.303 British

.303 British

Overview

.303 British, or 7.7x56mmR, is a .311 inch calibre rifle
Rifle
A rifle is a firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder, with a barrel that has a helical groove or pattern of grooves cut into the barrel walls. The raised areas of the rifling are called "lands," which make contact with the projectile , imparting spin around an axis corresponding to the...

 and machine gun
Machine gun
A machine gun is a fully automatic mounted or portable firearm, usually designed to fire rounds in quick succession from an ammunition belt or large-capacity magazine, typically at a rate of several hundred rounds per minute....

 cartridge first developed in Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 as a blackpowder round put into service in December 1888 for the Lee-Metford
Lee-Metford
The Lee-Metford rifle was a bolt action British army service rifle, combining James Paris Lee's rear-locking bolt system and ten-round magazine with a seven groove rifled barrel designed by William Ellis Metford...

 rifle, later adapted to use smokeless powder
Smokeless powder
Smokeless powder is the name given to a number of propellants used in firearms and artillery which produce negligible smoke when fired, unlike the older gunpowder which they replaced...

s. It was the standard British and Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 military cartridge from 1889 until the 1950s when it was replaced by the 7.62x51mm NATO.

The measurement 0.303 inches (7.7 mm) is the nominal
Real versus nominal value
In economics, nominal value refers to a value expressed in money terms in a given year or series of years. By contrast, real value adjusts nominal value to remove effects of price changes over time...

 size of the bore measured between the lands which follows the older blackpowder nomenclature.
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Encyclopedia

.303 British, or 7.7x56mmR, is a .311 inch calibre rifle
Rifle
A rifle is a firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder, with a barrel that has a helical groove or pattern of grooves cut into the barrel walls. The raised areas of the rifling are called "lands," which make contact with the projectile , imparting spin around an axis corresponding to the...

 and machine gun
Machine gun
A machine gun is a fully automatic mounted or portable firearm, usually designed to fire rounds in quick succession from an ammunition belt or large-capacity magazine, typically at a rate of several hundred rounds per minute....

 cartridge first developed in Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 as a blackpowder round put into service in December 1888 for the Lee-Metford
Lee-Metford
The Lee-Metford rifle was a bolt action British army service rifle, combining James Paris Lee's rear-locking bolt system and ten-round magazine with a seven groove rifled barrel designed by William Ellis Metford...

 rifle, later adapted to use smokeless powder
Smokeless powder
Smokeless powder is the name given to a number of propellants used in firearms and artillery which produce negligible smoke when fired, unlike the older gunpowder which they replaced...

s. It was the standard British and Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 military cartridge from 1889 until the 1950s when it was replaced by the 7.62x51mm NATO.

Case measurements


The measurement 0.303 inches (7.7 mm) is the nominal
Real versus nominal value
In economics, nominal value refers to a value expressed in money terms in a given year or series of years. By contrast, real value adjusts nominal value to remove effects of price changes over time...

 size of the bore measured between the lands which follows the older blackpowder nomenclature. Measured between the grooves, the nominal size of the bore is 0.311 inches (7.9 mm). Bores for many .303 military surplus rifles are often found ranging from around 0.309 inches (7.8 mm) up to 0.318 inches (8.1 mm). Recommended bullet diameter for standard .303 cartridges is 0.312 inches (7.9 mm).

Gunpowder


The original .303 service cartridge employed black powder as a propellant, and was adopted for the Lee-Metford
Lee-Metford
The Lee-Metford rifle was a bolt action British army service rifle, combining James Paris Lee's rear-locking bolt system and ten-round magazine with a seven groove rifled barrel designed by William Ellis Metford...

 rifle, which had rifling designed to lessen fouling from this propellant. The Lee-Metford was used as a trial platform by the British Committee on Explosives to experiment with many different smokeless powders then coming to market, including Ballistite
Ballistite
Ballistite is a smokeless propellant made from two high explosives, nitrocellulose and nitroglycerine. It was developed and patented by Alfred Nobel in the late 19th century.-The development of smokeless powders:...

