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i bought this rifle through gunbroker. assuming it is in 100 percent safe condition to shoot...can i load relatively heavy loads in it? not overloading of course...but do i have to download the .303 at all for this action? i know the original .303 loads were light...but as of the 1919 model mk3...shouldn't it be able to handle a 150 grain bullet at 2,700 fps or so?

-Matt
 

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Your Mk III SMLE should be safe with all ammunition that duplicates military .303 loads. You should have your rifle checked for excess headspace before shooting it. Headspace is adjusted on the SMLE by swapping out bolt heads, and your surplus rifle may have suffered from indiscrimate parts swapping.

The real problem with trying to "hotrod" your .303 ammunition is that the brass won't last long. The .303 British SMLE is notorious for having long head-to-shoulder chamber dimensions (for dirty battlefield shooting conditions). Combine that with reloads that push chamber pressures just a bit and you get case head separations on almost every shot. Not a good situation, and certainly not good for reloadable brass!

HTH
John
 

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Discussion Starter #3
so i picked the wrong rifle for a fun shooter and hunting rifle? i have a savage 99 in .243 in my mind too...maybe should get that one instead?

-Matt
 

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The .303 British in a SMLE is definitely NOT a "mistake" in a fun to shoot rifle and caliber! It served the British Empire as the standard battle rifle for more than 70 years and continues to serve sport/meat hunters by the tens of thousands. In Canada, for example, sporterized SMLE rifles continue to bring home more venison, moose, elk, bear, and reindeer than all other rifle calibers combined! Power wise, it is in the .308 Winchester class. The cartridge may be 120 years old, but it's game performance is as good as it ever was.

It is easy to make accurate jacketed and cast bullet reloads. Case life can be short, but there are various "tricks" to getting the most out of the .303 SMLE. Neck sizing only, factory duplication loads only, and "clocking" (indexing the case for every shot) will extend case life.

The .243 Winchester in a Savage 99 is a fine rifle. A real advantage of that caliber is lighter recoil and faster follow-up shots if needed. Reloading presents no special problems. If high velocity is your goal, the .243 Win is a champ, and will double for deer sized game as well as varmints.

The choice is certainly yours to make: a battle-proved rifle and caliber or an equally game-field proven rifle and caliber that is more modern.

HTH
John
 
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