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Shooting a Lee Enfield to 1000 Yards

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Goosic View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 24 2021 at 6:12pm
My dad has a single shot target rifle chambered in the venerable .264 Winchester Magnum. The flattest shooting projectile at the time. His other target rifle is chambered for the .220Swift. Factory loads for that rifle have a muzzle velocity of 4110 FPS. Both rifles have Gehmann optics.  They both are setup for ranges between 600 and 1000 yards. The .220 Swift has a FPS of 2200 @1000 yards and will ring a metal target in 4/10ths of a second. The .264 Win Magnum was and is my favorite however. Once you found the, "Sweet Spot" you just point and squeeze. These rifles were only rifles in the sense that they had a reciever and a barrel.  The stocks are basically a block of laminated wood and a hole the trigger protrudes through.  They both have palm swells with a flip up buttplate on the buttpad. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 25 2021 at 2:34am
That .220 Swift is pretty remarkable.  A .22 cal bullet with a powder charge of a .308 Win.  Can’t imagine the barrels lasting very long with a muzzle velocity of 4,000 fps. I’ve not seen anyone use one on the range. 

For comparison,  my .308 handloads with the 175 gr SMK took almost 2 seconds to reach 1000 yards.  I fired the shot, put the rifle down, and waited to hear the steel plate ring. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 28 2021 at 3:40pm
I have been in contact with a US National and US Palma Match team shooter who has considerable experience at shooting in 1000 yard matches.  It’s going to be tough to get a load that will deliver 1200 fps at 1000 yards from a .30 cal 25 inch barrel.  The Palma shooters use a 30 to 32 inch barrel and push that 155 gr Sierra Palma Match bullet to 3,000+ fps at or near maximum .308 Win pressures.  That high of a muzzle velocity with a high BC bullet is just not possible in a No. 4 without over straining the action.  

I might get the 1000 yard electronic targets to register hits in cool weather if I load the 155 gr Palma Match bullet to 2800 fps muzzle velocity.  I believe I can do that and keep chamber pressures to below 45,000 CUP.  I won’t be doing this on a routine basis, perhaps shoot less than 100 rounds.  I want to find out what this rifle can do at 1000 yards with PH 5c aperture sight. Can I hold the 2 MOA 10 ring on the NRA Long Range Target? 

It may be of interest to know that the Dominion of Canada Rifle Association (DCRA) No. 4 7.62mm Conversions were used in the 1967 Palma Matches (shot at 800, 900 and 1,000 yards).  Canada won the Palma Match that year against the US and UK teams.  That might have been expected since the match was shot at the Connaught Range near Ottawa and all national teams used the rifles and ammunition provided by the host nation.  The overriding consideration at that time was to put all shooters on a level playing field, at least in the mind of the shooters, which is a factor that has a very significant impact on the outcome. 



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 28 2021 at 5:19pm
Originally posted by britrifles britrifles wrote:

I have been in contact with a US National and US Palma Match team shooter who has considerable experience at shooting in 1000 yard matches.  It’s going to be tough to get a load that will deliver 1200 fps at 1000 yards from a .30 cal 25 inch barrel.  The Palma shooters use a 30 to 32 inch barrel and push that 155 gr Sierra Palma Match bullet to 3,000+ fps at or near maximum .308 Win pressures.  That high of a muzzle velocity with a high BC bullet is just not possible in a No. 4 without over straining the action.  
I might get the 1000 yard electronic targets to register hits in cool weather if I load the 155 gr Palma Match bullet to 2800 fps muzzle velocity.  I believe I can do that and keep chamber pressures to below 45,000 CUP.  I won’t be doing this on a routine basis, perhaps shoot less than 100 rounds.  I want to find out what this rifle can do at 1000 yards with PH 5c aperture sight. Can I hold the 2 MOA 10 ring on the NRA Long Range Target? 
It may be of interest to know that the Dominion of Canada Rifle Association (DCRA) No. 4 7.62mm Conversions were used in the 1967 Palma Matches (shot at 800, 900 and 1,000 yards).  Canada won the Palma Match that year against the US and UK teams.  That might have been expected since the match was shot at the Connaught Range near Ottawa and all national teams used the rifles and ammunition provided by the host nation.  The overriding consideration at that time was to put all shooters on a level playing field, at least in the mind of the shooters, which is a factor that has a very significant impact on the outcome. 

