Unable to measure cartridge length on SMLE using OAL gauge

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  • Unable to measure cartridge length on SMLE using OAL gauge

    I thought I'd try to improve my reloading technique, so I bought a Hornady OAL gauge and modified cases for a 30-06 and 303 SMLE. It all worked fine for the 30-06. I attached the modified case to the AOL gauge and slid it up the chamber, then gently pushed the central rod which pushed the projectile into the throat of the bore. I locked the rod in position, took it out and measured the overall length. I now realise to be even more accurate, I need to buy the gauge that sits on the ogive rather than measuring the tip.

    Anyway, I tried to repeat the process on the SMLE. I attached the modified case, slid it into the chamber, pushed the central rod until the projectile contacted the throat. I locked the rod and withdrew it only to find the central rod sticking 13 mm beyond the mouth of the cartridge, i.e. it had pushed the projectile out of the cartridge completely. Has anyone else had the same experience? The modified cartridge was correct dimensionally and chambered the same as purchased bullets. I'm sure I'm doing something wrong, but can't see what. Surely the projectile doesn't jump 13mm before it enters the bore or is this an indication of worn grooves?

    Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Outgunned" post=28343
    Surely the projectile doesn't jump 13mm before it enters the bore or is this an indication of worn grooves?
    That would be called "throat erosion"
    I would say that is the issue!
    I'm not sure if corrosive powder was used in .303 military rounds but that could be one cause.
    It happens to all rifles over time!

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    • #3
      Something you may be missing is the kind of bullet you are using to measure with. When the .303 was designed it used round nose bullets. You're most likely using modern hollow point bullets like SMK or Nosler CC.

      If you put the two bullets measured the two bullets in a bullet comparator you may find there is 10 mm or so difference in the actual base to ogive length

      Others may have a better idea

      Just load to mag length and find a load that works

      Steve

      Edit: just looked up the .303B mkii shock your rifle may be chambered for and they used a 215gr round nose bullet, I'd say that would require some pretty long freebore. Just a suggestion.

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      • Guest's Avatar
        Guest commented
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        Good point Steve!

      • fishphillott
        fishphillott commented
        Editing a comment
        Originally posted by 6602steven" post=28383
        Something you may be missing is the kind of bullet you are using to measure with. When the .303 was designed it used round nose bullets. You're most likely using modern hollow point bullets like SMK or Nosler CC.

        If you put the two bullets measured the two bullets in a bullet comparator you may find there is 10 mm or so difference in the actual base to ogive length

        Others may have a better idea

        Just load to mag length and find a load that works

        Steve

        Edit: just looked up the .303B mkii shock your rifle may be chambered for and they used a 215gr round nose bullet, I'd say that would require some pretty long freebore. Just a suggestion.
        Depending on how old your rifle is it is most probably sighted in for the mk7 round a 174gr fmj projectile not the mk2

    • #4
      Old scary bits 303 ammo.
      I found a heap of old projectiles inthe mound of Our very old club range ans lo there are some old 200 grainers in the batch.
      The scary bit is they have tails say 2,5 mm diameter of what seems to be aluminum wire hanging out the rear to about half or more length of the projectile itself.
      Obviously some sort of internal alterante core of a lighter metal it must have left the barrel like that as it would not come out in flight.
      The accuracy would be anyone's guess ?
      [center]
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