A SMLE Rifle

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butlersrangers
Posts: 6596
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 11:35 pm

A SMLE Rifle

Post by butlersrangers » Sat Sep 12, 2020 8:12 am

I haven't reloaded .303 British ammo in over 50 years. I got rather disgusted with the cartridge and Lee-Enfield rifles when a B.S.A. rebuilt Short Magazine Lee-Enfield rifle, with a generous chamber, destroyed all my .303 brass.
Back in those days, I reloaded with a simple (.303 British) Lee-Loader, which worked fine. (I sold that rifle. It set me back years in reloading).

In more recent years, I've been looking for a cheap set of 'used' .303 Dies, to resize some boxes of factory ammo that have been fired in various rifles.

I finally broke down and bought a new set of the 'budget' Lee Dies (no scoop, shell holder or reload-data) on ebay and purchased some Prvi bullets and brass for .303 British from Graf & Sons'.

The Dies came a few days ago, so for practice, I loaded up assorted fired brass with some 150 grain Speer .311" bullets, I have had since my youth.

I loaded the cases with 40 grains of W-W 748, which is not an optimal powder for .303, but, I have a lot of it. I was mainly curious to see how the powder would do and how the brass holds up.

The rifle I took to the range is an Australian (Lithgow) S.M.L.E. that was built in 1940 and reconditioned in 1946. I bought it in 1968, but, probably have only put 20 to 30 rounds through it. The bore is 'OK', but not pristine.

My ammo performed decent at 50 yards, grouping about 2 inches below point of aim. Recoil was pleasant, on par with a Krag.

Next outing, I will try a more optimal loading, using IMR-3031 powder, with Prvi brass and 180 grain .313" projectiles.

With the peculiar "National Ammo Shortage", it is fun to be making and shooting cartridges somewhat insulated from the hoarding and popular demand.
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Capt. Frank
Posts: 155
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:33 pm

Re: A SMLE Rifle

Post by Capt. Frank » Sat Sep 12, 2020 5:06 pm

I bought an Ishapor (India made) Enfield chambered in 7.62 Nato. It is an accurate shooter made in 1965.

Whig
Posts: 1370
Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2016 12:53 am

Re: A SMLE Rifle

Post by Whig » Sat Sep 12, 2020 11:19 pm

That sure is a smelly rifle.

I enjoy shooting my Enfields. Great round and easy to shoot. I use a recoil pad on almost all of my milsurp rifles because when I go out shooting, I usually spend a day at it. Saves the shoulder, especially with my Jungle Carbine!

What do you have all of that W-W-748 for? I have never used that powder.

BTW, I was 5 when you bought your referenced Enfield. Just saying....

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butlersrangers
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Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 11:35 pm

Re: A SMLE Rifle

Post by butlersrangers » Sun Sep 13, 2020 4:47 am

D.O.B. of 1963? You were wearing a smelly diaper, when I bought my first Lee-Enfield, (It cost $17).

Whig - I don't even consider you a real Baby-Boomer ... more a Cuss ... I mean a Cusp!
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Knute1
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Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2016 3:22 am

Re: A SMLE Rifle

Post by Knute1 » Sun Sep 13, 2020 1:58 pm

I can't claim to be as sage as BR, but not too far behind. I would like to get my first SMLE at a much more advanced age. So I am way behind the curve.

My sports drink back in the day was an artesian well in the cow pasture after chopping down bull thistles with a hoe or scythe. (Sprayed Canadian thistles.)

Whig
Posts: 1370
Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2016 12:53 am

Re: A SMLE Rifle

Post by Whig » Sun Sep 13, 2020 2:17 pm

I still have the receipt for the Jungle carbine I have from when my dad bought it in the mid to late 60s, I believe. He paid $17.50 and that included the bayonet, 2 mags and a military green canvas case. But, he paid extra for some ammo! Total package probably worth near $1,000.

The dollar has gone down in value since then but Gold and Silver and most military firearms have maintained their value!

Gold and Silver in 1965 worth around $35 and $1.20 respectively. Now, $1950 and $28.50.

Amazing how investments work. Milisurp firearms one of the best long term investments. More fun to collect and shoot, also. Can't shoot a Gold coin!

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