, Cordite
Cordite
Cordite is a family of smokeless propellants developed and produced in the United Kingdom from 1889 to replace gunpowder as a military propellant. Like gunpowder, cordite is classified as a low explosive because of its slow burning rates and consequently low brisance...

, and Rifleite. Ballistite was a stick-type smokeless powder composed of soluble nitrocellulose and nitroglycerine. Cordite was a stick-type or 'chopped' smokeless gunpowder composed of nitroglycerine, gun-cotton, and mineral jelly, while Rifleite was a true nitrocellulose powder, composed of soluble and insoluble nitrocellulose, phenyl amidazobense, and volatiles similar to French smokeless powders. Unlike Cordite, Riflelite was a flake powder, and contained no nitroglycerine. Excessive wear of the shallow Lee-Metford rifling with all smokeless powders then available caused ordnance authorities to institute a new type of barrel rifling designed to increase barrel life; the rifle was referred to thereafter as the Lee-Enfield
Lee-Enfield
The Lee-Enfield bolt-action, magazine-fed, repeating rifle was the main firearm used by the military forces of the British Empire and Commonwealth during the first half of the 20th century...

. After extensive testing, the Committee on Explosives selected Cordite for use in the Mark II .303 British service cartridge.

Bullet


The initial .303 Mark I and Mk II service cartridges employed a 215-grain, round-nosed, cupro-nickel full metal jacketed bullet over a lead core. After tests determined that the service bullet had too thin a jacket when used with cordite, the Mk II bullet was introduced, with a flat base and thicker cupro-nickel jacket.

History and development


The .303 cartridge has seen much sporting use with surplus military rifles, especially in Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, Canada, New Zealand and to a lesser extent, in the United States and South Africa. In Canada, it was found to be adequate for any game except the great bears. In Australia, it was common for military rifles to be re-barreled in .303/25
.303/25
The .303/25, sometimes known as the .25/303 is a wildcat centrefire rifle cartridge, based on the .303 British, necked down to fire a .257 projectile, originating in Australia in the 1940s as a cartridge for sporterised rifles, particularly on the Lee Enfield action, similar versions also appeared...

 and .303/22
.303/22
The .303/22, sometimes known as the .22/303 is a wildcat centrefire rifle cartridge, based on the .303 British, necked down to fire a .224 projectile, originating in Australia in the 1930s as a cartridge for sporterised rifles, particularly on the Lee Enfield action, similar versions also appeared...

. In South Africa .303 British Lee Enfield rifles captured by the Boers during the Boer War
Second Boer War
The Second Boer War was fought from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902 between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State...

 were adapted for sporting purposes and became popular with many hunters of non-dangerous game, being regarded as adequate for anything from the relatively small impala
Impala
An impala is a medium-sized African antelope. The name impala comes from the Zulu language meaning "gazelle"...

, to the massive eland
Common Eland
The common eland , also known as the southern eland or eland antelope, is a savannah and plains antelope found in East and Southern Africa. It is the largest antelope in the African continent...

 and kudu
Greater Kudu
The Greater Kudu is a woodland antelope found throughout eastern and southern Africa. Despite occupying such widespread territory, they are sparsely populated in most areas, due to a declining habitat, deforestation and hunting....

.

The Mk II round-nosed bullet was found to be unsatisfactory when used in combat, particularly when compared to the dum-dum
Dum-dum
An expanding bullet is a bullet designed to expand on impact, increasing in diameter to limit penetration and/or produce a larger diameter wound. They are informally known as a Dum-dum or dumdum bullets...

 rounds issued in limited numbers in 1897 during the Chitral
Chitral Expedition
The Chitral Expedition was a military expedition in 1895 sent by the British authorities to relieve the fort at Chitral which was under siege after a local coup.-Background to the conflict:Chitral was at the extreme north west of British India...

 and Tirah
Tirah Campaign
The Tirah Campaign, often referred to in contemporary British accounts as the Tirah Expedition, was an Indian frontier war in 1897–98. Tirah is a mountainous tract of country.-Rebellion:...

