First adopted in the British service around 1902 and used across both World Wars, the .303 short magazine rifle cartridge was extensively used by many countries.
Being the productive endeavor of the War Office Small Arms Committee, this entity even had the privilege of being called the ‘Universal’ component short rifle, as it swiftly replaced the pre-existing Lee Enfield designs in the infantry and cavalry.
It also had the added advantage of features like charger loading and much more. Owing to how it was seen as a movement in the field of arms, popular manufacturers still seem to keep adding on features and tend to stick on to this gem of a design.
Over the period of time, this sturdy piece of equipment was subject to several changes, mostly good but occasionally unnecessary. One could see that the list is quite extensive, but it would be more relevant to study the advantages which allowed such exponential growth.
You can still find the .303 British being in common use and is manufactured in several units spread around the world by renowned producers like The Castle Arms. The fact that you still find this design standing speaks volumes for its own quality and fame. This critically-acclaimed cartridge has also been a forerunner for many of the new pieces you see in the current market.
Before getting into further technicalities, you should be familiar with the basic dimensions and details of the ammo. In simple terms for you to understand, the .303 British, also called the 7.7x56mmR, is a rimmed, bottleneck rifle cartridge. The .303 represents the bore of the unit, measured in inches.
With a cartridge case capacity of 3.64 ml, this cartridge with the tapering exterior was designed with the goal of reliable case feeding and extraction. This was eventually satisfied, thanks to experts from different countries’ repeated recommendations and experiments.
Introduction in history
Upon introduction, this British service rookie has termed a powder Mark, as it was initially designed by the British as a stop-gap round with black powder. This, combined with a boxer primer and full metal jacket, together with the round, was only used for a year.
Introduced into service rifles in the year 1888, this addition was mainly to aid the Lee-Metford rifle, to be exact. Starting here, the rifle was constantly subject to improvements and the addition of features over time.
In the year 1891, you would find that the cartridges were directed toward the usage of smokeless powder. This variant was made the standard cartridge for both British as well as Commonwealth military systems until the late 1950s when the 7.62 NATO sniper rifle type replaced it.
Advantages based on popular opinion
|1. The versatile nature of the rifle allows it to be customized. You can easily alter the Buttstock length by simply replacing it with another one you deem fit. You can even make a couple of changes to produce sniper variants, simply with a suitable scope mount. This is why you still find it classified as an assault weapon in a few states.
2. The cost factor is definitely worth a mention. The .303 British is easily available and mostly at a price that is easy on your wallet.
3. The detachable magazine with the possibility of loading 5-round chargers could be all you look for with your short rifle. This also allows you to use your rifle without worrying about rim jams.
The .303 British in Hunting
Thanks to its high praise and availability, this rifle cartridge was one of the most common components used for hunting all medium-sized games.
If you look closely enough, you will still find that these cartridges are being used for hunting whitetail deer and black bears, especially in countries like Canada. This is due to the previous history of these cartridges being sold at low prices as it was part of the military surplus.
The .303 was even named the standard hunting equipment for quite a while and has also been a popular component of the Canadian Rangers. This was mainly for its ability to fire long and heavy bullets with its unbelievably fast twist rate, paired with the lengths of measurements of the cartridge itself. The Canadians used it mainly for survival and polar bear protection.
The .303 British can now be found in different variants, thanks to the amount of improvement and research that has been put in.
A few of the most popular and outstanding upgrades would be the full metal jacket bullet, soft point, hollow point, boat tails, etc.
The best part is that all these are still highly appreciated by professionals worldwide, and these cartridges remain one of the most widely used equipment of all time.