View Full Version : what bullet for hunting?

12-14-2006, 10:52 AM
Hi @ all,
i am new here and need some help.

Is there anybody here who has experience with the 150gr Sierra Spitzer bullet for white tailed deer hunting?

This year i got a Lee Enfield .303 British.(No4Mk1). At this time, i use only the 174gr Sierra MatchKing bullet for target shooting.

I also have the 150gr Sierra Spitzer bullet but no idea how to load it. Is it possible for deer hunting?

Thank you for your help.

12-14-2006, 06:37 PM
Hi jever77,
Welcome to the forum. The Sierra .311 150gr Pro Hunter is an excellent bullet for whitetail in the .303Brit, 7.65Mauser, and 7.7 Arisaka. IMR 3031 and 4064 are my powders of choice in the .303, but I am not sure what you have access to in Germany. Looking at available loading data, N140 should work, but I have not tried it personally. As long as you can find an accurate combination that travels 24-2600fps, it will do the job nicely out to 200 meters, or a little more if you eyes are up to it (mine are no longer :-D ). People sometimes run into problems with Sierras when they try to push them too fast (i.e. 3000fps+), but that isn't an issue with the .303, and I suspect that this is the cartridge that bullet was specifically designed for. I have seen it do a great job on whitetail weighing from 80-200+lbs with good expansion and quick kills. If your particular rifle likes it, I think it is an excellent choice.

12-14-2006, 11:18 PM
Thank you for your fast answer.
Now i will try to get this powder and hope for good results.
The last time i had problems with the cases on the range. I had head separations on some cases. I think this is because i fullsized them. The next load i necksized them only. I will test this load on saturday.
The perfect OAL is also a problem. "Kiss the lands" some shooter told me is the best. But this is not possible in my Enfield. I checked it out. I finger seated a bullet in a fired and unsized case just a little bit, chambered the round and closed the chamber. After opening and measuring the OAL i had the same result as bevor. Why that? Is the chamber too large? I would understand this on a 150grs bullet, but the big one should "kiss the land"
So the bullet jump is too big. Maybe this is the reason for not getting a tighter group.
Do you have some experience with this problem?
Thank you in advance.

12-14-2006, 11:40 PM
My method for finding the best OAL involves making a dummy round per bullet. I size/decap a case, then just barely seat your bullet. Attempt to chamber, turn seating stem in around 1/2 turn and repeat. Once the bolt will close, I generally give another half turn down, just to make sure I'm not engraving into the lands. Then you have to determine whether or not it will fit in your magazine. Once you've accomplished that, write the name/size of the bullet on the case. Next time setting up your seating die will be a lot simpler. I don't have any personal experience with SMLE's, but I have read that case life tends to be short. I'm sure that someone else will chime in with the why's and how to avoid them. Good Luck, BTW where in Germany are you located?

12-14-2006, 11:56 PM
Hi Klaus,
i am living in Karlsruhe, near Frankfurt. It`s a long distance for talking about reloading of cartridges:) But i need your experience. In Germany i am going just for target shooting, not for hunting. I am only hunting in Canada since a few years on the eastcoast. I passed the firearm safety course exam and the hunter education course exam. And now i am just looking forward for my next trip to North America.

Greetings from Germany

12-15-2006, 03:39 AM
Head separations are not uncommon with the .303 for several reasons. The first is that there is an almost unbelievable amount of variation in chamber dimensions of military rifles chambered for it. The second is that the case headspaces on the rim.
Picture what happens to the case: you fire the round and the brass expands to fill the chamber, including the case's shoulder which lengthens. Full length sizing pushes the shoulder back each time, but with subsequent firings, the brass flows forward and it weakens the case by thinning it above the web. All that working also makes the neck and shoulder brittle. Neck sizing is the only way to get decent case life. Every so often you still need to FL size, when the base to shoulder length becomes too long for easy chambering, and regular annealing of the neck and shoulder is also a good idea.
The way around these problems is to look at each mil .303 rifle as if it were chambered for a wildcat cartridge, which, in a very real sense, it is. First, the case fireforms to the chamber. Then you neck size, and depending on how hot you are loading, you can get more or less firings/neck sizings from it before you have trouble closing the bolt and have to set back the shoulders. You do not need to FL size all the way, just enough to push back the shoulder so that it chambers easily. Some shooters prefer to anneal before each FL sizing, some like to do it every other time. It depends on the pressure level you are loading to. Milder loads are always easier on brass.
Seating depth and OAL is something else again. Some well used barrels have mild to severe degrees of throat erosion. You may not always be able to "seat to the lands" and still have the rounds able to feed through the magazine if there is a marked degree of erosion in the throat. A chamber/throat cast can show you what you have to work with. Also, part of the great variation in chamber sizes includes differing throat lengths and angles when originally cut. For this reason, some do prefer longer (and heavier) bullets, and Sierra makes a 180gr .311 bullet for this reason, and also for hunting larger game, but many hunt deer with 180's because they are more accurate in their particular rifles. Only your rifle can tell you what it shoots best.
I'm curious - What powders are available there for you to use? IMR? Alliant? Winchester? Hodgedon? Accurate? VV/Norma? Others? Just wondering what can be had there.
Keep in mind that military rifles and pistols were never designed for their ammo to be reloaded. They generally have large to oversize chambers to insure that they will feed and function under adverse conditions, and the Brittish bolt guns were the most reliable combat bolt actions ever made. They worked and kept working in mud, snow, sand, jungle when all others, even Mausers and especially Springfields, would fail. American 1911 .45ACP pistols were always reliable for the same reasons, but this did not promote accuracy. To get accuracy from a Brit, you have to understand its limitations, and overcome them through specialized loading techniques. It's not an impossible job. Look what you can do with a Mauser, amazing when one considers that they were built to an accuracy standard of 4 MOA, or 30cm @ 300 meters. With a little patience, you can get most Mausers shooting close to 1 MOA. The same is true of the Brits, it just takes a little more patience sometimes.

