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#114671 - 09/27/08 10:15 PM .303. Double
Tim Carney Offline
Sidelock
***

Registered: 01/01/02
Posts: 946
Loc: Washington, DC
New acquisition. Grateful for wisdom on loading/shooting the .303 British double. This one is a Grade C H&H made in the late 1890s and proofed for rifleite.

Regards


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#114688 - 09/28/08 02:28 AM Re: .303. Double [Re: Tim Carney]
Tinker Offline
Sidelock
**

Registered: 01/09/05
Posts: 860
Loc: Northern NV
Tim-

First things first, Congratulations on finding such a nice .303

Next, I'm going to send you over to NitroExpress.com for your loading questions.
I haven't owned a .303 double rifle, although I have owned and run an 8x60R double rifle (nitro, boxlock ejector...) and my first notes to you are going to be to photograph and publish the full course of proof marks and engraving on that rifle -- everywhere you find it.
It's likely that period Kynoch ammunition would regulate in the rifle, but I'd want to see the proofs and other marks first.

Also, you need to cast the chambers and slug the bores.
It's very, very important to know for double damn sure EXACTLY what you have there from breechface to muzzle.
Publish that information as well.


Till then, enjoy the rifle in your hands!!


--Tinker

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#114714 - 09/28/08 11:43 AM Re: .303. Double [Re: Tim Carney]
Tinker Offline
Sidelock
**

Registered: 01/09/05
Posts: 860
Loc: Northern NV
Here's a piece on the .303 double rifle from G.T.Teasdale ca1900...


"...In the Westley Richards make
the .256 is rifled to right and the .303 bore is rifled to left,
their .303 bore rifle is made on the Enh'eld five-groove system,
and the depth of the grooves is .004. It has about one turn
in ten inches to the left, and with the cartridge and load they
recommend for sporting purposes gives a muzzle velocity of
about 2,000 feet per second [37 grains Rifleite or Cordite,
2 1 5 grains bullet]. The sporting bullet they supply is of the
same weight — a great point in our opinion, and although one
is hollow in front and the other is not, there is no trajectory
difference in practice, whatever the experts may say..."


This might give you something to think about in regard to period loads for Brit double rifles built and regulated for the available .303 Rifelite sporting ammunition.


Again, enjoy the rifle!



--Tinker

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#114715 - 09/28/08 12:40 PM Re: .303. Double [Re: Tim Carney]
400 Nitro Express Offline
Member
***

Registered: 11/29/04
Posts: 433
Loc: Lone Star State
Lovely rifle, Tim. Looks like a find.

Yes, .303s from this period were proved with Rifleite, an early smokeless rifle propellant from the Smokeless Powder Company, because that's what the rules of proof of that time specified for the .303 (the proof load was 46.3 grains Rifleite and a 287 grain lead plug wrapped in greased paper). That doesn't mean that it was regulated with it. Unless otherwise engraved elsewhere on the gun (as opposed to stamped by the proof house), it was almost certainly regulated with standard 215 grain ammunition loaded with Cordite and a nickel jacketed RN bullet.

Keep in mind that the "standard" 215 grain loading of the .303 was increased shortly after the turn of the century - after this rifle was made, if you're right about the date. The original nitro loading of the .303 was a 215 grain bullet at 1,970 fps from a 25" barrel. The new "standard" was increased to produce 2,050 fps in a 25" barrel. Your rifle was probably regulated with the original standard load. You're a double rifle shooter, so you understand the difference that velocity can make in regulation.

Current handloading data for the 215 grain bullet isn't hard to find, but even most listed starting loads are faster than the standard velocity that this gun was regulated at, so you'll need to reduce further. For example, ADI lists a starting load of 36 grains Varget at 2,130 fps, or 42 grains H4350 at 2,045 fps, both from 24" barrels. Start lower, and work up shooting over a chronograph. If the barrels aren't together by the time you reach 2,000 fps, I'd try another powder. I haven't used it, but I would think RL 15 would also work well. Maybe a starting load of 32 grains and max around 36 or 37.

Nice rifle. Best of luck with it.
_________________________
"Serious rifles have two barrels, everything else just burns gunpowder."

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#114724 - 09/28/08 02:31 PM Re: .303. Double [Re: 400 Nitro Express]
Tim Carney Offline
Sidelock
***

Registered: 01/01/02
Posts: 946
Loc: Washington, DC
Thank you all for comments. Have emailed Holland&Holland to see if the gun is, in fact, an antique, completed in 1898 or before. Will follow up to buy a letter on it from them.

Expect that getting a 215 grain bullet to regulate at 2,000 fps will be the priority goal to be able to use the iron sights on gemsbok up to 125 or so yards. Believe I'll start with IMR4895 and be prepared to switch to IMR4350 (I've got both in the cabinet). Expect the case does not have the volume for IMR4831?? Yes, good idea, 400NE, will definitely start lower than posted minimums.

Norma .303 brass tempts me, but Remington also sells it and I found R-P .375 cases to be of sufficient quality.