 
The closest I can get in velocity to 3000 fps with a 155grn boattail is a compressed load. 46.0grns of IMR-4895 with a FPS of 2914+.Thats also with a CUP of 55,753. 48.0grns of compressed Varget gets 2904 FPS.
  FYI: The safest load uses 47.0grns of uncompressed IMR4895 behind a 130grn jacketed SP projectile and nets a FPS of 3085 with a CUP of 50,000.

If your rifle was DCRA converted, it should have been proofed tested to at least 22.0 tons, not tonnes and would be within nominal specs for that action using the load designed for the 130grn Jacketed SP...

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 29 2021 at 12:01am
Originally posted by britrifles britrifles wrote:

I might get the 1000 yard electronic targets to register hits in cool weather if I load the 155 gr Palma Match bullet to 2800 fps muzzle velocity.  I believe I can do that and keep chamber pressures to below 45,000 CUP.  I won’t be doing this on a routine basis, perhaps shoot less than 100 rounds.  I want to find out what this rifle can do at 1000 yards with PH 5c aperture sight. Can I hold the 2 MOA 10 ring on the NRA Long Range Target? 
I only have data for IMR4064 and IMR4895 using the 155grn Palma BT.

Note: + denotes a compressed charge.

IMR4895 
Starting charge 41.0grn  Max 46.0+
                FPS  2636         2914
                PSI   43,000      59,000      
(43.8grns has a PSI of 50,780 which is just under your 45,000 CUP threshold of the No4 reciever)

IMR4064 
Starting charge 42.0grn  Max 46.0+
                 FPS  2566        2885
                 PSI   39,600     56,700
(44.0grns has a PSI of 49,860 which is also just under the 45,000 CUP threshold of the No4 reciever.)

Both of the recommended loads have a FPS average of 2750 +- 100...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 29 2021 at 2:08am
Yes, that’s pretty close to what I was getting.  

The Hodgdon online reloading data for Varget with the Sierra 155 Palma Match bullet from 24 inch bbl gives:

44.0 gr., 2759 fps, 41,300 CUP
47.0 gr., 2909 fps, 49,400 CUP

Interpolating this data for a muzzle velocity of 2800 fps gives:

44.8 gr., 2800 fps, 43,514 CUP.  

Which coincidently exactly matches the Sierra Ed. 5 reloading manual for this bullet at 2800 fps, but fired from a 26 inch bbl and does not give the pressure. 

Lyman 49th Ed manual gives 48.0 gr as max load with a 155 gr Nosler J4 match bullet at 2905 fps, 58,300 psi from a 24 inch bbl.

Hornady manual seems quite conservative giving max of 44.9 gr. Varget at 2700 fps from a 22 inch bbl.

The No. 4 with a 25 inch of barrel which will help, perhaps another 20 fps over the Hodgdon data.  44.8 gr will give me some margin on the 45,000 CUP pressure limit I don’t want to exceed.  I may bump the load up to 45.0 gr to be sure I get 1200 fps at 1,0000 yards. 

As always, published maximum load data is all over the map.  


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 29 2021 at 4:46am
OK, got 50 rounds loaded up.  Here are the details:

Case: .308 Lapua Neck Sized
Primer: WLR
Powder: 45.0 gr Varget
Bullet:  Sierra 155 gr Palma MatchKing
OAL: 2.775 in.

Estimated Muzzle Velocity: 2800 fps
Estimated Pressure: 44,000 CUP
Estimated Velocity at 1000 yards: 1200 fps

Using a Hornady OAL gage, the bullet is seating 0.16 inches off the lands, which is a fair bit.  The 45.0 gr charge is just about at 100% load density at the 2.775 OAL. 

This load is at the limit of my comfort level for a 66 year old No. 4 action.  Albeit, I don’t think it had a lot of use, being a 1956 production year rifle.  And it was proofed for 7.62 NATO pressures by CAL (Long Branch) during the 1965/66 DCRA Conversion rebuild. 