12-15-2006, 09:30 AM
Hi versifier and thank you for your help. This is very interesting for me.
We have the same powders available here like you(Alliant, Accurate, Norma, Hodgdon, VihtaVuori and some more).
Now, i think i am on the best way to get good results.
Thank you.

12-15-2006, 07:35 PM
Excellent. In that case, I would get a can of IMR3031 and one of IMR4064 to start with. I buy both of them in bulk, I use so much of them. 3031 is a bit more versatile with medium capacity and smaller cases, but in the .308 - .30-06 class of cartridges, both will do anything you want to do with bullet from 110gr up to 250gr. Please post your progress, good and bad, we're all still learning constantly, too.

12-16-2006, 01:46 AM
versifier is spot on; per usual. I've always liked 3031 and in the past year or so 4064 has constituted a large amount of my powder purchases, mainly because my .375 H&H is partial to it and that cartridge takes a lot of powder. You aren't too far from where I lived on my first tour in Germany. I was stationed in Gelnhausen, over by Hanau. Take care


01-04-2007, 03:15 PM
The last time i had problems with the cases on the range. I had head separations on some cases. I think this is because i fullsized them. The next load i necksized them only. I will test this load on saturday.

The Enfield has got a really bad reputation for Headspace problems along with Head/case seperations ! The thing to look for is whether the serial numbers on the Rifle & bolt are matching . If not take your rifle to a Gunmith & get the headspace checked ! Enfield over came this problem with 4 differant lenght Bolt heads Numbered from 1 to 4 !

The 150 gn Sierra is a good choice for the .303 & covers most applications

01-02-2008, 09:11 PM
HI...I believe the 303 enfields have an adjustable head on the bolt...just revolve in or out till you get proper headspace

01-04-2008, 08:32 PM
Right you are, but that doesn't necessarily help when you have a really oversized chamber. The .303 headspaces on the rim, not on the case shoulder like a rimless round does. (And there was a good amount of variation in rim thickness in wartime ammo.) That's why the round can give you three fits trying to work up a good load in an old milsurp if you don't know what to watch for.

02-07-2009, 08:13 AM
I've been loading the 150 and the 180 gr sierra for a buddy and he prefers the 180. I've been using the 4064 but as a hunting load sierra recommends a different powder which I picked up to try out. Not sure how he'll like it. I do know that every now and then he gets a wild one and I keep everything the same. Weigh each powder throw, etc.

02-07-2009, 07:44 PM
Sierra preferred a different powder because their test rifle preferred it. That doesn't mean your will like it best. Every rifle is different. What matters is what the rifle you have prefers, and many of them do just fine with 4064 (and with 3031 or 4895 or any other listed powder - they are all listed because they all work best in one rifle or another). If you are getting acceptable accuracy with it then use it and don't worry about what someone else's rifle prefers. No dead deer has ever been known to complain about a few hundered FPS of velocity either way. Proper bullet placement is what makes meat, so have him sight the rifle in for the load you find it likes and make some room in your freezer for a package of thankyou this fall.

02-07-2009, 08:36 PM
Yep only way to really know is to experiment. For me IMR has been good for me but I've never tried anything else. My next never tried is to reload for the 44-40 pistol/ lever action rifle combo my other half's grandfather used to do the custer reinactments with this combo.

02-16-2009, 08:27 PM
the other powder is H414 36 grains for the 180 grain

03-04-2009, 04:58 PM
Agree with D O K on neck sizing 303. Saves a lot of grief!