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Old March 1, 2009, 08:40 PM   #1
Lavid2002
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I have an old lee-enfield...How can I make sure shes good 2 go?

Old brit. .303 rifle. I see some corrosion inside the bore, looks likt its just on the surface however, no pitting. How can I check to make sure this rifle is good to shoot? Should I get some go/no go gauges?

Edit: Its a lee-enfield :P

2cnd edit...lol
Here are some cool things on this rifle, Ive never seen so much information stamped on a rifle! Ever!! If you know what ANY of this stuff means please let me know im very interested in the history of this bad boy.
*Receiver is marked No. 4 Mk. 1" ....from what I understand this rifle type has been in service since 1941.
*The right side of the muzzle is marked 303 "2.22" 18.5 TONS
*(This I found odd!) The bolt is marked N.67 MKII....now if the receiver says MK 1 why does it have a MKII bolt?
*The top of the stock, has the numbers 8092 stamped in it.
*The stock also had 2 holes in the top of it, maybe someone had a cheek pad on this? The rear aperture is kind of high. And I have to "float" my cheek to get a good view through it.
*The band that goes from the back of the trigger guard to the back of the receiver (on the left) has the markings, M47 1943(Im guessing its from 1943 :P)

Also, this rifle seems different from all the other rifles, I think someone hack and sacked the stock. The forend is all scraped up like someone DIYed it. The stock ends about half way down the stock and there is no barrel shroud.
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Last edited by Lavid2002; March 1, 2009 at 09:31 PM.
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Old March 1, 2009, 10:00 PM   #2
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Correction: I just cleaned the bore, and now I can see some very very slight pitting when I take a close look with a bore light.
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Old March 1, 2009, 10:19 PM   #3
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As long as there is no major pitting or major rust i think it should be fine to shoot. I have two military rifles, a 1946 m44 and a 1935 k31. I shoot both of them regularly with no problems.

old guns are fine to shoot as long as they are in good shape.
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Old March 1, 2009, 10:20 PM   #4
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Sounds like the rifle has some mods done to it. Hopefully shoots good still. I have a Number 5 Mk I "Jungle Carbine" Love it. Just shot it yesterday for the first time in a while. Had a great time. Can't help with the details much, but there are some enfield guys on here.
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Old March 1, 2009, 10:20 PM   #5
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The 303 Brit headspaces on the rim. So, even if it had a bore like a Subic Bay hooker, it will still shoot. If the chamber is long, and most of them are, at least slightly, the worst that can happen is that the brass stretches so that you only get a couple of reloads out of it.
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Old March 1, 2009, 10:25 PM   #6
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Sweet, as a rule of thumb I toss all my brass after the fifth trim (Or if it is obviously junk before that, bright ring, split, etc...) How will I know this brass is garbage before it fails on me? Thats excellent im so excited I can shoot this thing! Ive never used so many patches to clean a BBL before
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Old March 1, 2009, 10:37 PM   #7
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Neck sizing only will greatly improve brass life in the Lee-Enfield rifles.
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Old March 2, 2009, 03:26 AM   #8
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What do you get with your rifles? How many reloads?
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Old March 2, 2009, 08:35 AM   #9
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Quote:
a bore like a Subic Bay hooker
LMOA. Really.

I always check my Enfields with a Forster Field Gauge. The problem is that the gauge is 0.070". The British used 0.074" for their maximum headspace. So even if the SAMMI gauge calls it no-good, it may still be OK. I have had case head separation with my reloads so to prevent it, cartridges are only used in the same rifle in which they were first fired and only neck sized. But even if you have a blow out, you won't know it until you open the bolt, the Enfield will generally keep you pretty safe.

Depending upon how bad the pitting is, it may affect accuracy, especially around the throat. I've got a No. 1 Mark III that spent it's days in the Indian jungles and the throat is a mess of corrosive-primer pitting. The accuracy is OK, combat acceptable, but it will never be a precision weapon.