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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 29 2021 at 7:26am
Being that it is proofed for NATO cartridges you could, for a little while as to your comfort level, use 45.0grns of IMR4895. That has a CUP of 50,733 with a FPS of 2886 +- 75.

 
Sidenote: using a compressed load, "50.0grns" of IMR4064 on top of a 110grn JHP nets a FPS of 3184 with only 49,200 CUP...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 29 2021 at 10:27am
Originally posted by Goosic Goosic wrote:

Being that it is proofed for NATO cartridges you could, for a little while as to your comfort level, use 45.0grns of IMR4895. That has a CUP of 50,733 with a FPS of 2886 +- 75.

 
Sidenote: using a compressed load, "50.0grns" of IMR4064 on top of a 110grn JHP nets a FPS of 3184 with only 49,200 CUP...

I might go as high as 50,000 CUP, for perhaps 10 rounds, but that is considerably higher pressure than the Mk 7 ball service round estimated to be 42,000 to 43,000 CUP based on data I have from a 1960’s NRA publication.  The problem is that all of this is really just best estimates from published data that varies considerably.  

While light bullets like the 110 gr JHP come out of the muzzle very fast, they quickly loose velocity as a result of the very low ballistic coefficient (BC = 0.177 for the Sierra 110 flat base HP) and will be subsonic by the time they reach 1000 yards.  This is all about finding a load that gives a velocity at or above 1200 fps at 1000 yards so the electronic targets will register the hits. 

 I don’t know of a range in my area that has paper target frames out to 1000 yds.  If there was, I would be using my 175 gr SMK load with 40.5 gr IMR 4064. 

Last think I want to do is overstrain the action and create setback of the locking lugs.  I will shoot very few rounds, so that minimizes the contributions toward metal fatigue. 






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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 02 2022 at 6:00am
I found another load that should work on the 1000 yard electronic targets (must be above the speed of sound to register hits).  The Sierra 175 grain Tipped MatchKing (TMK).  The BC is .545 above 2400 fps and .495 below 1800 fps.  

Loading this bullet to a muzzle velocity of 2550 fps will give 1250 fps at 1000 yards per Hodgdon online reloading data for the .308 Win from a 24 inch barrel:

42.0 gr Varget, 2583 fps, 42,600 CUP (starting load)

42.5 gr IMR 4064, 2550 fps, 48,775 PSI (interpolated load data)

Both of these loads are under the average maximum pressure rating for the .303 British Smile

Got 100 of these bullets in order, should be in this week. 




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 02 2022 at 6:32am
Back in my high school days, a couple of buddies and myself would head out to this Transmission Line Road just outside of Wickenburg.  Halfway up one of these Transmission Towers was a 8' metal square painted red with a black and yellow cross on it. We stood directly under it and walked off 1500 approximate yards. We had three rifles, a 700BDLin 300 Win Mag, a 7.62x39 SKS, and my beater 303. Ammunition was the cheapest store bought brand we could afford at that time and at that time, all I could afford was the 174grn FMJBT S&B crapola. :1984"
My buddy with the scoped 700BDL hit that metal with his second shot. The SKS hit everything BUT the 8' metal square. My turn. I dialed up the rear sight to its maximum 1300 mark, aimed at the center of the target and sent the round down range. 3.5 seconds later we heard a very distinctive metal on metal SMACK sound. I had each buddy aim exactly where I had just and each one hit that target. A P.O.S. Serbian made 303 round hit metal at nearly 1500 yard. Instead of electronic targets, can you opt to use paper targets or a metal plate? I know without a shadow of doubt that a 308/7.62mm will hit a target @ 1000 yards...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 02 2022 at 7:27am
Shooting steel at 1000 yards would be fun.  The problem is to find a place to shoot at 1000 yards in the South East, a lot of trees and mountains.  I also want to see what score I can get on the NRA LR target for comparison purposes. 

Once I get the rifle dialed into the center of the target, I should be able to hit the 24 inch diameter steel plates on the 1000 yards line if the lighting conditions are good, that’s a very small target without a scope!







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