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Old 12-19-2010, 11:24 AM
NiksaNovovic NiksaNovovic is offline
 
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Default The .303 Epps Improved

Hello everybody!

I have been doing some research on the .303 Epps Improved cartridge and have not found all that much to be honest. Anybody have any firsthand experience with this cartridge? Any more information that could be offered would be greatly appreciated!

Niksa
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Old 12-19-2010, 11:28 AM
Leeper Leeper is offline
 
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The cartridge offers significan improvement in performance over a standard 303 IF THE ACTION IS A STRONG ONE. Rechambering any model of Lee Enfield accomplishes little but in a P14, A Ross, or a Ruger No.1, it will match a 30/06. GD
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Old 12-19-2010, 11:46 AM
NiksaNovovic NiksaNovovic is offline
 
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Thank you for the quick response! The reason I ask is because I will eventually be getting a Ruger No1 chambered in .303 British and if I can squeeze longer case life and better performance from the .303 Epps I would love to get it re-chambered. Does anybody know of a gunsmith that has a .303 Epps reamer, and what it would cost me to get it re-chambered?

Niksa
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Old 12-19-2010, 01:25 PM
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I would call Elwood Epps store. I think in Ontario. I am sure they would have all the info needed and more.
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Old 12-19-2010, 08:25 PM
Leeper Leeper is offline
 
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The No.1 is a great platform for an Epps. The No.1 is a bit of a pain to rechamber just because one has to remove the quarter rib to remove the barrel. I would charge about 150.00 to do that job.
The Epps version of the 303 does increase capacity significantly. In a No.1 the cartridge can easily achieve 2700 fps or better with 180's. Of course, in a Number One, the standard cartridge can be loaded to exceed 2600 fps; so the increase isn't quite what one might expect.
Loads which drove 180's at nearly 3000 fps may have existed but they had to be HOT. I suspect these were estimated velocities. The means of estimation remains a mystery. Leeper
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Old 12-19-2010, 09:14 PM
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So, I gotta simply ask this silly question. If you're looking to nearly duplicate 30-06 performance in a .303 Epps using special reamers etc. Why just not go with a 30-06 to begin with?
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Old 12-19-2010, 09:43 PM
nanuk-O-dah-Nort nanuk-O-dah-Nort is offline
 
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Default No1 Mk3

I'd like to get my MK3s chambered for the Epps.

for saving brass life.

not for the increased velocities.
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Old 12-19-2010, 10:50 PM
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When all is said and done you'd be almost .308 Win.
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Old 12-19-2010, 10:57 PM
NiksaNovovic NiksaNovovic is offline
 
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Leeper - Thanks for the info. I didn't expect it to be an easy operation but it might be worth it. I will see what I can get out of an ordinary .303 British with the No. 1 and then make up my mind.

gitrdun - I wasn't hoping to emulate the 30-06 by figuring out which variant of the .303 British comes the closest in performance to it, but I read a bit about the .303 Epps and was interested in learning more about it. The main reason I would re-chamber any gun in the .303 Epps is for the improved case life, the extra performance would just be a bonus. It would be very easy to get a gun chambered in 30-06 if I wanted it to perform.

Niksa
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Old 12-19-2010, 11:30 PM
Leeper Leeper is offline
 
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Rechambering a MKIII to the Epps will do essentially nothing for brass life. A Lee Enfield stretches and case shape has little, if any, influence on it.
If one cares to load a Number One to what it can handle, he can probably exceed 2600 fps with 180's. Personally, I would want to be careful about loading this heavy if I had other 303's around. This might be another advantage to the Epps; the heavy loads wouldn't fit into the weaker actioned rifles.
In a Number One, again, case shape is unlikely to have any effect on case life. 303 Lee Enfields suffer from poor case life because of the rifle, not because of the cartridge shape. In a tight chambered rifle built on a rigid action, 303's don't stretch and don't separate. Leeper.
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Old 12-19-2010, 11:32 PM
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Niksa, don't know as I can say much about the Epps version of the .303. But I did have a 25-06 Epps improved that was very difficult to get a reamer for. So, just a word of warming, be careful, and good luck/
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Old 12-19-2010, 11:46 PM
NiksaNovovic NiksaNovovic is offline
 
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Thanks for the heads up gitrdun, I most likely won't want to get my No. 1 re-chambered for quite some time, as I want to see what it can do with the regular old .303 British. If I do decide to do so, I am definitely patient enough to find a gunsmith that has the reamer. I might even contact Ellwood Epps store in Ontario just to enquire if they do in fact offer the .303 Epps re-chambering. You never know when the need to experiment with wildcat cartridges will strike!