 expeditions of 1897/98 on the North West Frontier of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. This led to the introduction of the Cartridge S.A. Ball .303 inch Cordite Mark III, basically the original 215-grain (13.9 g) bullet with the jacketing cut back to expose the lead in the nose. Similar hollow-point bullets were used in the Mk IV and Mk V loadings, which were put into mass production. The design of the Mk IV hollow-point bullet shifted bullet weight rearwards, improving stability and accuracy over the regular round-nose bullet. These soft-nosed and hollow-point bullets, while effective against human targets, had a tendency to shed the outer metal jacket upon firing; the latter occasionally stuck in the bore, causing a dangerous obstruction. The Mk III, Mk IV, and Mk V were later prohibited by the Hague Convention of 1899
Hague Conventions (1899 and 1907)
The Hague Conventions were two international treaties negotiated at international peace conferences at The Hague in the Netherlands: The First Hague Conference in 1899 and the Second Hague Conference in 1907...

 and were withdrawn from active service, where the remaining stocks (over 45 million) were used for target practice.

To replace the Mk III, IV, and V, the Mark VI round was introduced in 1904, using a round nose bullet similar to the Mk II, but with a thinner jacket designed to produce provide some expansion, though this proved not to be the case.

Mark VII


In 1898, APX (Atelier de Puteaux), With their "Balle D" design for the 8mm Lebel Cartridge, revolutionised bullet design with the introduction of pointed "spitzer
Spitzer (bullet)
A spitzer, also commonly referred to as a spire point bullet, is an aerodynamic bullet design used in most intermediate and high-powered rifle cartridges...

" rounds. In addition to being pointed, the round was also much lighter in order to deliver a higher muzzle velocity. It was found that as velocity increased the bullets suddenly became much more deadly.

In 1910, the British took the opportunity to replace their Mk VI cartridge with a more modern design. The Mark VII loading used a 174-grain (11.3 g) pointed bullet with a flat-base which gave a muzzle velocity of 2,440 ft/s, (740 m/s) and a ballistic coefficient of .467. The Mk VII was different from earlier .303 bullet designs or spitzer projectiles in general. Although the it appears to be a conventional spitzer-shape full metal jacket bullet
Full metal jacket bullet
A full metal jacket is a bullet consisting of a soft core encased in a shell of harder metal, such as gilding metal, cupronickel or less commonly a steel alloy. This shell can extend around all of the bullet, or often just the front and sides with the rear left as exposed lead...

, this appearance is deceptive: its designers made the front third of the interior of the Mk 7 bullet out of aluminium
Aluminium
Aluminium or aluminum is a silvery white member of the boron group of chemical elements. It has the symbol Al, and its atomic number is 13. It is not soluble in water under normal circumstances....

 (from Canada) or tenite
Tenite
Tenite is a cellulosic thermoplastic first created in 1929 for use in the manufacture of consumer goods. It is manufactured by Eastman Chemical, using softwood as a raw material.-Sources:* http://www.eastman.com/Brands/Tenite/...

(cellulosic plastic), wood pulp or compressed paper, instead of lead. This lighter nose shifted the centre of gravity of the bullet towards the rear, making it tail heavy. Although the bullet was stable in flight due to the gyroscopic forces imposed on it by the rifling
Rifling
Rifling is the process of making helical grooves in the barrel of a gun or firearm, which imparts a spin to a projectile around its long axis...

 of the barrel, it behaved very differently upon hitting the target. As soon as the bullet hit the target and decelerated, its heavier lead base caused it to yaw
Flight dynamics
Flight dynamics is the science of air vehicle orientation and control in three dimensions. The three critical flight dynamics parameters are the angles of rotation in three dimensions about the vehicle's center of mass, known as pitch, roll and yaw .Aerospace engineers develop control systems for...

 violently and deform, thereby inflicting more severe gunshot wounds
Ballistic trauma
The term ballistic trauma refers to a form of physical trauma sustained from the discharge of arms or munitions. The most common forms of ballistic trauma stem from firearms used in armed conflicts, civilian sporting and recreational pursuits, and criminal activity.-Destructive effects:The degree...

 than a standard spitzer design. In spite of this, the Mk VII bullet was legal according to the terms of the Hague Convention
Hague Conventions (1899 and 1907)
The Hague Conventions were two international treaties negotiated at international peace conferences at The Hague in the Netherlands: The First Hague Conference in 1899 and the Second Hague Conference in 1907...

