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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 5:30 pm 
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Benefactor
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Location: Lancaster, PA
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This installment looks at Greek .303 ammunition, specifically the HXP-71 FMJ mil-surp.

The usual ten round sample is taken apart and inspected, weighed, and measured.
My personal experience with this ammunition is mixed. It has always been sure fire
and sure function for me. On the other hand the accuracy when used in my #4 MkII is
lackluster and cleaning the massive copper fouling is a chore. I had resigned myself
to shooting up my supply and being happy with the brass, but after this little inspection
adventure I'm not sure the brass is what I thought it was.

As usual all weights were taken with a RCBS 10-10 scale and Mitutoyo digital micrometers
were used for dimension measurements.

Heres what we are dealing with:

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Case dimension measurement were made of the head diameter, the neck diameter, and the case length.
The results were as lackluster as the ammunition shot for me. While head diameter was fairly stable, running
from .452" to 454", the neck diameter was another story. It varied from .3330" all the way to .3370", and this was
on unfired rounds squeezed to bullets that all fell within a .001" range. Why? The outside neck diameter
varied that much because neck wall thickness varied that much. This is not a good sign when accuracy
is desired on the menu.

Case length was also problematic, running from 2.208" to 2.216". The wide difference results in
inconsistancy in bullet tension in the neck. This is especially true with sealed military cartridges.

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Would these case dimension numbers stop me from buying the ammunition?
Certainly not, even less so if I wasn't a handloader. What it means to me is expecting
above average accuracy would not make sense. It shoots and functions, but only
with average accuracy and results.

The ammunition was taken apart with the aid of a RCBS collet type bullet puller,
and it was needed. Several of these rounds took three tries to pull the bullet!

Image

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Also noted while taking apart the sample rounds was the bullet sealer. It varied largely
from one round to the next. One round came apart easily and had little sealer, while
the next was a contest in strength and had so much sealer on the bullet that chunks
were left laying in the powder sample. All this sealer had to be removed from the
bullets before measureing their diameter, so out came the carb cleaner and rag.

Image

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Another note regarding the bullets, and the first like it in my experience.
The FMJ spitzer design bullet does have a canalure, and did have the case crimped into it.
However...... the canalure varied from one bullet to the next, lightly impressed or deeply
impressed. This points to indifferent quality control. A big issue in military ball ammo?
Not really, but another nail in the coffin of accuracy.

Image

The powder was a very fine ball powder, resembling some of the Winchester offerings.
It ran smooth and easily and appeared to be in excellent condition. The charge weight
was pretty consistant, as it should be. This powder should be a dream to meter.

Image

Now for the numbers:

Powder: Charges ranged from a high of 41.5 grains to a low of 41.1 grains. Most settled
at 41.3 or 41.5 grains.

Cases: Weights varied from a high of 189.1 grains to a low of 182.2 grains. This is an
exceptionally wide spread and not a good sign. It implies poor quality control in
the manufacture process. The case necks were annealed and the cases are easily reloadable,
with only a tiny crimp on the primer, easily swaged or reamed away. I have re-loaded cases
of this breed in excess of six times already with moderate loads and neck sizing.

Bullets: Weights were reasonably consistant, from a high of 174.2 grains to a low of 173.2 grains.
The bullet diameters fell from .3111" to 3118". Pretty decent size wise, but slightly small
considering almost all .303 Brits start at .312" and go up fast. My own No4 MkII slugs at .312".
Undersize bullets rarely ever shoot accuratly, but they certainly function just fine.

Here are some charts for those so inclined:

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My thoughts? I can't expand much on what is said above. The ammunition
functions perfectly, goes bang every time, and is certainly worth buying.
That said.... don't expect stellar accuracy, and while the brass is easily
reloadable it's not bench rest quality. For that matter, it's not even Commercial
Winchester quality. It's tough though.

As for the heavy copper fouling I get from this ammunition..... I am not kidding.
Twenty rounds will leave my bore looking like an old pipe, where it started
as the perfect bore it is. Using commercial bullets, or my own cast lead, I get
no fouling to speak of. After using this Greek surplus I can count on an
extended clean time with lots of Sweets 7.62 going down the bore.

Image

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 7:29 pm 
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Mil-Surp Collector
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Another great report - thanks!

I wonder if a neck turner would help this brass become all it could be.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 7:45 pm 
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Benefactor
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I have no doubt it would help. If I can scare up a ball mic
I'll try to get some real numbers on the neck walls.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 11:08 pm 
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Mil-Surp Psychosis
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I vote that all of carteach's ammo threads get stickied! They're very informative and I would hate for them to get "lost" and forgotten as they move down the forum.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 11:56 pm 
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Mil-Surp Psychosis
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Cool!

Hey, if you want to do some Bulgy 8x56R lemme know, I have thousands of rounds of it.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 2:13 pm 
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Mil-Surp Collector
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Age: 24
most impressive report. Where can I get some Greek 303?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 2:26 pm 
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Benefactor
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I gather it dried up a while ago. If you run across some, buy it.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 7:47 pm 
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Benefactor
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Do you know whether or not the later HXP is any better? I've recently bought "a lot" of this ammo, from the late 80's.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 9:07 pm 
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Benefactor
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Sandlapper:

I have not tried any of the later HXP ammunition, nor taken any apart
to examine. If I run across some, I'll probably buy it and do so.

If you want me to compare yours to this HXP-71, send me 15 rounds and
I'll do so.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2007 2:53 pm 
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Mil-Surp Shooter
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Hmmm...I have some Greek .303 I have yet to shoot. Almost used it in a service rifle match last year. Looks like vey good stuff.
Great info.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 12:03 am 
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Mil-Surp Owner
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Great article. I'm trying to learn as much about .303 as I can.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 12:44 am 
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Mil-Surp Owner
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Is it corrosive?

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 4:57 am 
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Benefactor
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g3shooter wrote:
Is it corrosive?



Almost all military surplus ammunition is corrosive.
Not all, but enough that it should all be considered corrosive.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 4:08 pm 
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Mil-Surp Owner
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Age: 44
HXP .303 ammunition is non-corrosive and boxer primed. Great for reloading!!! :D
If the powder looks like Winchester, that's because it more than likely is.
From what I've read and heard (can't cite the sources, sorry) Winchester helped set up the munitions manufacturing in Greece during that time period of the late 60's/early 70's.
This is for both the .303 and the 30-06 HXP ammunition.
It's good stuff! :thumb:


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 9:55 pm 
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Benefactor
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I went through 48 rounds of the Greek stuff today with my Garand in roughly 20 minutes. I then spent nearly 1 hour 30 minutes cleaning that gun...and it's still not clean.
Also, I noticed my Garand was particularly vicious on the brass although it could simply be the headspacing with my rifle.

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