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Discussion Starter #1
I'll be taking an old Savage US Government (Enfield No 4 Mk 1) to my local lgs to see what he can tell me about it. From what I have read, they were mostly chambered for the .303, but some were not, so that's what I want to find out. Anyway, if it is a .303, is it a good round? How useful/effective is it as a self defense round and even a hunting round? Why aren't more rifles using this caliber? Are these more expensive to buy than say, a .30'06 or a .308? Thoughts, opinions?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Obsolete round doesn't sound encouraging. :( I saw a new Enfield look-alike chambered in 308, but I don't think mine is looking at the .303 pic at the wiki page you provided.
 

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ive had a 303 for about 10 years now

and she has served me well

id put it up against a 308 and 30-06 anyday
 

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Heres some ballistics I found on it, several manufactures produce ammunition, this is from Remington. The first listing is .303 and the second is .308.

<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=630 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD>Velocity (ft/sec)
<TABLE id=DataGrid2 style="FONT-SIZE: xx-small; WIDTH: 630px; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; BORDER-COLLAPSE: collapse" cellSpacing=0 rules=all border=1><TBODY><TR style="FONT-WEIGHT: bold"><TD>Cartridge Type</TD><TD>Bullet</TD><TD>Muzzle</TD><TD>100</TD><TD>200</TD><TD>300</TD><TD>400</TD><TD>500</TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: gainsboro"><TD>Remington® Express®</TD><TD>180 SP CL</TD><TD>2460</TD><TD>2124</TD><TD>1817</TD><TD>1542</TD><TD>1311</TD><TD>1137</TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Remington® Express®</TD><TD>180 SP CL</TD><TD>2620</TD><TD>2274</TD><TD>1955</TD><TD>1666</TD><TD>1414</TD><TD>1212</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

</TD></TR><TR><TD>Energy (ft-lbs)
<TABLE id=DataGrid3 style="FONT-SIZE: xx-small; WIDTH: 630px; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; BORDER-COLLAPSE: collapse" cellSpacing=0 rules=all border=1><TBODY><TR style="FONT-WEIGHT: bold"><TD>Cartridge Type</TD><TD>Bullet</TD><TD>Muzzle</TD><TD>100</TD><TD>200</TD><TD>300</TD><TD>400</TD><TD>500</TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: gainsboro"><TD>Remington® Express®</TD><TD>180 SP CL</TD><TD>2418</TD><TD>1803</TD><TD>1319</TD><TD>950</TD><TD>687</TD><TD>517</TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Remington® Express®</TD><TD>180 SP CL</TD><TD>2743</TD><TD>2066</TD><TD>1527</TD><TD>1109</TD><TD>799</TD><TD>587</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

</TD></TR><TR><TD>Short-Range Trajectory
<TABLE id=DataGrid4 style="FONT-SIZE: xx-small; WIDTH: 630px; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; BORDER-COLLAPSE: collapse" cellSpacing=0 rules=all border=1><TBODY><TR style="FONT-WEIGHT: bold"><TD>Cartridge Type</TD><TD>Bullet</TD><TD>50</TD><TD>100</TD><TD>150</TD><TD>200</TD><TD>250</TD><TD>300</TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: gainsboro"><TD>Remington® Express®</TD><TD>180 SP CL</TD><TD>0.1</TD><TD>zero</TD><TD>-2.0</TD><TD>-5.8</TD><TD>-13.2</TD><TD>-23.3</TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Remington® Express®</TD><TD>180 SP CL</TD><TD>0.0</TD><TD>zero</TD><TD>-1.7</TD><TD>-5.3</TD><TD>-10.7</TD><TD>-19.7</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