Below is a great reference of Enfield headspacing (he's gotten 20 reloads out of his cartridges):

http://parallaxscurioandrelicfirearm...for-303-s.html
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Old March 2, 2009, 11:00 PM   #10
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Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Lee-Enfields were designed in such a way that headspacing issues could be easily remedied by replacing the bolt head with one of a slightly different size. If memory serves, differing sizes were numbered 1-5 and this may account for some of the markings on the OP's bolt.
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Old March 3, 2009, 09:02 AM   #11
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o0o So maybe this bolt has already been relplaced in this rifles life. The bolt face screws right out of the bolt. I could blow on it and it will begin to unscrew no exaderation.
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Old March 4, 2009, 12:01 PM   #12
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Quote:
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Lee-Enfields were designed in such a way that headspacing issues could be easily remedied by replacing the bolt head with one of a slightly different size. If memory serves, differing sizes were numbered 1-5...
You're basically correct, except there are 6 sizes, #0 through #5 inclusive. Each size is nominally 0.003" longer. The bolt head on a Lee-Enfield is normally marked with the size.

The trouble is twofold. First, many milsurp L-Es (including my No.4 MkI) have been fired many thousands of times and are already wearing a #3. Second, #4 and #5 bolt heads are made of Unobtanium, a rare element also used in vintage Italian car bumpers and prewar American car trim pieces. This lack of availability has prompted some Australian and Canadian L-E enthusiasts to weld up smaller-size bolt heads and then mill them down, but you'll need considerable machining skill to do this properly.
Quote:
The bolt face screws right out of the bolt. I could blow on it and it will begin to unscrew no exaderation.
If it's not this easy to turn the bolt head, something is seriously wrong. It's supposed to turn when you close the bolt. FWIW the threads are supposed to have enough axial play that the bolt head bottoms out against the bolt face when the bolt is in firing position.
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Old March 4, 2009, 12:07 PM   #13
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Quote:
But even if you have a blow out, you won't know it until you open the bolt, the Enfield will generally keep you pretty safe.
This is one of the key things to remember about Lee-Enfields. If the rifle has excessive headspace, this will usually result in case separations, and the rifle has two pathways for gas to escape- the extractor slot and the gas relief hole in the LH side of the receiver.
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Old March 4, 2009, 03:08 PM   #14
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There are a couple of other boards with lots of Lee Enfield enthusiasts on them, I'm sure they can help. Try:

http://www.gunboards.com/
Also search for "Parallax Bill's"
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Old March 6, 2009, 01:53 AM   #15
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Hey, FALPhil,
Look down that bore again and see if you can find my old steaming buddy, Bos'n Bill. We lost him in an Olongapo "establishment" in '68 -- all we ever heard from him was a echo!
"Bore like a Subic Bay hooker," LOL, thanks. If you guys don't get it, well, you're lucky; I got it and it took about 4 months to cure! Ha. Thans FALPhil.
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Old March 6, 2009, 02:05 PM   #16
Lavid2002
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Quote:
If it's not this easy to turn the bolt head, something is seriously wrong. It's supposed to turn when you close the bolt. FWIW the threads are supposed to have enough axial play that the bolt head bottoms out against the bolt face when the bolt is in firing position.
Then whats the remedy for this. Because there isnt any exaderation. If I remove the bolt and blow on the right area (The right lug where the extractor claw is) The bolt will rotte a little b it. I can completely unscrew it like its nothin.
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Old March 6, 2009, 02:36 PM   #17
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Quote:
Then whats the remedy for this. Because there isnt any exaderation. If I remove the bolt and blow on the right area (The right lug where the extractor claw is) The bolt will rotte a little b it. I can completely unscrew it like its nothin.
There's no remedy because this is how it's supposed to be.

It should be easy to unscrew. If it were difficult to turn, it would be harder to close the bolt, and a little dirt could disable it.
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Old March 6, 2009, 07:47 PM   #18
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Most of the technical side of head space has been covered here - sounds like you have a bog standard Enfield to me.

*The right side of the muzzle is marked 303 "2.22" 18.5 TONS

This is the fire proofing test commonly known as the Birmingham Nitro Proof - all Enfield rifles were tested ( and marked ) this way in Britain before being sold into commercial market out of service. This is common.

*(This I found odd!) The bolt is marked N.67 MKII....now if the receiver says MK 1 why does it have a MKII bolt?

