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Thread: 303 brit question

  1. #1
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    Default 303 brit question

    Is it possible to build a 45/70 on a 303 action? I'm not talking monatary, but feasable. I see all these extremely cheap 303 actions and I've been thinking about for a cheap camp gun. It would be nice to shoot pointy bullets for the 45/70.

    Thanks
    Joel

  2. #2
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    Default 45/70 on Enfield action

    Yeah,i've seen it done,the rifle was commercially produced and pretty rough,but functional.I'm originally from New Zealand where for over 100years the .303 was the most popular centerfire rifle cartridge.I'm not sure what number one is now but the "three o three" can't be too far behind.I shot many animals with that caliber and consider it as good as a .308.Fair enough you can get many more bullet weights in .762 but seldom do you find rifles in that caliber for under $100 US.I'd like to hear of any Alaskan hunting stories with the .303.
    Nice one

  3. #3

    Default 45-70 Enfield

    You can build a 45-70 on an Enfield action, a No.1 Mk 3 or 4, BUT, and this is a big but, you have to have a magazine that will work. Gibbs Rifle Co. out of West Virginia was making the rifles, with a Rossi barrel set up by Navy Arms, but they had to have custom magazines made and ran into trouble. I couldn't get an extra mag for mine because of their problems with the manufacturer. A standard mag cannot be reworked. My No. 1 Mk3 rework worked well and was pretty accurate. The .303 is a 45,000 lb. cartridge, so it is fine for the cartridge. Hope this helps.

  4. #4
    New member reuben_j_cogburn's Avatar
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    Default action alternative

    Why not use a P-14 or P-17 action? They can still be had (fairly) cheap. In fact I think my smith still has one gathering gust in a bin. And you can build pretty much anything you want and you don't have nearly the trouble getting the magazine to feed.
    My smith built lots of poor man custom rifles on these actions in years past.

  5. #5

    Default P-14 to 45-70

    Even though the P-14 was set up for the rimmed .303 cartridge, there are problems with that action being modified for feeding the 45-70 cartridge. Also, that magazine will actually only hold 2 45-70 cartridges properly. The specially made magazines for the Enfields, despite their being the right size for 10 .303 cartridges would only hold 3 cartridges in 45-70.

  6. #6
    New member reuben_j_cogburn's Avatar
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    Default converting to 45/70

    I did come up with this article quick. I thought I had seen a few of these for sale from CDNN or SOG a ways back.
    If both conversions are tricky I think I'd pic an Eddystone or something over a MK. action. I just like'um better....


    http://www.surplusrifle.com/shooting...ntry/index.asp

  7. #7
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    Smile another possibility

    By taking a P17 receiver and using a P14 bolt; you'll have the .535 bolt face with the P17 action and magazine. Stay away from Eddystone P17's. They are known to be brittle and can crack while removing the barrel. A Remington or Winchester P17 actions are great for customizing.

    Another Alternative is a Siamese Mauser. They convert over great to 45-70 bolt rifles. Siamese Mausers were very popular in the 60’s, but getting harder to find these days.

    __________________________________________________ _____________________________________

    The Commentary:


    The trouble with customizing rifles these days are the total costs. Finding the right receiver, machining, new barrel, bolt work, new stocks and trigger jobs… easy to get big bucks in a small project.

    Try a cost analysis before starting the project: price out each component, make a list of what you want and try to have all the pieces before you have the gunsmith begin work, oh yes, the gun smith costs should be itemized. A good smith will tell you all the costs involved in the conversion to give you an idea of how much to expect.

    These days, building a cheap gun is hard.
    But building an expensive custom deluxe rifle that is a piece of art can be accomplished on a low budget if you buy one piece at a time over time; you will have a dream rifle that is normally out of your standard gun budget. The trick is it may take a year or two, but the end result is you end up with the rifle of your dreams. Remember that .35 Whelen that was posted a week or so ago? What an absolute work of art! Took him two years (Sorry I don’t remember your name)
    But WOW! Look what he ended up with…

    )))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))) )))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))) )))))
    QUESTION????

    Have anyone done any work on a Russian Mosin Nagant? There's a cheap receiver, but I've seen nothing on swapping calibers. The 7.62x54R has a diameter compatable to the 45-70 rim. Murphy? your thoughts?
    God, Guns and Guts is what made America Great

  8. #8
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    Default 45-70 on 303 action?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blink
    Is it possible to build a 45/70 on a 303 action? I'm not talking monatary, but feasable. I see all these extremely cheap 303 actions and I've been thinking about for a cheap camp gun. It would be nice to shoot pointy bullets for the 45/70.

    Thanks
    Joel
    I don't have time to write the long answer right now, so please excuse me if I'm too blunt. No offence intended, but if you start your project with junk, no matter how much money you put into it, you'll still have junk.

    The 303 whichever with the rear locking bolt in whatever configuration is notorious for case seperation. The brass has a very short life because of the spring in the action.

    There is no way I would use one of these actions for anything requiring one nickle of my money.

