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Old March 8, 2011, 12:22 PM   #1
Pahoo
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Brittish enfield converted to .410 shotgun. ????

Brittish enfield converted to shoot .410 shotgun. My understanding is that these guns were sold to india and used for riot control. A freind of mine has two of these for sale and I have never heard of these nor do I know how they were actually converted. Can any of you folks enlighten me on these relics? I thank you for your attention and appreciate your feedback...


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Old March 8, 2011, 01:16 PM   #2
aarondhgraham
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I can only confirm that they exist,,,

I had never heard of these either,,,
But at a small gun show a few months back a dealer had one.

He was asking $400.00 for his gun.

Click here and scroll down to "Production and manufacturers",,,
There is a small section that talks about the .410 conversions.

Hope this helps.

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Old March 8, 2011, 02:25 PM   #3
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The .410 was very common, they were converted by England, Australia and India in a couple of patterns - one was full stock and the other with a cut down fore-end. The Indians used them for Riot Control while the Australians and British used them as sporting guns. The Australian cut down versions were converted post war with receivers drawn from store, a cut was made in the receiver and a bead sight welded on. They are not uncommon and are considered a variant within the Enfield family of guns.

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Old March 8, 2011, 03:10 PM   #4
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Check the chambering length as well. Lots of these do not take standard .410 shells they use a special short case.
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Old March 8, 2011, 03:27 PM   #5
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The original .410 muskets used a straight walled .303 based cartridge that was more or less a .303 that hadn't been necked down. The chambers are too short to accept a standard .410 shotshell, but some American importers had a number of them reamed to accept them. It's an easy conversion, but, to some collector purists, makes the gun not original. The guns themselves are not particulary scarce.

They are fun to shoot, though; Recoil is almost nil.
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Old March 8, 2011, 03:53 PM   #6
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Back when I worked for NRA we laid our hands on one we wanted to review in the magazine. We took it to an outdoor range we used and were going to shoot some hand thrown trap when one of the members saw us and went ballistic.

He thought we had a rifle.
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Old March 8, 2011, 05:40 PM   #7
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I had one before I sold my collection of Enfields. Mine had a date of 1941 and was chambered for the longer 410. The magazine box had been "filled" with wood so that it was just a single shot. The story that I got on it was that it was converted and issued to Indians assigned to British forces during the war (guides and such). I don't know if that was an accurate story or not. It came with the standard Enfield web (Brit) sling and a Enfield bayonet that whas shortened - supposidly for jungle use - but still carried in the full lenght leather scabbard. It had a really nice stock on it - not all banged up. If I remember right, I bought the rifle, bayonet and sling for around $70 - but that was years ago when you could buy the various models of SMLEs cheap. I shot it quite a bit - it was a good shooter and I bagged a number of woodchucks with it. The bore of it had been reamed smooth as well and had a great polish to it.
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Old March 8, 2011, 05:50 PM   #8
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For many years in the UK, a police license was required for possession of a rifle, but a shotgun could be legally owned by registering it by mail. In those years, many of those surplus rifles were converted to .410 shotguns and sold, not to hunters, but to those who wanted a piece of history but did not own hunting land, have a secure safe, and meet all the other requirements for owning a rifle.

(Today, I understand, even shotguns are under rigid controls, and of course handguns have been completely banned for Her Majesty's subjects.)

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Old March 8, 2011, 08:49 PM   #9
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The main purpose of the .410 muskets were for issue to prison guards and riot police in India. The vast majority of .410 muskets seem to be of Ishapore manufacture.
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Old March 8, 2011, 10:46 PM   #10
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I saw converted SMLE's by several manufacturers in England, but don't recall seeing any Ishapores. They were not limited to India or to official use.

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Old March 8, 2011, 11:31 PM   #11
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Quote:
Back when I worked for NRA we laid our hands on one we wanted to review in the magazine. We took it to an outdoor range we used and were going to shoot some hand thrown trap when one of the members saw us and went ballistic.

He thought we had a rifle.
Mike, it would almost be worth it to track one down...
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Old March 9, 2011, 02:39 AM   #12
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According to Ian Skennerton in his book The Lee Enfield Story, .410 muskets were "special to India" and were "converted from downgraded rifles and intended for guard and police use."

Guns are usually marked ".410 RFI 19_ _" (date). Since the .410 muskets were first approved in 1927, many downgraded rifles from all over the Commonwealth were used for conversion. Apparently, production quotas of 10,000 new muskets from Ishapore were set for the years 1940, 41 and 42.

They really aren't that scarce, and Springfield Sporters sold them for years for about $70.00 or so, and $10.00 more if you wanted a rechambered one.

Today, with collectormania, they have escalated to around $200.00-250.00, but they are still around.
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Old March 9, 2011, 09:46 AM   #13
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They were made to be issued to colonial 'militia' troopies in Africa. Brits didn't trust 'em with a rifle. India, made 'em at Ishapore and used 'em as police riot guns.
There's some info and pictures here. http://www.enfieldrifles.ca/ri.htm
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Old March 9, 2011, 11:13 AM   #14
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WOW !!