.

The Mk VII (and later Mk VIII) rounds have versions utilizing nitrocellulose
Nitrocellulose
Nitrocellulose is a highly flammable compound formed by nitrating cellulose through exposure to nitric acid or another powerful nitrating agent. When used as a propellant or low-order explosive, it is also known as guncotton...

 flake powder smokeless propellant
Propellant
A propellant is a material that produces pressurized gas that:* can be directed through a nozzle, thereby producing thrust ;...

s. The nitrocellulose versions—first introduced in World War I—were designated with a "Z" postfix indicated after the type (e.g. Mark VIIZ, with a weight of 175 grains) and in headstamp
Headstamp
A headstamp is the markings on the bottom of a cartridge case designed for a firearm. It usually tells who manufactured the case. If it is a civilian case it often also tells the caliber, if it is military, the year of manufacture is often added....

s.

Perhaps the most famous single .303 British round ever fired was on 21 April 1918, during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, when Manfred von Richthofen
Manfred von Richthofen
Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen , also widely known as the Red Baron, was a German fighter pilot with the Imperial German Army Air Service during World War I...

, the famed "Red Baron" flying ace, was mortally wounded by a single .303 Mk 7 round.

Mark VIII


In 1938 the Mark 8 (Mark VIII and Mark VIIIz) round was approved to obtain greater range from the Vickers machine gun
Vickers machine gun
Not to be confused with the Vickers light machine gunThe Vickers machine gun or Vickers gun is a name primarily used to refer to the water-cooled .303 inch machine gun produced by Vickers Limited, originally for the British Army...

. Slightly heavier than Mk VII bullet at 175 gr, the primary difference was the addition of a boat-tail and more propellant (41 grains of nitrocelluose powder in the case of the Mk VIIIz), giving a muzzle velocity of 2,525–2,900 ft/s (780–884 m/s). As a result, the chamber pressure was significantly higher, at (approximately 280–414 MPa), depending upon loading, compared to the of the Mark VII round. Cross-sectional images of Mk VIII ammunition indicate that its boat-tail bullet was long and gently tapered, providing a very high ballistic coefficient
Ballistic coefficient
In ballistics, the ballistic coefficient of a body is a measure of its ability to overcome air resistance in flight. It is inversely proportional to the negative acceleration—a high number indicates a low negative acceleration. BC is a function of mass, diameter, and drag coefficient...

. Mk VIII ammunition was described as being for "All suitably-sighted .303-inch small arms and machine guns" but caused significant bore erosion in weapons formerly using Mk VII cordite, ascribed to the channelling effect of the boat-tail projectile. As a result it was prohibited from general use with rifles and light machine guns, except in emergency. As a consequence of the official prohibition, ordnance personnel reported that every man that could get his hands on Mk VIII ammunition promptly used it in his own rifle.

Tracer, armour-piercing and incendiary


Tracer
Tracer ammunition
Tracer ammunition are bullets that are built with a small pyrotechnic charge in their base. Ignited by the burning powder, the phosphorus tail burns very brightly, making the projectile visible to the naked eye...

 and armour-piercing cartridges were introduced during 1915, with explosive bullets derived from John Pomeroy's work introduced as the Mark VII.Y in 1916.

