Australian 303/22 cartridges


#1

I did the 303 based Australian cartridges this weekend but there are some questions that I hope one of the Australian forum members can assist with. In a 1991 ECRA newsletter there was a reply by Bruce Morgan to a query from another collector and he listed some, or I assume most of the 303 variations from Australia. One such cartridge was the 303/22 Sprinter with a case length of 52mm.Specimen below.

303-22%20MF%2056%207 303-22%20MF%2056%207%20FULL

Another specimen was the .303/22 Falcon, otherwise known as the “full length” 56mm round with specimen below
303-22%20MF%201943%20GII 303-22%20MF%201943%20GII%20FULL

My questions are regarding the following two cartridges. The first has a 52mm case length but that is different from the 303/22 Wasp that was listed with a 44mm case length, unless that was a mistake in the original newsletter:
303-22%20MF%2058%207 303-22%20MF%2058%207%20FULL

The second specimen has a 55mm case length and the shoulder length is different at 43mm as opposed the 44.7mm for the full length (56mm) case.
303-22%20MF%2057%207 303-22%20MF%2057%207%20FULL

Thanks in advance
Daan
www.cartridgecollector.net


#2

Sorry can’t specifically answer your questions Daan, but my impression of Australia’s .303 / .22’s was the it was heavily wild-catted, Some of the more popular were named & marketed, but others did not achieve that level of acceptance.
As I said this is an impression, not a fact, I hope someone who knows will inform us.

Also a couple of Sprinter boxes & their rounds.


Spriner%20rnds


#3

The .303-22 is briefly discussed in this old thread:


#4

Pete is correct about a proliferation of wildcats based on the .303 case.
After WW2, Australia had a lot of import restrictions, and the only readily available calibre was the .303.
While some were named such as the sprinter, many were not. Plenty of competent gunsmiths made up their own, often unnamed versions.
As well as the 303/22, other popular wildcats were variations of the 303/25 and the .303/.270.

This brought to mind the fact it was getting a couple of these wildcats in 1957 which started my cartridge collecting days.


#5

Unused boxes from .303/25 and .303/270


#6

The attached document is from an Australian book (soft-cover, about 80 pages) with several 303 wildcat entries. I do not not know when the book was published because no date is given.
303Wildcats_Waterworth.pdf (4.4 MB)


#7

Here is a short extract from another Australian book with some 303 Wildcat info. Again, no publication date but based of the chapters that give the results for the Australian 1962/63 shooting results, it would have to be around 1964. Also, the Waterworth book I reckon must have been published around 1960/61.
303Wildcats_Gregorys.pdf (4.8 MB)


#8

Some more Super boxes plus others in either .303 / 22, .25 & .270
I’d bet even more makers than I show here. Some of my other Australian boxes don’t have case type print on them & so may be conventional calibers, like the .243 Winchester. so I can’t speak of them.
NE%20super%20boxes Riverbrand Imperial Spoetco


#9

Thanks very much everyone for input on this. The page has been updated (http://www.cartridgecollector.net/cartridges-based-303-british).

IanB - some of those photos were in the ECRA letter (Feb '91), but were faxed copies only. Thanks for these.

Pete - do I have permission to put some of the boxes on the website?

If anyone has a 303/22 Rimless or a 303/25 Rimless to spare, please PM me

Regards
Daan
www.cartridgecollector.net


#10

Hi Daan,
I did not want to interpose into your thread with a .303-.25R, but have appended a link, just in case it might be of interest:

Regards,
Sam3


#11

Sure do Daan,

I have an extra of the Sprinter rimless in the box. Daan, send me an e-mail not a pm.


#12

The .303 necked down calibres were sold by many companies but not all of them were actual loaders. I show two old boxes from the 1960’s? H&R Sports Centre in Sydney had the Union Arms brand. R.G.Mathison loaded many calibres that were just stamped on the front. The .303-35 with 200 grain I have not seen loaded by any others.
I have about 70 different coloured, bullet weight, print or different designed Australian boxes in the necked-down .303-22 to .303-35 calibres. I do not have them all but they are gathering interest among collectors. Still loaded by Bertram and in Queensland.


#13

Nice boxes !

Didn’t know about the .35 cal version, another to look for.

Be nice to see a list of the Australian makers, even if they offered just the standard .243 or .303"


#14

Hi Daan
The wild cat 303 / 22 was sold as commercial ammunition in the 2 case lengths as noted by yourself the Sprinter at 52 mm and the longer Falcon or necked down 303 at 56 mm
But during the 1950’s and 1960’s after WW11 Australian shooters in general could not readily afford beautiful U.S. British or European firearms so the surplus military SMLE 303 sold in their thousands at Army Surplus stores across Australia was the choice of many Australians and many backyard shooting enthusiasts that had a lath chambered there own rebarrlled SMLE in many calibres such as 303 - 25 303-270 303-243 and collectors today come across variations in case length in most of these calibres ! My friend Maurie Palmer now long deceased a well known gunsmith in the Newcastle area even produced 22 Hornet chambered rifles from old MK 111 SMLE rifles ! Super Cartridge Company, Riverbrand, ICI, Belmont of New Zealand and Lapua, Norma and several others in Australia had loaded ammo in military brass or new brass ,available commercially in theses calibres from time to time but hand loaders trying to achieve a fast flat shooting cartridge out to 200 yards or so had in many cases a rifled chambered to their own requirements ! This could be a problem in that time in Australian firearm history when you purchased a second hand 303 in these calibres from a pawn shop and discovered it would not chamber commercial ammunition a real pain in the butt for a non hand loader that wanted a rifle to shoot pigs or roos as pests back then ! And yes no registration or licences back then !