WOW ...
You know, prior to posting this, I thought that these were just some old MilSurps that some guy/guys converted in their garage shops. I had no idea that they actually had a history although I had seen them in magazines, many years ago.

Everytime I post or reply to a post, I learn something new and it's not true what they say about not being able to teach an old dog, new tricks. ....
As usual, I truly appreciate your input and experience. ....

The fellow that has these and other guns, wants me to help him reduce the herd. He's another older Gun-Guy like me and just had a heart attack. We trade back and forth on guns and we both gain some. ....

"The Line", is fantastic !!

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Old March 9, 2011, 01:24 PM   #15
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The ones that will really break your heart are fine British sporting rifles reamed out to .410 because their owners could no longer justify a Firearm Certificate with proof of range or hunting land access.
So they had their rifles smoothbored because a Shotgun Certificate was easier to get and hold. But it pretty much ruined the rifle. What real use is a .410 Farquharson?
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Old March 9, 2011, 02:08 PM   #16
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What real use is a .410 Farquharson?
I understand and somewhat like sporterizing a Winchester 1903A3 .... :barf:

I have seen to many guys, just butcher a fine piece .....


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Old March 9, 2011, 03:46 PM   #17
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Well, I have never been in either India or Africa, but I saw dozens of those .410's at Game Fairs in Bucks. And they weren't made in Ishapore or converted in Africa; they were converted and proved in England using rifles of different manufacturers, including BSA and RSAF.

Sometimes even the best writers don't know the full story, or didn't at the time they wrote.

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Old March 9, 2011, 08:49 PM   #18
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Just found this site, and quickly found this thread. Mine is a RFI with a 1947 date stamped on it. Been refinished and cleaned up- nice shape. Cost me $150 about 5 years ago.Had never seen one here in Central IL before, found it at a gun show; the seller, a handyman/gunsmith, said that he had seen a few before. Mine is chamberd for the 3" round, wouldn't have bought it if it hadn't been.
When I did some research back then, I found some reference to the original round, indicating that the original shells were simply .303 rounds fire-formed by shooting them in the bored out chamber, then reloading them with shot. Don't know if that is true or not, but it would make sense, especially after the war, when there would have probably been a lot of surplus ammo around.
Have never fire a rifle cartridge in it, but have been tempted to try it.
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Old March 10, 2011, 07:25 AM   #19
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When I did some research back then, I found some reference to the original round, indicating that the original shells were simply .303 rounds fire-formed by shooting them in the bored out chamber, then reloading them with shot. Don't know if that is true or not, but it would make sense, especially after the war, when there would have probably been a lot of surplus ammo around.
Have never fire a rifle cartridge in it, but have been tempted to try it.
The rounds for the orignal .410 were NOT fire-formed from rifle brass. They were simply loaded with shot BEFORE they were tapered and necked down.

Absolutley DO NOT attempt to fire a rifle round in your .410.
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Old March 11, 2011, 11:35 AM   #20
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I also have an Ishapore "Prison Musket" that I purchased a good many years back. It's marked: "G.R.I, 1944 and No.1 Mk.1" on the right side of the butt stock collar and ".410, R.F.I., 1948" on the left side. That last was one of the reasons that I ended up taking it home, as it's the year I was born. IIRC, I paid about $115 for it in what I'd consider to be VG overall condition.

It'd been chambered/rechambered for the 3" .410 cartridge, which was another reason. Being more of an accumulator of curiosae than a collector of historical artifacts I have little interest in putting even a very modest portion of my limited "discretionary" cash into something like this unless I know that I can easily find the ammo I'd need to actually go play with it. Juvenile of me, perhaps.

Out to about 25 yds. it patterns quite respectably with 2 1/2" and 3" buckshot and seems to especially favor Federal 3" #5 shot loads. I've actually taken it out after rabbits on a couple of occasions and done pretty well, although the novelty in toting a ca. 9+ lb. single-shot around for that can get old real fast at my age.
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Old March 11, 2011, 02:45 PM   #21
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I just picked both of them up yesterday and just for the heck of it, will give them a good looking over, this afternoon. One is cleaner than the other. Really interested in seeing what they have to say. .....


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Old March 11, 2011, 03:14 PM   #22
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For many years in the UK, a police license was required for possession of a rifle, but a shotgun could be legally owned by registering it by mail. In those years, many of those surplus rifles were converted to .410 shotguns and sold, not to hunters, but to those who wanted a piece of history but did not own hunting land, have a secure safe, and meet all the other requirements for owning a rifle.

(Today, I understand, even shotguns are under rigid controls, and of course handguns have been completely banned for Her Majesty's subjects.)
Aye. It was the same type of deal as the cut/welded machine gun "displays" in the U.S.

And... Handguns haven't been completely removed from the hands of the royal subjects. If you talk to a lot of Brits, they'll brag that Veterinarians can still get licensed to own a handgun - to be used only for putting large animals down.
(And even that licensing provision is under risk of being removed. Veterinarians around the world have high suicide rates. Since the Brits tie the Vet suicide rate to owning pistols, they want to take the "suicide devices" away.)
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