303 Savage

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beagle6 posted this 5 days ago

A friend was pulling bullets from old 303 ammo. Suprisingly they miked .310. We olways thought 303 Savage barrels were .308. Were early barrels bigger?

beagle6

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JeffinNZ posted this 5 days ago

Conflicting data. I have been reading old Handloader magazines lately. One article stated .308 but the next said .311cal.

Cheers from New Zealand

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bushranch posted this 5 days ago

You will likely find the barrels are .308 but some ammunition was loaded .310 . The 99 was strong enough to handle any extra pressure . Rus

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Bud Hyett posted this 4 days ago

With the variances in manufacturing and the inability of many gun writers to properly read a micrometer, I am always skeptical of many reports.

Rus is correct, the 99 Savage is a strong action. Not to worry.

Farm boy from Illinois, living in the magical Pacific Northwest

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ten-mile posted this 4 days ago

I have read that the early 303 barrels were larger than 308.  I have two pre-1908 303s that have 308 groove barrels.  I have a large stash of the 190 grain Silvertips from the end of production and they are 308.  I certainly wouldn't worry about any pressure problems.  P.O. Ackley once chambered a 30 caliber barrel for the 35 Remington and did not see any large pressure increase.

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gnoahhh posted this 4 days ago

Those of us who collect Savage lever guns have accumulated some data in this regard. .303's from day one have always been of .308 groove diameter, confirmed by examining very early M1895's and early M1899's, and later M99's. Always. Examples of very early .303 Savage cartridges from the late 1890's/early 1900's yielded more than a few (but not all) bullets of .311 diameter. Cartridges made shortly after the turn of the 20th century and onward all had .308 bullets.

 

Conclusion: Savage tried every trick up their sleeve to boost performance of the .303 over the rival .30-30. One of those tricks was to use oversized bullets to boost pressures a bit with the aim of slightly higher velocity. I'll leave it up to you to decide if it was a worthwhile endeavor, but Savage evidently decided it wasn't worth it. I think at that point they merely depended on the standard .303 Savage bullet of 190 grains to bear the burden of bettering the .30-30.

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greenwriter posted this 4 days ago

I've never been able to confirm what came first, the .30-.30 or the .303 Savage.  So, I'm not sure that Savage was 'chasing' Winchester, but I'm pretty sure that no matter what the rationale, the diameters and their progression that you outlined are accurate.  Great response.  Another point, my 99 was manufactured in 1908.  It's a joy to shoot, but I don't handload.  Can usually get 150gr cartridges from Reed's ammo and they do a great job.  Reed's might make a run of 170's which generally perform a little better than the 150's.  Years ago I could pick up 170's and 190gr rounds from Old Western Scrounger.  But not any more.  Do any of you good folks know where I can get 170 or 190gr .303 rounds?   This is my first post on this forum and glad to have bumped into some .303 shooters.  Great round in a great rifle. 

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beagle6 posted this 3 days ago

Went out shooting with my buddy with the 303 Savage. Cold, snowing nasty day. I have a terrible case of gun envy. 

beagle6

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JeffinNZ posted this 3 days ago

Green writer: Ed Harris, one of well informed members, reporter when he worked for Ruger tests were done shooting .311 bullets in .308 barrels (.303 Brit) and no pressure issues were observed.

Cheers from New Zealand

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greenwriter posted this 3 days ago

Kiwi,  Thanks so much.  Good to know. 

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Larry Gibson posted this 3 days ago

"JeffinNZ posted this 14 hours ago

 

 

Green writer: Ed Harris, one of well informed members, reporter when he worked for Ruger tests were done shooting .311 bullets in .308 barrels (.303 Brit) and no pressure issues were observed.

 

Cheers from New Zealand"

With normal cup and core commercial bullets today there is some psi variation but not usually enough to move the  MAP over the MPLM or the MPSM [Mean Probable Sample Mean]. 

However, I would not want it to be taken as a "blanket statement" or "rule of thumb" implying that one can substitute a slightly larger diameter bullet of .311 diameter in a .308 groove diameter barrel and not "have any pressure issues". I pressure tested, using the same load in 308W comparing jacketed .308 diameter bullets to .310/311/.312 diameter bullets.  

