303 British Vs 303 Savage Comparison

The .303 British and .303 Savage are two different cartridges used for hunting, and they have distinct characteristics and historical backgrounds. Here’s a comparison between the two for hunting purposes:

.303 British:

  1. History: The .303 British cartridge has a long history and was the standard military cartridge for the British Empire and Commonwealth from the late 19th century through World War II. It was also commonly used for hunting in many parts of the world.
  2. Ballistics: The .303 British typically fires a .311 to .312-inch diameter bullet. Bullet weights vary, but it is commonly available in 150 to 180 grains. The cartridge is known for its moderate to high muzzle velocity, making it suitable for various game sizes.
  3. Availability: Ammunition for .303 British rifles is still available, but it may not be as common as more modern hunting cartridges. You can find various bullet types suitable for hunting.
  4. Suitable Game: The .303 British is capable of taking a wide range of game, from medium-sized animals like deer and hogs to larger game like moose and bear, when loaded with appropriate ammunition.

.303 Savage:

  • History: The .303 Savage is an older cartridge introduced in the late 19th century for use in Savage Arms lever-action rifles. It was primarily designed for hunting, and it never had a military application.
  • Ballistics: The .303 Savage fires a .308-inch diameter bullet. Bullet weights for this cartridge typically range from 150 to 190 grains. It has a moderate muzzle velocity and is well-suited for short- to medium-range hunting.
  • Availability: Ammunition for .303 Savage rifles can be more challenging to find compared to more popular hunting cartridges. It may require special ordering or reloading.
  • Suitable Game: The .303 Savage cartridge is best suited for hunting medium-sized game such as deer and black bear. It can also be used for larger game with careful shot placement.


  • Both cartridges were historically used for hunting and have the potential to be effective for various game sizes.
  • The .303 British has a broader availability of ammunition options, making it more versatile for different hunting scenarios.
  • The .303 Savage is associated with older lever-action rifles, and the availability of rifles chambered in this cartridge may be limited.
  • Both cartridges are suitable for medium-sized game, but the .303 British, with its higher muzzle velocity, can handle larger game more effectively.

Ultimately, the choice between the .303 British and .303 Savage for hunting depends on the specific rifle you have, the availability of ammunition, and the type of game you intend to hunt. For larger game or longer-range hunting, the .303 British may be the more practical choice. However, for short- to medium-range hunting of deer and similar-sized game, the .303 Savage can still be an effective and nostalgic option.

1. Is .303 British powerful?

  • The .303 British cartridge was powerful for its time when it was introduced in the late 19th century and used by the British Empire and Commonwealth militaries. It had sufficient power to be effective for military and hunting purposes at the time. However, compared to modern high-velocity cartridges, it is considered moderate in terms of power.

2. What is the British .303 comparable to?

  • The .303 British cartridge is somewhat comparable in power to other mid-sized cartridges like the .308 Winchester (7.62x51mm NATO) when comparing contemporary cartridges. However, it is not as powerful as many of the magnum cartridges used for hunting large game today.

3. What is the full form of .303 rifle?

  • The term “.303 rifle” typically refers to rifles chambered for the .303 British cartridge. It was a standard military cartridge for the British Empire and Commonwealth, and various rifles were chambered for it, including the Lee-Enfield series of rifles.

4. Is .303 a sniper rifle?

  • The .303 British cartridge was used in some sniper rifles during World War I and World War II, notably in the Lee-Enfield No. 4 Mk I (T) and similar variants. These rifles were adapted for precision shooting and had specialized optics. While the .303 British cartridge was used in sniper applications, it is not inherently a sniper cartridge. Modern sniper rifles typically use more powerful and specialized cartridges for long-range accuracy.

Related FAQs about the .303 British cartridge:

1. What is the history of the .303 British cartridge?

  • The .303 British cartridge has a rich history, introduced in 1888 as the standard military cartridge for British forces and used extensively in various conflicts, including both World Wars. It was also widely used for hunting.

2. What are some common rifles chambered in .303 British?

  • The Lee-Enfield series of rifles, such as the Lee-Enfield No. 1 Mk III and No. 4 Mk I, are among the most well-known rifles chambered in .303 British. Many other military surplus and civilian rifles were also chambered for this cartridge.

3. What is the effective range of the .303 British cartridge for hunting?

  • The effective range of the .303 British for hunting depends on factors like bullet type, rifle, and shooter skill. Typically, it is considered effective for medium-sized game at ranges of up to 300 yards.

4. Is surplus .303 British ammunition still available?

  • Yes, surplus .303 British ammunition is still available, but it may be corrosive and require special cleaning procedures for firearms. Commercially produced non-corrosive .303 British ammunition is also available.

5. Can the .303 British cartridge be used for modern hunting?

  • Yes, the .303 British cartridge can be used for modern hunting of medium-sized game when loaded with appropriate ammunition. It remains a capable cartridge for hunting deer, hogs, and other similar-sized animals.

6. Are there any specialized loads or ammunition types for the .303 British?

  • Yes, there are various ammunition types available for the .303 British, including soft-point, hollow-point, and ballistic-tip bullets. These can be tailored to specific hunting needs.

7. Can the .303 British cartridge be handloaded (reloaded) by shooters?

  • Yes, handloading .303 British ammunition is a common practice among shooters and hunters. Handloading allows for customization of loads for specific rifles and hunting requirements.

These FAQs provide additional information about the .303 British cartridge, its history, and its applications in hunting and shooting sports.


In summary, the .303 British cartridge was powerful in its historical context but is considered moderate by today’s standards. It is associated with various military and hunting rifles and was used in sniper rifles during certain periods. It is not commonly used in modern sniper rifles, which often employ more specialized cartridges for long-range precision shooting.

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