Niksa
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Old 12-20-2010, 06:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gitrdun View Post
So, I gotta simply ask this silly question. If you're looking to nearly duplicate 30-06 performance in a .303 Epps using special reamers etc. Why just not go with a 30-06 to begin with?
Because then you would have a 30'06, NOT a 303 EPPS! :>)
Crap, why do we mess around with hot rods, sleds, guns, and bows for that matter? because we CAN!! LMA!!
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Old 12-20-2010, 08:14 AM
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Here's another interesting conversion, I stumbled on. Seems to be lots of interest left in the old .303, down under.

http://forums.accuratereloading.com/...3/m/3771041641

Grizz
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  #15  
Old 12-20-2010, 11:09 PM
NiksaNovovic NiksaNovovic is offline
 
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I wonder why tinkering with the .303 British isn't more popular in Canada, as it is in other Commonwealth countries? With some leeway, it could be called Canada's cartridge, so why so little interest? Could it be due to the proximity of the United States?

Niksa
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Old 12-21-2010, 07:40 AM
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I'm thinking that it might have to do with the fact that most .303 chambered rifles are SMLE's which for the most part may suffer excessive head space issues, not all, but certainly a good number of them. The introduction of modern firearms with strong action such as the Ruger #1 may change this. But still, these were or are special order. Perhaps if they become a standard caliber offering, this may change. I don't think that the close proximity to the US is the factor, but moreso the fact that they manufacture the bulk of the firearms and components that we use and the .303 Brit is not a high demand item south of the 49th.
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  #17  
Old 12-27-2010, 10:17 PM
Ken T Ken T is offline
 
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I've ordered this book:

Shooting and reloading the 303 British and 303 Epps

http://www.303british.com/id5.html

I have not received it yet, so I cannot offer a review yet.


Cheers!
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  #18  
Old 12-28-2010, 08:30 PM
nanuk-O-dah-Nort nanuk-O-dah-Nort is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leeper View Post
Rechambering a MKIII to the Epps will do essentially nothing for brass life. A Lee Enfield stretches and case shape has little, if any, influence on it.

303 Lee Enfields suffer from poor case life because of the rifle, not because of the cartridge shape. In a tight chambered rifle built on a rigid action, 303's don't stretch and don't separate. Leeper.


I think P.O. Ackley might disagree with you

IIRC, the Epps conversions were designed to increase case life.

here is a quote from 303british.com
303 Epps - Notes on Improved Cases
copyright 1999 - Stephen Redgwell
Look at the 303 British case beside a 303 Epps case!
Quote: Originally, the improvements were made to increase brass life, not to produce a higher velocity round. Mr Epps knew that reshaping the case into a more efficient design would yield this secondary benefit, but considered improved case life to be the most important factor.
end Quote
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nanuk-O-dah-Nort View Post
I think P.O. Ackley might disagree with you

IIRC, the Epps conversions were designed to increase case life.