Will order some RCBS X dies as I gather they actually work. Don't imagine that the double is as hard on brass as the military rifles are, to judge by a raft of chatroom postings. Will order a neck size die as well. Neck sizing worked well for the .350 Rigby No. 2. Is a Lee factory crimp die a sensible idea, or will it work the entire length of the case as it does in pistol brass, according to youtube "how to" postings? Never crimped the .350 No. 2 and never had any problems not doing so.

Woodleigh bullets work generally well, although I'm tempted by the .035-jacket .311 Hawk in 215 gr. NOTE: All of the bullets except Woodleigh (215 and 174 grain) are .311 instead of .312. Expect 174-180 gr. can be brought to regulate with the right powder. Also, using the 2/3 rule, 150 grain bullets should regulate with the same charge as the 215 bullet, but print a bit high. Can only find Hornady in that weight and not sure those would be good enough for deer/smaller antelope. Any views? Must say that with a 375 H&H double I generally used the 300 gr bullet for everything, but did take half a dozen gemsbok (meat hunting for the game farm) with a European 235 grain head that regulated very well.

Regards, Tim

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#117003 - 10/15/08 01:57 PM Re: .303. Double [Re: Tim Carney]
Tim Carney Offline
Sidelock
***

Registered: 01/01/02
Posts: 946
Loc: Washington, DC
Got the gun history in the form of H&H gunbook notes. Rifle was shot and regulated with 30 grains cordite, HP nickel bullet and Kynoch case on 30 December 1897. It was "fitted with patent telescope," of which no trace remains.

An intriguing additional Memo of 11 May 1901 simply states "shot tested & readjusted." May mean regulated for the higher velocity cordite round? The barrels are 28" and that should wring all possible velocity out of whatever powder I use.

Dies, brass and Woodleigh 215 grain bullets are on their way, and this weekend may give the chance to see what's what on regulation. Believe I'll start with 39 grs of IMR-4831 a grain below the tried formula of 1-1/3 times the cordite loading, assuming it fits in the case without compression...

Got some Behlens lacquer (brush) and reviewed the thread that describes applying it to protect case colors. Expect I'll mask the wood and brush it on to keep the colors fresh. Gun has been refinished as the barrel flats are black and the wood just looks too good, although the barrels truly do not look much used.

As of interest, I see that the upcoming Christies auction has a .303 H&H double just a few numbers earlier than mine listed. It's also a Grade 2, but at some point has had much engraving added and claw mounts, as well.

Regards


Edited by Tim Carney (10/15/08 02:00 PM)

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#125324 - 12/10/08 01:10 PM Re: .303. Double [Re: Tim Carney]
Charl Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/17/03
Posts: 65
Loc: South Africa
Tim,
I have a Rigby .303 double that is marked '38 gr RIFLITE'. I been battling for years to get the rifle to group with 215 gr until someone recently told me that the rifle was regulated for 150gr. I have since tried ordinary factory 150gr ammo with great results. It is apparently only Rigby that regulated some of their rifles for 150gr however with doubles there always seems to be exceptions.
Regards,
Charls

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#129521 - 01/09/09 12:31 AM Re: .303. Double [Re: ]
Tim Carney Offline
Sidelock
***

Registered: 01/01/02
Posts: 946
Loc: Washington, DC
Charls,

Rigby sounds a nice rifle. Surely the proof marks had the weight of bullet it regulated or, perhaps, the Rigby records can help?

Couldn't regulate my H&H with either IMR4895 or IMR4350 and the 215 gr. bullet. Couldn't get better than 3+ inches composite group at 50 yards, totally unacceptable with a .303, so it's now with JJ Perodeau at Champlin arms for regulation and a few other touches including extra strikers, foresight and a few other matters. Hopefully it will be ready to go to South AFrica and Namibia with me in mid-July.

Best for the New Year, Tim

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#130151 - 01/12/09 02:54 AM Re: .303. Double [Re: Tim Carney]
Charl Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/17/03
Posts: 65
Loc: South Africa
Hi Tim,
Best the New Year to you to.
Being from South Africa, I can confirm that the .303 will be the perfect bush rifle. In fact, the perfect battery can possibly be the .303 and a .375 (scoped), as long as you have a PH with something bigger for the dangerous moments. In the Eastern and Northern Cape and Namibia the flatter shooting cartridges (300Win Mag)are necessary. I don't know whether you've been in SA before but I am sure you are going to find it very good: hospital people, good food and great hunting!
Enjoy!
Charls

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#130215 - 01/12/09 01:13 PM Re: .303. Double [Re: ]
Tim Carney Offline
Sidelock
***

Registered: 01/01/02
Posts: 946
Loc: Washington, DC
Charls,

Yes, learned to shoot a rifle and hunt plains and dangerous game whilst in South Africa from 1983-86 and am back every year to hunt in Namibia (no shots much more than 125m in the 30,000 ha game farm) and near Hluhluwe at Dr. Mark Sutherland's place.

I've used my LH bolt action .375 scoped in southern Africa, but much prefer the iron-sighted doubles that require more care and more hunting to get into position for a shot.

Do I recall that you are the moonlight bushpig hunter? Or is that another Charls who is together with Frederik "Infinito?"

Regards, Tim

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