Several incendiaries were privately developed from 1914 to counter the Zeppelin
Zeppelin
A Zeppelin is a type of rigid airship pioneered by the German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin in the early 20th century. It was based on designs he had outlined in 1874 and detailed in 1893. His plans were reviewed by committee in 1894 and patented in the United States on 14 March 1899...

 threat, but none were approved until the Brock
Brocks Fireworks
Brocks Fireworks, formerly known as Brocks Explosives Ltd, was a well-known manufacturer of fireworks, founded in London and subsequently based in Hemel Hempstead, Dumfriesshire and Norfolk...

 design late in 1916 as BIK Mark VII.K Wing Cmdr. Brock RNVR was a member of the Brock fireworks-making family.

These rounds were extensively developed over the years and saw several Mark numbers. The last tracer round introduced into British service was the G Mark 8 in 1945, the last armour-piercing round was the W Mark 1Z in 1945, and the last incendiary round was the B Mark 7 in 1942. Explosive bullets were not produced in the UK after 1933 due to the relatively small amount of explosive that could be contained in the bullet, limiting their effectiveness, their role being successfully fulfilled by the use of Mark 6 and 7 incendiary bullets.

In 1935 the .303 O Mark 1 Observing round was introduced for use in machine guns. The bullet to this round was designed to break up with a puff of smoke on impact. The later Mark 6 and 7 incendiary rounds could also be used in this role if required.

During World War I British factories alone produced 7,000,000,000 rounds of .303 ammunition. Factories in other countries added greatly to this total.

Japanese 7.7 mm ammunition



Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 produced a number of machine guns that were direct copies of the British Lewis
Lewis Gun
The Lewis Gun is a World War I–era light machine gun of American design that was perfected and widely used by the British Empire. It was first used in combat in World War I, and continued in service with a number of armed forces through to the end of the Korean War...

 (Japanese Type 92 machine gun
Type 92 machine gun
The  was developed for aerial use for the Imperial Japanese Navy before World War II. It was the standard hand-held machine gun in multi-place IJN aircraft during the most part of the Pacific War. It proved to be seriously inadequate...

) and Vickers
Vickers machine gun
Not to be confused with the Vickers light machine gunThe Vickers machine gun or Vickers gun is a name primarily used to refer to the water-cooled .303 inch machine gun produced by Vickers Limited, originally for the British Army...

 machine guns including the ammunition. These were primarily used in Navy aircraft. The 7.7mm cartridge used by the Japanese versions of the British guns is a direct copy of the .303 British (7.7x56R) rimmed cartridge and is distinctly different from the 7.7x58mm Arisaka rimless and 7.7x58mm Type 92 semi-rimmed cartridges used in other Japanese machine guns and rifles.
  • Ball: 174 gr. CuNi jacket with a composite aluminium
    Aluminium
    Aluminium or aluminum is a silvery white member of the boron group of chemical elements. It has the symbol Al, and its atomic number is 13. It is not soluble in water under normal circumstances....

    /lead
    Lead
    Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

     core. Black primer.
  • A.P.: brass jacket with a steel core. White primer.
  • Tracer: 130 gr. CuNi jacket with a lead core. Red primer.
  • Incendiary: 133 gr. Brass jacket with white phosphorus and lead core. Green primer.
  • H.E.: a Copper jacket with a PETN
    PETN
    Pentaerythritol tetranitrate , also known as PENT, PENTA, TEN, corpent, penthrite , is the nitrate ester of pentaerythritol. Penta refers to the five carbon atoms of the neopentane skeleton.PETN is most well known as an explosive...

     and lead core. Purple primer.


Note: standard Japanese ball ammunition was very similar to the British Mk 7 cartridge. The two had identical bullet weights and a "tail-heavy" design, as can be seen in the cut-away diagram.