A control test (10 shot  test string) using the 150 gr Sierra SP (.308) over 43 gr IMR 4895 produced 2717 fps at 50,600 psi. 

With a .308 Hornady 150 gr SP it was 2724 fps at 50,900 psi.

With a .308 diameter Winchester 150 gr RN PP it was 2757 fps at 53,100 psi.  

With a .311 Speer 150 gr SP it was 2794 fps at 55,300 psi.

With a .311 Sierra 150 SP it was 2792 fps at 55,100 psi.

 

We see with the above 5 tests [3 with .308 bullets and 2 with .311 bullets] there was only 4,500 psi difference between the different size bullets.  Given the SAAMI MAP for the 308W is 62,000 psi all the loads were well under that.

With a .308 diameter US M80 147 gr FMJBT with steel jacket it was 2840 fps at 54,800 psi....again a safe load.  However, when we used a couple other bullets the psi got a bit out of hand.

With a .312 Hornady 150 SP it was 2805 fps at 62,100 psi.

 

With a .311 Albanian 148 gr FMJBT with a steel jacket and core it was 2872 fps at 72,000 psi. 

As we see there was indeed a wide variation in psi with these two bullets....above what i would use......

LMG 

 

Concealment is not cover.........

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Ed Harris posted this 2 days ago

In comparing .303 Brit SAAMI reference ammo in180-grain SP, UK MkVI I Ball and WRA MkVIIz in radial copper pressure barrels of .308 vs. 311 groove diameter with SAAMI chamber the Delta-P was ranged from +3500-4500 cup. Within design limits for a Cdn. Long Branch or Savage No.4Mk1*, and not dangerous. Just avoid steel core AP which cannot extrude easily into the tighter barrel. Firing .312" Hornady soft points vs. .308" 180 - grain Remington CLSP difference was less than the sample Sd.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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Ed Harris posted this 2 days ago

I was also told by Bob Sears years ago that .303 Savage barrels were commonly produced from leftover WW1 reject .30 cal. blanks which did not gage up.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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RicinYakima posted this 2 days ago

Assuming those were for Lewis guns? that savage made a ton of in .303 British.

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Larry Gibson posted this 2 days ago

Ed is, as usual, quite correct concerning common cup/core bullets in the .303 British.  

The over sized bullet is swage down in the first length of bullet bearing surface as it enters the barrel.  That requires more psi to swage the bullet but is early enough in the time/pressure curve that, as the posted pressure measurements show, it generally poses no "danger".  

Back when bulk .310/.310 commercial and milsurp 123 - 125 gr AK/SKS bullets were quite inexpensive I shot a lot of them with reduced .308W loads for off hand practice (for the NMC) at 100 and 200 yards.  I still have a couple coffee cans full of them and even shoot them at 2800 fps out of my FR8 scout rifle.

LMG

Concealment is not cover.........

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Wheel Weights posted this yesterday

USA factory ammo for the 8x57 was also made with a soft unbonded softpoint so it's safe in both .318 and .323 Mausers. The 8x60 used a .323 bullet in a .318 bore with no issues.

The biggest advantage of the 303 Sav, in a 99 over a 30-30 Win/Mar. is the ability to shoot spitzer bullets although it would probably kill better with a 190 gr unbonded RNSP.

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gnoahhh posted this yesterday

Ixnay on the spitzers. Typical spitzers of 150 grains and heavier will perforce be seated deeply enough in the case that the ogive will start below the case mouth, if magazine feeding in the Savage lever gun is the goal. The bullet bases also tend to intrude into the powder space which may or may not be an issue. Of course, single loading can be done with the bullets seated farther out. But in the end, spitzers offer no real advantage, IMO, over round or flat nosed bullets at the distances at which .303 Savages are employed.

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delmarskid posted this yesterday

125 spitzers work well I have been told.

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greenwriter posted this 19 hours ago

What is the twist rate used by Savage for their ,303.  I've just assumed that it was 1:10, but have never really known. Thanks.

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