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TheOldPro

Is A Neck Sizing Die the Only Way to Go Here?

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If the brass is stretching enough to cause this groove, you need to take measures to prevent it. Not difficult to do, but you need to start with new, never loaded brass.

 

In the case of the 303, I'd run new cases over an 8mm expander ball from an 8mm mauser or similar die. After the case neck is expanded to 8mm, you will then run it into your 303 sizing die and neck it down a little at a time, creating a false shoulder, until the case will just chamber in your rifle. This false shoulder will prevent the case from stretching excessively the first time it is fired. I use this method of false shoulder case forming for some of my wildcat cartridges.

 

After you have formed the false shoulder, charge the case and seat the bullet. When the cartridge is fired the case is formed to the chamber without stretching in the web area.

 

wyatt3ax350.jpg

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"Just for grins, I'd straighten out a paperclip, cut the end at an angle so you have a sharp point, bend the last 1/8th" into a right angle and use the point of this tool to feel the inside of the case for signs of thinning. Run the sharp point along the inside of the case and feel for a radial groove near the case head, if present, you should feel a "click" as the point crosses the groove. This groove, if present, would be an indication of an incipient case head separation."

 

I have done that already, believe it or not. So far, no groove is felt. I forgot to take the O-ring off the rim of the cartridge for the pictures, but I am going to use it when I fire the next new cartridge just to see if it changes the fired case any by supposedly taking up headspace to start with....something I gleaned from what you posted earlier. I really doubt it's going to change anything, but I won't know until I've tried and compared. I've got a feeling full-length resizing would crush the shoulder, rather than putting it back in shape, based on how far forward the shoulder has moved and the angle changed. If I can get two or three reloadings out of these cases by partial neck sizing before FL resizing is needed, I think I will be happy. I think I may have to discard the cases after that. Hopefully, the case has changed shape as much as it is going to, but again I won't know that until I have reloaded one and fired it to see. I may also need to go to a heavier bullet, just to take up some of the extra space created inside the case. If that doesn't sound like a good idea, let me know, but I'm not going to right away. It's beginning to move from a tinkering hobby into an expense.

 

OP

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I figured you might know the paperclip test but thought I'd mention it anyway, never know who will read this in the future and learn something.

 

I think you might be surprised at what your full length die will do, I form a lot of different cases and don't really have much trouble crushing shoulders, even when pushing them WAY back. It's amazing what you can do to change the shape of cartridge brass.

 

I wouldn't worry about a heavier bullet, it won't make any difference in case stretch and will just beat your shoulder more. A 150 grain bullet at moderate pressure will make the cases last longer before you need to set the shoulder back, and I guarantee it won't bounce off a deer, hog or coyote!! :D

 

I wouldn't doubt that you can get 6-8 or more loads out of a case if you push a 150 at 2400-2500 fps.......and that's as fast or faster than a 30-30 at less pressure!

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Great read guys. My Enfield is a 1917 No1 Mk III. I haven't put half the thought and effort into my reloads for this gun as you have. Pure laziness on my part and a willingness to accept my 'generous' military chamber, which displays the same expansion OP's pics display when comparing new ammunition to my fired brass, would inevitably lead to short case life My initial brass came from a 300 round canister of Greek ball ammo. After attempting neck sizing only on my first batch or two of reloads I switched to full case sizing due to inconsistency with 'sticky' rounds. I have had two cases separate on me with one being the third loading. I am sure the full sizing contributes to my shorter case life but I am ok with that since I have a total of 600 cases now and don't expect I'll ever get to shoot it enough to wear them all out. An interesting note on my gun, cases do not seem to expand uniformly. While I haven't measured them they appear to be lopsided, visually appearing to show uneven signs of brass flow In that area forward of the web, about where Marks paper clip picture indicated stretching / case thinness. My speculation is that my chamber is not cut square to the bore but I couldn't prove it. Again, thanks for the good information and the tip about the paper clip.

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I shot a couple of more factory rounds yesterday, this time with the O-ring around them just above the rim to take up headspace in advance, as some had suggested in reloading forums. With the O-ring in place, I could hardly close the bolt without what I consider too much effort. After firing the 2 rounds in that manner, I sat down and compared them to the once-fired without the band, such as the one pictured previously. It seemed to make absolutely no difference anywhere, so far as my best measurements could tell. I won't be doing that again. I took the O-rings off the rest of the factory loads that had them on. That's the second thing I learned in firing those two bullets. The first thing was to never again forget to put my slip-on recoil pad on over the steel butt-plate of that short barreled rifle.

Next, I sat down to reload the 8 empties I now had. After adjusting the seating die to seat the first bullet the same length as my factory load, the reloading process went fast. A little too fast it seemed to me upon reflecting back after the first bullet was seated. It was at that point I remembered that at some point you need to add powder before seating the bullet. After pulling that bullet, the reloading process slowed down considerably. I'm trying 40 and 41 gr. of W748 to see how they do pressure-wise, and grouping

at fairly close range. Max load is 43.5 gr., so I feel like it'll go okay at least for the pressure part. If either groups okay, I won't go any higher. We've got doctors appointments today, but hopefully late this afternoon I can get to do the shooting of these first reloads. I doubt the rest of the nation is waiting to hear the results, but I'll let you know anyhow, as several of you here own a .303 and this might be useful.

