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Thread: Advice on bullet mold for 303 brit

  1. #1
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    Default Advice on bullet mold for 303 brit

    Hello everyone and thanks for having this great forum! I have checked in here many times for info, but have put off registering until today. Finally got around to it.
    I need some advice about a bullet mold I have. It is a Lee 309-170F. I can't find much about it except for 30-30 loads. Can I use this in the 303 british rifle? I have slugged all my 303's and they are all around .309, (if I did it right) If this bullet would be satisfactory to shoot for target, can someone point me in the right direction for load development? Thanks in advance - Dave

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    the best one to use is the lyman 314299 mold. this is a gas check bullet and i find that it is very accurate and is 212 gr in wheelweight lead. i hate lee molds and stick with lyman as the molds give me excellent service.

  3. #3

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    Bores for many .303 military surplus rifles are often found ranging from around .309-inch (7.8 mm) up to .318-inch (8.1 mm). Recommended bullet diameter for standard .303 cartridges is .312-inch (7.9 mm). Here is what I use......

    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/562...dius-gas-check

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    I have good luck with the next larger Lee mould, the C312-185-1R . IME the .309's are seldom large enough in diameter to use in .303/7.5Mau/7.5Jap, though you do get an occasional gift from the casting gods and get an oversized one (or a small enough bore on the .303). Bullets from most .309 moulds just drop right through a .312 sizer untouched even if the GC seats. There is however a lot more variation in the chambers of the .303's than in their groove diameters and that may give you more grief than finding the right mould.

    Did you measure your slug with a mic or a caliper? Even a fancy digital caliper that has a four decimal readout is only accurate to .01 +/- .005. You need to mic it to be sure of the size. I am wondering because that's about as small as I've ever seen a .303 as the vast majority of the ones I've dealt with are in the 312-315" range. If it really is that small, I'd be jumping up and down in joy because you will then be able to use just about any .30cal mould in it (though it may not like all of them, especially the lighter ones).

    Start with a Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook and go from there.
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    I went back and re-checked my slugs with a micrometer and was surprised at the difference. Now I range from .311 to .315 on 3 of my rifles. I was going to size my .309's at .311 and load with gas checks - now I' reconsidering. I read somewhere to be .002 over the actual size of the bore, is this correct? What weight bullet works best for the brit rifles for target? I have the lyman cast book, great reference.

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    Yes, .002-.003" over groove diameter is optimum for rifles. The .303's usually do well with heavier bullets, 170-210gr, but any individual rifle might shoot anything from 130 on up. Try what you have, then experiment with what you can get to see what your rifle likes best.
    "Stand your ground.
    Do not fire unless fired upon.
    But if they mean to have a war let it begin here."
    - Capt. Parker, Lexington Militia, April 19, 1775

  7. #7
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    the recommendation of being oversized is to fill the throat area not the bbl.
    if you have a boolit that fits the shape of your throat well it doesn't have to be oversized for the bbl.
    the problem with many of these older rifles is their throats are cut differently from rifle to rifle depending on whom made them, when they were made, and what kind, and how much ammo has been shot through them.
    for my 30 caliber rifles 30-30,308,30-06,30-40 krag, i have 5 different molds and have been fooled by what i thought would be an ideal mold for thier throat shape.
    sometimes they want a bit more parallel bearing surface to shoot accurately other times the nose was just a bit too small to engage the rifling in the throat area.
    don't be fooled into thinking that one mold will cover all three rifles [it might do okay] and give good results in all three.
    i would pick a mold such as the 314299 and see what you get from it in your alloy and try it you may find yourself looking for an oversized 316299 or a loverign design as you gain more knowledge through trial and error.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thompsonm1a1 View Post
    the best one to use is the lyman 314299 mold. this is a gas check bullet and i find that it is very accurate and is 212 gr in wheelweight lead. .
    The314299 works very well with the .303. I have also useda.311407 with good results.
    Quote Originally Posted by thompsonm1a1 View Post

    i hate lee molds and stick with lyman as the molds give me excellent service.
    On the other hand I have used Lee molds since the early 1970s and am still getting fine boolits from them. Lee molds work very well if one 1) gets them clean 2) lightly smokes the cavity (if you can see soot or more than a faint discoloration you have over done it 3) use only wooden matches or an oil/wax free wooden splinter to smoke the mold 4) preheat the mold using a hot plate with an ol saw blade to even the heat (you can use this to pre heat ingots but use a metal pie plate under the ingots in case they melt) and finally 5) ensure your lead pot is hot enough.

    I get good boolits on the first or second cast with pre heated molds of all brands.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check        

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