here is a quote from 303british.com
303 Epps - Notes on Improved Cases
copyright 1999 - Stephen Redgwell
Look at the 303 British case beside a 303 Epps case!
Quote: Originally, the improvements were made to increase brass life, not to produce a higher velocity round. Mr Epps knew that reshaping the case into a more efficient design would yield this secondary benefit, but considered improved case life to be the most important factor.
end Quote
I may be wrong here, but Epps may have used double locking bolt head guns like the '98 and the P17, not the no.4 and no.1 Enfields.
The single bolt head on those guns does not len itself to high pressures.
Cat
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catnthehat View Post
I may be wrong here, but Epps may have used double locking bolt head guns like the '98 and the P17, not the no.4 and no.1 Enfields.
The single bolt head on those guns does not len itself to high pressures.
Cat
There are 2 locking lugs on these old #4s at the rear of the bolt body. The head locates in the raceway and doesn't lock up. Problem with these old gals is the skinny bolt body will flex if too much pepper is put on them and the gun will be a bugger to get apart. The action was designed for rapid firing military ball ammo all day long but doesn't take too well to hot-rodding.
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered user View Post
There are 2 locking lugs on these old #4s at the rear of the bolt body. The head locates in the raceway and doesn't lock up. Problem with these old gals is the skinny bolt body will flex if too much pepper is put on them and the gun will be a bugger to get apart. The action was designed for rapid firing military ball ammo all day long but doesn't take too well to hot-rodding.
I am talking about forward double locking bolt head lugs, not the rear lugs like the Enfield, and that is why the action side rails spring.
Cat
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  #22  
Old 12-28-2010, 11:09 PM
nanuk-O-dah-Nort nanuk-O-dah-Nort is offline
 
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Default another quote from 303british.com

At first, he "Eppsized" No 1s, No 4s and P-14s. He found however, that because the action strengths were different, loads developed in P-14s were dangerous to use in modified Lee Enfields. He preferred the P-14 action, and told anyone wanting their Lee Enfield reamed to 303 Epps not to expect the same velocities. Case life would still be vastly improved though.





I remembered reading all this years ago.

P.O. Ackley even went so far as to test straighter cases in a win94 with locking lugs removed,and bolt held only by the weight of the lever.

Layne Simpson used the same technology when designing the 7MM STE.

straighter cases reduce bolt thrust, regardless of the bolt.
the LAST line in the above quote is important.. Epps understands the SMLE's too, and the Epps conversion used to increase brass life and NOT velocity is what he was after in the beginning! Velocity increase was just a bonus in stronger actions
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  #23  
Old 12-29-2010, 09:03 AM
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Conversion to the Epps Improved 303 will do absolutely nothing for case life in a Lee Enfield. I don't base this on exhaustive reading of theories put forth by proponents of the concept but on actual testing I have done.
The straighter walled case should, in theory, increase the grip of the case on the walls of the chamber and thus, reduce bolt thrust. The truth is, the standard case already grips the chamber walls with sufficient force to positively hold the forward portion of the case static under full pressure. This is why the case heads separate; the front portion of the case sticks to the chamber wall while the case head is able to stretch rearward as the bolt is deflected by the thrust of the cartridge upon it. The separation occurs just behind that point at which the brass is not adhering to the chamber wall. In a #4 Lee Enfield with zero head clearance on an unfired cartridge, this separation will occur after about five loadings of the case if heavy loads are used. For the sake of this discussion, heavy loads may be considered to be loads which will push 180 grains bullets to about 2500 fps. So, it is plain that the standard case sticks to the chamber wall with sufficient grip to exceed the strength of the brass. If the case is changed to the Epps form, it may indeed grip the chamber wall more effectively but, even if it does, it is of no consequence since the grip was already sufficient to eliminate any rearward movement of the forward portion of the case.
Interestingly enough, in one rifle I re-chambered (a #1 Mklll), the case actually appeared to grip the chamber wall less effectively so that the shoulder was pushed forward with each firing. I attributed this to a smoother finish on the chamber walls than in the original chamber.
During the tests, I first chronographed factory loads to establish a baseline pressure level. If the rifle produced 2400 fps with factory loads, I developed a load which matched that level for subsequent loadings. I used 4064 powder.
In a rifle which produced 2400 fps with the factory load, about 75 fps was lost (firing the same load) when the rifle was rechambered. It was, therefor, necessary to increase the powder charge slightly to recover the pressure which was lost due to the larger chamber.
In a rifle with a more solid lockup, such as a P14 or a Ruger Number One, adheesion of the case to the chamber wall becomes a moot point since the bolt or breech block is not deflected significantly; even at much higher-than-factory pressures.
Ultimately, the Epps offers a means of increasing performance of a 303 with a strong action. It does so by producing a noticable increase in case capacity. If you have a P14 or a Ross and want to increase velocities, re-chambering to the Epps will allow you to do so (as will simply loading to higher pressures than a Lee Enfield will handle). If you want a rifle which is a bit different, the Epps will certainly fulfill that requirement.
A caveat; feeding issues are not infrequent in P14's or Ross rifles which are rechambered to the Epps.
As with all "Improved" or wildcat cartridges, the Epps 303 is capable of performing at a level which one might expect for a cartridge of it's size, loaded to appropriate pressure levels. It also illustrates that there is no magic in the shape of a case although, I must say, the Epps cartridges does have a pleasing profile! Leeper.
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Old 12-29-2010, 12:22 PM
nanuk-O-dah-Nort nanuk-O-dah-Nort is offline
 