</TD></TR><TR><TD>Long-Range Trajectory
<TABLE id=DataGrid5 style="FONT-SIZE: xx-small; WIDTH: 630px; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; BORDER-COLLAPSE: collapse" cellSpacing=0 rules=all border=1><TBODY><TR style="FONT-WEIGHT: bold"><TD>Cartridge Type</TD><TD>Bullet</TD><TD>100</TD><TD>150</TD><TD>200</TD><TD>250</TD><TD>300</TD><TD>400</TD><TD>500</TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: gainsboro"><TD>Remington® Express®</TD><TD>180 SP CL</TD><TD>1.3</TD><TD>zero</TD><TD>-3.1</TD><TD>-9.9</TD><TD>-19.3</TD><TD>-49.9</TD><TD>-100.8</TD></TR><TR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: white"><TD>Remington® Express®</TD><TD>180 SP CL</TD><TD>2.6</TD><TD>2.3</TD><TD>zero</TD><TD>-4.1</TD><TD>-11.8</TD><TD>-36.3</TD><TD>-78.2</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
 

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I agree with chad_quixote, I have three .303 enfields and I would also put them up against anything......even my 6.5x55 Swede.
 

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303 British (.311 :p ) is a decent mid-range round by today's standards. It is commonly compared to the 30/40 Krag in ballistics. It's a very accurate round out to a distance, but after a while the bullet tumbles end over end. It should be a good round for Deer and smaller game, but I wouldn't necessarily trust it 100% for anything larger. There is still a good amount of non-British surplus floating around, but take note that most all surplus ammo for 303 is corrosive. The gun itself was manufactured with overly deep rifling and a generous bore to account for this fact. Modern ammo is still produced for it, and it is a very popular sporting cartridge around the world. The action itself isn't as strong as a Mauser or Springfield type action, but it is a very sound design and lends itself decently to being converted to .308 IF you're up to the task. If you're happy with the rifle as is, go ahead and buy some surplus ammo and shoot the hell out of it! It is a fun gun to shoot, and if you clean it properly the corrosive ammo won't hurt it too much. It is important to note that a U.S. made No.4 Mk1 is more collectible than most other manufacturers, so be sure to take account of the grade and where/when it was manufactured before you do any modifications on the rifle.
 

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.303 british is an obsolete round, replaced by 7.62x51 back in the 50's.

I don't know much about the Lee Enfields, but I do know that my brother-in-law has one that is actually chambered for .308, so be sure to find out which caliber it is chambered for! ;)

.303 British - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

That is a good article on the .303. Good luck.
The 303 vs .308 chambering shouldn't be an issue. I don't recall ever seeing any .308 offerings in stock configuration EXCEPT for the Ishapore rifles.
 

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The .303 may be 'obsolete' but a LOT of people own and shoot them on a daily basis. You can buy ammo, reloading dies, bullets, etc, etc.

Plus, you aren't like everyone else at the range when you shoot, you have a piece of history in your hands.

In it's day, in the hands of a well trained soldier, that was a fearsome weapon.
 

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If you're able to find the history on your particular piece, and are into the history of arms in general, you might try looking for a pattern 1914 rifle sometime. It was the projected replacement for the SMLE, and was contracted for production in the United States by the Brits. It is a sport rifle hybrid of the SMLE and Mauser actions. It was also the design that was adapted for use in the 1917 Enfield rifle we used in WWI to supplement the Sprinfield rifles. When the Brits got entrenched in WWI they had to suspend the manufacture of the 1914 rifles and upscale their SMLE production at home. After the war they didn't revisit the program. They chose instead to refine the Enfield to it's famous No4 and No5 configurations, and stuck with it until after WWII. After WWI the U.S. suspended the manufacture of the 1917 rifles and continued the production of the 1903 Springfield rifles since they were in fact cheaper and easier to produce.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The .303 may be 'obsolete' but a LOT of people own and shoot them on a daily basis. You can buy ammo, reloading dies, bullets, etc, etc.

Plus, you aren't like everyone else at the range when you shoot, you have a piece of history in your hands.

In it's day, in the hands of a well trained soldier, that was a fearsome weapon.
That's what I like most about it, is that it is a piece of history. It was used and handed down to my dad. Numbers match (had "5" on it on all parts), what little there is. Has FR on the stock. I don't plan on modifying it. I am kind of bummed that it is a .303 and not some more famous and common round. I have some old ammo for it-very old. Not sure if I should use it. Nothing is leaking out of them or anything. Just very dull in color.
 

