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Picked up a new toy

Posted: Sun Feb 02, 2020 6:03 pm
by psteinmayer
Yesterday at the Michigan Antique Arms Collectors show, My dad and I purchased an Austrailan Lithgow SMLE in absolutely beautiful condition!  The stock is beautiful with clear markings.  The bore is immaculate with nice sharp rifling.  Pictures will be coming soon.  It does need some cleaning in the action... as the bolt is a little sticky due to some old gummy grease or oil.

Butlersrangers (being there) inspected it for me and declared it a "Great Buy!" 

So... my question is this:  What would be a good accurate load?  I plan (if it's acuracy is what I suspect it will be) is to shoot it this year in the Vintage Match!  I need to get some brass and stripper clips.  I think I can use the same bullets I do for the Arisaka (174 gr HPBT sized at .312) unless there is one that is better suited to accuracy.

Re: Picked up a new toy

Posted: Sun Feb 02, 2020 6:29 pm
by butlersrangers
Slug the bore first, but, that should be an excellent projectile for the .303 British.

IIRC - The Japanese copied the .303 cartridge, when they came up with their 'rimless' 7.7 mm Arisaka cartridge.

Check, but, possibly your '7.7 Data' is a good place to start. There is lots of data for the British cartridge.

BTW - The British copied the Japanese Arisaka bayonet, when they decided on a longer 17 inch blade "Pattern 1907" bayonet for the S.M.L.E.

(The first S.M.L.E. bayonet was the Pattern 1903 with a 12 inch blade).

Re: Picked up a new toy

Posted: Sun Feb 02, 2020 6:42 pm
by psteinmayer
Yes, I remember reading that the 7.7x58 was an almost exact copy (case notwithstanding) of the 303 British.  The 174 gr bullets actually say 303 British on the box, LOL.  I will slug the bore though.  I'm looking forward to a range trip as soon as it warms up!

Re: Picked up a new toy

Posted: Sun Feb 02, 2020 10:27 pm
by Parashooter
Because of throat/groove dimensions, many .303 Lee's don't perform well with boattail bullets. Furthermore, at 200 yards you don't need either the weight or BC of those 174's. Try working up some loads with a ~125 grain flat base bullet or a 150 grain FB like the Sierra spitzer soft point (#2300). These will kick less than 174's and may group better.

For a longer-range load that comes close to duplicating the Mk7 trajectory for which the sight is graduated, I like the Sierra 180 FBSP (#2310) with maximum 42 grains of 4895 in my Lithgow SMLE.

Don't assume the .303 will take the same handloads as the 7.7 Arisaka, which has more case volume and a stronger action. Maximum loads run about 3 grains lighter for that SMLE.

PM me if you have trouble finding brass or chargers (but only if you promise not to write "stripper clip" again :-/).

Re: Picked up a new toy

Posted: Mon Feb 03, 2020 1:56 am
by psteinmayer
Awesome advise Para... Thanks very much.  I might just do as you suggest and get some flat based 150s.  And yes, chargers! 

Re: Picked up a new toy

Posted: Sat May 30, 2020 11:59 pm
by psteinmayer
Well, I shot the Lithgow today in a Vintage Match.  My first sighter was literally the first shot I've taken with the rifle.  Took me 4 sighting shots to get it dialed in.  Overall, it performed great.  Parashooter, those chargers really worked fantastic, Thank you so very much!  I still need to get used to the sights... but I think I could eventually do well with it.  The load I used was rather light, and I may bump it up a hair too - Hornady 150 gr SST bullets (.312 dia), 36.0 grains H4895, CCI-200 primer, and new Winchester case.

Re: Picked up a new toy

Posted: Sun May 31, 2020 10:50 pm
by Griff557
My SMLE hated boat tails Ive had good luck with Speer 150gr hot core and 40gr IMR 4895

Re: Picked up a new toy

Posted: Tue Sep 22, 2020 4:32 pm
by leadhead
I have several SMLE rifles and shoot cast bullets in them. A load of 16 grains of 2400
and 200 grain cast bullet will hit a 10" steel at 200 yards off the bench all day long.
Slugging the barrel on a enfield is quit a trick, being they have a 5 groove barrel.
If your barrel is as good as you say, you should be good to go.

Re: Picked up a new toy

Posted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 11:49 am
by madsenshooter
Watch how you load your strippers. There was a fellow on my firing point a few years back shooting an SMLE. First five rapid fire went fine, second five weren't in the stripper right and the rifle experienced a case of rimlock. He was not a happy shooter! I noticed your mention of chargers rather than clips. Something like the Krag chargers?

Re: Picked up a new toy

Posted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 6:05 pm
by Parashooter
madsenshooter wrote: Wed Oct 14, 2020 11:49 am. . .I noticed your mention of chargers rather than clips. Something like the Krag chargers?
In proper British usage, "charger" is the word for a multi-cartridge holder that doesn't remain in the magazine after loading. "Clip" designates a holder that stays in the magazine, becoming an essential part of the feed mechanism, until empty.
In US military terminology, "clip" was used for both types up to the M14 era, when "charger" appears in some manuals. (In the Krag era, "packet" seems the preferred term for both.)

("Stripper clip" is, to me, an awkward way to differentiate between the two types instead of simply adopting "charger" for the first and "clip" for the second - but it's probably too late to get that one back in the bottle. :roll: )