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  1. #1
    Senior Member GTW's Avatar
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    303 Br Case Shoulder Compression

    303 Br Case Shoulder Compression.jpg

    Ok, request some help here from those more qualified than me - which is why I like this forum - I can always learn something.
    The question I have is, the photo shows five 303 Br rounds in various stages. The top one is a once fired once reloaded cartridge out of my 1942 Savage Lee Enfield No. 4 Mk I*.
    The second from the top is a once fired once reloaded cartrige from my 1943 Long Branch Lee Enfield No. 4 Mk I*.
    The middle is a 1 x fired casing from the Long Branch,
    the fourth from the top is a factory unfired casing.
    Here's my dilemma: the bottom casing is a 1x fired S&B casing from my son's No. 4 Mk 1/2. It was a S&B factory 150 grn FMJ load. Note the compression of the shoulder vs the others.
    I get that it fire formed to the chamber and is gun specific. I took one of the 40 cases from his rifle and made a dummy round - it chambered with ease into his rifle and ejected without issue,
    Question is, can The brass with the compressed shoulders be reloaded or should I chuck them and tell him he has to get used to buying factory or 1x cartridge building then discarding the brass? Almost looks like the case had its neck "turtle".

    Thanks for looking.
    Last edited by GTW; 08-19-2017 at 12:42 AM.
    "Mr. Speaker, we really could replace Justin Trudeau with a cardboard cutout, and his peanut gallery wouldn't know the difference"

  2. #2
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    You demonstrate five casings from five different sources from a variety of factories and countries. As time went on, the standards for chamber sizes changed and these changes were interpreted differently by each factory. There is no real problem with the brass if it fits in your rifle. Canadian, Australian, British, and American chambers in that order may be different but are all acceptable and will work well. I have little or nothing good to say about the garbage rifles marked ishapore or rfi. The best of them were made and chambered by an untrained man beating on scrap metal with a dull chisel and a rock.

    303 Brit casings do not tolerate well hot loads when reloading. If loaded moderately, they could last 4 or 5 re-loads but by then they will often be stretched. Look for a stretch ring inside the case about 3/8 of an inch from the base inside the case. This may also show up as a shiny ring on the outside of the case about the same distance from the rim.

    Neck sizing only will help your brass to last longer. I try to segregate the fired cartridges to each rifle of this caliber and try not to shoot one rifle's cartridges in another rifle.
    Waiting for first light. Shook hands with the devil.

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    Rory McCanuck (08-18-2017)

  4. #3
    Super Moderator Rory McCanuck's Avatar
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    If you were to segregate the brass for your son's gun, and neck sized it, and only ever used it in that gun, there would be no problems.
    There isn't a chance that it's a 303 Epps?
    Don't blame me, I didn't vote for that clown. Oct 20, '15

  5. #4
    Senior Member GTW's Avatar
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    No it's not a 303 Epps. I do segregate the brass from each individual rifle. All brass for the Brits are strictly neck sized.
    My concern is I have never observed the amount of shoulder compression in brass from the other two Enfields compared to his No 4 Mk 1/2. All cases are structurally sound. Is it possible the brass on the once fired S&B rounds is very thin allowing compression of the shoulder? Or is the chamber on his rifle that much different? My Brits are original matching number rifles, his was FTR'd in 1954. It shoots like a dream. I'm just wondering if anybody else has seen similar shoulder compression. Overall case length was about .003 past spec after firing a factory round which I trimmed back to spec. My gut tells me these cases are good to go but I'm open to more experienced opinion like yours Rory.
    Last edited by GTW; 08-19-2017 at 12:48 AM.
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  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTW View Post
    No it's not a 303 Epps. I do segregate the brass from each individual rifle. All brass for the Brits are strictly neck sized.
    My concern is I have never observed the amount of shoulder compression in brass from the other two Enfields compared to his No 4 Mk 1/2. All cases are structurally sound. Is it possible the brass on the once fired S&B rounds is very thin allowing compression of the shoulder? Or is the chamber on his rifle that much different? My Brits are original matching number rifles, his was FTR'd in 1954. It shoots like a dream. I'm just wondering if anybody else has seen similar shoulder compression. Overall case length was about .003 past spec after firing a factory round which I trimmed back to spec. My gut tells me these cases are good to go but I'm open to more experienced opinion like yours Rory.
    it is the chambers. As stated many times in history the 303 cartage is the poster child for "sami". The barrels can be anywhere from .312 to .315 (from the factory that is), the chambers are over the map also. When reloading for a 303 it is best, in my opinion, to start with factory rnds (they are .312 and can be saftly fired), fire form and then neck size only. Also especially a gun pre 1960 you should slug your barrel to know what is the proper dia bullet you need. There is no sense in loading a .312 150 grn sp into a rifle with a .314 barrel it will work but your accuracy and velocity will be all over the place