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That's what I like most about it, is that it is a piece of history. It was used and handed down to my dad. Numbers match (had "5" on it on all parts), what little there is. Has FR on the stock. I don't plan on modifying it. I am kind of bummed that it is a .303 and not some more famous and common round. I have some old ammo for it-very old. Not sure if I should use it. Nothing is leaking out of them or anything. Just very dull in color.
I'd polish the ammo and see how it looks under the tarnish, if everything's tight I wouldn't be too worried about using it. As far as a famous round goes, it may not be famous in the U.S., but it is a very common round in other parts of the world. It's not all that hard to find. One cool thing about it is that you can attach a decent scope mount and remove both the rear and front sights without modifying it. Advanced Technology makes aftermarket scope mounts and stock for it that pretty much drop in as is.
 

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The 'FR' on the stock means "Freakin' Rad!".

Seriously, this was the talk back then we we've just revived it.
 

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So you're getting a Savage made No4 Enfield, eh?

Be careful...I bought one Canadian No4 Enfield many years ago and now have 5 Enfields! I have a 1942 Savage No4, a 1944 Canadian No4, a 1943 Aussie MkIII, a 1916 British WWI MkIII and a 1952 post WWII British No4.

Yeah...you could say I know a little about the Lee Enfield rifle and the 303 British round!

The one you have is actually a Lend-Lease rifle made in the USA Savage Plant in MA in 1942-43. Before the US entered WWII, we helped the British, who were not able to crank out enough guns, by "Leasing" them rifles that we made in our own factories. That is why many Savage Enfields and S&W 38 revolvers have both british proof marks and "US Property" stamps. By some sort of treaty, the US was forbidden to SELL armaments to any Allied nation, but we circumvented it by "lending" or "leasing" the Allies firearms and equipment.

The No4 Lee Enfield is a very good shooter. If it is in good condition and has a good action and bore, I can tell you by expereince that they WILL group as good or better than the average M1903 Springfield, German 98k or Russian Mosin. My 44 Canadian will do just that. Most Enfields can't out-group a Swedish Mauser, Finnish Nagant or Swiss K-31, but these were the most accurate military boltguns ever made.

The 303 round is very fun to shoot out of a No4 Enfield. It has alot less recoil than a 8mm 98k or 03 Springfield or even the 91/30 Nagant. It has excellent peep sights (like the Garand or Carbine) and its long sight radius and heavy weight make for a VERY pleasant shooter. I used to run 100-250rds at a time, through my Enfields in one afternoon and never felt wore out at all.

The 303 British is made by many makers still today. Federal, Norma, Remington and S&B make soft points. Wolf, Privi Partisan and S&B still make fmj rounds in the traditional 174 grain bullets. Surplus British and Greek 303 is good...but these days, VERY hard to find. The Pakistani 303 is around, but its hit and miss on quality and is loaded with the old Cordite propellant. Don't let anyone tell you that 303 is not around...it is...just not as cheap or in the qualtities it used to be.

The 303 British is not quite in the power class of the 30-06, 8x57mm or 7.62x54R but more along the lines of the 30-40 Krag or 300 Savage. Its PLENTY of power for killing the average whitetail deer or wild pig at 100-200yards. I have not shot deer with the 303, but have taken several feral pigs with the Federal 150gr soft points and YES..it definately did the job! I also blasted a few coyotes with the Aussie Enfield and again..the old 303 did very well.

So yes..if it appeals to you...go for it. The Lee Enfield has a large following and lots of fans (including me). Its accurate enough and has plenty of power. The Canadians use this round alot to take moose, carabou and whitetail deer even to this day. Sporterized Canadian Enfields in 303 are very common hunting rifles in many parts of Canada. The Aussies also use the 303 to take anelope, pigs and dingo dogs and again, a sporterized Lithgow Aussie Elfield is a very common hunting rifle in Australia. The WWII German veterans will also attest that the 303 is an effective stopper (LOL!!).

Welcome to the club...betcha won't have just one for very long.