Military surplus ammunition


Military surplus .303 British ammunition is often available, notably at gun show
Gun show
A gun show is a temporary exhibition or gathering in the United States where firearms, firearm accessories, ammunition, literature, knives, jerky, militaria, and miscellaneous collectibles are displayed, bought, sold, traded, and discussed. Gun shows also often include exhibitions related to...

s and from online dealers. It may or may not have corrosive primers. Care must be taken to identify the round properly before purchase or loading into weapons. Cartridges with the Roman numeral VIII on the headstamp are the Mark 8 round, specifically designed for use in Vickers machine guns. Although Mark 8 ammunition works well in a Vickers gun, it should not be used in rifles because the boat-tailed design causes increased barrel wear. The boat-tailed bullet design of Mk 8 ammunition is not in itself a problem. However, when combined with the cordite
Cordite
Cordite is a family of smokeless propellants developed and produced in the United Kingdom from 1889 to replace gunpowder as a military propellant. Like gunpowder, cordite is classified as a low explosive because of its slow burning rates and consequently low brisance...

 propellant used in Mk 8 cartridges, which burns at a much higher temperature than nitrocellulose
Nitrocellulose
Nitrocellulose is a highly flammable compound formed by nitrating cellulose through exposure to nitric acid or another powerful nitrating agent. When used as a propellant or low-order explosive, it is also known as guncotton...

, there is increased barrel erosion. The cumulative effects of firing Mk 8 ammunition through rifles were known of during the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, and British riflemen were ordered to avoid using it, except in emergencies. The best general-purpose ammunition for any .303 military rifle is the Mark 7 design because it provides the best combination of accuracy and stopping power
Stopping power
Stopping power is a colloquial term used to describe the ability of a firearm or other weapon to cause a penetrating ballistic injury to a target, human or animal, sufficient to incapacitate the target where it stands....

.

There is no problem with using ammunition loaded with corrosive primers, providing that the gun is thoroughly cleaned after use to remove the corrosive salts. The recommended cleaning methods are 1) Flushing the bore with boiling water or 2) swabbing with a bore-cleaning solvent known to be effective at removing corrosive-primer salt residues. A light application of preservative oil should be used after either method. Corrosive primers are still used in the manufacture of ammunition in some countries, and advertising or packaging marks may not be correct.

Commercial ammunition



Commercial ammunition for weapons chambered in .303 British is readily available, as the cartridge is still manufactured by major producers such as Remington
Remington Arms
Remington Arms Company, Inc. was founded in 1816 by Eliphalet Remington in Ilion, New York, as E. Remington and Sons. It is the oldest company in the United States which still makes its original product, and is the oldest continuously operating manufacturer in North America. It is the only U.S....

, Federal
Federal Cartridge
Federal Cartridge is a wholly owned subsidiary of Alliant Techsystems, located in Edina, Minnesota. With a work force of nearly 1,000 in Anoka, Minnesota, Federal manufactures a complete line of shotshell, centerfire, and rimfire ammunition and components....

, Winchester, Sellier & Bellot
Sellier & Bellot
Sellier & Bellot is the name of a Czech company situated in Vlašim that manufactures ammunition for firearms.In 2005 Sellier & Bellot celebrated its 180th anniversary.- Foundation :...

, Prvi Partizan
Prvi Partizan
Prvi Partizan is an ammunition manufacturer, located in Užice, Serbia. Founded in 1928 as FOMU - Fabrika Oružje Municija Užice. The company produces ammunition for civilian and military consumers in a variety of calibers in various loadings. Their products are available worldwide...

 and Wolf
Wolf Ammunition
WOLF Performance Ammunition is a registered trademark owned by SSI a corporation in the USA. WOLF Performance Ammunition has several lines of ammunition which include:WOLF PolyFormance - Polymer coated steel case ammunition from Russian factories...

. Reloading equipment and ammunition components are also manufactured by companies such as Hornady
Hornady
Hornady Manufacturing Company is an American manufacturer of ammunition and handloading components, based in Grand Island, Nebraska.The company was founded by Joyce Hornady in 1949 and is currently run by his son Steve Hornady who took over after his father's death in a plane crash in 1981.Hornady...

. Where extreme accuracy is required, the Sierra
Sierra Bullets
Founded in 1947 in California, Sierra Bullets is an American manufacturer of bullets intended for firearms. Based in Sedalia, Missouri since 1990, Sierra manufactures a very wide range of bullets for both rifles and pistols. Sierra bullets are used for precision target shooting, hunting and defense...

