Determining Bullet Size for 303 Savage

MatthewMcD

Private
Minuteman
I have recently completed my conservation and refurbishment project on my father's 1920's 303 Savage. Restoration and background story.
I have about 100 rounds of 303 in various condition. I have the reloading dies for the caliber. I'd like to "complete" the project my firing it and examine the legendary accuracy.

I have experience reloading for both handgun and rifle.

My question is this. When I seek to reload the brass what is the "right" projectile? I have read here in SH that you can use .308. Is the right approach to measure the existing rounds and choose from there? I love the Hornady Interlock BTSP (for example).

Does anyone have reloading data and advise for me to get this beauty back into action?
 

FLIGHT762

Sergeant
Full Member
Minuteman
Sep 27, 2008
1,442
382
California/SFO
.308" bullets will work. You can use the round nose bullets that are commonly used for the 30/30. Since you have a savage 99, you could use pointed bullets if you like, the only issue would be if the COL will fit the magazine and if the pointed bullets will feed properly. If it were me, I'd use the 150 grain 30/ 30 round or flat nose bullets and start there.

Loading data is scarce, but there is some out there on the net. I checked all of my old manuals going back to the 1950's and there's no 303 Savage data.

Check the expander button in your set of dies and see what diameter it is. It should be .306" not over .308". There is some info on the net that some die mfg. put a .310" button. Most info says bullets should be .308", not .311".
 
  • Like
Reactions: MatthewMcD

redbullitt

Sergeant
Full Member
Minuteman
Jan 8, 2010
964
66
36
Morgantown Wv
I'd see how your factory stuff measures and shoots, then go from there. Cast bullets may work very well too if you want to go there. I think the 308 diameter should work from what I've seen.

A nicely lubed up cast bullet or similar slug, soft lead, pushed through the bore will give an exact picture if the .308 shoots terribly for you. Some of the round fishing weights that are soft lead can work in a pinch if your careful.

Figuring that diameter is the best way to get a junker mosin or any rifle to shoot well, especially older stuff. Its hard to tell what diameter you need sometimes otherwise.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MatthewMcD

MatthewMcD

Private
Minuteman
Again, thanks to everyone in the thread. Here is some of the data requested:

Measuring my existing factory loads (headstamps are "REM UMC 303 SAV" and "SUPER SPEED 303 SAV") I came up with an average bullet diameter of .302. (Low: .299 High: .306)

Measuring my Lee Pacesetter sizing die, the expander measures .304. Reviewing the included doc I found the attached load data as well.

My powder stores contain H4350, Superformance, and Win StaBALL 6.5.
Any thoughts on the use of these to build up a load or should I be looking for something more appropriate?
 

Attachments

  • 20210922_Lee Load Data.jpg
    20210922_Lee Load Data.jpg
    843.5 KB · Views: 30

FLIGHT762

Sergeant
Full Member
Minuteman
Sep 27, 2008
1,442
382
California/SFO
Nope, your powders are too slow. You need the powders in the medium burning speed. any of the 3 types of 4895, 4064, 3031, H-335. Just what your loading data sheet shows.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MatthewMcD

mtrmn

Sergeant
Full Member
Minuteman
  • Oct 7, 2009
    1,545
    1,112
    61
    Louisiana
    My 30-30 seems to like H335 the best so far. I am NOT advocating that you try 30-30 loads in a different-but-similar caliber.
    Your data sheet says those loads are "reduced 30-30 loads". H335 seems to come up available fairly often on Hodgdon's website and Powder Valley.
     
    Last edited:
    • Like
    Reactions: MatthewMcD

    MatthewMcD

    Private
    Minuteman
    My 30-30 seems to like H335 the best so far. I am NOT advocating that you try 30-30 loads in a different-but-similar caliber.
    Your data sheet says those loads are "reduced 30-30 loads". H335 seems to come up available fairly often on Hodgdon's website and Powder Valley.
    Thanks, I found some IMR 4895 and ordered some .308 Round Nose. Looking forward to testing it all out.
     

    FLIGHT762

    Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Sep 27, 2008
    1,442
    382
    California/SFO
    That's great. Update the thread then you shoot it. I would take measurements off of the datum line of fired brass and only bump the shoulders back .002"-.003" so you don't wear out your brass.

    Just a couple of weeks ago, I was up at my Brother's place Dove hunting. He has a small collection of loaded cartridges on a table in the garage. One of the cartridges is a 303 Savage. I picked it up and looked at it. A piece of history when all of the major firearm manufacturers were trying to get their cartridges to gain popularity. 30/30 Win., 30 Remington and 303 Savage.
     
    • Love
    Reactions: MatthewMcD

    MatthewMcD

    Private
    Minuteman
    That's great. Update the thread then you shoot it. I would take measurements off of the datum line of fired brass and only bump the shoulders back .002"-.003" so you don't wear out your brass.
    Great tip, thanks.
    Just a couple of weeks ago, I was up at my Brother's place Dove hunting. He has a small collection of loaded cartridges on a table in the garage. One of the cartridges is a 303 Savage. I picked it up and looked at it. A piece of history when all of the major firearm manufacturers were trying to get their cartridges to gain popularity. 30/30 Win., 30 Remington and 303 Savage.
    This is part of the "why" for this process. Refurbishing the rifle, fitting it with new leather, and getting it back into the field has been an amazing way to reconnect with my father's family history. I'll definitely keep some of the original cartridges for posterity.
     

    MatthewMcD

    Private
    Minuteman
    Let me begin by thanking everyone on this thread.

    I finally took my project to the range and what a great time I had. I made 10 of each of three loads from the data provided here and the data included with the Lee dies. I used Hornady 150 gr. Round Nose Interlock (#3035) since they were most like the antique cartridges I already had. I filled Privi Partizan cases with IMR 4895.

    The first photo is the first 3 rounds out of this gun in over 50 years. With a Redfield peep sight at 50 yards I am very happy with the accuracy.

    First photo is 3 rounds at 26.8 gr,
    20211003_26.8gr.jpg
    second photo is 30 gr. The 30 gr. load felt snappier and the group was a bit better.
    20211003_30gr.jpg

    I'll write it all up soon.

    Thanks again for the direction. Y'all rock!