- Brickboy240
 

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wow, very nice read Brick
 

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.303 british is an obsolete round, replaced by 7.62x51 back in the 50's.

I don't know much about the Lee Enfields, but I do know that my brother-in-law has one that is actually chambered for .308, so be sure to find out which caliber it is chambered for! ;)

.303 British - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

That is a good article on the .303. Good luck.
Usually not a great idea to give advice about something you dont know much about, but as far as obsolete, if you mean that its not used in the military any more you would be correct. As far as ammo availability, .303 ammo is readily available, mostly WWII surplus but there is some new manufacture all the WWII is corrosive so be sure to clean it immediately after you use it.

Take it to the gun smith get it checked out and if its good to go, shoot the hell out of it and enjoy your self
 

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Man...you don't know how many rounds of 303 I have burned over the years. Used to be that I could shoot the 303s cheaper than I could my 22 magnum! Seriously, the WWII British and Greek 70s surplus 303 was very cheap. I used to buy a 250rd Vickers Machine gun belt of nice WWI Brit surplus for maybe 15 bucks. I had cases of the stuff stacked up and still have a few unopened crates that have not been opened since 1945!

A nice No4 Lee Enfield with the micrometer rear peep sight in good condition with a mint bore is a VERY good shooter and a rifle that I have all the confidence in the world in.

True, the 303 Mk7 British round may be out of service, but it and the Enfield is far from dead. The Mujahadeen rebels used many MkIII Enfields against AK-equipped Soviets in the 80s. MkIII Enfields show up in photos from African rebellions in the 80s and 90s. Many Elfields have been captured in Iraq and Afghanistan now and during Desert Storm. Some were also captured in Bosnia as the Balkans came apart in the early 90s.

The Enfield was much like the Mauser. It went all over the world and fought several campaigns. The Brits, Aussies, Canadians, Kiwis, Pakistanis, Greeks and Indians used the Enfield rifle.

I even saw a photo of Taj Mahal guards in India on patrol, right after the 9-11 attacks and they were carrying MkIII Enfields!

So yes, the Lee Enfield is far from dead, if you ask me. It seems, like the Mauser, to show up in conflicts and places all over the world. The Enfield, like the Mauser, has a very colorful and history-soaked past.

- Brickboy240
 

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I am also a 303 fan :D.as a reloader just a few thoughts on the 303 brit.
brass life is limited due to the action locking up in the rear but again that why these rifle are so slick & smooth.with this type action upon firing the brass get to grow/flow a bit.it isn't a strong action say like a 03 or k98 but the 303 isn't as powerful a round.
if you get into handloading you might get 3-4 reloads on the brass then you will have to toss it.look around the rim and if you see a line forming just above the rim toss it.neck sizing will help with making the brass last a bit longer.
I hunted for a few years with a aussie MK III (1916)and it was deadly accurate.hornady makes a .312 150 gr sp that is perfect for deer and hogs:D.imho the aussies built the best 303's.
if you find some paki surplus ammo out there pass the stuff is junk click and maybe a bang.I bought a bunch of it and ended up pulling the bullets and used them in my reloads.
the 303's are a hoot and everyone should have atleast one in their milsurp collection.
pete
 

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303 is alive and well. You No 4 was only made in 303, nothing else save a few custom jobs. The 303, especially the No 4 put the American Mauser (1903 Springfield) to shame in accuracy, and could match the Garand in rounds per minute. Its a stronger action than the Mauser, and a very accurate rifle set up, used into the 90s as a sniper rifle in the UK-both in 303 and 308. 303 ammo is abundant, and a really great round that most US shooters don't glance at, pure snobbery-it will shoot just as good and usually better than the '06, and hold its own against any standard/commercial 308, not the special hunting ammo though-you'd need the same in 303.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Wow, I feel a lot better having this rifle and round now thanks to the responses in this thread. Thank you all. :) I know that the one I have was used in WWII, as the person who had it was a WWII veteran. Everything looks like it is in good shape, just very few minor dings in the wood stock, and finish wearing on the front sights and barrel end.
 
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