 Matchking 174 gr HPBT bullet is a popular choice. Commercially produced ammunition is widely available in various FMJ
Full metal jacket bullet
A full metal jacket is a bullet consisting of a soft core encased in a shell of harder metal, such as gilding metal, cupronickel or less commonly a steel alloy. This shell can extend around all of the bullet, or often just the front and sides with the rear left as exposed lead...

, soft point, hollow point, flat-based and boat tail designs—both spitzer and round-nosed. The classic 174 gr FMJ bullets are widely available, though purchasers may wish to check whether or not these feature the tail-heavy Mk 7 design. In any case other bullet weights are available e.g. 150, 160, 170, 180 and 200 gr, both for hunting and target purposes.

Weapons chambered for .303 British

  • Bren light machine gun
  • Browning Model 1919 machine gun
    M1919 Browning machine gun
    The M1919 Browning is a .30 caliber medium machine gun that was widely used during the 20th century. It was used as a light infantry, coaxial, mounted, aircraft, and anti-aircraft machine gun by the U.S. and many other countries, especially during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War...

     aircraft version
  • Canadian Ross Rifle Mk I through III
    Ross rifle
    The Ross rifle was a straight-pull bolt-action 0.303 inch calibre rifle produced in Canada from 1903 until the middle of the First World War....

  • Charlton Automatic Rifle
    Charlton Automatic Rifle
    The Charlton Automatic Rifle was a fully automatic conversion of the Lee-Enfield rifle, designed by New Zealander Philip Charlton in 1941 to act as a substitute for the Bren and Lewis gun light machine guns which were in chronically short supply at the time....

  • Farquharson rifle
    Farquharson rifle
    The Farquharson Rifle is a single shot hammerless falling block action rifle designed and patented by John Farquharson, of Daldhu, Scotland in 1872. George Gibbs, a gun maker in Bristol, became a co-owner of the Farquharson patent in 1875 and was the sole maker of Farquharson rifles until the...

  • Globe Semi-Auto .303 rifle (modified SVT40 Tokarev)
  • Hotchkiss .303 Mk I & I*
    Hotchkiss M1909 Benet-Mercie machine gun
    The Hotchkiss M1909 machine gun was a French designed light machine gun of the early 20th century, developed and built by Hotchkiss et Cie. It was also known as the Hotchkiss Mark I and M1909 Benet-Mercie....

  • Huot automatic rifle
    Huot automatic rifle
    The Huot was a Canadian World War I light machine gun project.-Design and development:In 1916, the Canadian Expeditionary Force was desperately short of light machine guns. Since the Ross rifle had finally been taken out of service, there were large numbers of surplus rifles.That year, Joseph Huot,...

  • Jungle Carbine
    Jungle Carbine
    Jungle Carbine was an informal term used for the Rifle No. 5 Mk I which was a derivative of the British Lee Enfield No. 4 Mk I, designed not for jungle fighting but in response to a requirement for a "Shortened, Lightened" version of the No.4 rifle for airborne forces in the European theatre of...

  • Lee-Enfield
    Lee-Enfield
    The Lee-Enfield bolt-action, magazine-fed, repeating rifle was the main firearm used by the military forces of the British Empire and Commonwealth during the first half of the 20th century...

     rifle
  • Lee-Metford
    Lee-Metford
    The Lee-Metford rifle was a bolt action British army service rifle, combining James Paris Lee's rear-locking bolt system and ten-round magazine with a seven groove rifled barrel designed by William Ellis Metford...

     rifle
  • Lewis gun
    Lewis Gun
    The Lewis Gun is a World War I–era light machine gun of American design that was perfected and widely used by the British Empire. It was first used in combat in World War I, and continued in service with a number of armed forces through to the end of the Korean War...