A MKII bolt is the same as a MKI bolt ...it may have seen a refit through FTR ( factory thorough repair ) at some time or it was replaced by a civvy owner. Bolts are only ever usually marked with the serial numbers and nothing else. It's a bit odd but pics will help.

N67 is the wartime code for Singer Manufacturing who were one of the many British wartime parts subcontractors. This mark on a bolt is unusual however as bolt were manufactured at factory and not usually by parts subcontractors - I'd like to see pics of the bolt to verify the legitimacy of the stamp. N67 as a marking goes is common however.

*The top of the stock, has the numbers 8092 stamped in it.

These are simply rack numbers for unit or depot storage.

*The stock also had 2 holes in the top of it, maybe someone had a cheek pad on this?

Yup ...

M47 1943

M47 = Manufactured by Birmingham Small Arms Factory, Shirley or simply put BSA Shirley.

Sounds to me like you have a run of the mill No4 Mk1 year of 1943. Post some pics up and if you want further info on Enfields visit the forums in my sig.

Cheers, Tiki.
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Old March 6, 2009, 08:43 PM   #19
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Quote:
Look down that bore again and see if you can find my old steaming buddy, Bos'n Bill. We lost him in an Olongapo "establishment" in '68 -- all we ever heard from him was a echo!
Was that the same Bosun Bill that had a 4-blade screw tattooed on each cheek with a another tattoo above them that said "TWIN SCREWS STAND CLEAR"?

I think I saw him.

But seriously, I had a No. 4 that had a bulge about 5 inches from the muzzle. Looked like someone tried to fire a rifle grenade with a live round instead of a blank. Northridge had some 4-groove barrels in excellent shape for $40, so I got one. The rifle had a a #1 bolt head which still left excessive headspace with the new barrel. So, I machined the shoulder forward one complete thread worth (I don't remember the amount), took the same amount off the breech end, then borrowed my brother's 303 reamer, and hand reamed reamed the chamber till the bolt would just close on my homemade GO gage.

I made the GO gage by full length sizing an empty case, plugging the primer hole and filling the case up with epoxy. I use it to set up my full length resizer for that rifle. I segregate my 303 brass by rifle and once a piece is fired in one No. 4, it stays with that No.4. I get about 3-4 neck sizings in between full length sizings.
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Old March 19, 2009, 08:00 AM   #20
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Some of the 'bolt head' info posted needs to be corrected. This is from another Enfield form.

Quote:
Next - bolt heads come in 4 different sizes (for a NO4) size 0, size 1, size 2 and size 3.

The sizes are only indicative and are in reality meaningless as a size 2 can be smaller than a size 1, a size 2 can be bigger than a size 3 and so on.
I measured over 100 different bolt heads and came out with the following :
Size 0 = 0.0620" - 0.0631"
Size 1 = 0.622" - 0.0635"
Size 2 = 0.0630" - 0.0642"
Size 3 = 0.0632" - 0.0640"

You need to determine what 'dimension' you need - not - what 'size'. You could buy one size up and actually be worse off.
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Old April 12, 2009, 02:52 AM   #21
303
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Good luck if you think you can find someone who sells them to actually measure a bolt head...

As to bolt heads not measuring up to their nominal length, it's my understanding that armorers sometimes shortened them.

As to the available lengths... the 0 to 3 are what is generally reported as being the lengths used with new rifles. Armorers had access to longer bolt heads. I have a #4 as well as a #6-marked bolt head, though by my measurement the #6 is actually #5 length. The only marking on it is electropenciled, and it came to me in new condition and attached to a brand new un-serial numbered bolt... doubtless intended as an armorer's replacement part.

Of course this bolt head numbering business relates only to the No 4 & No 5 Enfields. Bolt heads also come in various lengths for the No 1 Enfield, the lengths are just a mystery to be measured. If you ever do figure out exactly what length you need, though, in my experience the folks who sell them have sorted them by the same length ranges as the number 4, and it seems to usually work out that what you get is actually 2 or 3 thousandths shorter than what you specify.

Eventually I just cut through all of that hassle by finding a guy who was selling about 20 No 1 Enfield bolts at a good price. Since then, so far at least, I've been able to find a bolt head of whatever length I was searching for, somewhere in that odd lot of bolts...
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