View Full Version : Lee Enfield 2A

August 6, 2006, 09:14 PM
Just bought one of these today (.308). The extractor just flops around - there's no tension pushing it down into the case channel, and so it does not extract. So what to do now - just order a new "extractor spring"; is that what I need? Thanks guys. :)

Harry Bonar
August 7, 2006, 07:25 AM
Dear Sir:
I'd look up "Gun Parts" on your computer and, yes, order a new extractor spring. I believe, although I've never changed one, it is a leaf spring.
Be sure to order it for the Ishapore 308 rifle - I think that's the 2A.
Harry B.

By the way, if it's an Indian Ishapore don't worry about shooting 308 ammo in it - the 7.62X51 Nato versus the .308 controversy is just that - controversy! You do need to check the headspace on it.
Harry B.

James K
August 7, 2006, 01:14 PM
I don't want to start another argument, but the "controversy" is not just hot air. The .308 Winchester really does have a maximum working pressure level (62k cup) well above the 50k of the 7.62 NATO spec. That doesn't mean that every round of commercial .308 goes that high, but there is no real reason to subject a rifle designed for moderate pressure levels to that kind of abuse. The Indian 2/2A receivers were made of better steel than the old Lee actions, but they were intended for light para-military and police use with standard 7.62 NATO pressure levels, not for extended firing with commercial .308 loads.

Yes, the extractor spring is a "V" leaf spring; broken extractor springs are very common on those rifles.


August 7, 2006, 02:42 PM
Dittos on replacing the spring.

It's a funny business, this .308 v. NATO. The U.S. military guns are proofed by armorers with a 67,500 PSI M60 round, so they would normally have no problem handling civilian .308 peak pressures. It just isn't a good longevity recipe in any gun to constantly fire up near its limits. Softer commercial brass in the longer NATO chamber can be an issue, too.

Then you have the squirrelly correlations between the SAMMI piezo test method vs. the CIP piezo test method vs. CUP, any one of which may be used by a particular maker to adjust his loads. Who knows what pressure test results you would get on civilian .308 and NATO rounds if you ran them through the same measuring equipment?

I've only twice ever had lots of factory loads give me any kind of high pressure signs. Both times it was NATO 7.62X51 ammo, and not the nominally higher pressure .308. One of the offending NATO rounds was some Portuguese-made ball. I found very irregular degrees of effort, from easy to nearly impossible, required to pull its bullets. I assume it hadn't aged gracefully, whatever conditions it had been stored under? That's always a problem with buying surplus, not knowing its history. That kind of bullet pull difference can make for significant start pressure differences, and undoubtedly caused the irregular pressure signs.


August 7, 2006, 08:13 PM
Thank you sirs! Almost forgot that I'd better check headspace before shooting.

You probably should not shoot .308 Win in any Lee Enfields (7.62x51mm only), BUT.... I hear that the model 2A(1) is stronger than the regular 2A - how do I know which one I have? Thanks.

Yes it is an Ishapore Enfield.

August 7, 2006, 08:42 PM
Doh, nevermind, it's right there on the band - a 2A(1).



August 7, 2006, 10:24 PM
Also, so can I order a regular No. 1 extractor spring, or MUST it be designated "2A"?

And, how hard is it to take the bolt apart to install - home job or get gunsmith?

And, if 7.62x51mm NATO rifles are *normally* made to the same headspace dimensions as .308 win, with Enfields being one of the few exceptions to the rule, how much extra length or width in the chamber is actually present if you put a .308 round in a 2A chamber- few thousands or few hundredths?

And who sells extra mags for these?

Thanks again!

August 7, 2006, 10:43 PM
Here, found this - it answers my question:

Jerry Kuhnhausen, in his classic Shop Manual (available from Fulton Armory; see the M1 Rifle Parts & Accessories or M14 Rifle Parts and Accessories Pages under Books) has published a somewhat controversial recommendation concerning .308 Winchester and 7.62x51mm NATO ammo, headspace & chambers. I broached the subject with him some months ago. He had his plate full, so we decided to chat on this in the future. When we do I'll report the results of our conversation.

I completely agree with Jerry that if you have a chamber with headspace much in excess of 1.636 (say, 1.638, SAAMI field reject), you must use only U.S. or NATO Mil Spec Ammo (always marked 7.62mm & with a cross enclosed by a circle) since the NATO mil spec calls for a far more "robust" brass case than often found in commercial (read .308 Winchester) cartridges. It is precisely why Lake City brass is so highly sought. Lake City brass is Nato spec and reloadable (most NATO is not reloadable, rather it is Berdan primed). Indeed, cheaper commercial ammo can fail at the 1.638 headspace (e.g., UMC) in an M14/M1 Garand. Many military gas guns (e.g., M14 Rifles & M60 Machine guns) run wildly long headspace by commercial (SAAMI) standards (U.S. Military field reject limit for the M60 & M14 is 1.6455, nearly 16 thousandths beyond commercial (SAAMI) GO, & nearly 8 thousandths beyond commercial (SAAMI) field reject limit!).