    I wrote something earlier about using a Ruger 77 short action barreled for the 450 Marlin. My recommendation is to go that route, and you'll have something when finished, and won't be wasting your money.

    I mostly agree with whateveri8, about the cost, etc. I think it's a good idea to make a project over a couple of years, and put good parts and gunsmithing into it. These issues with bolt faces, magazines alterations/custom, and feed rails should most certainly be avoided. Leave junk in the heap, and start with a quality action, designed to feed the specific cartridge you want.
    Regards,
    KB

  9. #9
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    Default

    Thanks guys for the input. Its just an idea I've been kicking around.

  10. #10
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    Smile out shot?

    Sure you havn't been outshot by a guy with a Lee Enfeild Blink?May be more than once? :-)

  11. #11

    Default Enfield junk, I think not.

    Kabluewy, I have to say just as bluntly, that your explanation of why Enfields have a problem with case separation is incorrect. It has nothing to do with spring in the action. The fact is that the chamber specs for military Enfields (SMLE) were very much oversized so that they would still function in grungy combat situations. It is when you reload fired .303 cases that the trouble arises. When quite a bit younger, which is easy for me to say these days, I had a smith reset the barrel one turn and recut the chamber to proper specs on a No.1 Mk3 I had. I was well into my reloading at the time. Before the work I could maybe get 2 loadings out of a case before case separation signs started appearing. Afterwards, I could load cases 4-5 times, which is as much as I ever load cases anyway.
    If you don't like the action, so be it, but to call it junk when it performed so well for so many long years, well.... In Australia, they have been using the Enfield action for wildcat cartridges bases on the .303 case for years. But, they is ugly compared to the slick actions that currently abound. Fair enough.

  12. #12
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    Default Enfield Conversions

    I don't think I subscribe to the theory that the 303 Enfield is an inferior piece. It is less handsome than some rifles and by it's appearance seems to be a beater, but it is very tough and durable particularly the jungle carbine version. For my tastes, the J/C sights and balance are about right.

    I have heard from so many people how it has head space problems and the rear lugs allow the bolt to flex, ad infinitum. I have owned two converted to 45-70 by good smith's and they handled very heavy loads. I had one converted to 405 WCF and it was great except with some bullets too long to feed smoothly so I just shortened the case to crimp in the cannelure and things were fine. I wish I still had that one. I also knew a guy who had one in 35 WCF and loaded to max and worked great.

    The chambers of the original rifles were sloppy, well actually just larger to allow chambering dirty, corroded ammo. For a military rifle I can see the benefit of that. When loading for them I use a die called a body die which sizes only the base of the case and a neck die to size the neck enough to hold the bullet and take care not to set the shoulder back. In other words, I headspace the cartridge on the shoulder. There is never any stretching of cases after the first firing when I do this. Any case, such as the belted mags, will separate after a few firings if allowed to "grow" to fit the chamber. Headspace should be held to the shoulder on everything, rimless, belted or rimmed. If it has a shoulder, use it.

    I have been in a few places around the world where the 303 was used extensively. It is a very reliable and rugged rifle. It has be in use for many decades, longer than any other arm I know of. It has been blamed for loosing battles on several continents but in reality it is very good. Accuracy in good barrels is still only mediocre, however. I have never known of a tack driver. But they make very good camp rifles and loaner (beater) rifles. I watched a young man put four rounds into an old she lion that came his way after he came to run her out of the cattle. In about three seconds, this old gal was hit four times in the front half, two coming at him and two after she turned. Her cattle killing days ended about fifty yards later. This young feller was about 14 years old and had killed many head of game with that old jungle carbine. His dad was a PH in Zimbabwe and one heck of a shot with ...well just about any rifle. The kid learned quickly.

    Another rifle that I like that is often tauted as being weak and inferior is the Krag rifle. The later versions of this one in a carbine is really handy though not as strong and probably not as reliable under rough conditions as the Enfield. I still like them but don't think they would convert well. The Uni-lug bolt is just not the equal of a Mauser type but you have to admit it has a very unique magazine.

    Someone mentioned the Mosin-Nagant. I have done very little with them. I bought one made by Remington back in the early sixties for $8, I think it was, and didn't do much with it ( I was a bout twelve at the time) except to cut the barrel off a little, for what reason I dont know. (kids) They are still very popular for beater rifles and easy to load for. I have owned a few since then. They are a deer caliber at Grampa's orchard range and that's about it. All three of these rifles and the Japanese model of the same era are meant to operate at about 45,000 psi and the Mausers were meant to run at about 56,000 psi. I think that is why they faded out. The Arisaka is one of the strongest actions ever built and in some ways better than the M98, but I guess too ugly to take top billing.

    There is little doubt that the Siamese Mauser is the best and simpliest to convert to 45-70. But it would be easier to find a set of hen molars than to come up with one of these. But they do make butt kickin' bear rifles. I would leave the bolt handle straight rather than bend it down . It would be prettier bent down but much easier to grab and cycle if left straight out.

    This has been fun, folks, good shootin'.

    Murphy

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