 

OP

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Shot my first reloads today in the old .303. Had 4 loaded with 40 gr. of W748, and 4 with 41 gr. Nothing conclusive so far, but I think the 40 gr. had the better group, maybe 1". I still shot at only 25 yards, with the rifle resting across a folding chair, so not exactly sandbagging at its best. I'm going to try to get my son-in-law to come over this weekend and shoot from 50 yards....he has exceptionally good eyes, unlike me. I'll know more then. If the 40 gr. load doesn't pattern well with him shooting, I'll go down to 39 gr. and up to 42 gr. and give it a try. No higher! If that doesn't work, I'll switch to Varget, and if that doesn't work, they have some BL-C powder on the shelf at Academy in Temple. One of the 3 will have to do. I can't find any 3031 or 4895 or I would try them, since those are two powders that have been used in the .303 for a long time. My hopes aren't too high for this gun with it's short barrel. If I can get a 3" group at 50 yards, I'll probably call it good. Most hogs I will shoot at are larger than 3".

On the plus side, the reloads chambered with little difficulty, especially if you didn't try to baby them into the chamber. The twice-fired cases showed no abnormalities, inside or out. And they are still below the "trim-to" length, thanks to GonHuntin and partial neck sizing I believe. I also took the front sight off again and fixed that "2 degrees-off-perfect-level" that has bugged me since I first started trying to "fix" the thing. I'm fast running out of things I can actually fix on this old gun, so I guess I can concentrate on the reloading part now. The old thing is getting to be kind of fun to shoot after all.

 

OP

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Getting fun to shoot now. And thus the "like" affair with the .303 has begun.... Next thing you know your going to want a scope because you know you have the Umph to reach out and touch something at more than 50 yards. Enjoy it. Don't you like knowing you have 10 in the magazine when all those Mauser, Springfield and Nagant guys only have 5?

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Next thing you know your going to want a scope.....

Scope???? Tell me more.

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I purchased an ATI smithless mount for my sporter (link below). The jury is still out on it. First time out the mount worked itself loose just after getting zeroed. After sitting in the vault awhile I dismounted and reattached the mount with the assistance of some epoxy and a more liberal dose of blue Loctite. The mount now seems stable but the recycled bubble pack scope I chose to use is now suspects fete the second trip to the range. Needs one more trip to the range to make a call on whether to trash the current scope and try a different one or not. I'm afraid the bad news for you with my solution is the smithless mount requires the stripper clip bridge to be in place and I think that means it won't work on your gun due to a prior modification. The good news for you might be take it to a local smith and see what he would charge to drill and tap the gun for mounts. It seems you have nothing to loose but his fee given your current investment in the gun. If he can take care of you for a reasonable fee then you have a great little rig for toting just about anywhere. Shorter barreled 30 cal stopping power in a form factor that doesn't care about scratches, dents, dings or a little more pitting due to exposure to the elements. What more can you ask for than a shooter that doesn't care how you treat it? I also included a link to an alternative DIY mount from Addley Prescision if your open to drilling and tapping the gun. Watch that video and let me know if your try that route.

 

ATI

http://www.atigunstocks.com/enfield-scope-mount-no-1-mk-3

 

Addley Precision

http://addleyprecision.com/scope-mounts/

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GDH:

 

Looks to me like option 1 won't work, and option 2 looks like a heck of a lot of guesswork and trouble. I probably will leave the old thing like it is, at least for the time being. As to what you're experiencing with your mounting of a scope, it's one of the reasons I don't have one mounted on my SKS....the uncertainty of whether or not it's going to work right or last on a gun that wasn't really designed to have one in the first place. I don't know whether or not it's worth the price of a gunsmith who might could do it right. And, by the way, I figured the lack of the stripper clip guide might preclude "normal" scope mounting, if there was such a thing. I'm saving the info you sent, just in case I change my mind later though. I hope yours turns out right in the long run.

 

OP

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I backed up to 50 yds. today to see how the reloads patterned compared to the factories. I used a 4" square bullseye to shoot at that I outlined in black. Not much conclusive due to the fact that I had a hard time seeing the bullseye when aiming down the sights. The vision in my right eye has been getting a little worse each year for a couple of years now....cataract maybe, or the beginning of one. The factories shot higher than the reloads probably, but the reloads were much milder on the shoulder. A couple of shots were pretty wide or high, but out of the other 9 shots, 5 were in the bullseye, and 3 were within an inch or so. I still want to get my son-in-law to shoot it to see how accurate it really is or isn't. I probably won't take a 100 yd. shot at my target....I can't see it with my eye as it is, and I don't need to be missing my target with cows within a half-mile behind it. Those 11 shots kind of got to my shoulder, too. It is something to do, however.

 

OP

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That one would probably be about the only option for me. The over-all price might be a consideration, however, as it would also require me to buy a scout-type scope with extremely long eye relief. But, as I said, it makes it do-able if I want to spring for it. I've bookmarked that site just in case. Thanks for the info, GDH.

 

OP

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