I also agree that 1.631-1.632 is a near perfect headspace for an M14/M1A or M1 Garand chambered in .308 Winchester. But I think that it also near perfect for 7.62mm NATO!

I have measured many, many types/manufacturers of commercial and NATO ammo via cartridge "headspace" gauges as well as "in rifle" checks. If anything, I have found various Nato ammo to be in much tighter headspace/chamber compliance than commercial ammo. Indeed, sometimes commercial ammo can not be chambered "by hand" in an M14/M1A with, say, 1.631 headspace (bolt will not close completely by gentle hand manipulation on a stripped bolt, although it will close & function when chambered by the force of the rifle's loading inertia), though I have never seen this with NATO spec ammo. I.e., if anything, NATO ammo seems to hold at the minimum SAAMI cartridge headspace of 1.629-1.630, better than some commercial ammo!

So, why set a very long 1.636 headspace in an M14/M1A or M1 Garand? It probably is the conflict mentioned above. Military headspace gauges say one thing, SAAMI headspace gauges say something else, as do the spec's/compliance covering ammo. In a court of law, who will prevail? I think Kuhnhausen gave all those who do this work a safe way out. However, I believe it not in your, or your rifle's, best interest. Whether you have a NATO chambered barrel (M14/M1 Garand G.I. ".308 Win."/7.62mm NATO barrels all have NATO chambers), or a .308 Winchester chamber, keep the headspace within SAAMI limits (1.630 GO, 1.634 NO GO, 1.638 FIELD REJECT). This subject is a bit confusing, and for me difficult to explain in a one way conversation!

Harry Bonar
August 9, 2006, 07:14 PM
I know of no reloading manuals that make a difference between 308 and 7.62X51. Yes, I'm aware of the headspace numbers which amount to about .005. Mil-spec chambers and brass are always a little sloppy. And, yes, I'm aware of the supposed controversy about it and I pay absolutely no attention to it.
Harry B.

Harry Bonar
August 9, 2006, 07:28 PM
Dear Sirs:
The Ishapore Enfield is really a "throw-back" to the No.3Mk1.
When everybody went to 7.62X51 / 308 the Indian gov't. used a stronger steel, heat treated to supossedly withstand the increased pressure of the 308 over the 303 british round.
Now, rifles are designed to take TWICE the operating pressure of a particular caliber ( of course brass won't go more than 70,000 CUP pressures - it is the weak link in the rifle) but the yeild strength of steel in that action will be fine - as a matter of fact pressures are AVERAGE so some 7.62X51 rounds will go to the 52,000 CUP range in a lot of ammo.
I can be wrong fellows but loading manuals only caution on the capacity of mil-spec. brass compared to commercial 308.
When loading manuals don't discriminate concerning the two I don't either. I agree there are vagaries between the two but I just don't feel it is crucial.
Harry B.:)

August 9, 2006, 11:46 PM
thanks all - Harry, I believe it's more about the extra thickness of the NATO brass than it is the longer case length of the NATO. The latter is important to some extent too, because room in there for a neck to expand can cause the neck to split possibly, in my understanding. But the thicker brass of 7.62 NATO is the key to containing the pressure, even if the pressures generated are higher than .308 win. Someone can and hopefully will correct me if I am wrong on that.

James K
August 10, 2006, 12:57 PM
AFAIK, the spring is the same as the one for the British No. 1 rifle. When removing those springs, it is well to remember that the little hole in the bolt head is there for a reason. Many springs are broken because the detent was not pushed in before trying to drive the spring out.

Again AFAIK, the only difference between the 2A and 2A1 is the range marking on the rear sight.


March 3, 2010, 09:27 PM
I have an Ispore 7.62 nato rifle and I want to put a scope. Anyone have a suggestion for rails? Maybe a website to get a good price?!?

March 4, 2010, 12:25 PM
Welcome to the forum.

It's a good idea to start your own new thread rather than hijack an old one from 2006. It causes confusion of the subject matter and you often get fewer readers because some will have seen and lost interest in the old thread so they ignore it.

Just go back to the forum list of threads and click the New Thread button at the upper left.

March 9, 2010, 10:27 AM
Hello UncleNick,

Some of us like seeing an old thread like this because we joined way after it was posted. Seems relevant.

- Ivan.

March 9, 2010, 02:58 PM
True, but threads need continuity. Also, if you're missing out on old ones, try the Advanced Search feature. It is very useful in pulling up threads. William Iorg requested a sticky on the use of it, and I may need to get such a thing together.