Super Speed .303 British Mystery

I searched the IAA archives and the internet for bullets Winchester would have loaded into its Super Speed .303 British case. All I could find was 180 gr and 215 gr soft point. So I have two questions:

What is the cartridge in the attached photos? It kind of looks like the Canadian Gallery Practice round but the bullet is jacketed and it’s a hollow point sort of. Actually it looks like a hole was drilled into the tip after the jacket was put on.

Did Winchester make this or did someone reload the case with whatever that bullet is?

Thanks in advance

Harvey




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I don’t think the hole is drilled post production. The outer jacket has larger diametre. If it were drilled, both would have the same hole size.

Looks like a reload to me.

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I think it is a reload. My guess is that the bullet is for a .32-20 WCF High-Speed load.

The case mouth crimps look to be blown out and I think I see reload / re-size crimp marks midway down the neck so my 2¢ is also reload.

Reload. Looks like an older HP projectile for reloading the .30 carbine. Waterman might be correct on the 32-20 projectile. Evidence of re-sizing on the neck.

I agree with Waterman, looks like a reload using a Western 32-30 O.P.E. 80 gr bullet.

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So, it’s a reload. The diameter of the neck where crimped around the bullet is about. 004" less than you’d see in a ball round which is what Pete saw. It’s hard to measure exactly the diameter of the bullet because of the cannelure but it’s close to .303". That said, if you fired this in an SMLE it wouldn’t engage the rifling. One wonders then what the point was in making this thing.

Harvey

Harvey
The point was maybe it looked cool, or ,lets fool Bill with this, or nothing to do this Sat.afternoon , or who knows,
There are all kinds of this stuff out there in the bullet collecting world.

Another vote for re-load, I can see striations on the cartright that look like sizing die marks. Also, it was not uncommom in the 60s’~70s’ for people to ‘play’ with light bullets formsmallmgame in their large game hunting rifles.
We loaded 90~110 grain bullets in pretty much everything, from .30-40, 7.62x39, 30-06, 8mm/7.9 Mauser, every military cartridge of that range.

My thoughts, too. For the 32 WHV loading most likely.

I think that factory jacketed bullets for the .32-20 WCF or WHV cartridges would shoot reasonably well in most any SMLE, etc. Groove diameter for the .32-20 rifles was .311 or .312.

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This was a fairly common practice in the 30-40s to load 32-20 bts in .303" to make a HV varmint ctg load for the LE and Ross at least in Ontario. Still have a few my god father made by pulling bts on surplus and switching bts.

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Interesting. I guess the diameter of the bullet inside the neck must be greater than the visible portion. It must be to engage the rifling and make good varmint rounds. Thank you for the additional information.

red66ford,

I am not sure whether the bullet loaded in the .303 round in question is from Winchester or not. However, I have boxes of the Winchester .32-20 H.V. 80 Grain HP, the factory nomenclature for this bullet as it appears on the box label, factory index B32203 and a long time discontinued, I believe, from when I used to shoot my Winchester Model 92 .32-20 Rifle. I used them because they produced incredibly good groups for that lever action rifle. I just measured one sample bullet:

0.3125" just below the knurled crimping groove
0.3080" just above the knurled crimping groove

I don’t know if this helps the discussion or not.

John Moss

I used to own a Marlin .32-30 from around 1898, and the bore was .311. I do not know when it was standardized, but sometime after WWII .32-20 started having a .308/.309 bore.
Two .32-20 barrels I have for the Thompson Center Contender have bores for .308 diameter bullets.
For the life of me I can not find any of the modern factory loads I know I have to measure them.

It is interesting that “after WWII .32-20 started having a .308/.309 bore.” The bullets I have were purchased by me right after they were discontinued - I bought all the jobber had - and that was long after WWII, but as noted, on the lower portion of the bullet where it contacts the bore, they are 0.3125 +/- 0.0002. I don’t recall exactly when this bullet was discontinued and I don’t collect .32-20 cartridges so don’t know when Winchester discontinued the loading. I just don’t have time right now to try to narrow it down from what Winchester-Western catalogs I have from the post-WWII era.

John Moss

Presently, one can buy a full-size single shot rifle, or one of the pistol-sized ones like the Contender in a chambering listed as “.30-20”. This is the .32-20 WCF case, but intended for the large array of .30 caliber cast bullets. Unless this has been picked up by one of the smaller manufacturers, this is still a wildcat. It does not take much effort to reduce the neck diameter of the original WCF case.

The 32-20 WCF has not been a “wildcat” cartridge for at least 50 years, which would be about the time I had to pay for my first box.

The .32-20 is a standard factory load* by at least fsix manufactureres who make Lead Bullets in weights of 100 and 115 grain: Black Hills, Remington, HSM, and Winchester, Ultramax, Jamison, Hornady [makes runs every couple of years], and I have seen PPU/Prvi Partisan every once in a while. All of tehm have it listed, although it seems that ALL .32-20 is on “backorder”.

  • Understandably- or not- the .32-20 Winchester Center Fire is not a “priority” round for any of the manufacturers right now…

EDIT to add: I forgot the Fiocci 100 grain LRN, also unavailable, but still listed in standard production rounds.

Badger - I think
Waterman was referring to the “.30-20,” not the “.32-20,” as still being a wildcat. In my opinion, he is technically correct, as when you neck down the .32-20 and load it with .30 caliber bullets (c. .308"), it is no longer really a .32-20 cartridge.

It is akin to the difference between the factory .30-30 and .32 Winchester Special cartridges.

Guess it all hinges on one’s own definition of a “wildcat.”

I’ll add my own two bits as a shooter that used to shoot a 92 Winchester in .32-20 with very good success as to accuracy. With the assortment of bullets available (even though my favorite Wincheser 32-20 HV 80 Grain hollow point, Index B32203 (0-311 to 0.312" was discontinued years ago), I don’t know why anyone would bother loading a .30-20 wildcat cartridge. But then, each to his own.

John Moss