  7. #6
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    I don't load any mil rifles so know nothing about the issue...but, my experience suggests that the fired case (assuming pressure was sufficient), conforms to the shape of the chamber. That's what brass does. For the "compressed" brass to fit another chamber, the shoulder angle between the shoulder-neck junction and the headspace datum point (that point on the shoulder would occur when fired) would need to be fairly close ... or possibly have shoulder headspace that is extremely generous. Presumably, a compressed case reload fired in a different chamber would conform to the shape of the new chamber which would be really working the brass and before long, result in separation.

  8. #7
    Super Moderator Rory McCanuck's Avatar
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    Fair disclaimer: I don't have a lot of experience reloading 303, haven't had one for almost 20 years.
    However, yes, we know that 303 chambers can vary wildly in size and shape, Q.E.D.
    Once fireformed, brass will be fine if it is only shot in that rifle.

    My experience with S&B brass has all been very positive; I had some 7.62x54R brass that I annealed every third firing, and I'd got to 14(I think) loadings when I sold the rifle and the brass with it.
    One thing I did find however, was that the primer holes were small and shallow.
    I broke a shellholder jaw on my Co-Ax trying to seat them deep enough.
    I eventually cut them all with a uniformer, what a long, labourious process to get through 140 pieces.
    Don't blame me, I didn't vote for that clown. Oct 20, '15

  9. #8
    Senior Member GTW's Avatar
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    I found out firsthand about the chambers of Enfield rifles being different when I mixed up brass between my Long Branch and Savage. The Canuck is tolerant of virtually anything, the Savage only likes and accepts what has been fired through it.
    Have been diligent in keeping all separate since.

    Thanks for all the responses. I'm reloading 20 of my son's brass as we speak and keeping them gun specific. One things for sure, his are easy to identify from mine!
    "Mr. Speaker, we really could replace Justin Trudeau with a cardboard cutout, and his peanut gallery wouldn't know the difference"

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    Rory McCanuck (08-19-2017)

  11. #9
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    Looks like the sizer die is down too far. Assuming it's been resized. Isn't the brass in any case. S&B is making stuff primarily for the American market. Mind you, if
    Even though that case looks like an AI(Ackley Improved). P.O. Ackley did work on the .303 case though, but not in milsurp rifles. Usually has a 40 degree shoulder that case doesn't have.
    An Epp's has a 35 degree shoulder angle that case doesn't have. Otherwise that rifle's chamber has been modified. Unlikely in a full milsurp rifle. Assuming your son's rifle is full milsurp.
    Taper on the case body appears different too
    http://www.303british.com/id20.html
    "...keeping them gun specific..." Absolutely required if you're neck sizing only. Eventually, you'll have to FL resize anyway though. However, you can use the same brass in any rifle but you must FL resize every time to do it.
    "...rifles marked Ishapore or RFI..." Are not in any way, garbage. The No. 1 Mk 2's and 2A's are actually superior to other No. 1 Rifles.

  12. #10
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    The chambers are not very tight on the Lee-Enfield because it is a military firearm expected to go through hell and back. Just an example, the Ross vs the Lee-Enfield during ww1. The Ross tight chambers designed around Canadian spec 303 ammunition. Because the Canadians had used good high-quality brass vs the British the spent casing would actually contracted to allow a nice extraction. So when you were in Ypres with a Ross with lower-quality British ammo and muddy trenches the Ross jam. The Lee-Enfield just did not care because of its large chamber.

    Having different size fire forming from one rifle to another is completely normal with the Lee-Enfield. That's why you keep the brass with the gun it was fired out of and only doing neck sizing greatly helps to extends your brass life. PPU makes the best stuff (also it's the cheapest here in Canada) is the consensus over on a Lee-Enfield collectors group I'm with just fyi. It's also best to check your head spacing to try and prevent case stretching. If it closes on a no-go gauge try and find a new bolt head. They are numbered I believe 0 to 3 with 0 being the smallest headspacing 3 being the largest. However, through time and wear they wear they can be out of spec and you have to use a calipers to double-check.

    Just some links:
    http://www.okiegauges.com/sales.html

    https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/para...9-s-t3361.html

    This is bloke on the Range he's pretty knowledgeable about the Lee-Enfield.
    Last edited by KB_TheDireWolf; 09-09-2017 at 08:14 AM.

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