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Default Thanks for the Info

thanks for that Leeper

seems even the old masters had preconceived notions that don't pass the test of time.

So, to sum up, there really is no reason to improve the epps, unless you already have a .303 in a strong action.
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Old 12-29-2010, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nanuk-O-dah-Nort View Post
thanks for that Leeper

seems even the old masters had preconceived notions that don't pass the test of time.

So, to sum up, there really is no reason to improve the epps, unless you already have a .303 in a strong action.
There were as many if not more and open fueds and opposite views and ideas/theories with some of the old writers and gunsmiths as there are now!
I have sime magazines and books from the 50's and Ackely was not reveared by all , for sure.

Of course, the best known fued was between Mr.'s Keith and O'Connor, but
Parker ackley and Mr.Harvey Donalson used to get into it as well.
Cat
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  #26  
Old 12-29-2010, 06:17 PM
nanuk-O-dah-Nort nanuk-O-dah-Nort is offline
 
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Default as long as we keep it civil

Debate is Never a Bad thing!

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Old 12-29-2010, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nanuk-O-dah-Nort View Post
Debate is Never a Bad thing!

It is at the very least, entertaining!!:>)
If you REALLY want to hear some opinions, get pon over to the 24 hr. campfire and find out just how NOT revered some writers like keith, page, O'Connor, Clay, etc are to some there!
John Barsness is very well received by some, then again, not by others.
Same as Boddington, Venturino, take you pick!! LMAO!
Myself, I would not step across the rode to P1ss on Sam Fadala because of his views on recurves, muzzle loaders, etc, but some seem to think he is the bee's knees!
All fun however......
Cat
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Old 12-29-2010, 09:40 PM
nanuk-O-dah-Nort nanuk-O-dah-Nort is offline
 
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Default I hear ya...

I have read enough now, that most is rehash.

I do miss some of the older writers that occassionally had some gems.

Jamison, Seyfried. I am too young to have read anything from Kieth, or O'conner.

and now, it seems I pretty much skip over anything except by Barsness, Scoville. I do read Venturino due to his being lengthy and on occasion there may be a morsel of useful info there.

but, as you say, all in fun!
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  #29  
Old 08-04-2014, 08:11 AM
shaunbaisley shaunbaisley is offline
 
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Default 303 Epps conversion

Hi Guys.
I have just found and registered on this site after looking for reloading info on the 303 Epps.
I have a converted P14 that I purchased many years ago simply because it was a P14 and the barrel was in superb condition (something quite rare after firing cordite military ammo). The conversion was done in Cape Town by Suburban Guns.
Just 2 hours ago I spent some time shooting some reloads over a chrono at my local gun shop. Loads were all 174 grain JSP bullets ahead of S341 Lot 80 South African powder. COL was set at 75,5mm.
Results of two-shot averages were
50 grains = 2715fps
51 grains = 2789 fps (pretty close to factory 30-06 168 gr factory specs)
52 grains = 2864 fps
53 grains = 2944 fps (that BTW is the maximum recommended load for the 30-06 with a 168 gr bullet)
At that point I stopped, although the cases and primers showed absolutely NO sign of excessive pressures. The final load almost matches the 300 H&H performance. I think in the interests of longevity, mine and the cases, I will back off to the 52 grain load which still comfortably exceeds 30-06 factory performance.
Just my .02c worth.
Shaun

Last edited by shaunbaisley; 08-04-2014 at 08:14 AM. Reason: Additional comment
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Old 08-04-2014, 08:25 AM
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Wildcat cartridges rule...like said earlier why ever pop the hood and change it up? Because we can and that is a good thing. If not then my 6-284 would just be a 243...boring.
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