22 September 2019
My first rifle I ever owned after early years on my dad's Lithgow .22 LR (barrel made from war surplus 303 blank), was a full wood Mark 4. At age 19 I proceeded to sporterise it myself with a wood rasp and sandpaper. Came up beautifully, shot a few goats with it, then got married and sold it for very good money to finance the first kid. I reloaded for it with a Lee Loader. Learned everything from an Oz writers basic reloading book (Nick someone), which I still have somewhere. Didn't know anyone else who shot, let alone shot a 303. Yes I was a rural recluse. Fast forward a few decades and I have a couple of 303s. First one I picked up two years ago and onsold as it was getting too loose in the headspace although still safe. Another I bought late last year with very nice wood grain, a barrel at about 40% and a spare barrel at about 90%. About $350 invested. Have yet to do much with it - it gets its turn this summer. I also recently bought, sight unseen, a cosmetic scrubber with a Army Armourer barrel fitted new. The barrel was shortened a couple of inches and threaded for a Bush/pig gun. It's with a mate at the moment who picked it up for me in my absence overseas. I get my hands on it next week - he wants to keep it lol. Reportedly it has had less than 100 rounds thru it since the new barrel was fitted. I intend to shoot cast thru both. Range fun and plinking is the intention with the first, bush and fringes hunting out to 250 meters with the second. At present I have been purchasing .313 sized cast gas checked HP bullets, 220gn or thereabouts from memory, from Tokoroa, NZ. I also have a batch of about 400 x GC Cast Lead Pointy Nose 200gn I bought at auction to try. Again sized to .313.
I've been collecting WW and have some plumber's lead but no linotype. I also have a couple of moulds I picked up with some pistol moulds some time ago, can't remember off hand and at a distance which ones they are other than one is a Lyman and one a Lee. Yes I know.... I also have Lee Sizing dies in , .311, .312, .314 and .316 or 318. As you can tell it's a project in the making.
I've been collecting brass forever and prob have around 600 new and fired. I took some old CAC boxer brass last year and made up 10 loads with cast bullets. Twenty four hours later all the necks had split! So I did the research on annealing and tried my hand on a batch of 20. So far they are on their 3rd reload without issue. These are old tarnished 1950's cases to practice with. No I'm not going to share groups with you. I don't believe there were any. Mismatch between bore and bullet sizes I'm guessing.
So the plan for this summer is to melt a bunch of WW into ingots. Ditto whatever plumber's lead I can find, and see if I can hunt down some linotype.
I will slug both bores and see what I am working with. I'll also go over both rifles to check fitting of the wood and any accurizing issues - got a pile of info on that.
I have a bunch of both CAC military ball and sporter hunting ammo which I will benchmark the rifles with on the range. Although I'm reluctant to stuff anything corrosive in them. Those salts are impossible to remove! I'm working on the principle that boxer equals non-corrosive.
After that I'll see where the bought projectiles I've got get me to and then start casting and reloading.
I have several suitable powders but have started with Benchmark 2. I've also got Trailboss which I think will be the do's going forward.
Lots of fun ahead.
All comments, advice and suggestions entertained.