View Full Version : Enfield re-barrel?
May 23, 2009, 02:52 PM
I've got a 1943 SMLE (Enfield) No4 MkI, English (Birmingham) manf. The barrel is in pretty bad shape, and I'd like to have it rebarreled and reblued or Parkerized.
Numrich has decent milsurp barrels for a good price, but the few gunsmiths I've spoken with say they won't install them for liability reasons. :confused:
If I go with Gander Mtn or a barrel manufacturer (like ER Shaw) I'll lose the bayonet lugs in the process, and I'm not willing to do that to this historic rifle.
Suggestions? Are there any gunsmiths out there who aren't afraid of the milsurp barrels?
I plan to refinish the wood myself, so by the time this project is done I hope to have a historically-accurate and minute-of-deer-accurate battle rifle.
May 23, 2009, 05:23 PM
Welcome to the site!
The issue for most gunsmiths is they don't do enough Enfields to justify the cost of special tooling to hold the awkwardly shaped SMLE receiver ring and barrel near the receiver.
SMLE wrench $130+shipping (http://www.brownells.com/aspx/NS/store/ProductDetail.aspx?p=25121&title=SHORT%20MAGAZINE%20LEE%20ENFIELD%20RIFLE%20ACTION%20WRENCH%20&%20HEAD)
The block to hold the barrel in a barrel vise would have to be custom cut on a lathe and bandsawed in half - more time and $s.
Since the Numrich barrel is a takeoff, a 'smith would have to use a lathe to move the barrel shoulder one thread to account for your stretched action. Then the barrel would have to be rechambered for a "0" bolt head.
GO and NO GO headspace gages at $28 each (http://www.brownells.com/aspx/NS/store/ProductDetail.aspx?p=19183&title=FORSTER%20HEADSPACE%20GAUGES)
303 finish reamer at $100 (http://www.brownells.com/aspx/NS/store/ProductDetail.aspx?p=17646&title=RIMMED%20&%20BELTED%20RIFLE%20CHAMBERING%20REAMERS)
So, you can see that the cost of special tooling for the SMLE adds up quickly. Add a couple or four hours of 'smith labor and you have easily exceeded the cost of your rifle.
The end result would be 2 very unhappy people:
You, because you'll think the 'smith is a crook for having to charge $ hundreds $ to simply break even.
The 'smith, for the hassle of obtaining the tooling and spending several shop hours for only $30 profit and ending up with an ungrateful customer to boot!
My recommendation is to Google for surplus rifle forums where you might find a gunsmith who specializes in SMLEs.
May 23, 2009, 10:05 PM
I rebarreled one. I bought one full of cosmoline. When I got it cleaned up, there was a bulge in the barrel about 5 inches from the muzzle, like someone tried to fire a rifle grenade with a real round instead of a blank.
It was very hard to rebarrel. I found a cherry 4-groove No.4 barrel at Northridge for $40. I used resin to cast a "wrench" around the chamber area and used a strap wrench to twist the barrel off, just about wrecking my elbow in the process. I reversed the process to get the new barrel on. I had the devil of a time getting it indexed correctly. I ended up taking a little metal off the barrel shoulder.
The headspace was long for a #1 bolt head. Fortunately, I found a #2 locally that gave me just the right dimension.
The rebarreled rifle turned out to be a tack driver. It will hold under 2 inches with iron sights all day long with the cheapest factory ammo I can find.
May 23, 2009, 11:16 PM
Check with these guys..........
May 24, 2009, 03:37 PM
Thanks for all the answers!
Clemson, that link should be very helpful. I'll contact BDL and see what they have to say. It's nice that they're within driving distance, too.
May 26, 2009, 10:05 AM
You might want to look here as well:
June 2, 2009, 08:41 PM
When large numbers of surplus SMLE's were being sporterised in Australia post WW2, the local gunsmiths got around the barrel wrench problem by putting the barrel in a vise and bending it 90deg in the middle. The action was then clamped in a vise and the barrel was used as a lever to unscrew itself. If it was really stubborn, a piece of pipe could be put on the bent end of the barrel to give it a little extra encouragement :)
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