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303 Improved?

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kombi76 View Drop Down
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    Posted: 02 March 2006 at 9:28pm

This week I picked up a Martini Enfield action for $200 and intend over the next year or so to build a sporter in 303 Improved.

For those unfamiliar with improved cartridges of any kinda P.O.Ackley basically invented the process by taking standard cartridges and blowing them out so they had less taper and sharper shoulders...usually 40 degrees. Other designers went from there and their case designs usually had milder shoulder angles, more in the order of 30 to 35 degrees, but the principal is the same and it was the inspiration behind the short & fat WSM & PPC style cartridges we see today. Below is the parent 303 case on the left & the fireformed Improved case on the right.

The benfits are 2 fold. Firstly it increases case capacity which equals more powder and as such more velocity. Secondly the straight case walls and sharp shoudlers minimise case stretching. As the 303 tends to suffer a lot from case stretching and is a little underpowered compared to other cartridges in it's class it's a great solution. Problem is the old No.1 MkIII isn't really up to the extra pressure and you need a P14 to get the most out of it. Mind you a good Martini will also get alot out and even push it to almost 30-06 performance.

Anyhow, I was wondering if any of you guys had a rifle chambered to a 303 Improved cartridge like the .303 Epps?

If so, how does it perform?


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shotgunminister View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote shotgunminister Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 March 2006 at 10:01pm

Sorry I can't answer your question

I do often wish I had a reloader but sadly I can not afford the cost at the moment.  Also it is my childhood dream to get a FFL experimenters lisence.   Among my several ideas pertaining to the .303  are a couple of wild cat rounds first and fore most a .303 necked down the .223 and loaded with a 50 GR bullet.  You sacrifice mass but make up for it by a drastic increase in velocity.  Also take this one step further and neck a .303 case down to .174 and use a 20gr bullet.  My concern though is that the smaller weight bullets would not have enough mass to make proper use of the .303 power.  On the other end of the spectrum it would be cool to take a 20MM shell neck it down to .303 and load it with the 215 GR woodleigh bullets.  I can imagine it would give the word "recoil" a whole new meaning.  It would also give new meaning to the phrase "Rip your shoulder off."

The top shell is an '06. the middle shell is the .50BMG and that big sucker at the bottom is the 20MM

 

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 March 2006 at 10:46pm
I'm going for a 270-303 improved in my Martini when it arrives (Keith at Sprinters is going to Freak when I order this one ) But the thought of a 303-20mm is tempting ! Or as I saw a couple in a scrap yard .what about a 40mm sized to 20mm based on a Boffers ?

 Also  Shotgun minister have you considered one of the of the LEE handloaders ? I know that their slow but they do produce a nice shell as far as full lenght resizing goes Simplex made a vice type die that you either press the round into or just tighten it in a vice !

       Dave


Edited by dave h - 02 March 2006 at 10:50pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kombi76 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 March 2006 at 5:12am

Originally posted by shotgunminister shotgunminister wrote:

I do often wish I had a reloader but sadly I can not afford the cost at the moment.

DaveH is right. The Lee Loader is commonly available in all if the popular cartridges and it neck sizes, decaps and primes, even has an inbuilt powder funnel of sorts and seats the bullets. The only thing you need to do is ensure the case isn't too long and that you have some sort of powder scale. A Lee Loader is $30, a powder scale is about $50 and components, once you have spent cases, are about $25 to $30 per 100 bullets, $5 per 100 primers and $35 for 500gm of powder, enough for around 200 loads. It means much cheaper and more accurate ammo. Tell you what, ask your family for a Lee Loader in 303 for your next birthday.

Originally posted by shotgunminister shotgunminister wrote:

Also it is my childhood dream to get a FFL experimenters lisence.   Among my several ideas pertaining to the .303  are a couple of wild cat rounds first and fore most a .303 necked down the .223 and loaded with a 50 GR bullet.  You sacrifice mass but make up for it by a drastic increase in velocity.

It's been done. There are the standard 303/22s which had the full length case and the 303/22 Sprinter, which is a shorted .303 case. Then there's Dave and my favourite 303 wildcat, the 303/25 and numerous others including rimless versions as well.

Originally posted by shotgunminister shotgunminister wrote:

Also take this one step further and neck a .303 case down to .174 and use a 20gr bullet.  My concern though is that the smaller weight bullets would not have enough mass to make proper use of the .303 power.  On the other end of the spectrum it would be cool to take a 20MM shell neck it down to .303 and load it with the 215 GR woodleigh bullets.  I can imagine it would give the word "recoil" a whole new meaning.  It would also give new meaning to the phrase "Rip your shoulder off."

I guess this brings one phrase to mind..........

ARE YOU NUTS??!!  

You'd have to have a custom built action to chamber the damn thing. And you're right. It'd have to be fired from a gun implacement with recoil support. And a standard 215gn soft point wouldn't be suitable. Even the 174gn FMJ wouldn't strong enough. The only thing that even comes close is the .729 Jongmans which was invented here in Oz and is the largest practical calibre a 50 BMG can be necked up to. It fires a custom made solid copper bullet and has been used in Africa.

 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote shotgunminister Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 March 2006 at 11:15am

Thanks guys I'll look into the Lee loader.  As far as the 303-20MM I'm aware that it would be severly impracticale.  But can't I have any dreams.  Just think of the power a cartridge like that would have.  I'm willing to bet that you could quite easily achieve a velocity of upwards of 6,000FPS.  With a 215 GR bullet my calculations show you could easily reach energy closing in at 15,000 FT/LBS

All of this on paper of course. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cookie Monster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 March 2006 at 3:07pm

I was chatting with a gunsmith friend about Ackley Improved and other Improved rounds. He told me if you have a gun with head space trouble you can sometimes re-chamber with an improved type round and correct the problem??? I guess it would be worth a try.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kombi76 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 March 2006 at 5:52pm

Well, that might be a solution with rimless cases but rimmed cases are quite easy to rectify because they headspace on the rim, they don't use the shoulder to headspace. Cartridges like the 35 Whelen which have quite a minimal shoulder can have problems with headspacing and, yes, chambering to the Ackley Improved version certainly overcomes the problem.

