From your mil-spec. barrel they'll probably shoot as good as anything you can run through it.

    If you want something a bit lighter, the .310" 125gr Remington Soft Points (these aren't cor-lokts) will probably shoot just about as well.

    The best way to feed your .303 will be to use some gas-checked cast bullets. A 180-200gr bullet can be run almost all the way up to full jacketed bullet velocity and the final sized diameter can be matched to your barrel.
  7. Oohrah

    Oohrah Member

    Dec 29, 2006
    So. Coast Oregon
    I own a 303 British Sniper that I experimented with using cast 180gr
    gas checked bullets and some 150 gr Jacketed Sierras in the 308 cal.
    They did quite well. Only tested at 100 and 200 yards. However,
    the 311 were a touch more accurate. Don't have a clue why, but
    the first 100 yard groups were ho hum, and it seemed groups were
    tighter the further out the rounds traveled. Common sence should be
    just the opposite. Also would think smaller diameter bullets would
    not be groups but spreads. Not so. Something that might be causing
    the necks not to crimp is seating the bullets deep enough to go beyond
    a crush fit on the powder. Don't recall what bullet weight you are using. I would stick
    with the 311 stuff with your dies. Neck sizing gives you a lttle more
    case life, but the springy action is hard on brass. It seems like commercial
    US brass is slightly undersized from military, but boxer primed.:)
  8. 4fingermick

    4fingermick Member

    Aug 10, 2006
    Bathurst, Australia
    Even thought they are excellent buys, I no longer buy the RGB die sets (not that I ever really did, I mostly bought pacesetter sets) I now buy the deluxe sets, because you get it all, a neck sizer and a fls die. The 303 cases will last longer if neck sized.

    Good Luck with it. Mick.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page