Month: December 2005

SMLE Velocity

Posted by on December 22, 2005

John D and I recently had a discussion about cast bullet potential in the SMLE. Specifically, whether a 215 grain bullet could be pushed to 2500FPS. I said no, chamber pressure would be too high at that weight.However, I just found, while clearing out some stuff, an NRA booklet about sporterising the SMLE that contains some interesting dope. Tests in an SMLE rifle showed the following results. The standard military 174 grain Mk 7 ball clocked 2433FPS at 43060psi. A 215 grain RN factory load clocked 2185FPS at 45080psi. Both pretty much what would be expected.But a Norma 216 grain RN in front of 49 grains of 4350 clocked 2404FPS at 43400psi.All were fired from a 26 inch test barrel, so rather lower velocities could be expected from say a 22 inch barrel. But the point remains that it seems possible to get a lot more velocity with the heavy bullet that I had previously thought, within the pressure limits of the SMLE.4320 Produced about 100FPS less at the same pressure, and couldn’t quite make 2400FPS at 47600psi, which is pushing it for the SMLE.We all know that the SMLE is not remotely comparable to the Mauser 98 as a basis for a sporter, but the picture is somewhat different for military use. The booklet mentioned these points. The bolt has a shorter throw and lift. The ten round detachable magazine is a material military advantage. It is very fast in speed and rate of hits. Trench warfare in WW1 proved it the more reliable rifle, and delivered the more effective fire. It has had large scale use over a greater part of the world than any other rifle, and has been a remarkable military success in the widest variety of conditions.That’s why it is such a good combat rifle with shortened barrel, flash hider and folding stock. Quite handy where a degree of concealment is wanted. Worth remembering for those who might have an action or two tucked away.[Originally posted to SATalkGuns -- Admin]