The 375 H&H Magnum on the other hand has one of the most drastic case tapers in all of the high powered cartridges & has virtually no shoulders which made it difficult to head space. That's why the designers made it a belted cartridge, so it could headspace on the belt. The only reason later magnums like the .300 Win Mag, 7mm Rem Mag & 338 Win Mag were belted was because they were shortened and reshaped H&H cases. The 375 H&H also has big problems with case stretching and so P.O. Ackley's sharp shouldered 375 H&H Improved helped overcome this problem.

I'd imagine non-belted rimless cases are easier to headspace in controlled feed actions like the Mauser 98 as the extractor holds the cartridge from the moment it leaves the magazine. Actions like the SMLE or Rem 700 however are push feed and the extractor only clicks on after the round has chambered leaving you in a sticky situation if your headspace is out. Mind you if your cartridge is too far out and won't close properly it doesn't matter what sort of case or action you have.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cookie Monster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 March 2006 at 6:00pm

kombi76,

 yes I was refering to the .303 only, On rimless cases you must mill off the chamber face and  then re-chamber.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote POPS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 March 2006 at 10:57pm
KOMBI76   had a#5 that was chambered for.303EPPS IMPROVED.  did not find it any better than my other.303,s. one can however, still fire factory .303 cartridges in it. then one has another batch of fire formed IMPROVED cases. gave the rifle to a mates son.he has not shot it in 2 years. time,mabe,to buy it back.     pops
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kombi76 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 March 2006 at 4:38am

Originally posted by POPS POPS wrote:

KOMBI76   had a#5 that was chambered for.303EPPS IMPROVED.  did not find it any better than my other.303,s. one can however, still fire factory .303 cartridges in it. then one has another batch of fire formed IMPROVED cases. gave the rifle to a mates son.he has not shot it in 2 years. time,mabe,to buy it back.     pops

POPS.......GRAB the bugger!!

The 303 Epps isn't as astounding in a No.4 or No.5 as it is chambered in a P14 rifle but it'll significantly improve the performance of your .303, at least by 100fps if not more, and more importantly will reduce the amount of case stretching and prolong case life. You should be able to get dies for it too there in Canada.

For more data look at www.303british.com. Steve Redgewell has data for No.4 & P14 rifles using 150gn & 180gn bullets. Trust me whan I say this is an excellent cartridge. Just make sure the action is good and strong.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote POPS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 March 2006 at 3:01pm
.3o3 EPPS IMPROVED.        originated by Ellwood Epps of ontario canada.  another claim to fame 4 Ellwood,was the beautifull one piece stocks on enfields.        &nb sp;         &nb sp; Below are some numbers that may be of interrest.   e-mail      info@ellwoodepps.com           fax#705-689-2279       &n bsp;  phone#705-689-5333               or write ELLWOO D Epps sportinggoods R.R.3  ORILLIA,ONTARIO,    CANADA.    L3V-6H3.        &nbs p;       i remember,sometime ago, they sold various books on the IMPROVED.  POPS
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kombi76 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 March 2006 at 7:24am

I wish I could get a reamer in 303 Epps here but I'd imagine that it would be quite difficult or expensive. As Sprinter Arms in South Australia(DaveH's favourite barrel maker) will be making, chambering and fitting the barrel to the action I'll have them chamber it using a 303 Improved reamer they have. Sprinter have a long history of chambering and developing their own improved cartridges including the well known 303/22 Sprinter, which was a shortened 303 case necked to .224 cal. I think it should be quite good and I've actually seen an improved cartridge more powerful than the Epps so who's to know what will be the result. My reasoning behind having it chambered in 303 Improved was that it is capable of firing standard factory rounds with some accuracy but can be reloaded to some serious capabilities. The first 100 rounds I put through it will probably be factory rounds, more likely the Privi Partizan sold here, so I can fireform it and scope it in to a point. Then I can start playing with loads. Mind you I still have to save about $500 for the bbl, etc. and then get a decent stock and finally scope it. After that I'll actually be able to fire it!


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote maimai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 December 2008 at 5:04pm
Mr shotgun minster sir,ivery dam like your 20mm.303 combination.
    however it reminds me of a wee story;
  Angus a wee scotsman ,staunch laddie of british SAS volunteers to test a 105mm sporran mounted antipersonel weapon!(Bloody brave).
    following test Angus staggers sadly into the commanding officers office.
"Angus old chap hows things"
  "fookinhell"
  "language laddie language ..did it work "/
   ".. aye..but jeesuz  the recoil make me eyes water"
    shoulder pain vs nut cramp .fairly self explantory.merry xmas guys  and you come back you hear.all the best from KIWILAND.maimai
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cookie Monster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 December 2008 at 9:53am

Hows does this 303 epps improved compare to the .303 Ackley Improved?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 December 2008 at 4:42pm
Was there ever a .303 wildcat using a 7mm bullet?
I'm thinking that something like a .303 improved then necked down to 7mm might be a good shooting round.
You'd have to re-barrel I know, but a 7mm 130gr bullet at around 2700fps might be possible.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cookie Monster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 December 2008 at 8:34pm
I have seen some 6mm-303's and a few .25-303's
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