  • Martini-Enfield
    Martini-Enfield
    Martini-Enfield rifles were, by and large, conversions of the Zulu War era .450/577 Martini-Henry, rechambering the rifle for use with the newly introduced .303 British cartridge...

     rifle
  • Parker-Hale Sporter Rifle
    Parker Hale
    Parker Hale Ltd. was a United Kingdom firearms, air rifle and firearms accessory manufacturer, located in the Gun Quarter of the city of Birmingham, England. It was originally founded by Alfred Gray Parker and Arthur Hale. Parker-Hale Limited began manufacturing high quality precision shooting...

  • P14 rifle
    Pattern 14 Rifle
    The Rifle, .303 Pattern 1914 was a British service rifle of the First World War period. A bolt action weapon with an integral 5-round magazine, it was principally contract manufactured by companies in the United States. It served as a sniper rifle and as second line and reserve issue until being...

  • Ruger No. 1 rifle , 2010 limited edition
  • Thorneycroft carbine
    Thorneycroft carbine
    The Thorneycroft carbine was one of the earliest bullpup rifles, developed by an English gunsmith in 1901 as patent #14,622 of July 18, 1901. This bolt-action rifle featured a bullpup action in which the retracted bolt slid back through the stock nearly to the shooter's shoulder, maximising the...

  • Vickers light machine gun
    Vickers light machine gun
    The Vickers LMG was a light machine gun alternative to the water-cooled machine gun of same manufacture. The weapon used the same recoil operation calibre but was air-cooled....

  • Vickers machine gun
    Vickers machine gun
    Not to be confused with the Vickers light machine gunThe Vickers machine gun or Vickers gun is a name primarily used to refer to the water-cooled .303 inch machine gun produced by Vickers Limited, originally for the British Army...

  • Vickers K machine gun
    Vickers K machine gun
    Not to be confused with the Vickers light machine gunThe Vickers K machine gun, known as the Vickers Gas Operated in British service, was a rapid-firing machine gun developed and manufactured for use in aircraft by Vickers-Armstrongs...

  • Winchester Model 1895
    Winchester Model 1895
    The Winchester Model 1895 is a lever-action repeating firearm developed and manufactured by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company in the late 19th century, chambered for a number of full-size military and hunting cartridges such as 7.62×54mmR, .303 British, .30-03, .30 Army, .30-06, .35 Winchester,...


See also

  • British military rifles
    British military rifles
    The origins of the modern British military rifle are within its predecessor the Brown Bess musket. While a musket was largely inaccurate over 80 yards due to a lack of rifling and a generous tolerance to allow for muzzle-loading, it was cheaper to produce and could be loaded quickly. The use in...

  • Caliber conversion sleeve
    Caliber conversion sleeve
    A caliber conversion sleeve is a device which can be used to non-permanently alter a firearm to allow it to fire a different cartridge than the one it was originally designed to...

  • List of rifle cartridges
  • .303 Savage
    .303 Savage
    The .303 Savage is a rimmed, .30 caliber rifle cartridge developed by the Savage Arms Company in 1894 which was designed as a short action cartridge for their popular Savage Model 99 hammerless lever action rifle. The cartridge was designed for smokeless gunpowder at a time when black-powder...

  • .30-06 Springfield
    .30-06 Springfield
    The .30-06 Springfield cartridge or 7.62×63mm in metric notation, was introduced to the United States Army in 1906 and standardized, and was in use until the 1960s and early 1970s. It replaced the .30-03, 6 mm Lee Navy, and .30 US Army...

  • .308 Winchester
    .308 Winchester
    The .308 Winchester is a rifle cartridge and is the commercial cartridge upon which the military 7.62x51mm NATO centerfire cartridge is based. The .308 Winchester was introduced in 1952, two years prior to the NATO adoption of the 7.62x51mm NATO T65...

  • 7 mm caliber
    7 mm caliber
    This article lists firearm cartridges which have a bullet in the to caliber range.*Length refers to the cartridge case length.*OAL refers to the overall length of the cartridge....

    (overview of cartridges)

External links


.303 British soft-point fired into ballistic gelatin (bullet travelled right to left)
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